second city


Chicago, 2008






I've been thinking with some dread about applying for jobs when we move next year. As a true procrastinator, I realize how much of a pain it's going to be to update my resume, yet I make no move to start. In fact, every time I  think about it, my mind wanders. 

What if I can't find a job? What if even Starbucks isn't hiring? Or Ihop? Mmm, waffles. Leslie Knope likes waffles. Amy Poehler has a great job. I wonder what her resume looks like. I wonder if I could put the time I performed at the Second City Theater in Chicago on my resume?


When Y and I took our month long road trip in 2008, Chicago was the second-to-last stop, after Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and several more places I can't list because it's exhausting me just to type them all out. What were we thinking?

In a money-saving strategy, we stayed at an airport hotel. On our one day in Chicago, we woke up at the crack of dawn and took the hotel shuttle to O'hare, where we caught the El into the city and proceeded to walk around for, oh, TEN HOURS. The only time we sat down was to a) shove pizza into our faces and b) ride a tandem along Lake Michigan. 

At the end of our ten hour stroll, we sat down in our front row seats for an improv performance at The Second City Theater.

You guys, the show was hilarious. Probably one of my favorite things I've ever done on vacation. It's been 3 and a half years and we still reference the performance. If you ever hear us talking about smegma flavored jellybeans, that's what we're talking about.

But there's one skit we don't talk about.

In this skit, a female castmember needed an audience member for an improv mime performance. Her face covered in mime makeup, she reached down into the audience and pulled me onstage. I had no choice. 

She began miming that the two of us were on a date, and I was supposed to mime with her, reacting. 

Here was the problem: there is a reason why there is no such thing as micro-miming.
When you're up close to someone who's miming, and a bright light is shining in your face, you can't tell what the hell they're doing. The movements look random and they don't make any sense. 

From my point of view, I was standing next to someone in makeup having a long, weird seizure.

From the audience's point of view, I must have looked like a puppy, cocking my head in confusion as the mime CLEARLY opened a car door for me and pushed me inside and CLEARLY strapped a seat belt on me and CLEARLY gave me a flower and looked out in the audience like "Why am I going on a date with a total idiot?"

I literally stood on the stage motionless for three minutes. For the audience, it must have been like how I feel when watching Michael Scott make a complete fool out of himself: like the agony is so awful I want to remove my eyeballs from my head so I don't have to witness it.  

I can't remember if people laughed. The only thing I remember clearly is Y's face, as compassionate as I've ever seen it, looking like he wanted to pluck me offstage and carry me out of the theater. 

It was bad. So bad that the people behind me said, "At least you were wearing a cute dress up there." So bad that the actor who played the mime came up to me at intermission and asked if I was okay. 

Somehow, I don't think Amy Poehler has anything like that on her resume. Back to square one. Waffles.