“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.