Overheard in Toronto: “My Acting”

Overheard the following conversation tonight, on the subway. I was on my way home, from, ironically, an acting class.

FACT: The more times you use the word “acting” when you’re talking about your acting, the less likely it is that you’re a good actor. That’s just how it is.

“MY ACTING” a short play
transcribed from reality by Nicole Stamp

Two middle-aged people who are obviously not professional actors.
HIM: A very tall man in a jean jacket. Sort of oafish, scruffy, and loud.
HER: A fading Blanche Dubois-type blonde in overly dramatic clothing. Her hair is oddly askew.

HER: When I’m acting I sometimes feel self-conscious but it gets in the way of my acting so I try to just let it go.

HIM: Yeah, I really think that’s not a good way to feel when you’re acting.

HER: It really isn’t. It gets in the way of my acting. I have to just not think about it so I can act.

HIM: Yeah, I get that. I really need to, like, let loose and just be myself when I act.

HER: Yeah. So that scene you were acting in tonight, how was it?

HIM: I have to say, it was weird. It was weird. To be acting with her, acting like I’m her husband, I’m like, “but she’s married”. That makes it weird to act like I’m her husband.

HER: But you’re acting.

HIM: I know, but I’m acting like I’m her husband, right? If I’m her husband, listen, as a heterosexual male, acting or no acting, I’m gonna be doing SOMETHING, right?

HER: You mean kissing her?

HIM: Not exactly, more like–

HER: Lovemaking? Making love to her?

HIM: I mean like holding her hand or something!

HER: Well that’s OK!  You’re acting!

HIM: No! I mean she has a husband! And I’m acting like–

HER: But you’re acting!

HIM: I know I’m acting! That’s the point, my acting can make me get carried away when I’m acting!

HER: I think that’s ok.  When you’re acting.

HIM: Listen, you know Tim Allen?

HER: Uh-

HIM: From Tool Time?

HER: Well I know there is someone named Tim Allen. He does Santa.

HIM: Yeah, him. Well he acted in Tool Time, and on Tool Time, his wife was hot! I thought she was hot! That brunette who acted the role of his wife–

HER: Whose wife, yours? You’re married?

HIM: No. I mean Tim Allen’s wife on Tool Time.

HER: Oh, Tim Allen, yeah. Santa.

HIM: Well when he was acting on that show–

HER: On what show?

HIM: Tool Time.

And then I had to leave the subway and I almost cried, I was so sad to miss the magic. AMAZING.


UPDATE: “My Acting” has received its first off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-Broadway performance, in my friend Shannon’s living room. Click here to watch Shannon and Shannon acting “My Acting”.


12 Responses to Overheard in Toronto: “My Acting”

  1. Michelle says:

    This is BRILLIANT!!

  2. Kris says:

    When I watch Tool Time I get self-conscious, which gets in the way of Tool Time. But I CAN’T let Tool Time go!

  3. j.bone says:

    Jeez…that’s a real toss-up decision, you know? On the one hand you missed finding out what Tim Allen had to do with acting and the point that was, hopefully, eventually going to be made (other than that man’s desire to hold the hand of Patricia Richardson).

    On the other hand, by missing the rest of the conversation you’ve transcribed a brilliantly funny little slice of life which can never, now, be resolved.

    If I were to guess how you were able to tell that these two people aren’t actually actors I’d say it’s because they didn’t know that Tim Allen’s show is actually called “Home Improvement” and not “Tool Time”. An actor would know that, having studied in depth the acting industry.

  4. Michael says:

    I heard this in a coffee shop 2 days ago. There were two men who were both in their fourties. They were each reading their papers.

    Man 1 – Did I ever tell you the story about me and that homosexual?

    Man 2 – Nope.


    Man 1 – Well … I’m not going to repeat it then.

    (they go back to their papers)

  5. alisonjutzi says:


    No, just kidding. But I share your love of eavesdropping on conversations while taking public transit. I especially like it when I am hearing and not seeing them so I can play the “guess what they look like” game. I always think they’re fatter than they are. What does that mean?

  6. j.bone says:

    Oh my golly! I just remembered one of the best conversations I heard at a coffee shop. I had my back to the couple but frantically wrote down everything as it was being said…it’s in the back of one of my sketchbooks.

    The dude was cheating on his girlfriend with the girl in the coffee shop. He was explaining to her all the reasons why she was the coolest for not pressuring him to break up with his girlfriend (who is great and doesn’t deserve to be broken up with but who doesn’t give him enough sex). How much he likes hanging out with her and hopes they can keep “seeing” each other. I was seriously all of the dialogue from every cheating ass you’ve ever heard on tv or film.

    When he got up to go to the bathroom I really wanted to turn around and ask the girl if she was falling for his shit! Her responses to him indicated that she was, but you never know. Maybe she thought the guy was a tool but liked the no-strings sex!

  7. Leslie says:


  8. UPDATE- Click here to see “MY ACTING”…. ACTED! Two of my friends got all craaazy with a webcam and shot this baby last night. Um, AMAZING.

  9. […] in Toronto (but not by me) After reading “My Acting”, a funny conversation I recently overheard on the subway and posted here, my buddy Mark Cassidy d rew my attention to his site, where hehas […]

  10. Angela says:

    haha I know this is an old post but I just randomly discovered it and that’s brilliant!

    I play a game on the bus where if rings someone or answers their phone I’ll count how long it takes for them to say “I’m on t’bus” (I live in Yorkshire, UK) and I rarely get passed 5 seconds :D

  11. Angela says:

    haha I know this is an old post but I just randomly discovered it and that’s brilliant!

    I play a game on the bus where if a person rings someone or answers their phone I’ll count how long it takes for them to say “I’m on t’bus” (I live in Yorkshire, UK) and I rarely get passed 5 seconds :D

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