The 21 Stages of Rejection

1) Immediately feel as though a lead bullet (c. 1846) has fallen down your esophagus and landed in the bottom of your stomach, where it will remain for the next three to four days.

2) Convince yourself that said imaginary bullet does not exist (in reality nor your imagination) and that you are, in fact, fine.

3) You are fine.

3.5) An arbitrary amount of time passes, during which you feel increasingly anxious. Time ranges anywhere from 9.8 seconds to several hours. (If symptoms persist for days, jump to step 20).

4) Concur that you are not, in fact, fine.

5) Convince yourself that you are not disappointed and that said event was really not that important.

6) Realize that you are lying to yourself.

7) Repent for your sins.

8) Re-commence convincing yourself that, as your conscience likes to say, “It wasn’t that big of a deal anyway.”

9) Repeat steps 1 through 8 as needed.

10) Brainstorm a list of myriad impossible goals to compensate for the rejection that surely stemmed from failure on your behalf.

11) Work on one item of said list.

12) Acknowledge that said goals are impossible to meet and that you constantly set yourself up for failure.

13) Reject above list of brainstormed goals.

14) Spiral into an Inception-like thought process characterized by lack of trust of own opinions.

15)                                  .    [Brain temporarily malfunctions]

16) Write about said experience on a word processor of any variety – pen and yellow legal pad may be utilized in special circumstances.

17) Reach into the caverns of brain-spiraling madness and withdraw a cobweb of hope.

18) Cling to said cobweb like Shelob on a hobbit.

19) Create one practical step for moving forward with life.

20) Move forward with life.

21) Go to hospital for lead poisoning.

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lessons from Dave Razowsky and Susan Messing

via the ADD Comedy Podcast with Dave Razowsky – wise words from Susan Messing

I like to bring it down to that purest form of just playing.

The only way to heighten clever is to be more clever, and good f***ing luck with that.

Look, if I’m writing an essay, I’m gonna write funny shit, and if I’m doing stand-up, I’m gonna do stand-up, and if I’m writing a pilot,  you better believe I’m gonna add a couple jokes to this page or else they’re gonna send it back and ask for other pages,  I get that, but in improv, the audience doesn’t laugh at funny shit, they laugh at specificity, and it’s not funny specificity, it’s just fucking specificity.

Good selfish is you take care of self, bad selfish is “I hate myself I wish I’d never come up here.”

And as a  , my job is  that they’re right, and my job is to make them more right.

Smell it, touch it, taste it, feel it, fuck it – that’s being in the moment. 

And, frankly, funny comes from commitment and re-commitment to your choices, not funny choices.

If I’m in the moment, the audience is in the moment.

I guess it really is ultimately about pursuing joy.

But when it comes down to it, we’re artists because we want to create.

A recycled mistake is your greatest comic gift.

I always think that everybody’s better than I am, and that raises my game.

It’s one of the few arts where, if everyone succeeds, everyone wins.

When I see a girl in comedy, I just get so fucking happy I could just eat her alive in joy.

I guess I think that everything is the funniest thing I ever say because I’d hope that offstage people would think I wouldn’t fuck poo, but onstage, fuck poo!

Comedy needs to be protected so that people will be willing to watch. [talking about different theaters and the contexts they offer – annoyance, iO, second city…]

But rules are suggestions that might get you off faster – they’re not right.

I call an audition a free workshop, because then you get your power back.

For me, an improviser means, “I will do anything.”

The onstage integrity and the offstage integrity are night and day.

The greatest place to be a loser, and the only place to be a loser, is onstage.

I’ve gotta be me 23 hours a day, for 1 fucking hour I can’t wait to try on everybody I’ve wanted to be and everybody I’ve never wanted to be.

If my friends don’t kick me offstage and let me hang there, I am the happiest person in the world.

and Dave Razowsky

A lot of my students said, “What do you mean I don’t have to give the who, the what, and the where at the beginning of the scene?” I don’t give a fuck about that!

– No, you’ll just discover all that shit pretty quickly!

You can only have your own path, and I wouldn’t want anyone else’s path at all.

Your demons are stopping you from being fucking vulnerable because you are a smart person, you’re a great actor, you’ve done some fantastic fucking work, but you know what? Nobody wants to fucking play with you anymore. And you know why? Because you’re being a bully.

Your personality’s not allowed onstage.

All improvisation is acting. You’re standing onstage and playing a role.

I also feel that your improv gets 100 times better the minute you call yourself an actor, because you allows yourself to have this long fucking tale that goes back thousands of years.

These people are legitimate, equity actors who are improvisers and I’m going, “Oh, thank god.”

And his [Carell’s] acting is phenomenal, Colbert’s acting is phenomenal.

Listen here!

people who i’ve learned from

I was about to start writing up a draft of my theatrical resume and was going through a list of all the people I’ve taken workshops with in the past two and a half years.  If someone had told freshman year Laura that she would get to work with all of these people, she probably wouldn’t have believed them. Here’s the list:

UCB Tourco

Joe Bozic (Brave New Workshop)

Splendid Things (Minneapolis)

Peter McNerney (Magnet Theater)

Jason Chin (iO)

Susan Messing (Annoyance, Second City)

Shelly Gossman (Second City, iO, SNL)

Joe Bill (Annoyance, iO)

Drew Kersten (UCBLA, HUGE, etc)

That list may not be very long, but it’s almost hard for me to believe that I actually took workshops from this group of people! I’ve met them! They remembered my name for at least a few hours! Huge thanks to the HUGE, too – I wouldn’t have been able to do many, many of these workshops without them.

woo!

i don’t know what else to say – thank you

Thank You to everyone who came to “In Between Lines” and the Scriptless show tonight.

Thank You to anyone who has ever gone to an improv show.

Thank You to my parents, who let me go to my first improv class and who came to this amazing, amazing performance tonight.

Thank You to my fellow improvisers – you inspire me, you challenge me, you support me, and you make me laugh. I admire you all.

Thank You to the actors, without whom we would all be fools.

Thank You to Phil, a brilliant director, a committed co-president, and a person that I’m proud to call my friend.

Thank You to SNL, 30 Rock, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Tim Baltz, Tara DeFrancisco, Jill Bernard, Shelly Gossman, and a host of other improvisers and comedians that  inspire me to do what we do.

Thank You, God, for days like today, where we’ve really, really brought a bit of light into people’s days through a bit of hilarity – good, good, hilarity, at the expense of no one.

should it be easy to be green?

“It’s Easy Being Green” was the original title of this article. However, after I read an article in our campus newspaper, “Minor lifestyle changes obfuscate true climate change solutions,” I am tempted to alter my approach to environmental activism.

The author, Stephanie Jones, argues that although sustainable lifestyle choices are becoming more mainstream, the actual cumulative impact of these choices is negligible compared to the scale of climate change. She says,

Relative to the general population, I seem quite environmentally conscious because I am a vegetarian, I limit my car use and I recycle judiciously; if everyone in the country made identical adjustments, perhaps climate change would unfold at a slightly slower rate, but it would continue to unfold. Truly living in an environmentally responsible manner would require drastic changes in every facet of our lives — the way we eat, travel, dress, govern, communicate, educate, and create art. This is not about whether we should drive Priuses or Hummers: This is about whether we should drive cars at all. 

Jones definitely has a point: I, and Environmental Studies major, often get caught up in the specifics of ideal daily actions and forget the need to change the infrastructure itself. So why don’t we address these larger questions? What stops us from going from Klean Kanteens to bikeable cities?

Minor and major lifestyle changes both require a shift in mindset, and minor lifestyle changes act as precursors to major lifestyle changes. Minor lifestyle changes have a twofold benefit: One, they reduce our environmental impact in some way, even if the reduction is quite small, and Two, they require a capacity for care and reflection on personal behavior. The reflective aspect is key if we expect to move into a time when we, as a whole society, not just an environmental subculture, are able to confront the question of “whether we should drive cars at all.”

However, we should be cautious against convincing ourselves that our minor lifestyle choices are “good enough.” It is easy to feel good about never using disposable cups, or turning off the lights when leaving a room, or taking shorter showers, but as Jones said, even the cumulative effect of these choices will not stop global warming. Systemic change is vital to reducing the impact of climate change. Fortunately, through encouraging minor lifestyle changes, we have begun to lay the groundwork for a society that values its environment enough to change its behavior on a large scale.

Keep changing your behavior, big or small. Do what you can right now. But please open your mind and open your heart to future actions; hopefully, a time will come when someone will ask you (or policy will require you) to make a drastic lifestyle change. Hopefully, your history in reflective change will allow you to understand the reason that you are being asked to live a less-convenient way of life. Hopefully, we can reverse climate change.