While comedic genius is arguably something that cannot be taught — you simply have it or you don’t — a late legend of laughter will soon have his name on a professorship at a prestigious fine arts school.
The George Lucas Family Foundation is setting up the Robin Williams Endowed Chair in Comedy at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Variety reported Wednesday. In 2016, the institution placed first in The Hollywood Reporter’s ranking of “best film schools” for the fourth year in a row.
“Robin was a comedy genius with a boundless talent,” George Lucas said, according to Variety. “He was singular in every way, yet had great respect for the genre and for the dedication it took to succeed. His talent was only matched by his work ethic. That’s why he made it to the pinnacle of comedy success, and why his legacy will be to motivate and inspire young storytellers.”
USC has named Barnet Kellman, an award-winning TV-sitcom director, will be the initial chairholder, Variety said.
In an Aug. 14 Los Angeles Times profile piece, Mr. Kellman summed up his advice for aspiring stars of the comedy circuit by emphasizing both work ethic and a willingness to bomb while honing your material to make it perfect.
“You gotta make a lot of bad jokes to make a good joke. … It doesn’t matter if you’re doing stand-up, sketches, plays, movies or TV pilots. You have to risk a lot and try many things,” he said.
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