I keep getting sucked into reading more shit about UCB not paying performers and then feeling angry about it. The fact that the most recent NY Times article brings up identity politics, race and gender makes me care again about what I thought I had forced myself to stop caring about.
I have spent SO MUCH time and energy in my life thinking about which crowds accept me and which don’t. Whether that’s based on talent, hard work, or some fucked-up cliquey bullshit. I spent all of high school and college trying to get into the theater cliques and only feeling like I succeeded my senior year of both. Once I was in, I was like “yes, of course I am here, this is where I belong. Now I know the system is fair” without giving a shit about all the people who felt the way I did for years. I remember (shamefully and fleetingly) thinking about how unfair it was that I didn’t get into Yale and 3 black girls in my class did — then when I got into Harvard, I had a lot of people tell me I was only there because I was a minority, a legacy, a girl and I was like “Fuck you guys, I deserve this. The system is fair.”
I hope the people who are defending UCB remember what it was like to be on the outside of the system, to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, to watch some people succeed who deserved to and others who in your opinion didn’t necessarily, to wonder whether you were being rewarded for your work or how much you hung out, how many shows you saw, who you knew, your race, your good looks, your gender, the ways in which your identity was shaping what you received. Any system has flaws - no system is truly a meritocracy. But I hope the UCB defenders don’t get so defensive that they stop being reflective about how the system can improve. And I hope they know that every time they defend their system and say “It is fair b/c it worked for me. End of argument,” they are shutting out the possibility that the system can be improved.
I have always cared way too much about things being fair. Nothing is fair. If I wanted to work in a meritocracy, I probably shouldn’t have started working in the entertainment industry. But I do believe this is a good time for comedy. There are extremely talented people who are succeeding — both at the UCB and outside of it— and who (IMHO) deserve it. There are people making their own way — starting podcasts, filming web series, thinking outside the box. I have to constantly remind myself— Amy Poehler did not get on a Harold team. Amy Poehler started a theater, a show, a movement. If the system isn’t working for you, be better. Do more. Try something else.
okay this is a bunch of #whitepeopleproblems and by that I mean, #halfasianquarterpuertoricanquarterwhitemiddleclasswhinypeopleproblems. thanks for listening.