Each semester, Humber’s Comedy Writing and Performance program hosts the Prime Time Speaker Series, where students in the program meet influential guest speakers—such as Tom Green, Gilbert Gottfried, Maria Bamford, Andy Kindler, Dave Thomas, and Billy Crystal—for questions-and-answers sessions. This fall, Scott Adsit and Danny Robinson joined students in our Cabaret to chat about the art and business of being funny.
A veteran of Chicago’s Second City and Saturday Night Live, Adsit offered sage advice to Humber’s comedians. “Have an ego, be confident with yourself, know your skills, and then try to get more,” he said before cautioning, “But at some point, as an actor, as a writer, there are people who are just as good as you, who can do the job just as well as you. But you'll have an advantage if you're someone who someone wants to spend 14 hours a day with.”
This resonated with Humber Comedy students, who found Adsit both engaging and sincere. “I think what I loved most about meeting Scott Adsit was how genuinely kind he was. I felt like I was speaking with someone I'd known for years,” said student Anasimone George.
Comedy is a news source
Comedy students also listened with enthusiasm to Danny Robinson, the senior vice-president of the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) and an expert in talent representation. During his lecture, Robinson spoke about a range of topics including the role of comedy in contemporary society and the opportunities it presents.
“Comedy has become so pervasive that it's also become the main news source. It's staggering, but it's true,” Robinson pointed out. “Newspapers are almost a relic. You've got CNN and everything on MSNBC. You can get anything on your phone or laptop, but most people watch the monologues of the Tonight Show or Conan or David Letterman, but mostly Jon Stewart, and that's where they [get] their news. So comedy has really developed into possibly the foundation of our society now.”
Comedy student Erik Smith particularly enjoyed Robinson’s insider knowledge. “It was great to get the behind-the-scenes story of the business and find out about all the other people that make TV happen,” he said.
Clearly a highlight of the Comedy Writing and Performance program, the Prime Time Speaker Series couldn’t happen without the generosity of industry guests. Special thanks to Scott Adsit and Danny Robinson for sharing their time and insight, and for inspiring Humber’s up-and-coming comedians!
Scott Adsit with student Anasimone George (photo courtesy of Anasimone).
Danny Robinson of the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA).