I got laid off!



The craziest, scariest and best thing just happened to me. I got laid off! I have tried my hardest not to bringing the doom and gloom of work to this blog. The truth is my expiry date for that job was long before today. I was way too scared to leave the security of my regular paycheque, even though I was miserable and working in a place that was no longer bringing out my best work but my bitterness.

This 9 to 5 version of myself was in vast contrast to the happy, confident and joyful person I have been allowed to become in my evenings and weekends, since I have gotten involved with the Kinkonauts. I would spend half my day feeling like a shitty version of myself to getting to be the best version of myself at night, it was exhausting on my soul.

Today I got laid off and that should be a bad thing or some sort bad reflection on me. The truth is I didn’t fit the mold of what was needed in my position and they did not fit the mold of the kind of company I feel excited to work for. And the thing about me is I LOVE TO WORK! I am a loyal, hard-working person to a fault and I would not have quit. I would have stayed there miserably secure. I would have kept threatening to leave but never have left.

So, much like the last time I lost a job after many years of employment at same place where I was happy, this punishment of getting fired is a ticket to the next part of my life. Last time I went on a European adventure and came back alive. Now I want to answer a question that I have had since I was 16 years old, Second City? Toronto? A career in television, comedy or marketing? I have no idea what is next and that is SO exciting and terrifying. But the last four years of working my way up in a career that was always a fight, meeting the people I have met and taking a chance on getting back on stage; it has all set me up and it all meant something. This day is the universe kicking me right in the ass to show me that I am finally where I need to be to answer those questions.

I am scared. I am excited. Most of all I am grateful that all the other attempts to go never worked out because I would have not known what and who I have come to know now. I would have not have met the Kinkonauts, my cat and all my lifelong dear work friends. It all happened to get me here and now my life is in my hands.

I feel free, happy and hopeful. What’s next? WHO THE HELL KNOWS? Stay tuned…

Lady Strap – Election Selfie

Linnea is one of my favourite people. It took me a while to get her because she lives on a different vibration than most and I was hesitant of that until I realized how fun it is up there. Linnea brings out a silly, weird and fearless side of me and she is one of my favourite people play with. It is free and fun! Linnea is also an amazing singer and a way better student of the uke than I am and she is kind enough to let me sing with her.Today we were doing crafts, doing improvised music and watching the election when we came up with this song. Looking rough and raw this Lady Strap’s Debut song…

Giving thanks

Thank-You-1-500x408Today is Thanksgiving and I am not spending it with my family because my parents went to Winnipeg and my brother is with his girlfriend’s family. In the past, when this has happened, I would have been alone on the couch, in my sweats eating take-out all weekend. Instead I am going to a friendsgiving dinner just four floors down from my apartment with a group of wonderful friends from work and friends I have met through them. And the last two nights I have got to spend with my improv family, doing sketch shows, improv sets and just being lucky enough to be in their company.

Last night in the glow of getting to play in my first Armando with people I have been huge fans of and getting to chill with them after, I remembered the sad lonely person I used to be just a few years ago. I was living on survive, I was heartbroken and beaten down by a lifetime of rejection… I felt hopeless and alone. I was in a very dark place for a very long time and after some self work and travel I was fighting my way back to the light. Then I connected with a guy and it was a tumultuous and I got my heart broken once again and I could have gone down the old hide away and wallow path. But for some reason, maybe just out of pure boredom of living my life on survive, I made different choices. I went to shows alone, I said yes to making new friends and I pursued something that I used to love and left behind (improv). Those choices made a world of difference in my life.
After a lifetime of being an outsider and insecure victim of bullying, I am finally finding my own voice and I have found people who support and love me for it. Life is far from perfect but today I am thankful for exactly where I am. I have always been blessed with a wonderful family but now I have a community of friends that I never thought I would ever be a part of. You have all helped me find a fire in my soul and joy in my heart that I never knew existed and for that I am eternally grateful.

Lessons from our first sketch set

SketchLong time, no blog y’all!

I guess I have spent the last few months doing stuff and that has made me too busy to come here and write about it all. Even with the Kinkonaut’s on hiatus this summer, the group was pretty active playing around with musical improv, new formats for the show season and oh yeah, RENOVATING THE LAB!

We also made our first endeavor into sketch comedy and a group of us produced, wrote and performed a 30 minute sketch set and three themed sketches for the inaugural Alberta Sketchfest put on by the amazing Bull Skit Comedy in Red Deer. We decided to take on this task with a month before the show. That deadline put me into manager mode at first which eventually turned into pure and utter panic. Every insecurity I had about myself as a comedy writer, producer and performer bubbled up and I freaked out and wanted to give up. Luckily I had the support of my loyal, supportive and immensely talented tribe to keep me a little sane and drag me back from the edge. We trudged through brainstorming, writing, rewriting, reads and rehearsal and got shit done through all the stress.

Once we got to Red Deer, we were warmly embraced by the lovely and friendly Bull Skit Comedy and their wonderful fans. Jenna Goldade, co-founder and artistic director of Bull Skit, has created a dynamic sketch and improv scene in Red Deer. She is as humble and hardworking, as she is talented and driven… a truly inspiring woman. Everyone at the festival was eager, supportive, unique and freaking hilarious and it was a true honor to play alongside them and watch and learn.

Our set was ummmmm weird but in a way that totally warmed my heart and made us all giggle as a troupe. Luckily, it made other people giggle too. We got a lot of great feedback and warm support and the lovely Bull Skit crew awarded us the Best of Fest award. After all the stress and nerves that went into our first ever sketch sets, this was a immense honor. The clock shaped like Alberta will forever be stuck on 12:16, the time we got the lovely award.

This project taught me a lot about myself, jumping outside my comfort zone and trusting the people I work with and my own instincts. It also reaffirmed my opinion that a good attitude enhances talent and hard work, while bad one diminishes it. While I will always try to work on producing shows to make audiences laugh, I also promise to always try to be someone people WANT to work with because of my commitment, work ethic and most importantly good attitude. I am taking this all on to create things to make audiences, my fellow players and myself feel good and add a little light and laughter to this world.

I want thank the amazing Bull Skit for creating this opportunity for sketch groups across North America to play together and being such gracious hosts. I hope that I get more chances to work with your warm, welcoming and dynamically talented crew. Thank you to my fellow Kinkonauts Linnea Ward, Jennifer Danvers, Rob Janowski, Josh Bertwistle, Dominic Pinney and Kaitlin Kirk for your contributions from your weird brains, your support of my weird brain and the super cool journey we went on through all them ups and downs. I’m excited to do more cool stuff with y’all.

I am eager to work more on my writing while finishing up my Calgary Improv School Sketch Writing Course with the hilariously meticulous, Jeff Kubik, and taking on more projects in the future.

I am also SO pumped for show season to start and to see what other things this amazing Kinkonaut’s group is capable of! It is going to be a great season. Check out our shows starting this Friday and Saturday night in the brand new LAB! Try something new and fresh to lighten up your day!

Jump in

FullSizeRenderI am exhausted in the most content way. I spent the day doing something that is not a normal Andrea thing to do, bouncing at an Extreme Trampoline Park. For someone as prone to injury as myself, this was kind of a terrifying experience. But the motto of the last year has been to throw myself into all the experience that fly my way, so I jumped in (haha get it) and I am so glad I did because it was SO MUCH FUN!

The whole sweaty, bouncy day filled with laughter is kind of representative of the past year I have had. I have always been scared and worried about failing and getting hurt and that has lead me to hold back from doing like A LOT OF COOL SHIT in my life.  Last year, it kind of clicked with me that every time I had just let go and took on adventure, I had pretty rad experiences. I traveled Europe with a whole bunch of strangers that I grew so close with and had so many adventures with. I went to New York City, Washington DC and Boston by myself and had such cool experiences. I decided to go to improv shows and classes, I started being in shows, found a way to be brave enough to sing in front of people and so many other amazing experience. I did all that stuff because I threw caution to the wind and jumped in. And truth be told, for that majority of my life that has not been my personality at all.

But after years of being a scaredy-cat and missing out on so much, I am ready to experience what this life I have been given has to offer and not run away and hide anymore.  I want to try stuff because that is where the best side of myself lives. She lives in the adventures, creative production and performing. She lives in the moment and she is a badass bitch. This is who I am working to be like ALL THE TIME and I am lucky enough to be a part of a community that inspires and helps me bring her to life.

During this last Kinkonaut’s season I have learned so much from the coaches, the classes and the people I am lucky enough to play with. Every time I watched a show I took notes that have been gems from so many talented players I got to see every show week. I got to learn from gifted and wise guest instructors. And I got the opportunity to perform and that has helped me grow so much. I have been accepted by a community of people that are so diverse and talented and every time I am in their presence I feel so lucky to be there. I am so blessed to call these people my friends. This show season has given me so much; I found my voice, I am so much more confident and I am opening up to people after being a loner for far too long – I have found my tribe. I feel incredibly humbled and grateful to be a part of such a fun, supportive, innovative and dynamic community and I am so excited for our summer adventures and all the creative rainbows and fireworks that lie in the show season ahead. Thank you for a fantastic season Kinkonaut’s!

Now… I … Sleep

15 minutes

IMG_3287Guys I am sporting a major case of the feel-goods right now. I am floating around in a state of bliss because of 15 minutes. 15 minutes of improvised stories and songs and joy pouring out of pores of people who have become very dear to me. 15 minutes of truly living contently in a moment. These 15 minutes were a relief to my system that has been worn down by too many personal and professionals stresses these days.  15 minutes took me away from it all.

Tonight my improv heroes Notorious were playing at Café Koi and they were kind enough to let the Kinkonaut’s STU group open. We heard about the opportunity last minute and due to scheduling clusterfucks we were unable to practice until today, the day of the show. I was bit nervous that we had no idea what we were doing, other than it being musical and improvised. But thanks to the leadership of one of our own (my good friend, Michael Harvey), the bravery of the small group of eager improvisers (Alex, Linnea, Mike and myself) and the last minute help of the gracious Kinkonaut Super God, Jason Lewis, we were able to come up with a mini-STUsical the Musical. This is something Linnea and I had talked about wanting to try since like day one of STU in September and to be opening for Notorious was icing on that dream cake. We spent 2+ hours practicing a format and making up songs over and over again and it was super fun and came together much more smoothly than I had thought it would.

Café Koi is an interesting performance space. The stage is tiny and the crowd is a mixture of improv fans and people just looking to enjoy the delicious Asian fusion food. It tends to get loud in there and you have to be very loud and make your presence known on stage to manage the crowd. Tonight the place was packed, as it usually is for most Notorious Shows, and my nerves were there but they were not beating the bubbling exciting of doing something I had wanted to do for a while now.

And then we got our 15 minutes… and we were all in that moment and present and we got the great location suggestion of the Calgary Tower and then, as far as I am concerned… magic happened. Words will never really ever fully clarify the feeling you get when you are doing that one thing that you love to do above anything else.  However, I can tell you that it has been 3 hours since that 15 minutes and I am still grinning like an idiot.

Life can be hard and filled with bullshit but if you find YOUR thing, all it will take is 15 minutes of doing that thing to bring you back to the reason you get up every morning and go on. 15 minutes reminded me why I am just so lucky to be here… lucky to be me.