Well blog, I’m sorry. It’s been a while. I know you’ve been sitting here, waiting for me to feed you, but I’ve been busy. I know that’s not a good excuse, but I’m here now aren’t I? So let’s get to it.
Huge news. I’ve recently been OFFICIALLY hired by The Second City to lead improv workshops in French and English as part of their Educational Company. Last Friday, I lead my first workshop at a high school in Brampton and I was absolutely thrilled to go back to feeling the way I did when I was a tour guide, or a cadet instructor, but for something I like even more than First World War history and paramilitary youth engagement; improv! Good old fashioned make-em-ups! Hopefully one day I’ll have the same impact on a kid’s life as Daniel Ayotte did on mine when I was a young Rosario Tanguayan in Welland; making things up on the spot and feeling tremendously free; even for an 11 or 12 year-old, who was already pretty void of responsibility. Sure, I may have lost it for a while there after high school, pretending to be a very serious political scientist, but it’s such a joy to have it back and to now get to share it with others.
Also great, my boss at el-dayjob and I worked out an arrangement so that I can continue to work at both companies without conflict… of course I had to clear it with my team, the union and Human Resources, but that’s the joy of kindof working for the government.
In addition to that, I have a new comedy troupe in the works. We’ve performed one improv spot to date, and we’ve got a few sketch shows in the works. Right now though, we’re all very concerned about our Second City general audition. After such a great year working on Conservatory material, it’s wonderful to start thinking about the next steps the Toronto comedy scene has to offer, and though that sometimes feels very scary and uncertain, it also lights a fire under one’s ass to get producing funny ass shit for the world (and mostly your friends, peers and family) to see.
On the home front, my Peanut has fallen ill with a bit of a weak liver. She was hospitalized for two days last week and let out right before my birthday, which was a phenomenal gift! Though I have to feed her myself these days because she’s not got much interest in eating, she is doing a bit better. She used to hide under the bed all day, but now she surfaces up onto the bed and appreciates a good cuddle. Hopefully she will become stronger (and hungrier) as the days progress.
As a result of the Nut issues, I had to cancel a gig this past week, and I feel absolutely horrible about it; they were very understanding, but there’s something about not-showing up for a gig, especially when the people who run it are awesome in every way, and it involves Star Trek cosplay, that really bites total butt. Tina Fey talks about saying yes to everything, but at that moment, I had to say yes to making sure this tiny creature under my care survived the night off her IV, even if that meant omitting the strenuous process of putting a sock in my hair to simulate Captain Janeway’s awful hairdo from Seasons 1 – 3 ST Voyager.
Writing all this helps with stress. I’ve been feeling it pop up a bit more frequently lately, maybe because so much seems to be happening all at once. But it’s not as bad as this dude on the streetcar after the Blue Jays game who kept making really loud exhales whilst punching the side of the streetcar wall. I suppose we all have our own techniques of dealing with stress, but I awful concerned this dude was going to have a total Hulkesque breakdown and just smash the back of the streetcar and go running down Bathurst Street jumping on cars and crushing them in his wake.
Maybe he just needed a nap.
Speaking of which, the hour has arisen, I must bathe and retire for the evening. Thanks for reading! 🙂
If I don’t get a job and start paying off my loans, I’m going to have to move back to Welland. I can’t do that. I love Toronto and I want to do comedy. I can’t fulfill my dreams in Welland.
With that in mind, I started applying for jobs to keep me alive financially while I wait for my proverbial “big break.” So yesterday, I had an interview with a post-production company, to be an office administrator, where the interviewers gave me some straight-shooting advice that, though financially a bit worrying, was the most honest commentary I ever received in an interview setting, EVER. They basically told me that Arts, Entertainment, Media; they’re “pay-your-dues” industries. And if you’re going to start at the bottom (ie. Office Administration,) you might as well do it somewhere you’d eventually like to end up. (ie. Not at a post-production company, as I do not want to be an editor – ) but rather, a production company for TV, film or otherwise, a Literary Agency, etc. And because turnover is high among the lower echelons, odds are there’s something available. All I have to do is find it.
Also, the interviewers said “fuck” a bunch of times. In no government interview I’ve ever had, has someone ever said “fuck.” It was fucking fantastic.
It’s been another one of those crazy-busy weeks where I haven’t had time to post too often, but last night – Friday – I was at Comedy Bar, where I’d been invited to read a monologue as “Thinking Woman” The Panel Show, a monthly show put on by (a bunch) of the guys from the awesome sketch troupe Shoeless. (Seriously – any chance to see one of this troupe’s shows – leap!) – followed by a delicious tasty gelato with my best pal from the olden days Dina & her sister Jess.
Another big deal of the week was that I was hired to start working at The Second City as a host – which is a totally huge deal. I know in the past I’ve been like – meehhh, I don’t know if I want a job in the evenings because it’ll interrupt with my abilities to go out and do comedy. Yeah, ok BUT… working in a comedy club – not just any comedy club, the fucking Second City, seems like a pretty smart move, I’d say. So many big comics got their start at the Second City. And, I heard through the grapevine that if you work at SC, you can get discounts on improv classes, which is great, because I was planning on taking the A-E levels after completing my program at Humber. Anyhoo – I start on Monday and am totally and completely stoked.
I also interviewed for and was asked to help out as an intern on a new show soon to be shot for the Oprah Winfrey Network. I don’t know that I’m allowed to talk about what it is or whatever, but they were looking for interns and a pal and I from Humber went on down to the Corus Entertainment building down by the lake on Tuesday morning and got ourselves some good old-fashioned unpaid internships!
In addition to that, we met with and pitched sketches to our director, Gary Pearson, for our end of year Sketch show, taking place at the Comedy Bar mid-April. I’m happy to say two of my sketches were selected to be put into the show – so hooray for that. Consequently, Gary is the first person to make a comment about the high-concentration of sex-themed pieces the people in my class write. No big surprise there. But he’s the only person in this two year program to say: “Uh, enough. Talk about something else!!” There go my next three sketch pitches.
Tuesday was Round One of 2nd years’ Stand-Up Showcase at Yuk Yuk’s and HOLY COW was it a great show! Solid 4-minute sets put on by half the people in my year, in front of alumni, other comics and a few big wigs. It was great to see some people who don’t go out too often – sometimes they really surprise you. You think, jeez! Where have you been all this time? Why haven’t you been doing this more? My hope is that Round Two goes just as well, if not BETTER… because that’s the show I’ll be on, and it’s happening on my Birthday, so if it doesn’t go well, somebody’s going to be drinking away her sorrows instead of celebrating that night.
Also – and nothing really do to with comedy school, Wednesday was “jab Brie in the arm day” at the doctor’s office. Apparently my veins are difficult to find when I’m dehydrated due to mandatory fasting. This was the result. Bask in my pain.
Back to Comedy -> Saturday was the culmination of a project some of my school colleagues have been working on for the past little while. They were to transform their 10-minute plays into radio plays with help from a pro from the CBC. After much learning, editing, re-writing and other stuff, they finally recorded the pieces yesterday at Humber’s sound booth. I still got to play one of the dogs in Ashley’s Dog Wedding: Rated Radio so what better way to spend a Saturday than trapped in a soundproof extremely warm booth? No, but seriously, it was a lot of fun, even though my 10-minute play didn’t get picked to go on the radio. Totally not bitter about that. It’s really not a big deal. Nope. Not even a little bit. It’s cool. I’m cool. Everything’s good.
So as not to end on a (totally not) bitter note, last night I had somewhat of a high school reunion. It’s fun to just hang out with people you’ve known from a simpler time – good ol’ Welland high school/cadet friend days. Except…instead of MT Bellies, now we meet at Okrutny’s upscale downtown condo on Queens Quay and eat baked Brie. Consequently, that is also my DJ name.
Cheers all! Bring on next week!
I suppose a great way to stick to my New Years resolution of writing more/all the time, is to write more in this blog. I know it’s supposed to be behind-the-scenes confessions about my time at Humber (Clown) College, but well, it’s the Holidays still, we don’t go back to school until Monday, so in the meantime, please excuse my non-school-based rambles.
My cat’s in heat.
(Why do I always talk about my cat? I don’t mean to. I don’t think any cat-owner means to talk about their cat(s) as much as they do. They’re just so adorably distracting.)
Last night we cuddled and spent the evening catching up on hours upon hours worth of Glee. Hey! I don’t care what you have to say! That TV show, love it or hate it, is bringing more and more children into the performing arts. I wish Con had a glee club when I attended school there. We had an improv team that couldn’t afford to go to the only improv competition for French schools in Ontario. It was all the way in Timmins. That’s pretty damn far from the Niagara Region.
We couldn’t even put on plays. We tried to once, but interest and enthusiasm among the cast was so low we had to cancel it (AND I’d nabbed the lead! #unfair) Trying to compare my high school education with high schools on TV is impossible. They don’t write shows for 300 or so French Canadian public school children, most of whom’s ambition remains “staying a live to deal pot to the next generation of Wellanders.”
I think small-town Franco-Ontarian culture does have a place within pop-culture. Somebody get me on the phone with TFO!
I should probably have written that last bit of rantiness in French.
Eh bien. Peut-être la prochaine fois.