Two unsuccessful people + a good connection = Elaine Benes
From 1982 to 1985, when she was in her early 20's, she was a member of a Saturday Night Live cast that included Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Never comfortable with the self-promotion and politicking that went on behind the scenes, her stint on the show that has launched many comedy careers did not go as well as she would have liked. As she put it recently while on Inside the Actor's Studio, "They won't be making any 'best of' videos of my time there any time soon."
So, she stunk at her nationally televised job. What did she do? She made a friend out of someone equally bad. Later, it changed her (and his) career forever.
If writing success at SNL can be measured by the number of skits you get on the air, Larry David was probably the worst writer in the history of the show.
So, the worst performer and the worst writer became fast friends. That ended up paying off nicely.
Almost 5 years later, David famously teamed with Jerry Seinfeld to write a pilot for a show initially called The Seinfeld Chronicles. The first set of episodes featured an all male cast and NBC felt the show needed an injection of femininity, so David called his old friend to play the part of Elaine Benes. It obviously went pretty well from there, but it grew out of a good connection made at an unsuccessful job for both of them.
Incidentally, Seinfeld fans Probably noticed that the 1 SNL skit that Larry David got on the air would later be turned into the Seinfeld episode, The Phone Message. His tirade with Ebersol would be reenacted by George Costanza during The Revenge. Both events are told quite nicely in a great book on the history of SNL called Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.
So even if you stink at a job you hate, look around. Despite how bleak things look, you can still make a connection with somebody with whom you share a common interest even if that common interest is how bad you both are at your respective jobs. You never know, it could be the start of something that helps you both out when you least expect it.
Labels: General stuff