“Making it” in Los Angeles can be a tough road to follow, especially when “making it” is widely dependent on what fame-possessed loon you find yourself talking to. If you happen to be an aspiring comedian at the beginning of what you hope is a long and fruitful career, the limelight can seem tangible enough, like the biggest, fluffiest croissant behind the pastry counter that is only distanced from you by a pane of cheap glass. But then, when you actually attempt to do some stand up at your ex’s best friend’s house party, to a crowd consisting of only aspiring comedians, all of the sudden the realization of exactly how rough n’ tumble the path to stardom is becomes all too real. That’s why, thank God, The Groundlings exist.
For any newcomers to the world of sketch comedy, The Groundlings quite literally gave Los Angeles a voice. Back in 1974 when Gary Austin decided it would be cool to put on a couple of sketch shows with his friends, it became instantly clear that this was something that was not only craved by the community, but necessary to the proliferation of improv comedy as art. Soon enough, huge TV and film producers like Lily Tomlin and Lorne Michaels were snatching up the most talented of the crew, proving that being a Groundling was one of the best chances you could give yourself in jumpstarting a sustainable career of endless riches and glory.
Over the past four decades, The Groundlings program has become increasingly competitive, and it’s really no surprise why. After birthing such stars as Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, and Kristen Wiig, just to name a minute few, the improv group was gaining overwhelming national attention as comedians flocked to its theatre on Melrose Ave. for a chance, nay, a mere glimpse at success. If it weren’t for the theatre, we would never have been graced with such acts as the incomparable Pee Wee Herman, not to mention pretty much any of our favorite "Saturday Night Live" bits.
With all of that that in mind, mark your calendars for the night of July 20th, because, in accordance with the celebration of its 40th anniversary, The Groundlings calls for a much-needed and much-deserved facelift. For one night only, beloved alumni from all four decades—from 70s fav Laraine Newman ("SNL") to contemporary delight Jim Rash ("Community")—are all going to perform on stage at The Groundlings Decade Night to raise some bucks for a brand-spanking new school that will rest next to the theatre. Not only will this expansion proliferate the growth of a historical organization, but it will also provide a wealth of new opportunities for all of you out there looking to make people laugh for a living. Folks like to throw around the term “state-of-the-art” to make things sounds cooler, and so will we… but mostly because the school actually will be.
The old-timers go on first at 7:00, and the millennials will close the show with their set starting at 11:00. Tickets are on sale as I type these little words, and only for a mere $20 bucks a set or $100 for the whole four-decades-old enchilada. Be a part of comedy history, or at least watch as someone else makes history. Buy tickets here, ya fool.