I’ve been a performer for a very long time. My parents encouraged me to audition for the community production musical when I was just nine years old. Don’t worry – I got in! But that’s probably only because every person who auditioned got in. There were a LOT of people in the show.
I immediately loved it. Being on stage in front of people was nerve-wracking, thrilling, and a total blast. But what I loved even more was being a part of an ensemble. The camaraderie that came with all being part of putting a show together was the best feeling I’d ever had. It felt like home! Even the weeks of tech rehearsals – something we in the theatre community often refer to as “hell week” because of the long nights and performing parts of the show over and over again – were always amazing because everyone was in it together.
I loved acting so much that I ended up going all the way to New York City from California to study acting in college. Despite the fact that acting as in insane business to go into – the constant rejection, having to work late nights as a waiter so I could audition during the day – I desperately wanted to make it my career. But something happened while I was in college – I started to hate the thing I had loved pretty much all of my life. Sure, the shows I were in were still satisfying. But the reality of actually making it a career, combined with the fact that there was so much unhealthy competition between my fellow students, made me question everything. By the time I finished with school, I knew firmly that I wanted nothing to do with an acting career, something I had never expected just four years earlier.
Years later, I took an improv class at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in New York – well-renowned for launching the careers of many comedians and performers, and of course, for being the theatre that was launched by the incomparable and AMAZING Amy Poehler. (Seriously, all praise to Amy and Leslie Knope. I worship at the altar of both of them.) During that class I started to feel all of that negative competition I experienced in college all over again. I felt judged and I was judging others myself, and I hated it. (Also all praise to UCB – it’s an amazing institution and we would not have improv as we know it today without them.) The class show for the Level 1 UCB class would be the last time I would perform for years and years.
Fast forward to 2016, and Savannah! John Brennan & Brianne Halverson – who just happens to be my wife – had started doing improv together with a few other folks under John’s company, Front Porch. They kindly berated me for years to get back on the stage. I resisted for so long, but Brianne is the best woman ever, and John wouldn’t shut up. So, despite what I thought were my best interests, I took my first improv class in years. I figured I would do it to get them to leave me alone, and go along my way.
Much to my surprise, I’m now a full-fledged member of Front Porch Improv. And I’ve gotta say, I adore it! Here at Front Porch, the environment is incredibly supportive, and we all have each other’s backs. Plus, we’re doing fantastic improv. We get to perform in front of wonderful audiences in the town that I love – I honestly couldn’t be happier.