Week 31: Vested Interest

Saturday night was spent playing a “friendly” game of poker with my friends Drew and his wife heather, Jim, Esteban, Josh, and Drew’s neighbor, Jerry. I was the big winner of the evening and we all decided that we should make this a bi-weekly event. I always love getting to see those guys individually, but to get to spend the evening with them all, and win some money, is a treat.

You know what’s nice about going to bed at 1:30 and getting up at 7:00? No, really, what’s the good thing about doing that? It sucks. Especially with today being the 3rd straight Sunday turnaround, ugh. I can tell you being so tired makes the 3 hour flight go by in wink, and by “wink” I mean an extended wink known as sleeping.

This is going to sound like a broken record, but this week’s class was the best class so far. We get to be a tighter ensemble every week and since 4 of the 6 of us started out together last summer in the Immersion workshop we know each other very well on a personal level so our creative meetings don’t have any extraneous egos or agendas. Case in point, our homework this week was to bring in 3 blackouts. A “blackout” is basically a 1-4 line scene/punchline and then the lights go to black. I had 1 blackout that I thought was presentable, a second that was timely and needed a third, but ended up with 5 other ideas that turned into a “Weekend Update” segment. So they weren’t all winners, but the group didn’t judge me and we tried to find a way to work some of the ideas into sketches, and I was just as constructive with their ideas, too.

After class, I made a mad dash to the Beverly Center to pick-up a new LA Galaxy jersey. Ok, fine, a David Beckham jersey. Yes, I am a soccer fan. Yes, I am a David Beckham fan. Yes, I own the Spice Girls movie on DVD. Why are you staring at me? So, anyway…I had 40 minutes to get over there, pick up the jersey and get back to the theatre for a 4:00 rehearsal. The jerseys are only available at The Sports Authority during an exclusive 5 day window and the only sporting goods store I know of is over by the Beverly Center. Guess what I discovered, it’s a Sports Chalet store by the BC, not a Sports Authority. A rocket surgeon, I am not.

When showtime rolls around, we’re in really good shape. We’ve rehearsed everything and understand the beats of our sketches. One sketch in particular is the wheelchair sketch I mentioned last week. I’m not going to apologize again for the idea, but the basis of the scene is the relationship between a guy and the girl he has a crush on. The scene played really well, the audience bought in and laughed at the right things, and then gave us a great “Ahhhh” when the scene ended.

After the show we got notes from Craig and the overall consensus was that the material that went up today will more than likely make the hour long show in October. Then the high from the show was brought down when our genius coach/director, Craig Cackowski, announced he won’t be with us for Level 5 as he has taken a job with The Second City Cruises on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The best part is that his girlfriend was also hired for the cruises, and, apparently, he’s getting paid a boatload of money to do this. Since he doesn’t leave until September 28, Craig has assured us he will be around and involved to help our new director through week 7 of level 5. He has a wants to make sure that all he has to do is “handover the keys to the car, not the plans to build it.” We are all super excited for Craig and there are absolutely zero hard feelings. We would have skinned him alive if he would have turned this opportunity down. Next week was supposed to be the first of 2 weeks off, but we’ll be in class (possibly with the new director in attendance) with Craig for the last official time to make up the class we cancelled a few weeks back.

From there, it was the usual race to the airport again for the flight home. I’ve gotten pretty good at maneuvering down Fairfax, getting gas for the rental car, then to Hertz and the airport in pretty good time. I have always made it with about a 20 minute window to grab some food and/or magazines. (Note to the LAPD: “racing” is a Texas term for driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic laws).

My driver leaves tomorrow for a week in Scottsdale for work, and I’m back to the normal Saturday/Sunday loop next week. It’s amazing what becomes normal. I say that to myself every Sunday when I drive down Hollywood Boulevard and by Grauman’s Chinese Theater on my way to class. If nothing ever comes of this it’s still a great story to tell, but I have a feeling something’s going to happen.

Miles Traveled: 2,470
Total Miles: 76,570

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