We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Kleckner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Because I believe, at our core, it is what we are meant to be doing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I guess I would call myself an actor with an emphasis on sketch comedy – writing, acting, producing my own content–my favorite being live sketch. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a real-time reaction to something you’ve created. Whether the audience loves it or hates it, you’ll know right then, and *poof* its over. That’s something you can’t get from a lot of other mediums. I’m in the Groundlings Sunday Company so I get the chance to feel that every single week. Its an invaluable learning experience that’s allowed me the chance to grow and develop as a performer and person. Essentially putting a new show together every week with the rest of the company has taught me never to be precious, to always be ready to pivot and improvise when things change, and to look at every moment as a learning experience. It’s also taught me the important lesson of how to bomb in front of people. Initially, its the WORST, but over time I learned to never take it personally. “Welp. That didn’t work. Moving on.” In this industry its important to remind yourself that even if a read or sketch fails or doesn’t get the response you’d hoped, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
Another thing I always have to remind myself is to follow my own instincts and be my authentic self. Never try to fit in, always try to stand out. (Certainly easier said than done, but “progress, not perfection”) Looking back, its all the times I stayed true to myself, and did what I find funny, that have directly contributed to where I’m at in my career today. And that was a long road. Years. I don’t think I’m blowing any minds by saying: be patient. With regards to my “brand”, I’d say there’s definitely things I’m drawn to taste-wise, but I think a big trap is pigeonhole-ing yourself into doing only one thing because its your “brand”. That doesn’t leave much room for growth. The day I feel complacent, that I have nothing else to learn, nothing else to try, is the day I’ll probably move on to a different venture.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always like to take my friends to Santa Monica and Venice for the beach and restaurants. Elephante is great for food and ocean views. Definitely need to hit up a few shows at the Groundings Theater on Melrose. And take a TMZ Tour for some guilty pleasure. El Coyote Mexican Restaurant is a great LA staple. And I honestly just like walking through the Hollywood hills to see the old mid-century houses.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Aside from my family and friends back home in Indiana, I don’t think I would have lasted in LA, in this career, as long as I have without the guidance and community I found at the Groundlings Theater.
Paul Smith Photography; Carlos Parada