Why does one guy worrying about student loans drive cross-country to a place he's never visited, with no job waiting for him, with no guarantee that he will have any success whatsoever? It may sound cliche and it may sound like wishful thinking, but it's for comedy. I was bit by the comedy bug and now's the time to take a chance.
Four summers ago I was 18 years old and starting at the University of New Hampshire in the fall. I was loud, obnoxious even, but basically focused on friends and schoolwork. As I worked to find my niche at school I saw a poster for Improv Anonymous, "UNH's one and only improv comedy troupe" (ya, that was our introduction). With no prior improv experience (though I'd had a background in theater from middle through high school) I auditioned. Obviously I made the cut and for four years I saw the troupe grow in maturity and professionalism. When I started the first thing I was struck by was how close the other members were with each other. They seemed so comfortable being onstage and going places that would make most people quake with fear.
One of the great things about Improv Anonymous was how much emphasis was placed with getting new members up to speed. Every time we finished a round of auditions the whole group would go back to basics, effectively relearning everything we thought we knew. The group was very open with constructive criticism, which seems to be the difference between a serious group and a group doing improv as a hobby. The great thing about this process was that it brought the veterans down to the level of the new members, accelerating an already easy process of becoming new friends. Improv is much easier when you not only trust the person you're with but you want to see them get laughs as well.
Improv was a great thing for an 18 year old freshman to be introduced to. In a purely social sense, it was great to make so many friends. Improv did wonders for my confidence as well, I had always been a very expressive person but I found improv to be my outlet, making hundreds laugh every week is a powerful experience, and you can't help but feel good about yourself when you've felt that roar. It calmed me down from an obnoxious teenager to someone who had found what they were truly good at.
When it came time to graduate I went through the same panic moments everyone with a new liberal arts degree does, what in the world was I supposed to do with my life? My roommate (another member of the troupe) laughingly suggested that we move to LA to do comedy. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how good an idea it was. I was finishing what I thought was a pretty successful run with a college troupe and realized that if I was ever to translate that experience into a lifestyle the time was now. So on Monday, June 21 I am picking my life into a 1997 Honda Civic and heading out on the road to move cross-country on an adventure that right now has no ending. I hope I'm not disappointed but I think I am making this trip for the right reasons. I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and also to have such understanding parents who will let me potentially burn through all of my savings to be happy. New Hampshire is great but when it comes to comedic opportunities it comes up a little short. NH will always be my home but I'm willing to take a risk to be happy. I'm sure I won't regret the opportunity.