The Oscars & The Day Job

Just a few years ago, I was working at a restaurant in Pasadena on Oscar night with Nat Faxon. I was managing/waiting tables and Nat was behind the bar. There were no reservations, so, expecting a slow night, we had a crappy little TV in the bar to catch the show and make smart-ass comments. If we moved the antennae just right, we got decent reception. As it turns out, we got slammed that night and didn’t get to watch much of the show.
Tonight Nat is nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for The Descendants, written with Jim Rash and Alexander Payne. I couldn’t be more proud. I told him he would be nominated when I saw him at a show at The Groundlings Theater a few weeks ago. (Groundlings alumnus are up for 6 awards this year)
But it got me thinking about “day jobs.” Do you realize that virtually every person you see in that theater on Oscar night had (or still has) a “day job?” Know what a “day job” is? It’s that thing you call a “job” that takes up all your time and drains all your energy and keeps the house in place, the food in the fridge and the cars running. Most artists- actors, writers, musicians, producers, directors, etc, must have a “day job” as they pursue their dream career in the arts, which is itself a full time job. On top of this, many of us have families to take care of as well. And pets.
No complaints here- I’m not a whiner. My life is a friggin blast, actually. But I always wonder if people realize what artists go through, with all the odds stacked against them, just for a chance to leave behind something special in this world for people they’ll never meet. Can you imagine doing your job for free, or very little pay, while you worked another job on the side until your “real” job panned out for you? So when you’re yelling rude things at the TV tonight during the Oscars (hey, that’s what I do too) just remember you’re seeing some kickass people who held it together and went for it.
I’m going to miss Nat tonight, because I’ll be on a video shoot for one of my “day jobs.” So don’t tell me what happens. I’ll tivo it. (And tomorrow I audition to be the new Viking in the Capital One commercials. Seriously, what’s in YOUR wallet?)

(l to r) Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, Jim Rash

me & Nat as idiot stoners at The Groundlings Theater

Nat at the Golden Globes, just behind Melissa McCarthy, behind Dustin Hoffman, with huge grin
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~ by abernhoft on February 26, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Oscars & The Day Job”

  1. Congrats to you and your friend! I’m an illustrator myself. Its tough when people find out you’re an artist, they want you to entertain them with your art, to give them a break from their 9 to 5, But we just got off a 9 to 5 ourselves. And we need what’s left of ourselves for our 2nd job.

  2. Nat won, by the way

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