“My favorite television and film actors all came out of the theater,” explained Baron Vaughn, an L.A.-based stand-up comic, classically trained actor, and amateur philosopher probably best known for his portrayal of Bud on the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie alongside living legends Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, and Lily Tomlin. “If you’re really good at acting, it doesn’t look like you’re acting. I wanted to have all those tools so I could make it look like I’m not doing anything.”
Ahead of his final stand-up workshop at Amphibian Stage Productions last Saturday, I had a chance to chat with the hilarious and meticulous entertainer about everything from his writing process to the philosophy of what “it” really is that he’s trying to not look like he’s doing: extracting the perceptions of one individual — the artist — and implanting those perspectives into the minds of others — the audience.
Sometimes that maneuver requires a pivot in form. Baron told me about an old joke idea he’s been kicking around that he only recently realized is much more of an essay. He didn’t go into the subject matter but explained that the response to this joke was usually more of a pondering “hmm” than an out-loud laugh. Occasionally, an intriguing idea will surface as a stand-up bit and then turn out to be something else entirely, and though comedy is Vaughn’s bedrock, his true nature is broader.