What it’s like to be a stand-up comic: Watch Brooke Van Poppelen perform in Brooklyn and read a transcript of her interview with Working.

Working Podcast Extra: Watch How a Stand-Up Comic Works

Working Podcast Extra: Watch How a Stand-Up Comic Works

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May 4 2015 11:26 AM

The “How Does a Stand-Up Comedian Work?” Bonus Segment

Watch Brooke Van Poppelen perform at Brooklyn’s Bell House and read a transcript of her interview with Slate’s Working podcast.

Brooke Van Poppelen
Brooke Van Poppelen.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo courtesy of Brooke Van Poppelen.

We’re posting weekly transcripts of Season 2 of Slate’s Working podcast for Slate Plus members. This season’s host is Adam Davidson, the co-founder and host of NPR’s Planet Money podcast. What follows is the transcript for Episode 8, featuring stand-up comedian Brooke Van Poppelen.

In the extended, members-only version of the Episode 8 podcast, members can listen to an excerpt from Van Poppelen’s recent set at the Bell House in Brooklyn. We’ve embedded the entire performance below.

Want more? Check out Van Poppelen’s appearance on Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.

You may note some differences between this transcript and the podcast. Additional edits were made to the podcast after we completed this transcript. To learn more about Working, click here.

Adam Davidson: Hi, what’s your name and what do you do for a living?

Brooke Van Poppelen: I’m Brooke Van Poppelen, and I’m a stand-up comedian here in New York City.

Davidson: So, what does a stand-up do? I think of a stand-up and I instantly think of a stage and someone talking on the stage. What do you do when you’re not on a stage? What’s the day-to-day job of a stand-up comic?

Van Poppelen: Yes. I think there are a lot of ways to approach what you do with your day when you’re a stand-up comedian.

I tend to like to keep really, really busy. Prior to it being my actual living, I worked at any means necessary to support myself so that I could keep doing comedy, to finally hope that it would pan out to be my job. And then slowly I was able to transition into making enough money as a comedian, and then also supplementing that with writing.

I mean, writing is the big part of it that I focus on. So, yeah, for the past—I would say since 2011, I’ve been writing for television in some form or another for the most part. And then I recently got a job hosting a TV show. So, it’s funny, one just kind of begets the other.

Davidson: Yeah, and I want to get to all of that, but I want to first understand the stand-up comedy part itself. So, how does that work? How often are you on stage?

Van Poppelen: I’m currently—you know, I would say I currently only do about four shows a week.

Which to some people they go, “Oh my God, that sounds like a lot,” but in New York City I know people who do four shows a night. But the way that my schedule works these days, I prepare for going up about four times a week roughly.

Sometimes you’ll get a week at a club and travel out of town. But the day-to-day of what you do is basically sit down and think about your material. For me personally I journal a lot, and then see if little nuggets come out of that, that turn into stories or just a great tweet, or who knows what. And then you go try it on stage. I’m past the open mic level, so sometimes I’ll be booked on a really nice show with high expectations, and so you have to be smart about where you sneak in a new joke.

So it’s a lot of working on material, spying on other people on social media, seeing what they’re getting that you’re not, and then figuring out how you can get that. And there’s a lot of hanging out and camaraderie, too, so that often fills a day or night.

I don’t know, I think it’s more like, what do stand-up comedians do with their night, is a better way to put it.

Davidson: And so the working—we’re sitting in your apartment—

Van Poppelen: Yeah.

Davidson: Is that your desk right—

Van Poppelen: That’s my little desk, yep, in the corner. It’s my little pop-up office, as I call it. It could be a dining room, but no, it’s been overtaken by my messy papers and creative ideas.

Davidson: And can you just show me how it actually works? Like, what—

Van Poppelen: Yeah, of course. So, I’ve got this great ergonomically sort of correct setup for my laptop.

I’m working on a new five- to seven-minute submission for late night. So, I’ve been just methodically trying to tape myself and get it a little more solid. So, that’s part of what you do as a stand-up.

Davidson: And then you watch the tape?

Van Poppelen: You watch it—that’s the part I’m bad at. I tape it and I never want to go back and watch it, because I was like, Oh God, I was there, I lived it, I don’t feel like watching it.

Davidson: I mean, it just sounds painful to go back—

Van Poppelen: It is, you know? But I will get into this phase when I’m working towards something.

Then I’ve got a mailing list that I’ve kind of started from my new show at Union Hall, so that’s like, a new thing.

Davidson: That’s a regular show you do?

Van Poppelen: It’s monthly, yeah, at Union Hall. It’s really fun. It’s called the Comfort Zone, and I host it with a musician, Julian Velard. It’s really great.

Then, let’s see. I’ve got so many 1099s and W2s because I do so much, you know, shotgun for hire work. So, I keep all that.

Davidson: It’s very neat, I have to say. When I think stand-up comedian, I don’t think this neat.

Van Poppelen: I’m a crazy neatnik, and so I keep my jokes in Google Docs. So, I keep that—

Davidson: Can you show me what that looks like?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, sure. It’s a little bright over here.

Here’s one, it’s called “Jokes,” OK? So, it’s usually a mishmash of ideas. Like, to pitch for an Upworthy video, I had an idea that I’m talking to them about. Then I will write out verbatim new jokes that I’m working on.

These are the new ones. So, it almost starts like a script that I just roughly sort of memorize the bullet points until I get really good at the joke.

And then I copy and paste tweets that did really well, and I drop them into this document. Because sometimes when you tweet it’s a whole different realm and you realize, Oh, I’m going to actually put this into a document and write around it to see if it would fit into my stand-up act.

Davidson: So, you just send out tweet jokes, and then if they’re retweeted and favorited you think, OK, that hit something?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, even if it’s not a popular one, but it’s something that I really liked and realize that I’m like, Oh, I could actually flesh this out. I like to flesh it out into the way I would tell a joke, which would be a two or three-minute story with a bunch of punches.

Davidson: Gotcha. And so, when you say you write a joke, it’s like a dialogue between sitting here and typing and being on set, and then coming back and typing it some more?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, like, if a joke—I like to figure stuff out on stage if I’m given the time and the luxury. Like, if the crowd is on my side I might play with them some more and work—the best way to put it is like, getting the joke on its feet. So, I play with it and I experiment. If it’s not going well just by talking it out and improvising for a couple of shows in a row, then I bring it back and I fix it like, by actually sitting down and writing.

Davidson: Walk me through a performing day.

Van Poppelen: Sure.

Davidson: Like, how those days go. Is today a performing day?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, today will be a performing day.

So, probably after you go I’ll take a minute to check in and just kind of decide—because they’ll tell you in advance, and it’s probably going to be about a ten-minute set tonight. Right now I have zeroed in on what my new funny ten minutes feels like. So, I usually just kind of like, decide on it, look it over.

Last night I performed, and I was like, this one joke is, I’ve got to fix it. I either need to look at it, read it, and commit it to memory, because I keep forgetting a few pieces. So, and I’ll improvise, and it’s just not as funny as when I say the words that I intended to. So, I have to get this one joke kind of back on track, if that makes sense.

So, yeah, there were these two jokes that I wanted to fix and then try and plug it back into this ten-minute set again. So, I’ve just been running the same ten minutes for the past six weeks, maybe.

Davidson: So, tonight you’re going to try and bring that another step forward. And then what happens with that ten minutes?

Van Poppelen: I know. It’s always—so, I’ve been doing this 12 years and I should be headlining more than I do. It’s just, I work in television and I stay local to New York City, and so a lot of these clubs that I really miss and I enjoy performing at want you to be there usually like, a Wednesday through Sunday commitment. But the reason you work on a new ten minutes is to just keep having a better and better hourlong headlining set.

Davidson: So, a headliner is someone who does a whole hour?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, typically in a club setting it would go host, feature, and then headliner. And host is usually 10 minutes, feature is 20 to 25, and the headliner is 45 to 75 depending on how long the club lets you go.

Davidson: I’ve heard the phrase, “I middled”?

Van Poppelen: That’s featuring, yep. And middling is the sweet spot, because you get to show up, just be amazing for 20 minutes, and then you can leave. Like, the host has to stay and thank everyone after it’s over. Middling is a great place to be. Headlining, yeah, I think it takes a certain amount of effort and credibility and funniness, and you really have to deliver. So, it’s a high-pressure situation.

Davidson: And how often do you headline a year?

Van Poppelen: Right now, only a few times a year.

And it’s funny, because there are different levels—you know, if you’re last on a show, the big joke is in New York, they’re like, “And our headliner!” And you’re doing ten minutes like everybody else. So, if it was that kind of headlining, I headline all the time.

But yeah, one of my big goals that I’m working toward is when I’m done shooting this season of my show, is that I want to have club dates lined up for late summer, early fall. So, that’s what I’m trying to sharpen my comedy right now.

Davidson: So, do you mind giving me just kind of a range—you don’t have to tell me exactly—but how much you get paid for these different levels of gigs, from just being one of many performers to being the headliner at a club you’re touring for?

Van Poppelen: Right. Well, so, it could go from getting $20 for like, a fun bar show in Brooklyn, anywhere from $20 to $50 depending on what they draw and how many comedians are on the lineup—

Davidson: And is that like, a share of the door?

Van Poppelen: Yep, these are, like, a share of the door type shows at, like, Littlefield or Union Hall or the Bell House.

Then actual comedy clubs you get paid no matter what, it’s a spot pay. And so that’s kind of a different system, where if it’s a weeknight it’s like, $25 for a 15-minute set. Some places go up to $40. If you’re “headlining” headlining, it’s more like—it’s what you can draw, your name kind of depends—so like, some people who are really big do like, a door deal and they might make $10,000 over a weekend.

Someone at my level, I’d be lucky to make, you know, as a headliner, depending on how many nights, you know, around $1,000.

Colleges, completely different. Colleges are like, you know, fly in, do 40 minutes, and get $1,500, you know, and then they fly you back. Corporate gigs, same deal. It just depends on where the money’s coming from and how. I’ve done certain festivals and certain theaters where the money’s coming from someone else, and those are $1,000 for ten minutes. OK!

Davidson: So, let’s talk about the other ways you make a living. So, you’ve been talking about this TV show. What’s the TV show?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, sorry, I’m like, “The TV show.” It’s a new one on TruTV called Hack My Life, and I co-host it with the lovely Kevin Pereira.

And basically we take all the lifehacks on the Internet and we put them to the test, and tell you if they work. If they’re a pile of trash or if they’re actually useful. So, we basically rate them and try them out in a funny way, and it’s very comedically driven. It’s a very Brain Candy-ish, easy-to-digest, fast-paced show.

Davidson: Was it your idea? Or were you hired to do it?

Van Poppelen: This is something that I auditioned for and I got, hallelujah! That never happens. I did it.

Davidson: And so, that—you don’t have to tell me how much you make—but that’s a more steady and I’m assuming—you’re not making network TV money, but you’re making—it’s more solid than the club stuff you were talking about?

Van Poppelen: Yes. You know, and it just all depends what you want to do and where you want to go. I’ve always wanted to move into television regardless. Stand-up, I love. I feel like the path for me will be like, some bigger things hopefully will come through writing and being on camera, which would then draw people to see me in a club. Right now, working on a level without something bigger happening, it’s hard to be a draw. You have to work so consistently hard, do all of the festivals all of the time, and be at all the top clubs, for people to know that you are a comedian that they need to carve out time to see.

And I commend people who do that. That’s one way to do it. The other way to do it is get really popular through something else you like, and then people want to come see you. And luckily I’ve done this for 12 years, so I know what I’m doing.

Davidson: And another big choice, I would think, is New York or L.A., or staying in Chicago. I mean, Chicago’s a major comedy town, right?

Van Poppelen: Yeah. Chicago is just absolutely the best. I’ve thought many times that I’d like to just go back for a month, get like an Airbnb or stay with a friend, and just try and get on as many comedy shows—because it’s very—it’s a great place to get really, really sharp under the radar. Because there’s so much industry here in New York and L.A. And sometimes they can watch you have growing pains, because you’re just in the public eye. Like, you’re having a show where you’re just trying stuff out, and you’re like, Oh great, the booker for so-and-so is here and now they think I suck. You know?

Chicago, and Austin, Texas, is my other place to go. Duck down for a little bit, work on my act, and then bring it back, you know? Or vice versa, when you go to L.A., people treat you like you’re special for a couple of weeks because they haven’t been treated to you before. They don’t see you. You’re not a regular. The minute you say you move there, they’re like, “Oh, whatever. Get in line with the rest of us.”

Davidson: Why did you pick New York over L.A.?

Van Poppelen: I don’t know, New York picked me. I’m not sure. It was so exciting. I was just really intrigued by a lot of ladies who I thought were super funny standouts. Like, I saw them on Comedy’s Central show Premium Blend probably back in ’05, or something like that, and I was like: I want to go be where these really inspiring women do comedy.

Because I was looking in my future and I was like, they’re all funny and they’re all in New York. And so I just started visiting and trying to get on whatever shows I could. I made a few friends, and then started coming to visit once a month. And people thought I lived here. I got called in for an audition because someone thought I was a New Yorker because I’d been here so much. And I come out for the audition and canceled my flight home, and just had my roommate mail me some boxes of stuff.

It’s just something about the energy. My life felt like it was coming to a nice end in Chicago for reasons that we can talk about, you know, some other time: I lost my job; I was going through a divorce; and I was like, you know what, Chicago? New York is looking pretty sparkling and exciting right now. I can reinvent and hide in this city.

Davidson: I’ve been reading that now is “the” time for women comics. Is that a real thing, or is that just a media thing?

Van Poppelen: Yeah, I mean, it’s—I have such mixed feelings about it all. But all I can say is, I know so many women who’ve been phenomenal for the entire time—it’s just a matter of, who gets attention? Who gets the power? And I think we’re seeing a trend where people who are really kick-ass are moving forward in the sense, like, Amy Poehler championing Broad City and making this really fun show and being an executive producer on it. And then now being someone who’s just going to produce more shows. And I think if Amy Poehler’s a producer the same way Tina Fey—like, when you get women in these prominent power positions you’re just going to see the landscape change. And it has been.

Davidson: And you feel that? You’re getting more opportunities? Or just the receptiveness is stronger?

Van Poppelen: Absolutely. I’ve certainly been met with, you know, still some frustrating—I mean, the Internet’s just a terrible place, you know? But that’s just trolls just saying terrible things towards women. Like, “You shouldn’t even be, blah, blah, doing comedy, you suck,” like it’s just so mean. They will say that to anyone, though, male or female.

But you can turn in a script that is 100 percent gender-neutral—it’s got male and female characters, no one’s the lead, it’s a comedy—but if they find out it’s written by two females it gets filed like, rom-com. Or chick flick, or something like that.

So, there are these moments when you have to course correct and be like, “No, it’s not a lady-driven script—it was written by two women and directed by a woman, and it stars two men and two women who are equal across the board.” So, you have moments like that where you’re like, wow, OK. It’s just eye-opening.

Davidson: Talk about writing in general. You mentioned you have these two bigger goals, of being more on TV and movies as a performer, but then also writing. So, talk about that writing.

Van Poppelen: The writing is—it’s a lonely, lonely life, because you have to make the content. No one’s going to do it for you and there’s no hand-holding. And so there’s a lot of self-doubt while you sit and write these things. You know, you start out by writing like, a spec script or your own original, so it’s always good to have like, a 30-minute comedy in your pocket.

I got real bold and I wrote a 60-minute dramedy, because that’s what I like. You know, they tell you, write what you like, and I’m not a slapstick sitcom person. I just am not. And so I was always like, I don’t know what to do. And so I’ve just jumped, you know, to the next level. And I’m like, OK, I’m a big nobody with like, a 60-minute show, but it’s what I like, you know? That’s what I wanted, a dark comedy that was an hour and dealt with some heavy issues. And so, you know, it’s actually being pitched around, which is exciting. But who knows what will happen?

It’s just ballsy, I guess that’s the best way to put it.

Davidson: And then you do other writing, like, Web writing? Can you talk about that? Or you don’t do that anymore?

Van Poppelen: Like, if—the Web writing is kind of like, as I get approached here and there—if someone’s like, we’d like for you to weigh in, could you write a thousand-word essay or something like that—or you know, that could—I know a lot of comedians love to contribute to XO Jane. You can write about comedy for Splitsider, or you know, BuzzFeed has really great stuff.

I veer more into right now, because I’m on a show about life hacks, I’m writing things for like, Marie Claire Online.

But generally, no. What I like to do is take my personal essays and like, post them on Tumblr, because I’d love to start putting all of my essays together into a potential book proposal, just because I’ve been sitting on them for so long and I love them and they’re great.

Davidson: There’s a sort of awful phrase these days—although I find myself using a lot—the “personal brand.” And it seems like you have to be sort of conscious about that.

Van Poppelen: It’s a very intangible thing. All I can say is, you know when someone has figured out their brand.

It’s a very amorphous thing, but you’re kind of like, Oh, they have zeroed in on something and everyone’s getting it, you know?

My brand, it might be someone who does everything? Where other people’s brand, it’s just like—you know, dark comedy, like, dark, dry, very abrupt, you know, type one-liner funny stuff. They maintain a social media presence and they do not ever give any clues of being a real human. People like that impress me. I’m a very relatable, open person, so I don’t have a persona.

Davidson: Which is probably a human advantage but a commercial disadvantage?

Van Poppelen: Absolutely, and I’ve always struggled with that. I don’t have a gimmick. And I don’t mean to use “gimmick” as a word to take away anything from other people, but like—I wish I had a gimmick. It has worked like you wouldn’t believe for some people, you know? Unbelievable to me.

And their talent matches it, which is totally great, but I’m also always like, “Man, I just don’t have the thing.” Because bookers and agents and TV, they like to be like, “She’s the blah, blah, blah.” And then they’re like, “Oh, we need one of those,” you know?

It’s interesting. I definitely saw—because I was part of Last Comic Standing last year for—and that is like the ultimate someone wanting to boil you down to your essence—and I was like, nope, this is not for me. This was a huge mistake.

Because you could tell, for TV and for casting, they’re like, “This is the gay bipolar comedian,” because that was her act. I’m, you know, openly gay and I’m bipolar and managing it, and so boom—the gay bipolar comedian. And you’re like, oh, shit. I was like, “I’m just going to tell a mishmash of jokes—and I’m just a comedian trying stuff.” How about that?

So it’s always been hard to be like, what is my thing? I used to harp on the Midwestern thing, but it—I don’t know, it’s just—I’ve never wanted to have a thing. I don’t know. It’s infuriating.

Davidson: I mean, just being funny in and of itself, in a reliable way, sounds really, really hard. And then also having to think: how do I be funny but in a way that’s consistently on some kind of message?

Van Poppelen: Right.

Davidson: And if that doesn’t come naturally, that just seems really hard.

Van Poppelen: Absolutely. Like, during my single years, I think I was funnier.

Because I was pissed, and people relate with the eternal struggle of being single. And, you know, I’d come out of the gates and it was just like, an ace in the hole every time. I’d be like, “So, I just broke up with my boyfriend,” and everyone would be like, “Wah!” And I’d be like, “in 1998.” And then, “Ha, ha!” You know?

It’s just the dumbest little one-liner. But then you could go into a whole string of jokes about being a lonely loser looking for love, and people adore and relate to that stuff.

And so I lied for a while even though I was in a happy relationship. I was like, “I don’t know, this material has been working for me.” And it finally just didn’t feel true, because I like to be honest about where I’m at and what’s happening. So, I’ve moved away from relationships for a little bit into other territories.

But now I’ve been in a relationship for two years, and we’re annoying each other. So, that’s like—I’m back in a relatable place. Like, no one wants to hear about your honeymoon phase where you’re like, “I’m just really happy, it’s nonstop sex; I lost some weight because I’m just full of endorphins and happy.” No one wants to hear that. But now that I can relate to other people in relationships who get annoyed with their boyfriend or vice versa, it’s been a really fertile ground for me to go there.

Because I mean, ultimately when you have kids and can make fun of them, you know—like, Louis CK is the best at that, his challenges of fatherhood—it’s amazing. It’s very cathartic for people. So, when I don’t have my cathartic thing I feel really lost.

Davidson: Can you kind of walk me through what you’re hoping for the next few years? Like, what are your goals?

Van Poppelen: It’s interesting. I’m an idea machine with a little bit of a broken follow-through gear, you know?

But I have successfully completed some things that I told myself like, “You have to. Like this is stupid.” So, I wrote a Web series that I’m very proud of, and it’s had one season out for about a month or so now. It’s called Seeing Other People. And we’re starting to write Season 2. We just love it.

I got my scripts written. I would love to basically move into the realm of working on a scripted television show or possibly sell one. And I’m OK being a writer, but it’d be fun if I could move into like, a little character role every once in a while. That would just be the sweet spot for me.

Davidson: Yeah, my dad’s an actor. This industry, these fields—there’s a huge range of possible outcomes, where you probably have friends who have achieved—you know, who are extremely wealthy and famous.

Van Poppelen: Right.

Davidson: It’s not maybe entirely clear to you—

Van Poppelen: How—right, how that happened—

Davidson: And why it didn’t happen to you. And so like, I know with my dad, you know, there were times he thought, maybe I’m going to be a big movie star. And then there were other—he’s now 78 and he’s still working. I think he’s probably not going to be a big movie star, but he’s had a solid career and a career to be happy about.

And you know, my hunch is most people when they’re—by the time they’re 25 or 30 have a reasonable explanation, within 20 percent, of what their income will be for the rest of their life. And for you it really could be a huge range, from the very good to the maybe not so good?

Van Poppelen: Right, it’s frightening. I feel positive because I do think I’m on the right track. Sometimes it’s a matter just of like, the one thing has to catch, and then I’ve just seen the snowball effect for so many people.

It’s very real. The minute one person gets a little popular, everyone wants to know about them, everyone wants to hear from them. And it’s very good to be armed with content that you’re ready—you know, if people are like, oh, I love you on this show or I love you because of this lovely fun podcast or whatever, it’s good to have your material ready to go, something to show for it.

And you know, so it’s interesting. You sit here thinking, all right, I could continue to survive in New York comfortably, or I could own two homes and you know, be making a couple million. You don’t know. And I like to stay really positive. I believe that as long as I’m doing what makes me happy, it’ll work out.

But yeah, there’s not a big safety net for what I do. So, it’s frightening, but it keeps you motivated to write and create and try and get jobs, get a foothold.

Davidson:  I once did this thing on the radio about my dad. I was at Sundance with him—this was 20 years ago, when he had a movie at Sundance. And that was one of those moments where we thought, oh, maybe this is the—and I remember just—I remember just thinking, I wish he could be happy. You know, because he’s had what for you sounds like the fallback, not the goal, which is, you know, he’s made a solid living. He’s lived in New York. He’s done a lot of creative stuff, but he hasn’t made it big.

And I just remember wishing like, He could feel like that’s enough, which I think he does now. But at that moment at Sundance I felt like, the wanting the big thing made the having what he had not feel good enough.

Van Poppelen: I hate hearing that, and it’s a hard—and it makes me sad, because it’s a hard thing to manage when you do know that these wild levels of like, fame and money and success can catch on.

And sometimes you’re like, I don’t think they were that great, you know? And there’s just no rhyme or reason to why it does happen for some people or doesn’t happen for others.

But a big part of staying mentally healthy is to take inventory of the successes you have had. Like, I’m pretty good about every six months or so, if I’m feeling like ungrateful—you know, I stop and be like, you waited tables at brunch, your most hated meal—like, you were a brunch server.

And you get to be on TV now. Like, there’s something really great about slapping yourself in the face, reality check, and then being like: so, be thankful where you’re at right now. Don’t crap on it. Because there always a temptation to be like, yeah, this is OK but it’s not good enough, and then you don’t do a good job with the current gig you have. And then they’re like, “You’re fired.”

And so it’s managing happiness now—I sound like a crazy self-help guru right now—but then setting measureable goals, you know? And then going back to the drawing board if you’re not making some steps after a certain amount of time, being like, I’ve either got to rethink this, or I have to be bolder, or maybe I’m crazy, you know? I don’t know.

Maybe this isn’t for me. So—but I haven’t gotten there yet. I feel like I’m just kind of—I’ve decided to work smarter, not harder. Because I’ve created 12 years’ worth of content that is only half written in many ways.

And it’s sort of like, why don’t you slow down and go back to all this awesome stuff you’ve generated, and flesh it out and make it good. I blow my own mind when I go back and look at Google Docs from 2011. I was like, who’s that talented lady, you know? And I gave up on it a couple of years ago.

I don’t know if that answers any question—but man, I just—it’s—I have empathy and, you know, I sympathize with how your—how you perceive your dad to feel sometimes.

Because I think anyone, especially in the performing arts, can suffer from that, and it can make you crazy if you don’t kind of check it. But yeah, I’ve got a little bit of that starving artist thing where I’ve decided I don’t want to starve anymore—but I do need to do the things that make me really happy.

I cry sometimes when I see like, when you’re like, wow, that person is exactly where they’re meant to be—whether I see musicals or even like, really good bands—or just where you’re like, wow, that is like, art going through the appropriate vessel. And I get really overwhelmed and excited, and it always stirs something up in me that’s just like, just make sure that you’re always doing something that means a lot to you and like, represents my core values. Because you can take a lot of jobs that are just jobs, where there’s nothing wrong with that. But you’re like, this isn’t who I am.

And you can get very wrapped up into saying yes to the money, whereas if you took a chance and did something that really was who you are, you can make the millions.

I think that makes sense, right?

Davidson: Yeah.

Van Poppelen: Some people just chase that money, and I don’t blame them, but are you happy? You know, I don’t know. So, it’s tough.

Davidson: Great. Well, thanks very much, and break a leg tonight.

Van Poppelen: Thank you so much. I’m going to kill it.