Welcome to our first ever Artist Spotlight where we spotlight some of our favorite artists and this week, we are talking with Actor & Comedian Michael Berry. Recently, he has developed a new TikTok and Instagram content series named “QuaranTeaTime” where he portrays Moira Rose, a fictional character in the hit TV series originally aired on CBC and played by the extremely talented Catherine O’Hara. His series can be found on TikTok and Instagram
Michael first began acting at the age of six when he got his first laugh while playing a Prince in The King and I. Since then he has come a long way, receiving a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University and an MA in Classical Acting from the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Hi Michael, thanks for chatting with us today. Let’s dive right in, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been acting since I was 6, mostly doing comedy. Making people laugh brings me SO much joy. Recently, I’ve gotten more into improv and writing…so I think the current career goal is to create and act in my own series. Which I’m kind of doing for the first time in my career…just on a VERY small budget.
What made you decide to use TikTok?
I still have no idea how TikTok works. This has been a happy accident [so far] I was told early on that I was doing TikTok wrong because I didn’t [participate in] the voice-overs or challenges. I honestly thought just my friends would watch.
I had NO idea that people from all over the world would tune in…especially since I’m very much not in full drag and my costumes are so slapdash. I do put thought into the looks, but just using what clothes I have…and some things my Mom and Sister let me borrow. and I don’t wear makeup or even shave!
What about your past has led you to take up this role?
I got my MA at LAMDA, where we had really intense clown training (It’s serious business!) Clown class was really hard, my teachers trained at Lacoq in Paris, and drilled the respect and reverence of the red nose. “When you put that nose on, you transform,” and that’s how I feel about the wigs. The wig is my “red nose”
What is your favorite aspect of comedy?
Stand up still scares me. I love improv, though, It’s more of a team sport. I used to memorize Robin Williams’ sketches and perform them for my family at dinner. Robin and Eddie Izzard were my childhood comedy heroes.
So, what’s next for you and the brilliant Moira?
Well, the next step for QuaranTeaTime is to start to bring in new characters, starting with Mrs. Doubtfire and going from there.
Wait…was that you under all of that shaving cream?
Yup, that was me =D
What is it about Moira that draws you in?
She’s just so unapologetically herself. She has that accent and crazy outfits and absolutely owns it! But beneath the wigs and clothes is an enormous heart…and she’s SO smart! The language is really fun to play with, I’ve learned so many new words doing these videos. My Dad said his favorite was “somnambular ultracrepidarian.”
For our readers, we had no clue what that meant, so we looked it up!
somnambular ultracrepidarian means sleepy one who is presumptuous and offers advice or opinions beyond one’s sphere of knowledge. The meaning of this word comes from a story in antiquity, in which the famed Greek painter Apelles one day heard a cobbler criticizing the way he had rendered a foot in a painting.
Do you feel her intellect or confidence or bravado to some regard fill some void in your day to day self?
Oh for sure!!! I was terrified when I posted my first videos. I’ve never put myself out there like this, I don’t think I ever had the confidence — but, something about this character inspired me to give it a try. There’s something liberating about how over the top she is It has honestly given me confidence and sense of self I’ve never had before.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, How has that community inspired/supported this new content series?
Although it’s only [been] in the last year that I’ve developed a lovely group of supportive, gay friends. (Which has been huge… and where I got my wigs!) I’ve always tried to sneak in a positive, thought-provoking message in each video. I like to make people laugh, but hopefully think too.
Thanks for sharing, we do appreciate you chatting with us today. Do you think this newfound confidence with the wig will continue to be part of your future shows?
I hope so! It’s already started to filter into my normal life without the wig. Creating something all on my own, without help from a writer or director, has been incredible. I’m walking a little taller these days.
Please join us in following along Michael’s journey on his social media platforms listed below:
Artist Spotlight – Michael J. Berry