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Lucie Guest on How to be Funny

Lucie Guest is a Vancouver-based actress, comedian, and writer-director. She trained at the prestigious Second City Conservatory in Toronto. She recently co-produced and starred in a stage production of Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette, and her short film Never Better: A Closure Comedy just won funding from Storyhive.

Lucie and I shared a paper route when we were kids, and pretty much everything she does cracks me up. Check out our interview below to see how she does it.

AT: How does one go about being funny?

LG: I’m not sure! That’s a great question. I think I’m still learning that myself more and more every day. I have always been a fan of comedy…there’s something thrilling about preforming a sketch or a stand-up set and having an audience laugh. I watch a lot of comedy and comedians. I also studied sketch writing and improv at The Groundlings in LA, UCB and The Second City in Toronto, and that really helped me.

“Some of the best advice I have been given is comedy comes from truth.”

AT: As an improv artist, how do you get past your inhibitions?

LG: I just left an improv audition the other day and thought, I am not an improv artist. I just don’t know if it’s actually a natural thing for me. I watch some improvisers, and I’m always in awe of what they can do. I love writing a sketch from improv and improving scenes within a premise. Improvising can be so much fun, but I think my actor brain is so used to having a script or structure. My ultimate style of improv would be like a Christopher Guest movie. We are not related… but that would be cool.


“As far as getting past inhibitions as an artist in general, I just push past the initial fear of the thing and sometimes I have to give myself a push, or I call a friend to give me a stern pep talk.”

AT: How likely do you think it is that your thought, “I am not an improv artist” was a symptom of Impostor Syndrome?

(AT note: I’ll post more about Impostor Syndrome in November).

LG: Hmm. Not sure. I think, likely? I wish I could consult that magic eight ball you used to have for an answer! I have a bad habit of  second-guessing myself or thinking that everyone else in the room is one thousand percent far more experienced then I am, and sometimes they are, but, like, I will assume everyone has graduated Harvard comedy school or whatever and I am the janitor – so there’s that. I may have described I.S. without committing to having it.

AT: That’s actually the best description I’ve ever heard of Impostor Syndrome. It’s ridiculously common among artists. What’s the most important thing you learned at Second City?

LG: Collaboration. Trusting your scene partner. And writing from a place of truth and turning that into a satire. Oh and mistakes are often gold!

img_4210AT: Have you ever had what you’d consider an artistic failure, and if so, how did you recover from it?

LG: Yes, all the time. It took me a long time to write Never Better, a short film we are set to shoot this year. I would write a draft, and my writing group would tear it apart! With every draft it got better… I cringe now looking back at earlier drafts!

AT: What’s your advice for people in the process of getting their work ripped to shreds?

LG: I know I said tearing it apart; it’s actually more constructive than a massacre. I welcome getting feedback and critique early the process of writing a script, even though it’s not always easy to hear, because it challenges me to take a closer look at it, and it always makes the script stronger. It’s so hard to get good notes from someone, so try to take everything into consideration.

“Not all critique is right or fits, because it is subjective, and at the end of the day, it’s your expression and your voice.”

AT: How do you deal with harsh people in film and theatre?

LG: It’s hard sometimes. In general, I have found that most people are great, but it does take just one negative person or comment or a harsh critique and that seems to stay with me a lot longer then a compliment. I think there are some serious highs and lows in the industry, and that can be challenging… I found that, for me, I have a practice of meditation that I do every day to help me stay grounded and to reach deeper levels of creativity and happiness.

What about you, Reader? Do you make people laugh, and if so, how? Share your answers in the comments.

Featured image: courtesy of Lucie Guest

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  1. Rebecca says

    Loved this!! And side note: teachers get I.S. too. People don’t always see that profession as creative, but it certainly is!

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