While Charlie Chaplin is adored as a Hollywood screen legend, few people know that he composed the soundtracks for most of his films. Although he could not read music, in his youth Chaplin taught himself how to play piano, violin, and cello by ear. Once he became a millionaire, Chaplin had a pipe organ installed in his home in Beverly Hills.
One of the joys of watching a great comic at work is his mastery of the material he has crafted for himself. Whether one is a performance artist or a stand-up comic, whether one is working with movement or text, a great performer's confidence in his craft allows him to take risks required by unexpected events and improvise when an opportunity suddenly presents itself.