Saturday Night Live

I recently spent some time playing with odd bits of SNL history—also the history of my comedic sensibility. This show is at least 33% responsible for what I find funny. Seeing props and artifacts from sketches I'd seen as a kid was like sifting through boxes of elementary school science ribbons, vaguely remembering who I was when I'd last seen them. Only much funnier.

Listerine and Shame

I've always been ashamed of my teeth. I hate smiling in pictures—there I said it.  When my agent told me I'd booked this commercial, I really thought they had the wrong guy. That could happen right? The casting director called my agent and asked for a different Michael?

Shame is a subtle poison. 

If you've read any of Brene Brown's work you know it's fundamentally a lie aimed at keeping its victim locked in a tight cage of inaction. I was so sure no one would hire me for something like this I almost skipped the audition. I just made funny faces at the callback—anything to distract from one of my longest held insecurities.

So here's what I think I think:

  1. Shame's assessments of my abilities, talents, and limitations— though long standing—are a clever deception.
  2. If I should doubt anything in this world, perhaps it should be the assertion that I don't have what I need, not underlying goodness. #scarcitysux
  3. Having the courage to show up (i.e. try, audition, sing, wait, dance, etc.) diffuses shame and sometimes leads to getting work. 

"One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but isn't easy: It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring."

- Russell Brand

Voter Shaming

I've been shamed by the best of them: friends, co-workers, family members, agents—the list doth vastly enumerate. Political party was, until recently, not a member of the list. 

Below is an excerpt from a letter sent to me by a political party which I will not name (underlining for added emphasis). 

Please clowns, try harder next cycle.

Stanislavski on The Artist & Observation

Here is a lovely thought from Constantin Stanislavski on the artist's duty to cultivate a warm inner posture in observing the world:

"A true artist is inspired by everything that takes place around him; life excites him and becomes the object of his study and his passion; he eagerly observes all he sees and tries to imprint on his memory not as a statistician, but as an artist, not only in his notebook, but also in his heart. It is, in short, impossible to work in art in a detached way. We must possess a certain degree of inner warmth; we must have sensuous attention. That does not mean, however, that we must renounce our reason, for it is possible to reason warmly, and not coldly."

Early Edward Albee

A nice reminder of early career uncertainty from the forward of the 1960 edition of Zoo Story:

Careers are funny things. They begin mysteriously and,  just as mysteriously, they can end; and I am at just the very beginning of what I hope will be a long and satisfying life in the theatre. But, whatever happens, I am grateful to have had my novice work received so well, and so soon. 

Cross Country Drive

Drive across America and you realize that we are more a myriad of small countries joined by a common language, and that only sometimes. 

Here, finally, is the finished video from R/GA and Samsung documenting our trip across this great land.