When interviewing comedy folks and other celebrities, I sometimes ask about the chasm that's inevitably created when their friends -- the people with whom they strove and suffered and ate Ramen Noodles day after day in order to cover rent -- suddenly hit the big time. Or at least the medium time. "Saturday Night Live," films, commercials, etc.
While "the work" and certainly a shared institution (i.e. Second City, iO Theater, Steppenwolf) often bind them, vast financial and social differences remain. As time goes on, one moves into a French chateau and is regularly asked to ink autographs while another can barely afford his/her studio apartment and is approached in public mostly by panhandlers or Greenpeace volunteers.
"There are ways in which we have such a common history," Steppenwolf co-founder and star of ABC's "Scandal" Jeff Perry told me the other day of his Chicago theatre mates, several of whom are rich and famous. "[But] there are obstacles and barriers to a present-tense understanding of each other."
"Jealousy exists, especially among improvisers and actors, though no one really wants to talk about it," he begins. "It's part of the human experience, much like anger or sadness. But we think it's too ugly of an emotion to talk about, something we're not "supposed" to feel, so instead, we deny we feel jealous at all.
"Over the years, I have had real problems with jealousy."
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Here's a clip from Carrane's "Improv Nerd" podcast interview with Chicago improv queen Susan Messing.