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Entries in Steve Siddell (3)

Tuesday
Jul122011

Love Letters to 'Louie' - Steve Siddell

Photo courtesy of Steve Siddell

By: Keith Huang

Welcome back to "Love Letters to Louie," an unabashedly sycophantic meta-review of the television show "Louie" (Thursdays, 10:30PM on FX).

Today's semi-annual installment comes from Steve Siddell, a good friend of The Apiary, who worked as a gaffer on several episodes during the first season.

Steve is a member of the improv troupe Handsy, and can be seen fairly regularly on your TV box. He also recently starred in this excellent short video, "Conversations."

Steve writes:

"It can be frustrating to be an actor and performer whose day job is lighting for movies. Working as the gaffer on some of 'Louie' was the closest I came to breaking down and begging to be given a part. It was also one of the only things I've worked on as a technician where I would read the sides everyday (usually it's all garbage and I ignore them).

It was a pretty small crew and most people knew I did comedy stuff. I also had a few commercial spots running so I was secretly hoping that through some crazy star alignment Louie would hear about a show I was doing or see one of my spots and then cast me in some brilliantly deadpan role in an episode. That never happened, he just kindly called me a "fucker" when I tried to sneak a light on set that he didn't think was needed.

Photo: Eric Liebowitz/FX NetworksLouie definitely knew what he wanted and no one could possibly argue that the show isn't entirely his -- including the lighting. From a lighting perspective it could be difficult working for him because most scenes he just didn't want to light. We would move so fast that it seemed more like a student film than a TV show and he seemed to see the lighting guys as an annoyance rather than an asset.

However, it was fascinating for me, as a comedy person, to watch him work. Since it was his show from top to bottom and since he's a comedian, he placed the most value in maintaining a rhythm and moving quick enough that stuff stayed fresh and funny to him.

I also admired the way he would direct actors. He seemed to do a lot of takes but he directed very tightly and I'd hear him give really great notes. I think he is such a good storyteller that he just instinctively knows when a character needs to be more of a dick, or little more desperate, or whatever. I hear directors say such bullshit sometimes, especially in comedy. It's either totally pointless or just rewriting a line to make it funnier. Louie seemed to only give necessary direction.

Now, as for the way the show looks, I know a lot of people like the look, and yeah, it has a style. It's not really my style. To be honest I've still only seen a few episodes but I think even a little cinematic elegance can help tell any story, even one about a guy as inelegant as Louie.

I think the awkwardness of the technical direction gets in the way. Or maybe I'm just a frustrated, underutilized actor...wait, I mean technician."


^Steve hanging out with Davis Love III, captain of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

PREVIOUSLY

Monday
Jun212010

ASK FOR IT BY NAME: STEVE SIDDELL FOR NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE

I heard once that Brits consume so much curry that they consider it a national dish. It stands to reason then that some Anglos have tried making it on their own, presumably to poor results. What's not poor, however, is this Newcastle Brown Ale ad featuring Steve "You Weren't Born a Kapoor" Siddell. I've championed Siddell since his turn in this phenomenal Minute Maid ad, in addition to recent TrueValue and ESPN spots. In particular, he's good at being "slumpy," such that I actually believe his adoptive family would break this type of news to him over the phone. Chin up, Steve, and keep on racking up these national spots.

Thanks to Andrew "Soce" Singer for the tip! If you come across or upload any new commercials starring our favorite comedians and performers, please send the link!

Wednesday
Oct142009

Ask For It By Name: Steve Siddell for Minute Maid Juice

According to the Internet, W.C. Fields once said: "Anyone who hates children and animals can't be all bad." That's probably why this Minute Maid commercial seems to work for me right away -- even the equal distribution of ethnic children works! But it is improviser Steve Siddell (Punch) who is clearly working the most here. Look at him go! He earned that fist pump at the end. You know he did.

FUN FACT

  • The Internet also says W.C. stood for "William Claude."

Were YOU or someone funny you know in a spot recently? Send the link!