Life of laughter
Kearns' journey toward comedy, acting started at SC4
Eric Kearns may be working in California doing stand-up comedy and improv shows, but St. Clair County Community College was where he learned the basics about acting.
The North Hollywood, California resident and graduate of Marysville High School decided to attend SC4 in 2006 at the urging of his mom.
“My mom was working there at the time and she thought it would be a smart decision to start off at a community college since I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “It ended up being exactly what I needed because I was able to test out different classes.”
One of those classes was an improvisation class taught by Rich Goteri. That class turned out to be the catalyst for Kearns’ acting career.
"I would go to the class and just be in shock that I was able to earn college credit for it because it was so much fun,” he said. “That was when I really started enjoying acting and decided to go down that path.”
Kearns began auditioning for the plays on campus and landed multiple roles including the part of Uncle Billy in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Remnar in Jeff Daniels’ “Escanaba in da Moonlight.”
Kearns said performing “Escanaba in da Moonlight” at SC4 was one of his most memorable acting experiences.
“It was the first comedy I ever did, and people were in tears watching us on stage,” Kearns said. “It was a really cool experience and it was what made me want to put the pedal to the ground and pursue comedy.”
Kearns earned an associate of arts degree from SC4 in 2008 and then transferred to University of Michigan-Flint where he continued to be involved in theater while he earned his bachelor's in fine arts.
After graduation, a friend offered Kearns a place to live in North Hollywood, California, and he decided to pack up his car and drive out there.
“There were many more opportunities for me to pursue in California, especially in the comedy world, so I jumped at the opportunity,” Kearns said.
In California, Kearns performs improv and stand-up comedy on a regular basis including every Sunday at a place called Comedy Sportz.
“It’s comedy played as a sport where you have a red and blue team and we get suggestions from the audience and we play improv games against each other for points,” he said. “Performing at Comedy Sportz was what really helped me get into stand-up, I met a guy there named Tom Clark who recently did stand-up on the Conan O’Brien show and he teaches classes. I signed up for a couple and I really am liking doing standup a lot.”
Kearns said he also joined the Story Pirates Company which is a children’s theater that Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart have been linked to.
“Kids write stories and send them into us and we go to their schools and act out their story in front of them,” he said. “It is a really cool experience. They write the craziest stories.”
Kearns said he wants to continue to focus his career on comedy because he loves to make people laugh. His ultimate goal is to work on a successful sitcom.
“Seeing everyone smile and have a good time makes me feel good about myself and knowing I’m helping others have a good time makes me want to keep doing comedy.”
His advice to students?
“Do what you love and keep going with it, and enjoy everything you have in your life.”