2014 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Mega Blog
For the past four months, I was hazed in the basement of the CBS lot where no one could hear me scream for help…
But I’m baaack! I’ve officially crawled out from underneath the rock that was the 2014 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase.
(This blog is a long one, BUT it covers the last 4 months in just 1095 words and 33 pictures. Yay!)
Lots of great things happened!
I met so many talented actors, writers, and comics. There were 57 of us, to be exact. Some of them were already writers or actors on TV shows like Joan Rivers’s Fashion Police, Chelsea Lately, The Jeselnik Offensive, and Mind of a Man. One of them performed on Broadway for 8 years. Another one of them stars in her own TV show!
During Showcase, some of these folks were snatched away to write for SNL (Go, LaKendra!) and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
And ever since Showcase ended (like 12 seconds ago), these folks have been booking EVERYTHING. Look for them in your TVs!
You’ll also see them on shows like HBO’s Looking, Grey’s Anatomy, Rake, Braddock & Jackson, and Tina Fey’s new show…
Everyone’s gonna be a star (they told us)!
Having moved here knowing virtually no one, it was great to fall in with such a talented group of aspiring hyphenates, i.e., actor-writer-comic-singer-dancer-producer-director-bartenders. Thanks to Showcase, I knew that if I went missing for more than 2 weeks, someone would call me, if for no other reason than to ask if they could borrow a turtleneck to use in a sketch (because apparently, I look like I own turtlenecks). I do own turtlenecks.
I learned so many things like:
My 5:45 a.m. “Here’s what we need to get done today…” texts are underappreciated.
Sometimes, when you are uninspired, you should just walk away from the computer for a moment before terrible ideas start to sound brilliant like: “Ok. I got it. What if her dad was a sea-lion who ate her funnel cake?” (That’s a real text that I received.)
But every now and then, you should try something completely different like, “What if the Popeye’s spokeslady and the Honey Bunch of Oats spokeslady were out-of-work due to a commercial spokespersons strike so they had to hook to pay the rent, but they had a turf war over their corner with the Snapple spokeslady, which was all for naught because the Old Spice man was taking all of their customers anyway?”
And then you should throw that sketch in the trash.
Oh, and here are just a few of my favorite sketch names:
Harriet Tubman Frees Souplantation (Souplantation is a Salad Bar chain)
R2D2 Heckles a Stand up
Anne Frank is My Celebrity Doppleganger
Trannies & Tiaras
Macy Gray’s Anatomy
The Black Panther Party Mix
An Asian in the Sun
Investment Banker Shits Self
Tyler Perry Presents Black People
Gay Black Face
And my all time favorite, Vagina Gnomes.
These pictures tell the story:
We were hazed in a basement…
This is how it went in a nutshell: Writers crank out an insane volume of sketches. An amazing group of hard-working actors have about five minutes to read each sketch. Then these actors perform the sketches in front of the entire room, including the VP of Casting, the Director, the Head Writer, and the Assistant Director, who often “yay” or “nay” these sketches on the spot.
This went on 20+ times a day, 3-4 times a week, for 4 months.
My favorite note: “So how do YOU think it went? Did you hear anyone laughing?”
“Let me be clearer, did you notice that no one laughed?”
At some point, we went numb and/or developed scar tissue.
And frequently you had to remind yourself that THIS is the dream.
And even when CBS gave us a week off, we scheduled our own rehearsals at The Groundlings.
Because Stockholm Syndrome.
And wigs. There were so many wigs.
The “prop swap” that took place after these rehearsals was pretty epic. And we had so many clothes to return to Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Ross with the tags still on.
Thank you, Beverly Connection!
This picture was used for a sketch called, Sue’s Funeral. This is Sue. Sue died. So did this sketch.
I spent A LOT of money at FedEx.
I may have accidentally walked out of a restaurant with this buzzer, which was coincidentally used the next day for a sketch. Then I returned the buzzer. No, I didn’t. I meant to.
We also had a bunch of fun just hanging out during rehearsals.
How cute is Bresha?
It’s a Gaysian in a Box!
I hear that people referred to me as “corporate girl” until they learned my name.
I was also told that I dress like “an exec who came to tell us that our funding got cut.”
We supported each other during rehearsals.
This is a note that another writer slipped me during a table session.
And we supported each other outside of rehearsals.
This is Nico Santos at the Hollywood Improv. “Enchanté.”
Folks at The Federal to see Justin and JD do stand up.
We also hung out at this place a bunch.
And we took our revelry on the road.
(This pic was taken at the very beginning. We all looked so much younger.)
And comments like these were made:
“You’re the Maya Angelou to my Jackie Chan.”
What could that even mean?
And then rehearsals moved to the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood.
10 hour days for 2 weeks.
And shit got real.
And then it was opening night!
And then there were the cocktail receptions with agents, managers, and producers, where we all worked the room like hookers.
That’s my buddy Ray Grady!
Me: Hey, Ray!
Ray: “Sup mama. You stoopid. Where yo Kate Spade at? Lemme borrow three dollas.”
Lisa Leslie came!
And behind her is Omar Dorsey from Eastbound and Down, Rake, and Django Unchained. Omar came through and supported us and cracked jokes during a lot of our rehearsals.
And Retta from Parks and Rec!
And then there was the after party.
And, naturally, shit got stoopid.
And then some combo of whooping cough + dengue fever came through and took everyone out of the game for about five days.
But it made us all feel connected even though Showcase had ended.
WHOA-MG that was a ride.