what i learned working at a comedy theater

January 25, 2017

Nine months ago (at the end of April) I started working Saturday nights at UCB Theater on Franklin Ave. in Hollywood.  It was a challenging, exciting, sometimes thankless job.  And I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world.  I got to witness some of the best, most talented improvisers and comedians for free, which was not just entertaining - it was also informative.  I learned so much about comedy that these last nine months felt like I was carrying a UCB baby (thanks, Gabi) to term and now, having finished my work study internship this past Saturday night, I'm really being born into the crazy world of comedy.  

 

I cleaned toilets, I carried out trash, I dealt with rude people, crazy people, drunk people.  And I had fun.  I met some amazing people going through the same work study experience as me.  Marie, Darielle, Alec, Reid, Gabi, Maddie, Charity - you were my consistent Saturday night crew, and I love you guys.  Not only did we joke around and do bits, but we also were able to talk to each other about things in our personal lives.  It was nice to have people who were not just coworkers but also became friends.  Even picking up shifts on other nights at Franklin and working a few shifts at Sunset, everyone I worked with was just down-to-earth and kind.  I loved that - having people who were there to do a job and also make it fun.  Everyone I met was just amazing.

 

I learned that the people I interacted with at the theater were all going through similar experiences to my own, and it was wonderful to find and be involved in such a kind, supportive community of people who want others to do well and succeed.  I love that I got to do shows because of people I'd met through work study.  My parents always taught me that success is like a ladder and although there are many selfish who people try to step on others to get to the top, the best people are the ones who lean back to help someone else up as they climb towards their success.  UCB felt very much like that to me on Saturday nights, and that is a beautiful, difficult thing to find in such a competitive city and industry.

 

I learned that my quirks and idiosyncrasies are to be embraced, not hidden.  I was encouraged to let my freak flag fly, and it was refreshing and freeing.  And seeing others being themselves and being goofy, silly, weird, smart - that felt good to know that I was capable of all those things, too, and that it was embraced and encouraged.

 

 

Of course I dealt with some annoying stuff, too, but the past nine months were absolutely worth it.  The experience was rewarding and challenging, gave me an opportunity to learn and to better myself, gave me a group of people who were supportive and encouraging, and kept me grounded in an otherwise frantic career.  If I could go back in time and choose, I'd absolutely choose to give up my Saturday nights to work at UCB Franklin all over again.  Because when I gave up my Saturday nights to work at UCB, I didn't actually give up anything - I gained friends, knowledge, support, encouragement, and self-love (and not to mention some free classes to improve myself at my craft and the thing I love to do).  Thank you, UCB, for the opportunity! 

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Johny Walsh  |  Los Angeles, CA  |  Johny@JohnyTheGirl.com

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