My Thirty Year Career in Show Biz

3 Oct

I essay the part of September 16th, The Ordinary Day in Second City’s Children’s Theater Production of The Case Against Chrismas (Co-written by me and three others but mostly by Phyllis Katz.) It occurs to me for the first time that I could actually do this for a living. Sometimes the audience was so small we’d try to badger people in front of the theater into coming inside.

I earn an eighth of a third of the take of the Player’s O box office. In today’s dollars that would still be zilch. If you put a gun to my head, I could not tell you one thing we did.

We do our first paid improv show out at the Ivan Albright theater in some distant suburb of Chicago. We perform nightly and I have my office boy job during the day. It is the most tired I will ever be – until I have children.

We leave Chicago for LA to seek our fortune. My first paying gig is scraping paint from Alan Katz’s house. The group splits up. If I hadn’t been living with my partner I probably would have gone home like one of the other guys did. I will not make my next dollar in show biz for a long time.

I meet Cheri, fall in love, and things get considerably better – though my only money comes in from a job at a bookstore. We do the Gong Show (at last $$$). Cheri talks me into quitting so I can teach improv.

I get a few acting jobs, sell a little writing, and scrape by. I am living with Cheri and she still pays me for classes. This is not a sign of impending success.

Then 1984 happens. Screw Orwell. We sell 13 scripts (combined Canadian and American). We incorporate (as Best Boy, Inc). And, well, you know the rest…

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3 Responses to “My Thirty Year Career in Show Biz”

  1. Starshine October 3, 2010 at 9:06 PM #

    Love this. Looks terrific. Does Cheri still pay you when she joins you in the garage for improv night? Just asking.

  2. Kit October 4, 2010 at 10:49 AM #

    Great first post! On pins and needles for more!

  3. SiouxP January 5, 2012 at 5:29 PM #

    Fantabulous awesome beginning—Know there are only great things ahead!!!
    Cheri comes into your life & everything comes up roses. What a team. Of course my favorite productions of Team Steinkellner are—Kit, Teddy & Emma. LOL, Sioux

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