SEARCH timelliscomedy

See Tim perform stand-up! WATCH ON YOUTUBE

Get Tim's album on iTunes! 



Earlier this week, I played a small but significant role in a major motion picture. I thought I would write about it, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the working life of a film actor. While on set, I was asked to sign an agreement not give out any confidential information about the project “orally, in writing, or by any other media.” It read, “Confidential Information shall include all scripts, characters, cast, settings, locations, special effects, costuming, make-up, lighting, sound, data” and a bunch of other stuff I wouldn’t even think of talking about. With that in mind, here’s what I can tell you:

I was in a movie. It was a comedy, or maybe a tragedy. The movie was shot in a highly populous city on the Northeastern seaboard. It had a big star in it, someone you’ve heard of and may even like a lot. I was in a scene with the star, and my job was to react to a particular thing that the star was doing. You will definitely hear about this movie, and may even want to go see it. It may or may not be good.

I think I can tell you that I had my own dressing room in a trailer, parked on a street in this Northeastern city. The room was small and narrow, but air-conditioned, which was important, since the city was experiencing a heat wave. It had a bunk with a plastic mattress, a fire extinguisher, and a sink with a sign on it that said “Potable Water. Not for Drinking.” (Doesn’t “potable” mean safe to drink?) I sat in the trailer for many hours. Once in a while, someone would knock on the door and ask me to try on clothes (which I’m not allowed to describe) or fill out paperwork, such as the non-disclosure form. A writer stopped by to brief me on the scene. He told me, “Keep it very small.” I said, “Sure, you mean just be real.” He said, “That’s right.”

Oh, but another thing I think I can say about acting in a movie is that my room had a wall-mounted stereo with an awesome cassette deck, which I would’ve used if it’d been 1985 and I’d had a tape on me. Instead I just listened to classic rock radio. I also had my own bathroom, which I didn’t realize until halfway through the shoot. Before that, I’d used the public bathrooms, which were housed in a different part of the same trailer and marked Desi (for men) and Lucy (for women). These trailers are called “honey wagons.” According to Wikipedia, “‘honey wagon’ is a facetious traditional general term for ‘a wagon or truck for collecting and carrying excrement or manure.’” I hope I’m not disclosing too much, but I know people are interested in showbiz and how it works.

Outside my door, there was a piece of tape with the name of the role I was playing written on it with a Sharpie. OK, I’ll just tell you, it said “Offended Customer.” (I think I can say that without breaking my agreement, since it isn’t really a character name but more a generic description.) It was a part I thought I would be good at, since I am often a customer, am often offended, and frequently both at once.

Like I said, I’d been cast in this role to do a hilarious reaction -- ok, a small hilarious reaction -- to something that the star of the movie would be doing in a particular scene. (I would explain, but I’d get sued.) You might say that a whole joke or set piece in the film depended on my small but hilarious reaction to this thing, and for that reason I was not only worth paying the SAG day rate, but I was money in the bank.

At some point, we rehearsed the scene. The director told me to keep it very small. I said, “You mean just be real.” He said, “Yes.” During rehearsal, I got nervous, because the star was a very big star, and he or she was telling me what to do. But I basically ignored what the star was saying, because I knew that’s what the star would do if he or she were in my shoes, and because that’s just the way I roll. I went back to my trailer while they did some film production stuff.

Later, we shot the scene. It went well. Beforehand, the star came up and chitchatted with me. He or she said to me, “Just keep it very small.” I said, “Yeah, yeah, just be real.” The star said, “Yes! Very real.” We did several takes and the star and director didn’t say anything to me, so I figured I was doing all right. I heard the director say, “I think we got it.” Then I went back to the honey wagon and sat there for a long time in case they needed me again, which they didn’t. I ate some spaghetti from the craft services table, and my work was done.

That’s all I can say, except that the rest of the movie is being made right now, and the film will most likely be released in the future. It will be projected onto a large screen in a darkened room, perhaps at a theater near you. I may or may not be in it.


Why People Don’t Like Modern Art

(Photos from Abstract Expressionist New York at MoMA.)


VIDEO: What Are You Doing on the 4th?

The Human Comedy of Tim Ellis will be on vacation for a week, but I'll see you at the picnic! Have a great 4th, Tim


THE EXISTENTIAL LENS: Products for Women

Before going on our vacation, my wife bought a new backpack.

You can tell it's a woman's backpack, because of this tag...

Here are some other products for women I've come across lately:

Click to read more ...


SONG: If I Were a Flower

If I Were a Flower (Demo) by timelliscomedy

Tim Ellis (vocals) & Matt Park (vocals, guitar). Written by Tim Ellis.


Click to read more ...


Political Sexhibitionism: A Brief History

The nation is shocked to learn that Rep. Anthony Weiner uploaded and sent explicit photos of himself to women on Twitter. However, those in political power have always felt the need to expose their private parts to the public — and have used the latest technology and media to do so. Here are just a few examples:

James Buchanan sat for Daguerreotypes of his business in the White House. Since the process created a single image with no negative, ladies who received one felt like they were the one true love of the bachelor president. 

Benjamin Franklin used his considerable skills as a printer to produce the x-rated Proud Dick’s Almanack. He would often work late, engraving his likeness onto copper plates, to produce the popular broadside.

Napoleon is said to have spent the Battle of Waterloo in his tent scrawling heroic verse about his “general” for his mistresses. (An ostrich quill was his favorite writing instrument.) Psychologists attribute this behavior to a Napoleon complex.
Catherine the Great commissioned a Rococo landscape of her "hills and dales" to be displayed in the Hermitage.
Lorenzo de’ Medici had monks copy an illustration of his “magnificence,” day in and day out, for the better part of their lives. (The original may have been by Leonardo Da Vinci, a quickie for his patron.) The monks didn’t really mind, since they were sick of copying the Bible.
Charlemagne captured his “empire” with a camera obscura. This was mainly for his own enjoyment.

In the Paleolithic era, a tribal leader was ousted for painting his “thunder spear” on a cave wall at Lascaux. Since loin-cloths were not yet in use, they knew he was exaggerating.

In the future, our leaders will surely continue to create and distribute depictions of their genitals. What forms these will take, we can only imagine. Apps to view candidates’ crotch-cams can’t be far away. Eventually, when virtual sex becomes the norm, showing off one’s junk may become unnecessary or boring to politicians, as to everyone.