To those of you out there who are caught up in the drama of auditioning for UCB teams in Los Angeles, my piece of advice is:
There is more than one theater in Los Angeles.
Nobody is going to punish you for working in multiple communities because it’s all one big community. Your success in this industry will not come from the stage you perform on. It will come from your talent and merit and timing and heart. One way to maximize these things is to join and enjoy as many of the incredible theaters in LA as possible.
Here’s a partial list of the theaters that I have dedicated my time and energy to in LA: Improv Olympic at the Complex. The Hudson Mainstage. Ultimate Improv at the Westwood Brewing Company. Comedy Central Stages. The Space. The Comedy Dojo. Acme Spin-Off. IO on Hollywood Blvd. The Groundlings Sunday Company. The Elephant. The Loft. Room 101. Crashbar. El Cid. The Improv on Melrose. And of course, UCB.
These places weren’t day-trips. The names in this list each represent years of time and energy. Has anyone even heard of Comedy Dojo in the modern UCB community? I spent two years there, performing and taking classes. The fact that the program is closed and the shows shuttered doesn’t void the work we did. I still have the experience, and I use it every time I’m on stage.
See, each theater and each teacher is a tool on your belt. Every scene and every sketch and every set is a piece that you assemble — and each piece is different. They require different tools every time. The best general contractor is the one with the most knowledge of the most tools. In other words, no single theater is responsible for getting you to where you want to go. They all are. And it’s your responsibility to grow in as many directions as possible. Sure, you can focus your talents on one skill. But how often does a project need a screwdriver specialist?
You can wait to audition for Maude next year. Or you can spend the next months feeding your hungry hearts with all the comedy you can harvest. There’s more than enough to go around. And I promise you, if you spend the next year working in more than one place you’re only going to be the better for it. And that is the sort of thing that gets you noticed in the very auditions you’re hoping to land.