My STUPID Journey

My greatest fear is being seen as stupid. All of my school life, I tried to prove my intelligence to others and to myself. It was a drive, but through a superficial lens: don’t look stupid. Don’t look dumb. But the thing is, now I’m in comedy. And having a fear of looking stupid is not compatible with the comedy world.

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My junior year of college, I decided to confront my fear head-on when I did a one-woman show where I played Mr. Bean and performed a bunch of the famous Rowan Atkinson sketches. It was stupid. I looked stupid, I sounded stupid, I danced stupid… and I LOVED it.

I realized that my performance was not coming from some intellectual, brain-space, but from my gut-space and that the audience wasn’t judging me for acting stupid and silly, they were finding pleasure in it. The discovery that I didn’t always need to appear intellectual and put-together was amazingly freeing. And by extension, possibly even freeing for the audience because maybe for those forty-five minutes, stupidity allowed them to forget what they were worrying about during the car ride over.

My “journey” hasn’t been about trying to be stupid, it’s been about allowing it. Stupid has given me permission to let my inner child — the one that I had tried so hard to keep hidden — come out and run around like a little weirdo. She’s authentic and fun and is always getting up to something. She doesn’t understand the meaning of “Do Not.”

I’ve learned that it takes A LOT of training and intelligence and skill to do stupid well. And I’m just starting. I’ve got a long way to go, but as we all know, we get stupider with age, and I can’t wait.


Schuyler Helford is a comedic actress (Anger Management, The Middle) and writer (#Cybriety, Indoorsy) in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

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