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Wednesday
Jun152011

You Need 4 Jobs and an Online Tip Jar to Make a Living in Comedy Now

With JFL Chicago sweeping the Windy City, The Tribune went door to door asking comedy folks there what's in their wallet. Short answer: a couple nickels to rub together and a bus ticket to the coast. Here's an example of how one person survives there:

STACEY SMITH calls herself a goofball. At one point, Smith, 23, was taking classes at the city’s big four improv theaters simultaneously: iO, Second City, The Annoyance Theatre and ComedySportz. Between tuition, renting rehearsal space and hiring an improv coach, Smith said she had spent roughly $7,000 on training during her two years in Chicago.
These are the ways Smith stays financially afloat: (1) She’s a nanny 10 hours a day, four days a week; (2) she began doing voiceover work, including a Web ad for Motorola headsets; (3) she bought “HTML for Dummies,” taught herself Web design and now creates websites for fellow comedians; (4) she wrote a one-woman show called “Confessions of a Chubby Tomboy” and performs it at comedy festivals; (5) she set up a donation page on her website that reads, “Thank you for supporting live independent theatre.” So far she’s received $800.
The resume of Stacey Smith sounds eerily similar to that of you, me and everyone we know. So do you think all these formative Chicago comedy schools are all just teaching future generations to be jack-of-no-trade, flittering fruit flies with an aversion to making serious dough? Or is that some kind of unique skill we all bring to the table?

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Stacey Smith deserves a nanny award I must say. Learning web development alone and just at home is never easy and doing these multiple tasks will make my head explode. Does she feel any pain or stress over the week?

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