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No Thespians Need Apply

Comedy troupe seeks performers able to spontaneously create asinine characters, preferably with goofy accents. Must be willing to work long hours just for laughs. Contact Groundlings in Los Angeles.

April 10, 2005|James Verini | James Verini last wrote for the magazine about competitive eating.

"Casting directors know them all," says talent agent Haas. "Whenever I go to a show there's an executive or a casting person next to me. Having Groundlings on your resume is a statement of validity of talent in the acting world. It's a blessing, but also a detriment. Most comedic guys are very unique looking. And maybe that's why they gravitate to comedy. They see the world differently from all of us."

For this reason, and others, every Groundling knows that Melrose Avenue represents more than a steppingstone. "I think about the future when I'll no longer be in the company, and I dread it," Jordan Black says. "I know that everything else will pale in comparison."

The same reluctance to let go is in evidence at the Formosa bar. it's almost 2 a.m., and Faxon, Rash and Davidson are still nursing drinks and talking about the show.

"What the hell was going on?" Davidson says of an improv sketch, with an uplifted, then furrowed, then uplifted brow.

"I was in the backseat. I couldn't see what was happening in front," says Faxon, sighing with resignation.

"You were looking in the rearview mirror," Rash says to Davidson, "and what were you--

"Daggers," Faxon says.

"You were 'shooting daggers' in the rearview mirror?" Rash says.

"I know. Did I say I was shooting daggers?" Davidson asks. "I don't know. What the hell was going on in that sketch?"

Last call comes, and the three Groundlings leave the bar together. Faxon and Rash soon start shooting the ABC sitcom "Adopted." Davidson lands roles on an episode of Fox's "Arrested Development" and on a police drama pilot. It is a decent bet that one or all of these actors will be famous, or at least rich. But no matter how successful they become, they will, all of them, look back on the Groundlings as the most formative time in their careers. For now they can look onto Hollywood from the perch of the tiny, talent-packed theater on Melrose.

It's an exhilarating place to be.

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