Sunday, February 1, 2009
I'd write about the Super Bowl, but I don't understand sports.
A few years after I graduated from college, before moving to Chicago, I halfheartedly agreed to write with a group of Omahans who were attempting to form a sketch group... a well-intentioned effort to fill a blank space in the city's artistic/comedic landscape otherwise populated by birthday party clowns and strippers. Every Sunday afternoon, we would gather in the lower half of a suburban split-level. It was a new build flanked by a Wal-Mart and a wasteland of partially constructed neighborhoods. We'd sip beer from a dorm refrigerator and talk about failed attempts to find new recruits ("The guy who cuts my hair is funny, but his lazy eye is distracting and he plays softball on Sundays"). And then we'd read scripts cobbled together just hours before, often left incomplete thanks to a hangover or a toner shortage. Sometimes a few people would act them out. The last ten minutes were usually spent throwing around ideas for a show that would never actually materialize, at least not in my time there. But all of that being said, some really, really good ideas were brought to the table. And perhaps more importantly, we were doing something. We were giving up our Sunday afternoons to pool our creative energy and maybe come away with something big. Whether or not we were successful is subjective - our reach never went beyond that basement, but we were writing and meeting and trying. Point being, no matter where you are or who you have on hand, you can create something. All you need is a mini fridge full of Bud Light and the hope that a few Sunday afternoons could produce a few good sketches.