The life of Irish actor and comedian Frank Cronin would make an exciting novel. Not only does the Dublin native have a taste for adventurous activities, but he has also spent a few years in the Irish Defense Forces as a lieutenant, lived in a tent for almost a year while studying at the National University of Ireland and set up a bar and a restaurant while living in Mexico. For the past two years Frank has been living in Los Angeles, after having been awarded a full scholarship at the prestigious Stella Adler Academy of Acting. On top of having become a household name in his native Ireland, he has rapidly become one in the United States as well.
It’s not a mystery where Frank got his thirst for adventure. “My parents are quite adventurous,” he explains on Skype, from the set of his new movie Frenchman’s Flat. “My dad used to go hiking with friends in Patagonia and Argentina in his late fifties. Also, I have had a very secure and warm childhood, so maybe that’s why I feel safe to take chances and explore the world. The funny thing is, when I do certain things, I’m aware of the fact some people might call those activities ‘wild’… like living in a tent for a year or doing specific outdoor activities. But to me, it doesn’t feel like I’m leaving my comfort zone. I like investing my time and money in experiences and I feel safe doing what I do, so it doesn’t feel crazy to me. I just hope to inspire people and help them to think differently about certain topics, make them see you can live your life in more ways than following the standard life script.”
Learning through failure
Frank enjoys unconventional jobs. Doing stand-up comedy, for instance, would be a complete nightmare for many people, but Frank has done over 500 performances so far and the days of shaky knees and anxiety are behind him. But this job isn’t for the weak of heart. “You learn through failure,” he admits. “People will see you fail. That’s a fact. However, to become a talented stand-up comedian like Dylan Moran, Bill Burr or Dana Carvey takes half a lifetime of practice and perseverance… to be able to sell a joke, while not trying to be funny. It’s a very nuanced business. For me, my experience in stand-up comedy compliments my acting and vice versa. I feel that studying acting helps me be a better comedian. My performances nowadays are more sincere, more real and I feel a lot more comfortable on stage.”
Putting energy in the right direction
“Compared to acting, doing stand-up comedy is more brutal. As far as I have encountered, I think being a comedian on stage is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Even compared to 15 months of horrible army training, doing stand-up is still harder!” he laughs. “But acting is really hard work as well. I underestimated how difficult it would be to become a good actor. There is also fierce competition in Hollywood, because so many talented people are chasing after the same role as you. In stand-up comedy there is a certain rivalry as well, but for some reason I genuinely don’t feel the pressure. The competition is mainly within yourself. I believe that if I put my energy in the right direction and if I have enough time, it’s going to take me where I want to go. If anything, life has taught me that. There is certainly a lot of insecurity in the entertainment industry, but I think that competition only happens if you’re not convinced of your own talents and skills.”
Inspiring people and having no regrets
“My ultimate goal in life would be to rejuvenate and inspire people through my acting and comedy. I want to encourage people to live a better life, by getting them in contact with their emotions or thinking about something in a different way. It’s a cliché, but the clock is slowly counting down your life, and on my deathbed I don’t want to have any regrets. I’m always following my heart and intuition without wasting much time. Right now I’m living in Los Angeles, the glamorous centre of the entertainment industry, but I don’t care about the materialistic side of this world. I wouldn’t even mind living in a tent again! I just want to do what I love: acting and comedy, while at the same time not losing track of the truly important things in life, such as family and friends. That’s what really matters!”