As with carrying on with the MONSTERSvsME Media & Arts interviews, last week I had the opportunity to interview an amazing actor/comedian/all around performer from Toronto named Kerry Griffin. Kerry has performed in numerous tv shows, commercials and most notably is a very prominent individual in the growing Toronto improv scene.
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MVM – Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where you are from? grew up?
Kerry – I was born and raised in Toronto, yes we do exist! Grew up in the Bloor West Villiage area, now live in the Bathurst and Lakeshore area.
MVM – For people who don;t know, what is the Bad Dog Theatre?
Kerry – The Bad Dog Theatre is an theatre devoted to improv in all its forms. It grew out of Theatresports Toronto which use to perform shows at harboourfront in the 80’s and at several other venues around town. We still perform Theatresports (which is an improv competition show where two teams “compete” and the audience scores the scenes to determine the winner) every Friday and Saturday night.
MVM – Your new Improv show, Off Off Broadview, starts every Saturday in March. What is it about? Any other actors in it? and what was your role in getting this show to stage?
Kerry – Off Off Broadview is essentially a completely improvised one play. What its about changes every show as we get a suggestion from the audience as to an event that the story focusses on – one week it may be a wedding, the next a funeral, the next a chile cooking contest, who knows? The story focusses on a group of characters all dealing with their relationships and interactions around the event. There’s 11 actors in the cast in total, 6-7 do the show each week. It features some of the best improvisers in the city including Second City Alumna and touring company members, canadian comedy award winners and some you may recognize from commericals and elsewhere. I produced the show as well as being a performer.Ã‚Â
MVM – I received a media kit for Off Off Broadview from your marketing manager, Diana, and it says that you have recently won the 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards for best male improviser and for best comedic play (Second City’s Barack To The Future). What do these awards mean to you? Is it a reward for hard work paying off?
Kerry – The awards mean I can now look forward to a life of private jets, caviar and buxom groupies! Oh wait, this is the Canadian entertainment industry, Just kidding, the awards are amazing recognition for lots of hard work. You have to do this job because you love it, not for money or awards but getting recognized by your peers does put a nice warm feeling in your heart.
MVM – Can you remember your first role/first time when you realized that you wanted to become an actor/comedian?
Kerry – I played a dancing skeleton in grade 7 in a musical halloween-ish show. I don’t know whay that stuck with me but i loved the attention.Ã‚Â
MVM – I know that you have a big role in the Toronto Improv scene, so tell us about acting on a television set. You’ve been in shows such as Train 48 (Global TV) Trojan Horse (CBC), Princess (Disney/ABC) , Degrassi: The Next Generation (CBC) and numerous television commercials. How does it differ from improv and is it easy to go back and forth between the two?
Kerry – Being on set mostly involves lots of waiting around and then being ready to perform for brief periods when their actually shooting. Obvioulsy the biggest difference is the live audience, improv and stage stuff is so immediately gratifying and you know exactly whats working and whats not. In film and tv you do these small pieces of things and you don’t no how their all going to fit together and turn out until the final product gets edited and produced. You have so much more control doing improv and you know what people’s reaction is right away.
MVM – I know I would, but do you watch yourself on television when the show goes to air? Do you critique your acting performance and look for ways to improve? or are you always happy with the outcome?
Kerry – I always watch myself, and generally i hate it! Its like hearing your voice on tape for the first time when you inevitably say “do i really sound like that?”. It never goes away – you always feel like you look bad, your eyes are crooked, you sound weird. You notice every flaw about yourself and its all there recorded on film. I always am critical of my performance, I guess its natural, but I do try to spot bad habits and stop them.ÃƒÂ¢
MVM – For everyone reading this interview that has an interest in improv/comedy, what advice would you give them on getting their start?
Kerry – Just do it! Improv is all about jumping in and trusting your instincts and yourself. The hardest thing to get over is any fears, insecurities and stuff you may have, and we all have them. You just need to throw yourself into it and realize that improv or comedy in general isn’t life and death. You WILL fail. You can’t fear it you have to embrace it and learn from it.
MVM – What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kerry – Find something you like to do and keep doing it.
MVM – What is your dream role?
Kerry – I want to be an action hero. Which will only happen in my dreams.
MVM – Lastly, where can people catch you next?
Kerry – At the Bad Dog theatre Friday and Saturday nights for Theatresports, and Saturdays at 10pm starting March 6 for Off Off Broadview, and in an upcoming Fallsview Casino commercial.