“HeHee or ‘What? It’s Not Glee?’” was not Liam Brennan’s first stint in writing.
The 18-year-old graduate of Northwood in Silver Spring already is published. He said he has written and co-authored more than two dozen comedy pieces since 2007, the most recent being a one-act comedy premiering at the 7th annual Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C., next month.
Brennan of Kemp Mill joined The Comedy Academy — a nonprofit that strives to give artistic voice to young people through writing and performing original sketch comedy — about six years ago to improve his writing and acting. Four of his sketches have been distributed through Contemporary Drama Services. Brennan said knew he wanted to pursue writing after his first script was read in front of an audience.
“When I heard every single person in the school listening to this, cheering about it, that was when I realized that I really wanted to keep putting my thoughts on the paper and putting them in front of other people to see,” Brennan said.
Tish Hall, Brennan’s mother, said his love for comedy writing began in comedy club in seventh and eighth grade at Col. E. Brook Lee Middle School. Writing comedy, she said, allowed her son to begin overcoming dysgraphia, a writing disability that made the organization of his thoughts and remembering the things he wrote down difficult.
“Liam was a kid who did everything he could to avoid writing because it was such a strenuous process for him. All of a sudden, he started writing comedy and people wanted to perform the skits he wrote,” Hall said. “His desire to write comedy meant that he just started writing things down — starting the process of putting them on the page.”
His co-author of “HeHee,” Comedy Academy President Harry M. Bagdasian, said Brennan is one of the group’s leading writers with a high level of experience for his age.
“He is a very good collaborator. We can bounce ideas off of each other in our writing workshops,” Bagdasian said. “Having that kind of incubator is priceless for him as a writer of 18 and for me as a writer of 63. And who would’ve guessed that the two of us would wind up doing so many collaborative works?”
But Brennan’s talents are not limited to writing. He has been singing since he was a child, and he plays guitar, bass guitar and the bagpipes, something he took up about a three years ago because of his Celtic heritage.
Brennan’s passion, though, lies backstage.
“I’m primarilly an audio person. The most fun is being backstage and interacting with everybody is seeing all of the fun that people never get to see and hearing all of the jokes that are never allowed to be on stage,” said Brennan, who served as the student technical director for Northwood during his senior year. “I’m really priviledged to be a part of this world.”
Despite admitting to a small bout of stage fright, Brennan said he is excited to premiere “HeHee” at the Studio Theatre’s Milton Theatre at Fringe next month. The piece is what the group calls “‘Breakfast Club’ meets ‘Glee’ (delete songs, insert comedy sketches),” where a group of a high school’s worst, misbehaving students are put in a new program piloted by their school to serve in a comedy club in stead of serving a standard detention.
Brennan plans to take some time off from school to work at his craft behind the scenes. However, he said he values the public speaking skills he has gained through performing on stage, something he says everyone should try at least once in their life.
“You don’t have to be you. You can be Hamlet and everyone is looking at Hamlet and they are not looking at, you know, Liam Brennan.”