What it’s re­ally like to try to make it in com­edy.

If you think it’s hard to land a job in your field, imag­ine the chal­lenges Cana­dian funny women face try­ing to make it in L.A.’s chew-up-and-spitout show­biz scene. Here, six co­me­di­ans at var­i­ous stages of their ca­reers share their best ad­vice, cover-lette

ELLE (Canada) - - Contents - Sarah Laing

Were you a funny kid? “I do re­mem­ber think­ing that I was [funny] when I was a kid, but it wasn’t like a ca­reer maker. I didn’t think there was a ca­reer in it. I didn’t think there was a ca­reer in it when I was 30. I didn’t think there was a ca­reer in it when I was 35. Now I think that, yes, there is a ca­reer in it.” Did you have a dead­line for when you needed to “make it”? “Dead­line? Def­i­nitely. One of my dead­lines was if I’m still wai­t­er­ing when I’m 30, then I’ll jump off a bridge. Not re­ally. Then I was wai­t­er­ing when I was 30, and I was like, ‘All right, I’m still here. It’s not that bad.’” Why keep go­ing on? “A lack of a Plan B, re­ally. When I started—I ac­tu­ally started in act­ing—I came to it pretty late in life, like in my early to mid-20s, and at the time I was try­ing to be­come a lawyer. I was just about to do the LSATs when I took a class in the­atre arts, which I thought would be re­ally easy; I thought I would get a great grade and it would set me up nicely, but I ac­tu­ally just loved it. It took my life in a to­tally dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, fort­unately or un­for­tu­nately. So I al­ready had that mo­men­tum when I made a bad choice, in my early 20s, so my par­ents were like, ‘You’re do­ing what now?’ Once I made that de­ci­sion—it’s hard to go back to law school when you’ve given up the premise of go­ing to law school. I had al­ready aban­doned all hope.” Can you imag­ine be­ing a lawyer? “I can’t even—it gives me the shiv­ers. I just hate read­ing dry ma­te­rial. For ob­vi­ous rea­sons, I would not have en­joyed that [law] ca­reer path. It’s per­fect for loads of peo­ple, and they love it, and they love read­ing court doc­u­ments and fil­ing, but I am just so bad at that stuff; I have no idea why I ever thought it was right for me. I think I wanted to be a pro­fes­sional. It seemed like a smart bet. I think I would have been mis­er­able. I was re­ally quite happy as a starving ac­tor, ba­si­cally do­ing com­edy for free.”

THE QUEEN BEE OF COM­EDY LAYS DOWN THE LAW FULL FRONTAL’S Sa­man­tha Bee on how she al­most be­came a lawyer.

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