When it's too late to practice and I have some time to myself, I enjoy reading the news. Not THAT news...please, anything but THAT news! I'm talking about Food News, which mostly consists of which chefs are opening new restaurants, and which flavors and menu items are trending. I don't ordinarily glean much from them, save for the next slew of Pumpkin-Spiced novelties (did you know there was a Pumpkin-Spice PIZZA for a while?!) and the next cast of Oreo flavors (Peppermint Bark and Rocky Road are on the way!). This week, I saw a story about Geoffrey Owens, an actor that many of us remember from The Cosby Show, and I'm sure many more of us remember as a recurring guest on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Pictures of him were sold to two news outlets, and by American Standards, they were shocking and shameful. They depicted that, no, he was not a major successful actor. He was...get ready...a FREELANCER, and was working at Trader Joe's to give himself a cushion to take the acting jobs he wanted, and not anything that was offered to him. The Internet being the snarky place it is, a lot of comments were posted about how he had aged and how he must have squandered the many millions he surely made in his prolific career.
The story above is his response to the shamers, after many of his colleagues tweeted in defense that he was a great talent and a wonderful person to work with. Shortly after this news, Tyler Perry approached him about joining the cast of a new show that he's making for OWN, Oprah's cable network. His humility and graciousness really stuck with me, and I was struck by how he looks back on his own career with nothing but appreciation, which is definitely something I need help with.
So if you're out there and you have to work a side gig to pay exorbitant NYC rents, or even if you're comfortable and would rather do something else to get a break from this tough business we're in, don't feel bad. Geoffrey Owens has had a long career after going to Yale, and at 57 he's still doing the same thing. He's not famous like Brad Pitt, but we all know and love his face. He's probably even made you laugh once or twice. So even if you haven't won that big job yet, or played that big show yet, think of the many people that have heard or seen you along the way that really enjoyed what you did. You mattered to them, and you still matter now.
For an eye-opening documentary about working as an artistic freelancer in a tough business, watch That Guy... Who Was In That Thing: you can stream it free via VUDU if you watch the ads. It's full of faces that you've seen many times before on TV and in movies. They're not famous actors, but they work, and they've ridden many good and bad waves. After putting my kids to sleep and reading my beloved food news, it's a nice surprise to get a reminder that none of us are alone in this crazy, crazy world. ❤️