Before I begin, I would like to apologize for not writing the last two weeks. I just started this new Film Acting program and have been looking for work in Los Angeles, so most of my free time was spent sleeping and watching Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow online. However, I’m back, and now, thanks to Web Therapy, I know what the word “modality” means.

I did stand up last week, which was a completely new modality of performance that I had never before experienced. I found the opportunity on Craigslist, which we all know is dark and full of terrors. Nevertheless, I was given a 6 minute set at The Comedy Store provided I brought 5 friends, who had to buy tickets. Luckily for me, I am likable and people are willing to spend money to hear me tell jokes, so I indeed had 5 friends come and see me.

One of the guys there was also new at this, and asked me backstage, “Do you smoke weed? Man, you definitely smoke weed.” I politely said no and excused myself to the bathroom. His excess energy and unbridled enthusiasm made me uncomfortable. When he ended up performing, I could hear him talking about some time when he and his friends had group sex with a married woman. My first thought was, “Ok, not only are you the type of person to engage in group sex, you’d also sleep with a married woman. I already don’t like you.” He was then cut off before he finished as his 6 minutes had ended, so he called the sound guy a dick and left the stage. I had quite the shoes to fill.

I was incredibly nervous before the event, because I had always told myself that if I ever did stand up, this is how I would begin it. I would walk up to the microphone, wait for people to stop clapping, and then say,

“One time my father sat me down and he said to me, ‘Son, did you shit in the kitty litter?’

I said to him, ‘Dad, why would you ask me that? Of course I didn’t shit in the kitty litter.’

He said, ‘Are you sure? Because your mother and I looked in there and we saw a pretty big shit. We’re not sure how the cats managed to squeeze that one out.’

I said, ‘Dad, I promise you, I did not shit in the kitty litter.’

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, though.

I did.

I did shit in the kitty litter.

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.”

Then I’d greet the crowd in a normal way and begin my set.

However, I decided that since I had an actual opportunity to do stand up right in front of me, I did not in fact have the guts to tell that story. So, I stuck to the basics. Luckily I got many laughs, and it was quite an ego boost.

I also signed up for a free workshop on Commercial Acting, a modality that I was interested in learning more about. I arrived at the place with friends from my acting program, and the sign up room was in a makeshift lean-to. We arrived 15 minutes early as instructed and filled out a form. At around 5 after the program was scheduled to begin, the teacher came out and said, “I appreciate those of you who got here early, LIKE I ASKED, so you could fill out the forms. Come with me.”

I was confused by his desire for punctuality but inability to adhere to it himself, but nonetheless followed him into the room that the workshop would take place in, which was in an actual building. His name was Coach Mike, and he was very enthusiastic. He had many things to say, a few of which I’ll state here:

  • My wife and I used to be called “The Black King and Queen of Commercials.”
  • People nowadays are so sensitive, when they get sad they go, “Waaah, I’m gonna jump off a bridge.”
  • Agents will tell you, “Oh, it’s been slow this year,” or “It’s been slow since 2008,” or “It’s been slow since 9/11.”
  • Theatre sucks. I don’t do that shit. You don’t make money doing Theatre. Commercials is where it’s at.

He spoke for 2 hours about things that could have been summed up in 30 minutes, and spent most of the time off on tangents or doing impressions of people he didn’t like. He then told us the importance of listening, followed by playing several “listening games”, such as, “How do you spell silk? SILK. What does a cow drink. Milk. No, water!” All in all, a very good use of his time and ours. He ended by saying, “Everyone who wants to do the paid class can stay and pay the deposit, the rest of you can leave, but take this letter.” He then handed us the letter on our way out, which I have attached below.

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Basically the gist of the letter was, “You suck”.

It has been an eventful last few weeks, having just moved to LA, finding work and taking classes. It’s an entirely new modality of thinking and I think I’m settling in quite nicely. I’ll write again next week, and I promise to never leave you again.

-Theodore Dandy

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