Four years ago almost to the day I visited Chicago with the sole purpose of checking it out before I moved there. Not moving there wasn’t an option. I had spent my entire High School existence pouring over the pages of the Second City coffee table book, listening to Scott Adsit and Adam McKay’s sketch “Gump” on the accompanying CD and getting in constant arguments about how the best SNL cast members were also the Chicago SNL cast members. It was my dream to perform comedy in Chicago. And after reading about Second City and, more importantly come college, the Improv Olympic, I knew I needed to perform there.
So four years ago I go to visit. I watched countless shows in the week I was there… I became convinced after watching Bullet Lounge destroy the house that I didn’t have what it takes… I then saw a team do a not so great Harold upstairs and decided “Oh, wait, I can do that” (looking back I think I need to thank that team more than anyone in my comedic pursuits. There’s something to be said about not-so-great-improv)… and I stayed late to do a jam session. And I knew in my 22-year-old-freshly-graduated-brain that if I killed the jam session, I would immediately be asked to join the theatre.
I neither killed nor did I get asked to join the theatre. I think I played a crazy Subway Sandwich employee.
But Chicago was still there. It was my dream, I would find a way to perform at the Improv Olympic.
Well things happened, friends moved, better subway systems became more important to me, and 5 months later I blindly moved to New York City. This was never my dream, but within literally a week all thoughts of the past dissipated and New York became my life.
This last weekend I got to join the cast of the Chris Gethard show in Chicago for the Just for Laughs festival. I got to fail at trivia (really badly fail too) in front of a sold out crowd on the stage of the Del Close Theatre. I got to share that stage with members of that earth shattering group, former iO harold team Bullet Lounge, and I had to wear an Eli Manning jersey. A little bit of New York pride infiltrating an old dream of mine… even though the Giants fucking suck.
It was a very round about way to achieve this dream of mine. But I couldn’t be happier. I was smiling the entire plane flight home.
Thank you iO for being so amazing and accommodating. And thanks to Chris and the guys and gal from the show. It was much better than my crazy Subway Sandwich employee.