News of Harold Ramis’s death this week rocked the comedy community, and a bunch of folks posted uncharacteristically heartwarming things about the effect Ramis had on their careers and lives. The one that stuck with me most was by Jon Perry, who excerpted this Ramis quote from comedy writer manual Here’s The Kicker:
The only thing totally unique is you. There's no one like you. No one else has had your experience. No one has been in your body or had your parents. Yes, we've all had the same cultural influences. We've all lived at the same time, watched the same shows, gone to the same movies, listened to the same music. But it's all filtered through our unique personalities. And I honor the things that have influenced me. I'm grateful for whatever it is that became the particular lens that's allowed me to put out what I have.
I interviewed Becky Yamamoto about her series Uninspired last week, before Ramis passed away but, in retrospect, it’s a perfect example of the kind of relatable, yet uniquely personal comedy product that resonates because it rings so true. As comedy writers, we’re often afraid that our audience won’t “get it” if we allow our unfiltered thoughts to spill out on the page. In reality, that’s probably the best way to be remembered and Mr. Ramis is shining proof of that.
How did you get started in comedy?
I started comedy in LA. I took improv classes at the Groundlings and UCB and then wanted to do stand up so I started doing that and then I did theater for a little bit but then decided that I like comedy the best and I moved to New York to pursue that out here.
Ah, the old reverse move.
I think I read some actory book when I was just starting out that said in New York you can go out and try stuff and in LA it kind of feels like you have to have your game on. I don’t know if that’s the truth or if people still feel that way.
I feel like New York is a testing ground where a lot of comedians build up their credentials and then make the move back out.
Because there’s just so many opportunities out here, there’s like a billion little shows, so many ways to just try out something and see who you are.
What was the inspiration for Uninspired? Haaa.
It’s a couple things, like about being a lady and growing up and getting your shit together. Buying homes and getting married and having kids, you start to remember, “Oh didn’t I want to try this career thing?” and then it feels like maybe you’re too old for that. READ MORE