My good pals Sarah, Ashley and myself getting ready in the luxurious Second City bathroom last night before the show. Total divas.
Every once in a while I like to time travel with my blog. And by that I mean I click on an old post to see what I was up to around this same time a few years ago. It’s a good way to keep myself in check. Or better yet to see how much weirder my life is getting with each year that passes.
So I clicked back to August 28th, 2012 and it was the night of my first improv class at Second City. About a month previous I had signed up on a whim (a kind of intoxicated whim to be exact) and was totally dreading my first class (because I was a coward) and even tried to call the training center to get a refund. But they wouldn’t let me out of it. So I was going to have to buck up and try something gasp! new. And I used to hate trying new things and meeting new people. I loathed it with every bone in my body (because I’m an introvert, remember.)
So with a pissy attitude and a bad outlook (on basically everything at that time) I went to my first class on that rainy Tuesday night. And things were forever changed.
I know that may sound like I’m romanticizing it, and perhaps I am a little, but it’s also pretty true. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that first improv class at Second City was a game changer for me. It would lead me to iO, which would lead me to stand-up, which would lead me to… well I’m not sure where yet. But I think (and hope) somewhere good.
Like any comedy obsessed kid I grew up dreaming about someday taking classes at The Second City. When I visited Chicago I would watch the Mainstage shows and think I want to learn how to do that! But I never really thought I would or I could. It just seemed like it was too far out there. I actually remember telling my mom once, “What’s the point of taking a class there? I heard you have to be there for like five or six years before you ever have a chance of doing anything good.” I lived in Chicago for an entire year before I finally got a little tipsy one night after drinking alone for a few hours and signed up for a class.
And now I know the point. We’re there for that long because we love it. And we can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s no longer just about making the Mainstage (which yes, would be amazing) but it’s more about the talented comedians you meet along the way and the great stuff you create together.
I’ll never forget what our teacher told us at that first class back in 2012, he said “I just want to warn you guys that some of you might change your entire life because of tonight. You don’t know it now, but in a few years I’ll find you and will have quit your cushy day job and you’ll be doing anything you can to live day to day just so you can perform comedy at night. It has that effect on people.”
I laughed because I didn’t believe him. And yet two years later here I am. It blows my mind I’ve only been doing this comedy thing for barely a couple of years. It feels like I’ve been living this weird boho lifestyle for much longer. Late nights at comedy clubs and long days trying to work while always always thinking of that next joke or sketch. It’s exhausting.
So I have no idea if I’ll have a third or a fourth or even a fifth “comedy anniversary.” This path is just too uncertain to ever know. But I think for right now I’m just going to enjoy it, it’s too fun of a ride not to.
After all, I’ve always known this is what I wanted to do. It’s just taken me a little longer than others to finally admit it. As a kid I always wanted to be on stage and make people laugh, but then you get to a certain age where it no longer feels okay to admit you want to do the same stuff you wanted to do as a kid. It feels narcissistic or arrogant or just too “unrealistic.”
But then you also get to a certain age where you just say screw it. I’m gonna give it a try anyway.