20-year-old comedian/actor Godfrey Flax sure has accomplished a lot in his young age, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his ultimate goal of superstardom and world domination.
Godfrey, who people have started to compare to funny-man Seth Rogen (both for his looks and humor), has studied around the globe, from New York to Russia to now in Hollywood. And did we mention he once hit Steven Spielberg with a shopping cart?! The Levity Ball sat down with Godfrey to find out all about that and more…
1. You started doing stand-up comedy at the age of 13… is that when you first wanted to go into comedy and acting, or before?
When I was around the age of 13 my father kept telling me that I should begin doing some form of comedy and I really did not want to do it. Eventually I warmed up to the idea and decided that I would try it. I did that for a few years and then when I was 16 I asked a comedy teacher what I should do for college and he said that I should do theatre. I didn’t want to act at all but I was eventually talked into auditioning for the high school play. I have been acting for the last 4 years and have loved every second of it. Before that I wanted to be a doctor, I had this old medical book that my father used to read in college and I took to reading it at night before bed. Needless to say, I do not see myself in the medical field any time soon.
2. Both your parents are in medical professions… what did they think about you changing up the family ways and going into the entertainment industry?
My parents have both been very supportive of my departure into the entertainment industry. It could be said that they were too supportive, my father would often say things along the lines of, “Why do you want to be a doctor, it’s a crap job.” I think my mother was a little hesitant at first but has since warmed up to the idea and has been very supportive. My parents have always supported me in doing what I think is the right thing to do and they both believe in me. I understand how lucky I am to have such supportive parents and I hope that everyone can have someone in their lives that supports them in that way.
3. How was your time studying at the American Comedy Institute here in New York?
I loved studying at the American Comedy Institute. The first time I took a class with them it was also my first time in New York and I fell in love with the city. New York has this amazing atmosphere that instills the basics of inspiration into all of the artists that are there and to be able to feel that, even for just a short while, is a magical experience. At the same time working at ACI pushed me into being a better artist and made me much more comfortable as a performer. I also got to meet some amazing people there including the amazing Stephen Rosenfield who I thank endlessly for getting the idea of acting into my head.
4. After your New York studies, you went overseas to Russia to train at the Moscow Art Theatre… any fun memories from your Russia days?
Russia was hands down, the greatest experience of my life. I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to not only go to Russia but to go to Russia with the most amazing people in the world, each of whom I consider to be some of my greatest friends. Of course walking through the city of Moscow to school everyday in the snow was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. I truly believe that nothing can compare to the beauty of the city of Moscow covered in snow. My phone background is still a picture that I took there of a car covered in snow. I truly treasure the daily walk to school in the Moscow morning snow. Once we got to school we would go to class, and there was this one professor named Vlad who completely changed the way I view theatre. Vlad only spoke Russian so there was always a translator in the room, but there were three english words that Vlad knew, “NO SLEEP AMERICA.” If at any point in the class he felt that we weren’t pushing hard enough he would yell that at us with the conviction of a drill sergeant. I remember those days very fondly and hope to one day return to Moscow.
5. You are now living in Hollywood, CA… What about the city do you love?
I love the cinematic atmosphere of the city. There is something that I love about driving past studios and seeing big posters for shows that I recognize or going to a printing store to pick up some head shots and seeing someone there to do the same thing. I was driving through Burbank the other day and as I was passing Warner Bros. Studios I couldn’t stop smiling at the famous water tower that I had seen so often in cartoons that I watched as a kid. And there is always something going on. The truly magical thing about Hollywood is that, much like New York, it is a city of dreams. There is never a dull moment in this city and I heard that the traffic will get better one day.
6. What about performing comedy do you love so much?
I really enjoy how personal the performance is. You’re up on a stage by yourself and performing stuff that you have written. It’s almost like having this special pedestal where you can share something that you have worked so hard on and allow other people to critique it. This may sound terrifying and that’s because it is, but it’s a truly wonderful experience.
7. In comedy, who are some of your role models / who would you love to work with on a project one day?
I have always looked up to people like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Seth Rogen, and John Mulaney. I think these people are exceedingly talented and they are just a few of the comedians that I would jump at any opportunity to work with. I’ve been told many times that I look a lot like Seth Rogen, maybe a little brother? Just throwing some ideas out there.
8. What is the best advice you have ever received career wise?
The best advice that I have ever received regarding this career would have to be, make your own content. If you’re having trouble getting cast or getting your name out there then you just need to start making your own content. It’s easy now because all you need is a camera and some friends and you can start writing things and put them on youtube. These are things that can be used for reels, get your name out there, or just make sure you’re working on something.
9. We heard that you once hit Steven Spielberg with a shopping cart… you have to tell us all about that story!
When I was around 14 years old my mother moved to Malibu to work for a company called Baxter. I used to take the train from San Diego to Malibu to see her and one day we needed to go to the market. I was pushing the shopping cart and just not paying attention to anything like most young teenage boys. I remember accidentally bumping into a tall man wearing very nice shoes and I didn’t look up at his face but just gave a quick and hushed, “Sorry.” My mother saw the whole thing and waited until we had walked away from the man and then grabbed me and and said, “Do you have any idea who you just hit?” I looked over and standing there was Stephen Spielberg. I’m just glad I didn’t hit him with my car or something, that would’ve been bad.
10. Where do you see yourself and career in five years from now?
I hope to be working professionally full time as an actor. I’ve been thinking about moving to New York which is currently a big possibility as I do truly love the city. I also want to have had at least some of my written projects produced by that point in my life.
11. And final question: What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for being pleasant and hardworking. These are two qualities that have been instilled into me by my family and my peers and I believe that they are two of the most important attributes that anyone can have. I hope to be remembered for bringing myself fully into my work in a respectful and passionate manner.