Actor Elijah Wood fielded offers to perform professional improv gigs in Los Angeles after shooting a scene for new short film Set Up, Punch at a comedy club.
The Lord of the Rings star recently signed on to front the project as a favour to his pal David Schlussel, who penned the script, and Wood confesses he wished he considered the premise before taking a risk and agreeing to portray a stand-up comedian.
He says, "David used to do stand-up, he actually did this thing... where he proposed to his girlfriend on stage during a stand-up bit and his girlfriend refused him, and it was a sad awkward moment, he was heartbroken, and then he ultimately brought the audience back from that experience and made them laugh again... I loved the story and he asked me if I would play the part.
"So, in preparation for this thing it became very clear that I was going to have to do stand-up for the first time... And finally... we had a date to shoot the short and I had to do it... And for five hours we worked on new material, instead of doing the short bit (David perfected) because... I just felt like it wouldn't be me trying to remember lines of dialogue or jokes that he had written, I just wanted it to be in my own voice...
"So we wrote a five-minute set, drove to the improv place... I'm literally standing there watching the guy that I'm about to follow, finish, realising there is no turning back. He was great and I realised that I could either bomb, or it would go great - it was genuinely the scariest thing I've ever done in my life."
The actor won rave reviews for his performance and Wood reveals industry leaders were so impressed, they tried to recruit him.
He adds, "I actually got offers that night to do other (gigs). There were like some stand-up people that have other shows in L.A., (and) they were like, 'If you ever want to do our night...'. And there were stand-ups that were like, 'How long have you been working on the material?' And I was like, 'We wrote it that day,' and they were like, 'Screw you man.'"