Acting the Part on the Comedy Stage

Curtis Coleman

Relying on a background of stage performing and different comedic themes, have all blended together, as a special recipe for this up and coming comedian.

Curtis Coleman

In his early teen years, Windsor (Ontario) comedian Curtis Coleman was passionate about stage performing and participated in different productions.

During this time, many of his friends were filmmakers that were interested in producing independent films and videos.

While still involved in stage acting, Coleman became captivated with old Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor stand up shows, after being introduced to them. From there, as Coleman was getting further entrenched in the comedy industry, he discovered some of the modern comedians, such as Chris D’Elia.

“I fell in love with blend of joke telling and performance,” Coleman said. “The next step for me was sending a message to Craft Heads Brewing Company and just going for it on stage.“

After deciding to take the plunge at an open mic at Craft Heads Brewing Company, Coleman rounded up 30 of his friends to join him for his baptism on stage.

Coleman explained that the plan was to treat his first show like a play. Revert back to what he knows best, which is memorizing his lines, in this case his repertoire of jokes and let it rip.

Very quickly after getting on stage for his first time, Coleman realized that doing a stand up comedy set is a different beast all together.

“It hit me quickly that it is impossible to memorize everything. I learned on the fly while on stage, that something is going to happen or just throw you off,” Coleman said.

Coleman is approaching his second year anniversary of doing stand up comedy and recently he was promoted to House MC at Haddon’s Comedy Club at 1444 Ottawa Street (in the lower level of Rockhead Pub.)

For multiple reasons, Coleman says he enjoys the longer sets on stage. “The longer you have on stage, it makes it easier to have common themes,” Coleman pointed out. “I find that when I can do a 15 minute set, that there are arks that I can tie all together well.”

He continued, “When doing a five minute set, it is more of hitting the audience real quick with what you got and get off the stage for the next comedian in the rotation.”

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Coleman described his show, as a mix of the writing and the overall performance. He relies on his background in acting for the overall performance on stage. But at the same time, it can’t be more important than the overall writing for his set.

“It has to be a perfect mix,” Coleman said. “It is something that I’m trying to work on. I’m constantly trying to perfect it and walk that line, so to speak.”

His acting background has helped him with many elements of Coleman’s stand up performances that he has done to date.

“It begins with stage presence and being comfortable on stage. All of the eyes in the room are on you when you get up there on stage. When I began doing theatre type shows I was doing them at the Capitol Theatre (in Windsor) and the lights were so bright you couldn’t see past the first four rows. It is different when you are doing open mic stand up comedy in a bar and you can see everyone’s face in the whole room. That takes a little bit to getting used to,” Coleman said.

Besides having stage presence, Coleman’s acting background has been an asset when he speaks to the audience.

“I have a checklist of things that also include, learning how to speak with your diaphragm. It is important to be able to gauge the room, before using some of your material. Lastly, you can’t forget the appropriate angles, when acting out a joke on stage. This way everyone in the room is able to see it.”

When pressed to give an answer where Coleman sees himself in five years, he answered that one goal is to be headlining shows in Toronto and of course growing his brand right in his hometown of Windsor in the comedy scene.