November 29, 1989
Pinchot is Acting Funny
by: Luaine Lee
Scripps Howard News Service
Bronson Pinchot has
reduced life to a simple rule: "You just want it. And
you do it."
It's a philosophy that
brought him from worrying about his one pair of tennis shoes six
years ago to a house in Malibu, a hit TV sitcom and his first
starring role in a movie.
Pinchot, who stars as the
irrepressible Balki in "Perfect Strangers," is now
flying high in "Second Sight," as a seer with special
insights that make him valuable to a detective agency.
This is Pinchot's first starring role in a film.
Pinchot says he knows when
something's funny, but not from the script. "I know
it from my body. The only tricky thing on television is
you have to rehearse it without an audience. If you do it
for an audience, it's for eight writers with furrowed brows who
are sitting there trying to figure out how to solve the writing
"So you have to say,
'OK, I know it's funny even though nobody's laughing. And
when the audience comes in, I know they'll laugh.'
"Sometimes I say to
myself 10 minutes before going on, 'Just be funny.' Forget
trying to hit the A, B, and C of it. And just go out there
and be a walking funnybone."
He learned that from
making himself tall. At 5-foot-9, Pinchot is not exactly
tall, but he recalls a drama coach once telling him the secret
to a scene was that he had to "think tall."
At first Pinchot resented
it. So he rose to the occasion, so to speak.
"As I walked offstage I just said I was the tallest person
who ever lived. I don't know what I did, but the audience
was just screaming. And I just was tall and I was lurching
around as if I were on stilts. That taught me a
Pinchot doesn't have many
kind words for ABC's "Perfect Strangers" today.
He's upset that rewrites continue until air time, leaving almost
no margin for preparation.
Even if he has second
thoughts about TV, he's sure he wants to act in films.
Though he was in "Risky Business," "Flamingo
Kid," and "After Hours," "Second Sight"
is really the first step to that dream.
"With movies you can
make every moment happen totally. With TV you're just
standing there in this flat lighting with a script that was just
written that day, with an audience that was bused in from some
shopping mall. The fact that any of it works is a
Unlike many other
comedians, Pinchot isn't dying to do drama.
"Actually, I love doing comedy. It's what I do."