“It took me ten years till I felt like, ‘Ohhh, this is how I play.’ Not mimicking someone else or thinking so hard or trying to be funny, or seeking to serve the group and lobbing everyone else underhanded pitches and never being the one to fucking swing for the fences…
Just give it time.
You honestly have all the time in the world. And you may be saying, ‘But, but, but…!’ And I’m here to tell you:
You have all. The time. In the world.
I did bar-prov, and improv everywhere I could, anytime I could in Chicago for a decade. Early on I auditioned for the Second City Touring Company and got a callback, and I was like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ And then I didn’t get it. So the next year when the TourCo auditions came up I went back and auditioned and I didn’t get called back, and I was like, ‘So I’m getting worse?’
The next year I went and auditioned for the Touring Company again and didn’t get a callback so I thought, ‘OK, I guess it’s just not for me; I’m not what they’re looking for, for whatever reason, nothing personal.’
My dream had been to play at Second City, but then I thought, ‘I think I have a new dream. My new dream is to do what I love with people I love.’ And so I did that for eight more years in Chicago, playing with people I admired, and doing work that I felt proud of.
And then a friend of mine said, ‘You need to go audition for Second City again.’ And I was like, ‘It’s too late. I’m too old.’ I was 33 and I thought, ‘They want people on stage who are in their 20s, blah blah blah…’ But eight years after I first auditioned I went and tried again and was hired. I became an understudy for the Touring Company, hooray! But then I sat on the bench for two more years.
People who got hired to understudy after me were being put onto the casts of Touring Companies and I was still sitting on that damn bench. And again I thought, ‘Man, maybe I’m just not what they want.’
And then when I started to lose hope I got pulled from the bench and put on a touring company. I got in because a spot opened up and they literally had no one else, so there I was touring on GreenCo. I toured for four months and immediately got put onto the Main Stage where I wrote three revues and played for three years.
I’m a really late bloomer. Some people move really fast, but some people don’t, and so take it from me: You have all. The time. In the world.”
Holly Laurent is a member of the longstanding improv group The Reckoning, and is a consulting writer for The Onion News Network. As a cast member of the Second City main stage in Chicago she wrote and performed in their past three revues Southside of Heaven, Who Do We Think We Are, and Let Them Eat Chaos. She trained at iO Chicago, the Annoyance Theater, 500 Clown, and toured with the Second City touring company. Holly holds a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College and teaches improv everywhere.
I was told point-blank that I had aged out for SC. Maybe, but I haven’t aged out for playing.
Mick Napier said the average age for SC Main Stagers used to be early 20s, now it’s early to mid 30s. I think the comedy world is changing rapidly, and will continue to evolve. In the meantime, it sounds like the feedback you were given has fueled your drive to create your own stuff.
I listened to Moniquea Marion’s podcast with Frank McAnulty and he was also commenting on the maturation. I returned to the improv community with a plan, so the feedback did not change things for me. I have had a great time learning and playing and hope to continue to do so for years to come. I have time.
I take your point, but some of us do not have all. the time. in the world. Some of us really didn’t even have time to put the extra periods in that sentence for effect. I am so happy for you that you persisted and became a really late bloomer, but what about the geriatric bloomers? What if we are blooming now like those flies who are so happy to have made it through the winter, get to look around and say Wow! I could do this! and then get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner in mid happy dance?What use passion then?If you have an answer, please tell me, my mind is open to hear it.Leilani (under the wing of Cameron)
Date: Wed, 28 May 2014 15:02:55 +0000 To: email@example.com
thanks for reading! Sally here. While I can’t speak for Holly, I will try to answer as best I can.
At 48, I sometimes think of where I am now, choices I’ve made, and wonder how life might’ve been different had I taken another road. (“If only I’d taken Second City classes 20 years ago” used to be a big one!)
But then I think, what does it matter, if I’m happy right now, as I type this?
A moment of joy is never wasted, because whether you are 5 or 95, NOW is all that exists. Ever.
As for not having time, if you don’t have time to put periods at the end of your sentences, I would invite you to look at why that is.
What things are taking priority in your life over having time to pause, to look out the window, to simply breathe?
Working in advertising for 25 years, I know what it’s like to work 100 hours a week, collapse into bed, get up, repeat. But ultimately, I made the decision to give up my time, my life’s energy, to do that. And guess what? I don’t do it anymore.
There are dozens of actors, authors, painters, and business people who didn’t find their path or their voice until their fifth, sixth or seventh decade. And many of the best improvisers I know say that older improvisers are often funnier or more nuanced because they have more life experience to draw on.
“Some people are old at 18 and some people are young at 90. Time is a concept that humans created.” – Yoko Ono (still going strong at 81)
Hope this helps!