Stephen Mangan on 'Hangs Ups', His Upcoming Channel 4 Comedy | On Acting

Stephen Mangan | On Acting

Stephen Mangan, the actor behind smash hits like Episodes, Dirk Gently + more, discusses developing through the rehearsal process, the relationship between the creative team on-set + his first (quite unusual) audition. See some of our favourite moments from the interview below.

1. Feeling vulnerable at an audition

Mangan remembers one of his earlier auditions with more than a little embarrassment.

He said, "take off your top, say your name + growl like a tiger." So I did.

That first foot in the door may come in a rather unexpected form.

2. Creating spontaneity where it just...isn't

The job of an actor is to say lines as if they've just thought of them that minute.

Mangan notes that an actor can't just prepare all the lines perfectly + bring them fully formed to set. Interaction between actors is where the real surprises hit!

3. How writing is like getting out of bed

Just like you may dread getting out of bed in the morning + how you may put it off over + over again, with writing you're better off if you just do it.

You just need to get over the fact that what you write might initially be rubbish. You just need to start.

4. What does it really mean to be funny?

The only thing that you can say about comedy is you're here to be able to recognise when something is funny + when it's not.

Mangan believes this instinct is natural + that you either have it or you don't. If a complete grasp of humour is innate, then it can't be taught -- so think hard about whether you're one of the lucky ones!

5. Advice for aspiring actors, television + film makers...anyone, really

Be on time. Work hard. Don't be a d*ck.


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