Clara Mamet has an old soul. Something about her reminds me of Mel Brooks and Myron Cohen, except Mamet is 19-years-old and has probably never heard of the Ed Sullivan Show, where I was first introduced to their styles of humor. Nonetheless, Mamet's the creative force (writer, director and star) behind Two Bit Waltz, a feature film that launched at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17th 2014.
Mamet utilizes both sight gags and cerebral humor like a seasoned sketch comedy writer, employing clever set pieces to cover subjects like death, money and chain smoking. Throughout the film, Mamet uses toast to exploit a running gag, her wry sense of humor and the deadpan delivery of her actors play the material deftly enough to sustain the joke. She also has a gag in her psychiatrist's office that's really hilarious, and when I asked her about it she said, "What do you want to do when you're at a shrink's office? A lot of people don't want to be there, so I figured, why not just move the furniture around. It's much funnier than cutting back and forth from the patient to the shrink."
I mentioned a Mel Brooks influence to Mamet, who responded that "Preston Sturges is one of my favorites. I learned about dialogue and timing from him -- louder faster funnier. But I do love Mel Brooks," she added.
Sidney Lumet is another influence, having taught Mamet: "The importance of less is more" and she considers him her favorite film maker. Mamet wants to keep making movies and she has five scripts in the pipeline although "all of them are half finished, hopefully one will pop up."
Mamet's background may be considered privileged -- her parents are David Mamet and Rebecca Pidgeon -- but I found her to be a shy and respectful, yet driven young woman, which is a rarity in her age group, which seems to be populated primarily by insouciant hipsters.
Mamet's certainly ambitious and hardworking, and when I asked her for a dream project, she mentioned a Bond film without missing a beat. Clara Mamet has a true gift for humor, and I hope she considers an off-beat comedy show before turning 21.