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#TheEarlyDraft: Episode 2

Actress and improviser Grace Blakeman

Actress and improviser Grace Blakeman

Across the country, performers in burgeoning comedy communities -- like the one we have here in New Orleans -- face a tension: Should I leave? And if so, when? There is a pull to stay where you are comfortable. To continue building the scene you love and working with your good friends as the expanding community gives you more and more opportunities. Then there is the pull to leave. To see what else is out there. To take your chances in the unknown hustle and bustle of more traditional comedy capitals like New York, LA and, of course, Chicago.

In Episode 2 of the #TheEarlyDraft Podcast, we speak with Grace Blakeman, an actress and improvisor who left the comfort and acclaim of her position in the New Orleans comedy community for a shot at building a career in the Chicago improv scene.

Grace is a co-founder of The New Movement - New Orleans. She is known for her improv and sketch work with Stupid Time Machine, Personality Plus and Claws with Fangs. Grace is now a graduate of The Second City Conservatory Program and is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Under the Gun Theater. She joins #TheEarlyDraft podcast to talk about starting over, mustering patience and returning to what you love.

This week’s episode is dedicated to a mutual friend of ours, Jonah Bascle, who passed away Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Jonah was an unstoppable member of our comedy community and a large part of the early days that Grace describes on this episode. He will be missed greatly. For more about Jonah’s work and how you can help his family through this difficult time, visit Jonahstandsup.com. Learn about the short documentary about Jonah here.  

CJ Hunt is a comedy writer and performer living in New Orleans. His NolaVie blog and personal brand, The Early Draft, is dedicated to comedians-in-the-making. It’s a look into the career decisions and creative processes of funny people chasing the dream. You will hear from comedians with big names. And those with names you haven’t heard of…yet. Check back each week for a look into that weird cluttered back-room workshop where comedians are made. Watch CJ work at GOcjhunt.com. Follow him on Twitter @gocjhunt.