I’m in a play, and I have the part of a cop. I’m supposed to be funny and not very smart, but I’m having trouble with this. Any tips?
Playing dumber is always harder, because it’s easy to fall into caricatures and indicating funny moments. One thing that may help is using “substitutions”. For example, when your character doesn’t get something, try substituting what he hears for another language or total gibberish. Not only will he not understand, but if you really get into it, the surprise that will show on your face from others speaking gibberish to you will be comedic in itself.
Of course, this is dependent on the type of comedy. Timing is very important in funny plays, so you have to pick a substitution that will work with the timing of the play. You also have to make character choices. Is the cop not smart but thinking he’s smart or is he aware of his problem, etc.
Hope these few tips help. I’ll tweet your question and maybe some other actors and teacher will share more tips by adding comments.