Basic at The Groundlings – Part 2 (The “First Class to the Midterm” Chapter)

July 2, 2012

I left of yesterday having passed the audition to get into Basic.

(I think I neglected to mention that we’re taking a little blast to the recent past. I passed back the in early fall of 2010.)

Don’t get too terribly excited about my passing the audition. I saw it as a victory, and it was exciting for sure. But that’s not the hard part. Lots of people pass the audition. Nothing to see here. Yet.

Once you get into Basic, your audition results are good for a year. Fast forward from fall 2010 to late summer 2011. I had moved back to California after some time in gorgeous New York.

One day, I thought, “You know, I need theater to breathe and function. I’m living out here in Los Angeles again. For real, this time. I signed a lease and everything. I won’t be picking up and moving to New York tomorrow. Probably not, at least.” (Writing this from a year later, I haven’t left yet.) “My Groundlings Basic audition results are still good if I sign up for a class that starts within the next four or five weeks. I better get on it, then!”

You don’t pick your teachers at the Groundlings. On the first day of class – surprise! I walked in having no idea who the teacher would be or what he or she would be like. Sure enough – Hello! I get this super energetic, hilariously funny teacher that has the kind of aura that energizes everyone in the room. This is gonna be fun.

Jordan is a spectacular teacher. He’s absolutely hysterically hilarious, not to mention a total sweetheart. He’s also the perfect audience member. He is always so engaged in what’s going on. And he has the absolute best laugh/reactions. In the universe. If you say something he thinks is funny, you know it.

A note of unnecessary backstory that you may feel free to skip:

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This is not important to the main story, but I want to make sure that it doesn’t seem as though I’m skirting the truth here. This was technically my first time through Basic. However, I had been to a few Basic classes before.

Way back in the fall of 2010 (Remember? That time I passed my audition), I had just wrapped America’s Got Talent. With my newfound excessive free time ( – free time often seems pretty super excessive when you wrap a PA job – ) I was looking for something to make Los Angeles more tolerable. Of course, theater has a tendency to make anything tolerable. So, I started a Basic class. I had Guy, another super fun, super positive teacher. My classmates were fun. I loved it.

But I was dying on the west coast – not literally dying. Well, maybe. The sun is pretty harsh and out to get you.

I wanted desperately to go back home to Boston or New York. The job that brought me out here was over. My current sublet was coming to an end. Why was I still here? I decided on a whim to pick up and leave (and go to the greatest city in the world).


(That’s a whole ‘nother story that you’ll hear later in the heart story chapters, when they transition from the end of the heart business to the time between open-heart surgery and the start of the blog).

Since I was joyously fleeing the state, I dropped my class before we even got to midterms. I was so sad to drop so soon after I’d started. But as much as I was enjoying my class, I could not justify staying in scorchingly sunny (and more adjectives to be told another time) California for one more second, just so I could have seven hours of weekly playtime. (At the time, it was playtime; now, it’s more. We’re getting there later this story.)

As far as the three strikes rule at the Groundlings is concerned (that you can only not pass a class three times before you’re out of the program), my record was still clean (since I had dropped the one I’d begun). So, when I’m telling the current story of the “first” time I took Basic, it’s technically the first, and it’s technically not the first, depending on how you look at it.

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Back to fall 2011 – Jordan’s class.

I couldn’t even wait to hear what Jordan had to say in my midterm. I braced myself. I was ready for a barrage of his concerns and complaints.

And he said I was funny.

Me. Funny.



Of course he had his constructive criticism as well. I mean, come on now. But he made really me believe I had potential to be good at improv.

Me. Good at improv.



Possible? Impossible? More on this tomorrow.

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