September 3rd, 2009
Every now and then I go to that place that is bedazzled with wonderment. This occurs when I put some attention on the reality that this very moment was determined by every grandiose and seemingly microscopic choice that I have made up until this point. I have no interest in getting into the “Is fate predetermined” debate. Although I have a hard time believing than any higher entity in the universe could have predicted that I would be having an exceptionally good hair day today based on switching conditioners. On the most basic level, there seems to be something almost science fiction about allowing ourselves to just accept that the rewarding and challenging experiences of our lifetimes are based on free will.
Getting into a summer theater program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts was what initially brought me up to New York right after college. While I appreciate the craft of acting, I have never resonated with it..mind, body and spirit like I have with comedy. I prefer to write my own things and have a bit more creative control. Luckily I tapped into the New York comedic community very early on. This granted me a strong network and a variety of opportunities that continues to grow since performing with my first improv troupe in the Dean and Delucca basement in 1997. I have paid my dues.
However, there were a few months before I was nestled into the safe bosom of comedy. Being an “actress”..I hit the audition circuit and sat in casting rooms with 200 other tall blonds. Two memorable opportunities came my way..both of which I declined. Oh how life could have been altered if I had given the green light.
First missed opportunity. I was offered a part in the HBO show Oz…you know the wholesome family drama about men in a maximum-security prison. If you don’t recall this series, let me share some dialogue with you:
Schillinger: But Beecher knows too much about both of us. He's gotta die.
Schillinger: I'll deal with it.
Keller: No, I'll kill Beecher.
Keller: Before I whack him, I just wanna fuck him in the ass one more time.
Yeah. That was from one of the more tame episodes. The part that I was offered involved me being topless. My ethics overrode the benefit of having an HBO credit on my resume. Moreover, I couldn’t stomach my brother and father catching that episode.Just wrong in every way.
The second “I accept the honor but decline the nomination” opportunity that I rejected was for the part of the mother in a Hebrew National Hot Dog Commercial. Mind you, I was 22 years old so I assumed my offspring would be some form of a baby. No. The marketing and advertising geniuses felt that the child should be a teenager. A few months later I ended up seeing the commercial on television and it went like so: Mom and child (that she evidently had when she was 7) drive up to the Hebrew National Hot Dog Window(..because those are everywhere?)
The mother undresses the hot dog with her eyes and then takes an alarmingly seductive bite then exclaims, (after an extended giggle) Thaaaaanks, I’ll have another!” Her delivery implied that the director required that she watch a B-grade porn film entitled, “Romancing the Bone" to get that deep bite “just so.”
Sure, I could have accepted those jobs but life would have flowed in the opposite direction. And I want to be where I'm at. I feel that I need to thank my 22 year old self and my comedy career as a whole for sparing me a lifetime of eating hot dogs topless.