When Ryan Belleville was learning his craft at Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre, he would play a game called “What Comes Next?”
It was simple enough, an elemental exercise that pioneering Loose Moose founder Keith Johnstone adopted to move storylines along when working with eager improv beginners. Basically, the idea was to ensure forward momentum. You start with a premise and then quickly figure out “what comes next.”
“It’s the ultimate storytelling thing and life thing,” says Belleville, in an interview from his home in Los Angeles. “Well, what comes next? What’s the next stop on your destination? Get there as quickly as possible so we can figure out what comes next. I think a lot of people, for example in show business, will say ‘One day I want to get down to Hollywood.’ Well, why not just move to Hollywood and see what comes next? You may flame out, you may change your career. Who knows. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is you just face the future with open arms and a positive spirit.”
Belleville and his family moved to Los Angeles permanently last year. He has been before. In fact, he spent much of the 2000s going back and forth. A successful standup comedian and television actor in his home country, he would go to Tinseltown on a regular basis during pilot season. One of his main gigs remains his role on CBC’s Toronto-shot sitcom Workin’ Moms, in which he will enter his third season as the eccentric, soft and sensitive urban husband Lionel Carlson. But last May, Belleville and his wife made the decision to relocate with their two children, aged eight and two. The move was a way to reboot his creativity and passion for comedy after suffering a devastating loss five years ago.