Show Biz Chimps | HumorOutcasts

Show Biz Chimps

August 18, 2015


BarbaraStreisand2KevinBaconI have worked with many famous people during my many years of employment in Show Business. Oh sure, I could drop names like Beyonce, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Kevin Bacon, Charlize Theron, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Taylor, but I won’t. Besides, they have restraining orders – some lasting past their demise.

But do you know who my favorite actors are to work with? Chimps.

I love chimpanzees.  Okay, there, I said it.  That’s the way I’m gonna roll.

They are just so honest.  Sometimes when a petulant starlet hits the stage, hours have to be spent getting her to “a place” where she can feel comfortable enough to do “her work.” It takes hours of compliments, Starbucks runs and sushi.

chimpreachingNot the chimps. They come out of their dressing room diaper clad and ready to work. You never have to worry about what mood the chimps are in because they wear their emotions on their hairy arms, and will instantly express feelings that everyone else in the room wishes they could.

On a recent commercial shoot in a car dealership, when our chimp felt a take went on too long, he would just sit down, or turn his back or make a bodily function noise.  Now who among us hasn’t thought about any of those options in the past, when a meeting has just gone on way too long, or the motivational speaker at the corporate team-building retreat starts talking about making everyone do improv games?

ChimparmsfoldedWhen the chimp got frustrated or angry at his fellow human actor in the scene for dropping lines, or with some direction that he felt was incorrect and offensive to him as a simian thespian, he would jump up and down, or start screaming, or tear up and eat a bunch of brochure props.  Again, I must reiterate:  who among us?

But my favorite move of all, one that I really want to try myself sometime, is when he just got tired of being on camera, the chimp would slowly start inching sideways out of frame and out of the scene, almost as if he was thinking, “If I just move slowly enough, they won’t notice that I’m gone . . . ”  Genius.

“Where’d Forrest go?”

“I dunno, but I guess the meeting is adjourned.”

Forrest Brakeman

Forrest is a former stand-up comedian, half of the ancient comedy team of Proops & Brakeman. After training with the Groundlings, he founded the improv comedy group Los Angeles Theatresports where he performed and served as Co-Artistic Director. Forrest has performed at The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, The Punch Line and Cobb's Pub in San Francisco, and has appeared on The Tonight Show and The Sunday Comics. His essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy/The Mid, Boomer Cafe, the Los Angeles Daily News, NPR's "This I Believe," and the Chicago Cubs Yearbook (you heard me).

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10 Responses to Show Biz Chimps

  1. August 18, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    These guys seem like the real pros. Fun stuff.

    • August 18, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      They are. Way more pro than all the rest of us crew guys. Cleaner, too.

  2. Bill Y Ledden
    August 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    And who among us could ever forget the fine acting in Planet of the Chimpanzees?

    • August 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      “Get your hands off me you damn dirty chimp,” was in an early draft of the script.

  3. August 18, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I just tried the edge out of a meeting trick. If only I’d been wearing a chimp costume.

  4. August 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    If I pass this around, will it help you get your restraining orders rescinded? Or is that hope too far gone?

    • August 18, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      It’s probably better this way for all concerned. At least the chimps like me. I’m still getting visits from Sinatra’s goons, but they are really old and usually forget why they came.

  5. Bill Spencer
    August 18, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Forrest, I’m giddily happy you’re posting again. I have so much missed your particular style of Bonzo journalism.

    • August 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Aww, thanks Bill! I’m just monkeyin’ around.

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