2019: WHAT, WHO, WHERE, WHY? GO!
The what: Those who’ve known me a long time will not be surprised that I spent the last three months at The Second City doing improv classes. (Much to my mother’s chagrin Chicago’s legendary improv comedy theater has a Hollywood training center.) Along with a talented group of folks, I knocked out their first three classes this fall in order to audition for their professional level program, The Conservatory. Well, I’m in! My Conservatory 1 class starts tonight. I’m excited for this adventure, so I thought I’d share my tales of heading back to school after thinking my opportunity to be on stage, making people laugh had passed.
Taking comedy classes is an interesting thing- when people find out, they are excited for a minute, like I’m going to do something funny right that very minute. They look at me- kind of expectantly, (mostly after Stephen tells them “Dinah is taking comedy classes at Second City!”) and when I don’t perform like a trained monkey they get bored and awkward and want to talk about something else. I guess I need a few knock-knock jokes or something.
The who: The amazing people I’ve met and befriended are a big part of my inspiration to keep going. At first I was concerned about feeling out of place. I texted a friend on my first day “OMG everyone in my class is an embryo.” Turned out, yeah some of them are young enough to be my kids. But they are awesome and funny, and you know what? It really didn’t matter. Mind you there were those moments like when I had to explain the nuances of “Miss” vs “Ms.” and that Ms. was hard fought and not to be taken for granted-- and I’m sure there will be more of those to come. But on the whole I just worked on making people laugh.
The where: The training center is on Hollywood Boulevard, well past the cleaned up section by Hollywood and Highland where they host the Oscars. It’s in the more traditionally colorful part of Hollywood- if grime is a color. But that part of Hollywood is how I remember all of being it in my twenties, and that’s when I thought I’d be doing this sort of comedy/acting thing, so the location works for me.
Some folks in my class adopted a restaurant nearby, Tocaya Organica, as a sort of clubhouse. They have pretty good Mexican food with a trendy coffeehouse hang-out-there-for-a-long-time-with-your-laptop kind of vibe. My one friend, Marilia, who will be in my Con 1 class deserves a commission for how much business she’s brought them! I’m sure there will be more stories to come accompanied by strawberry-basil agua-frescas.
The why: Why not, right? Better late than never. Follow your dreams and all that jazz. So send good vibes towards Hollywood at around 6:30pm Pacific time. I’ll be at school, pencil at the ready. Wish me luck.