Performer John Michael Higgins harbors a secret acting technique: He perfects his skill by ignoring it.
Anyone who has seen him improvise in films (“A Mighty Wind” or “Best in Show”) or watched his comic portrayals (“Wilfred” or “Pitch Perfect”) would never guess that Higgins cultivates his “art” by letting it go as soon as he leaves the set.
“I’m not an actor who gets lost in my job or anything like that,” he said. “I leave work behind, go home, have a great family life and almost never consume entertainment products — just never do it,” he said.
“I don’t watch film, don’t watch television. I try not to.”
That seems unusual for someone who has been acting since he was 9 — at his own suggestion.
“My parents were flabbergasted,” Higgins recalled. “I was flabbergasted.
“It came out of nowhere. There’s no actors in my family. I woke up, and I knew exactly what I was doing. They put me into plays and classes and quickly I became a professional actor who was doing juvenile roles onstage for many years.”
Higgins is back on the small screen in the comedy “Great News,” premiering Tuesday night on NBC.
He plays the egotistical news anchor who intimidates everyone on the staff except the middle-aged intern who’s there to champion her daughter, a fledgling TV producer.
Higgins, 54, said that acting comes naturally.
“I don’t even separate it from myself,” he said. “It’s sort of what I am, not what I do.
“As I have aged, the good news for me is I went out of an obsessional phase with acting and film and theater and all that stuff — because I’d done it for so long — and I started looking around and saying there are other subjects that interest me.”