HOLLY PRAZ OFF & ALANA JOHNSTON
THE SKETCH- COMEDY- SHOW HOSTS ON GETTING A BIG BREAK.
Holly Prazoff, 36, hit a wall when she was fired from her job performing with The Second City in Toronto. “It was one of the only comedy jobs in Canada,” she says. After that, plus a series of auditions for “a bunch of people looking at their phones,” Prazoff was motivated to make a leap. So she relocated to Los Angeles seven years ago and now co-hosts (with Alana Johnston) the weekly Upright Citizens Brigade sketch show Not Too Shabby. She has also written a pilot based on her ex-husband and is generally waiting for a big break while maintaining a day job as studio manager for the new boho fashion brand Dôen. “I have friends who were doing nothing one day and the next got their dream job,” she says. “Every five minutes, some new hotshot is moving here to conquer the L.A. comedy scene.”
Alana Johnston, 32, who relocated from Toronto in 2011 to look for more opportunities (it was also “50 percent being sick of winter”), says that working in L.A. “really feels like anything could happen, which is exciting.” She tested for Saturday Night Live shortly after her arrival, which she calls “a dream come true” even if she didn’t get the gig. And with every job, Johnston builds up her confidence a little more. At first, she says, “I cried before every show because I was so scared. I finally slapped myself and realized that this is a job, not a hobby, and teachers and accountants don’t cry before work.” Johnston remains hopeful that her big break is just around the corner. “Comedy is a long game, and it’s about who can wait it out,” she says. “I see my friends getting their own shows, and it seems like someone is [eventually] going to hire me.”