happy accidents-jane lynch

“The roughness of New York City’s streets seeped in everywhere. At that first sublet, my Chinese roommate had invited home some guys who were rumored to be connected to the Chinese Mafia, and they ended up ransacking the place. Another time, a friend of mine named John brought a trick home, and after I’d left for work and John had passed out, the guy rummaged through my stuff, took some cash and my boom box, and for some reason cut the sleeves off my sweatshirts.” (73-4)

this makes me laugh every time, the first time being thursday on my way to a citizenship ceremony. i learned in my travels that military service, not birth, makes you a citizen in switzerland. how’s that for a country that boasts a global reputation for neutrality. here, all you have to do is take an easy test and say the oath (in english and french). to be fair, standardized tests are always easier when you’re well-versed in the language and culture they’re written in. i’m not sure how i’ve managed to avoid this thus far, but i’m glad for the opportunity, even if it meant that i had to renew my vows to a queen that i didn’t make a conscious decision to marry (i was a newborn). it was a push and pull between getting misty and being slightly offended-“congratulations, Bridgette, you’re about to have yourself a naturally born Canadian there”, “the RCMP are here to help, not hinder, not like some countries back home”, “for those of you who are chewing gums, do not stick it under my chairs”, newly robed judge joyce being called judge judy-these are all things that were uttered. it was really something to be present for 40 people from 24 countries being sworn in as canadians, and jane lynch was there in my lap.


3 thoughts on “happy accidents-jane lynch

  1. out of all the books that i’ve carried around in the past little bit, this one got the most comments-because she’s a recognizable face? because she’s hilarious? because she’s the face of glee? for whatever reason, i don’t know that people see her as great as she is. reading her book should take care of that. she also lauds The Seat of My Soul, which adds her and her first gay husband to the ranks of Oprah and Roc-a-Fella (though Dame read it first and Jay-Z got all the credit).

    livelihood vs life:

    “Jane is cut from the same cloth as Jack Benny. She doesn’t need a joke to get a laugh. What’s funny about her is her ‘take’ on any character she’s playing…and I might add, because she’s a wonderful actor, and she plays the character very seriously, thereby making it that much funnier.” (x-xi)

    whoa. foreword by Carol Burnett-big time.

    “To support myself, I got a job detasseling corn with migrant workers in the endless cornfields outside town. I wanted to do something physical and be outside so maybe I could get a tan. What I got was cuts all over my arms because I went sleeveless.” (60)

    “I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the best training in the world for an improv actor. Television home shopping was unchartered territory, so we had to fly by the seat of our pants and make things up as we went along. We’d smile into the camera and do our best pitch.” (83)

    “Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Tim Meadows were all touring with The Second City when I was there. I got pulled off the road and onto the main stage in Chicago when they needed someone to step in for Bonnie Hunt when she got married. I stayed on as an understudy for the main stage show, usually stepping in for Bonnie or Barb Wallace. I was quite diligent with my understudy duties. I went to the show every night and sat on the bench in the back of the house where I could watch for free. I was up on everything that went on: I knew every line and every move of the current revue, and I went over and over the songs and the choreography. When they called, I was ready, and you’d never have known I hadn’t been in the show for the whole run. I felt so proud of myself I thought I would be rewarded for my good work by getting a spot of my own in the cast.” (87)

    despite her insecurity, she doesn’t listen to the bottom line when people tell her she won’t make it.

    “It turned out my work with Nicki was more productive than any acting class I had ever taken. I learned the essential lesson that all the material, everything, I will ever need to create characters who are true and effective is in me already. Nicki would tell me not to back away from the dark stuff, but to ‘lean into it.’ I believe that in creating The Angry Lady from within my deepest self, my work became really good.” (149)

    “I learned firsthand a very valuable lesson: the more unavailable you are, the more they want you.” (219)

    “As they led us back inside after the unveiling, I saw two museum workers getting on an elevator with my wax figure, one guy carrying my red tracksuited body while the other one had my decapitated head in his armpit. Minutes earlier, I had wondered if there was anything stranger than standing next to our own lifelike wax figure. The answer is: /yes/.” (288)

  2. the highs and the lows:

    “On Sundays, he was the organist at St. Jude’s. For most of the service, he would play standard church fare, but if you listened closely to his incidental music after Communion, you would hear the dulcet strains of something like ‘Afternoon Delight,’ played in minor chords. He’d catch my eye and solemnly mouth the words: ‘Gonna grab some afternoon deliiight…’ No one mocked piety like Chris.” (41)

    “Our theater department was full of closeted homosexuals. We were too afraid to look at this aspect of ourselves, so of course we marginalized the one person who had the courage to be who she was. Needless to say, I didn’t want anything to do with her.” (52)

    “No one chased after me and begged me to stay, and at first that pissed me off. Then it really hurt my feelings. The thought did cross my mind that I had gone too far…and that, in fact, I had been the one who rejected them…but still, the old ‘I have been rejected, no one wants me’ pity party began again.” (82)

    “Plus, every performance was a group catharsis, with all of us, actors and audience alike, sharing in the dirty secret that this TV family was the family we wished we’d grown up in. Where else but in the Brady household could you pitch a fit, storm off to your room, slam the door behind you, and then hear a gentle knock, followed by, ‘Honey? Do you want to talk?’ It was the relationship we wished we could have had with our parents, and we just couldn’t get enough of that show.” (101)

    “Fast-forward one year to the audition for the Frosted Flakes commercial. As I was signing in, I said out loud, ‘What the hell is Christopher Guest doing directing commercials?’ Someone standing nearby told me he did them all the time, adding that any commercial you’d seen on television lately that actually made you laugh was probably directed by him.” (155)

    errol morris telling strombo that he’d probably be remembered more for his beer commercials than his films.

    “The last day of shooting, Jennifer gave me a ceramic Great Dane she’d bought at that dog show back in LA. It was male, and for some reason the dog’s penis was circumcised; i.e., it had a visible head. Though she was not usually big on details, this was one she loved.
    When I moved from that apartment in Venice, the penis broke off. I still have the dog, just without its manhood.” (174-5)

    “Unless you are half-assed, you have to prepare for an audition as you would a performance. For me, that meant being entirely off book (i.e., knowing all the lines), because I’ve found it’s almost impossible to do well if I’m half off and half on. I enjoyed that preparation, but I also liked the feeling of walking into a room in which no one knows you from Adam, and making everyone sit up and wonder where you came from. But still, the pressure of auditioning could be heavy, so I was fine letting it go.
    And let it go I did, until Judd Apatow called me and asked me to audition for his movie.” (195)

    “Every year or so, I’d play out the same cycle: I’d fall hard for someone, projecting onto her all kinds of fabulous traits she didn’t actually have, and declare my love. After we’d been involved for a short time, I’d find myself horribly disappointed when I realized I had a created an image that didn’t really match the person, and so I’d break up with her. I didn’t know how to fall in love with an actual person, but boy could I create a great one in my imagination.” (210)

  3. substance abuse:

    “I awoke every day at the crack of dawn and was thrilled not to have a hangover. I drank pots of coffee all day long. I found myself eating about a gallon of chocolate ice cream daily to replace the copious amounts of sugar my body was used to from my daily beer intake.
    I did, however, continue my habit of taking Nyquil before bed. I wanted oblivion. Though no longer drinking Miller Lite, I was still in need of something to soothe me. The fact that Nyquil had alcohol in it was not something I acknowledged at all. I still considered myself on the wagon.” (107)

    “But rather than wallow, I threw myself into homeownership and became a painting junkie. I wanted the rooms in my house to be perfect in hue and tone. This was very frustrating, though, as I had absolutely no talent for choosing colors. At first, my choices were much too vivid and my poor little house looked like a demented nursery school. Then I went through just about every shade of taupe available. I painted all the walls and all the trim in my house over and over and over again. I was obsessed. I couldn’t sleep if I hated the color I had just painted a room, and I could be found at the twenty-four-hour Home Depot in the middle of the night, looking at swatches. Jeannie was sure I had lost square footage due to the many coats of paint I’d applied.” (183)

    “I also stopped going to Alcoholics Anonymous. I had been going to AA meetings steadily for more than eight years, and I was starting to drift away. I didn’t have any urge to drink, and hadn’t in what seemed like forever. I was getting my succor from my friends. I left my identification as an alcoholic behind and went about being just myself.” (186)

    and this is brave. kind of like when paul haggis spoke out against Scientology.

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