It’s crazy to me that after 20 years “officially” (read: first check) in the entertainment business, that extra work has any place among the things I regularly bust my ass to create. When I was 19, getting paid to produce a video on grant writing, I didn’t even think I’d ever be an extra, let alone imagine there would be online outlets in the future that would be built so much on celebrating the infinitesimally important and engagingly ephemeral that I could tell people about these little nonsense “roles” I’d had on popular TV shows and some of the people reading my posts would tell me this is their favorite thing I do.
What I’m saying is: thank god those things exist. Sure, they also help us stay in touch with the vacuous and the useless, but I regularly find gems on Instagram or Twitter, like friends who are trying to get their home businesses launched, or seeing people’s pets (I don’t care how much I like you, I want to talk your ear off in person, but all I want to see on Instagram is your cat), or stuff like I’ve been doing myself. Tiny celebrations of things people enjoy doing. Because I love extra work. It’s a pain in the ass, but the payoff of seeing myself, mid-shot, in Good Trouble (above), is an absolute joy, because it both means nothing for the plot of the show, but solidly represents a sliver of my love for entertainment. The best place for expressing this and enjoying it is social media. With a single exception, maybe.
That exception being my next book. I just hit the 70,000-word mark on The Professional Blur and it’s remarkable how little anger I’ve generated internally by writing about my own life. There’s a lot about my own struggles in there, as well as the joys of living as an extra, but my favorite parts to write are, frankly, the ones where I realize I have a lot of apologizing to do. There are a lot of those. It’s cathartic and will also lead to some very real apologies to people who deserve it and, if experience serves, have moved on and forgotten my bullshit.
The book’s central theme surrounds me doing extra work, of course, and the little pieces of very good entertainment I’ve been associated with, over the years. One critical piece is something you’ll see – I fucking hope – on July 16. After years of wanting to be a VP expert on Drunk History, last October I got the chance to be, as you might have guessed, not that, but still, on Drunk History. Being an extra on something that funny was remarkably exciting. Of course, I’m now doing with anyone within reading distance of this post what I’ve done so many times with my family: “Hey, keep an eye out on BLANK this week, you just might see someone you recognize,” a tactic which usually falls flat, ESPECIALLY for extras. We’re called that because we are the fat that can be trimmed from a scene and not missed.
Which I guess is the magic of it. When you’re not trimmed, and the scene still doesn’t depend on you, but there you are, doing something you love. On July 16th, I’ll find out how much of me you can see. In the meantime, I absolutely love how little of me is in the first promo for the second half of season 2 (below).
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