One Girl's Journey to Saturday Night Live

My name is Lauren Bancroft and I'm from Nashua, NH. I started this Tumblr in December of 2010 to document my path to go from who and where I am now, to being a cast member of Saturday Night Live. I have a realistic plan with attainable goals that I work very hard at every week. I do stand up. I study improv. I write. I work hard. Ten phases. Eight years. One goal. www.laurenbancroft.com contact@laurenbancroft.com

Twitter - @Bancroffed

Guy on OKCupid, “How is a girl like you single?” *Replies with prepared list of character flaws*

I just had my mind blown by my first sketch show at Groundlings. I think this is where I might want to study.

I found my sketchbook. Behold, my art.

I found my sketchbook. Behold, my art.

I couldn’t sleep so I made a little thing.

I couldn’t sleep so I made a little thing.

The world of comedy lost one of the best. It’s a sad day.

The world of comedy lost one of the best. It’s a sad day.

Hey guys, got a bit of a promotion at work.

I can now add Marketing and Social Media Director to my Technical Services Coordinator title at work. Pretty excited that they believe in me enough to take on more responsibility (and to give me some more money).

I’m really lucky the old Service Coordinator’s boyfriend proposed to her and made her move to Texas so I could get hired.

More money means ore money for gas which means more shows. Also my supervisor hooked me up with a friend of his who runs a comedy here in the South Bay. All signs are pointing to me having a great job guys.

Mouthypants Open Mic In Review

The show in North Hollywood last night was fun. It really seems to be a good group of comics that gather there. I wish it wasn’t so far, or else I’d be there every week.

I was spot 21/25 which means I didn’t get up until 12:15 AM or so. By the time I was called I was so tired, I went under time a bit but I needed to get home so I kind of rushed it.

A couple of Boston comics were there. They were guys who I didn’t know but knew of. I introduced myself but didn’t talk to them much. I watched the show. I like studying comics out here.

I will say that the ladies on this coast are killing it. Very strong female comics. Excluding myself, the solid lady comic percentage is like 100%, at least at Mouthypants. Really very good.

whydontyouknoooow-deactivated20 asked: I've been reading some of your posts and it confuses me that you decided to run a blog about getting on SNL without knowing anything about the hiring process? I also don't see why you moved to LA and have done minimal standup and no improv, when they barely ever hire from LA or standups, and hire almost exclusively from improv groups. I just wonder why it has been 4-ish years with such poor planning. Sorry, just being honest.

Good evening/early morning to you,

I will answer your message as honestly as you claimed to have asked it: I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.

But let me try to explain it to you like you do actually care why I’ve done things the way I have.

Imagine you are 21 or so in New Hampshire and are working 70 hours a week between two jobs. You sense that your life lacks direction so you think to yourself maybe that silly dream of being on SNL could be a goal instead. But you look around and improv options are limited and your schedule doesn’t really allow for classes anyway. Now you know improv is where you need to end up because what SNL fan doesn’t know that, right? But maybe you should try to do another type of comedy in the meantime. A type of comedy that would allow you to write and perform without having to pay for classes or have a team or troupe or rehearsal hours right away. Well lucky you, there is a supportive stand up scene in your home state. You can work a ton and pay off your college loans and save for an eventual move and tell jokes all in the comfort of the state you love. Let’s try that.

You know what, your IT job of 9 years is getting kind of stale. Maybe it’s time to make a change but where to go? UCB in NYC, Groundlings in LA or Second City in Chicago (for starters dude) and each contender has a stand up scene too? Well, great. Let’s decide where to go.

NYC is good but maybe too close to home. You’re looking for an adventure and maybe further could be cool and new and scary and awesome. Harder go run home if you’re further away.

Maybe you should take a trip to Chicago? See a few shows, check out the city, try to picture yourself living there. Okay so put in the time off request at both jobs, book your ticket and hostel and get ready for a fun recon trip by yourself because it’ll be great. After four days in Illinois you head home and on Monday morning you look around your cubicle and realize that you need to make a decision and you need to make it now. Was Chicago for you? No, not yet anyway.

You know what, those two sisters you have in California who love and support you said you could live with them for a few months for free while you figure things out. Since you’d be moving 3,000 miles from home maybe it would be nice to have a safety net. Guess what! Two of your best friends also live in Los Angeles. Man, maybe you could try perfect weather and a new coast for a while. Maybe it will only be for a year or two, but who knows?! You’re young and excited and not tied down to anything. You can pick up and go a few times, freedom is exciting stuff.

You made the call. Better put in that six month notice at the company you’ve held a full time position at for the past five and a half years. Okay, now that they know you’re leaving you better set some fiscal goals for savings and loan repayment. Can you work more than 70 hours a week? Well you better hop to it! You have six months to get your finances in ship shape since having to move back home because of money would be kind of stupid.

Down to five months until the move. Maybe it would be a good idea to send out some of your resumes and try to find a job for when you arrive in LA? Good thinking. Go ahead and schedule those phone interviews. Better plan a trip to the Greater Los Angeles Area to do some face to face interviews as follow ups to those phone interviews you had.

Request time off from both jobs, book your flight, make plans to explore LA since you’ll be calling it home for a while.

Down to two months before the big cross-country-flip-your-life-upside-down-adventure move. You take a trip out west and have some job interviews that go well! Check out a show or two while in town just because but then it’s time to head back to New Hampshire.

Flash forward two months, you now live in Los Angeles. You went from working 70 hours a week to zero. The job offers you got weren’t stellar so you decide to keep looking, keep going cross eyed staring at Craigslist. You read thousands of ads a week and keep sending resumes. You only have three months of staying with your sister so you better find a job so you can afford to pay rent somewhere.

You don’t know how long it’ll be until you find a job so dropping $500 for an improv class at Groundlings may not be the best bet right now. But you can still do stand up! Don’t worry. You just need to remember how to be the new girl in the comedy scene again far away from all of your comic friends. Oh also all the jokes you would consider your best are only doing okay on the new coast. Looks like some tweaking is needed but that’s okay. New things for you to learn!

And man, you are surrounded by new things. New attractions to see, new museums to go to, new Doctor Who craft fairs and free board game nights to frequent! For the first time in 6 years you aren’t working double full time. You have time to see things. To do things! You’ve worked so hard for so long you almost don’t know what to do with free time but when you get used to it, you hope you never need to go back to 70+ because there is so much to do outside of collecting a paycheck. Freedom, hobbies and interests are all things you never knew you wished you had time for. 

Hey you found a job! Just in time too because you had maybe another week of groceries and gas before your credit card was maxed. Congratulations. Now you need to find an apartment! Your new job is a bit of a distance from your friends and sisters out here so you need to move to an area south of Los Angeles where you don’t know anyone at all. Oh boy, rent and bills but it’s okay you have an income again thank goodness. Living paycheck to paycheck is tough but you’re doing it.

Damn though, gas is really expensive. And with being an hour from a lot of comedy things you can’t afford to do or attend more than one or two shows a week. But it’s really okay because your bank accounts will be back to normal and then you’ll be able to go out more! Keep writing those jokes down, you’ll be able to get out more often soon. I promise. And hopefully you’ll be able to afford protein and veggies for your diet again as well.

And even on your good days where the new job is going well, the sun is shining and a new joke you posted on Facebook is doing better than you thought it would, you remember that you are 3,000 miles away from some people you miss more than anything. And you get sad. You get sad and you miss home so you cry and you get scared that you made the wrong choice because you’re lonely and you still have so much progress to make.

I’m sorry that I’m replying to this at a weird time. See, I was at an open mic an hour from my studio from 8 PM-12:30 AM so I could do five minutes and try to get a little better and this comedy thing.

I will be taking improv classes when I can afford it without losing my apartment. I will keep doing stand up and will keep improving and will go out more when I can afford gas to get me to the shows. I could stay in LA forever or I could up and move to Chicago or NYC next month because anything and everything could change if I decide to make it happen.

Why start a blog about trying to get on SNL when I know so little about the hiring process? Because I was 21 years old, so I didn’t know anything about anything. People are growing and changing and learning all the time, man. It’s a pretty cool thing. And you know what? Maybe I’ll change my mind. I can totally do that. I have the ability to change my mind completely without any repercussions from anyone in real life or on the Internet. I’m young and still growing up and if I wake up one day and realize this isn’t the path for me then that is my decision to make. I know that I will be okay and I know that my parents and friends will still love me no matter what I’m up to.

Of all the plans mentioned in my response, the only one that matters is to be good enough to where I can’t be ignored. And I may be a long ways away from that point but everyone who I admire was far from ready at some point, too.

I realize I invite messages like yours by continuing to update this blog but I’ll say an honest thank you because this was a nice stroll down memory lane.

I hope that your own comedy pursuits are going as well as you’d like them to. Also, if you checked back for my reply and read all the way to the bottom, good for you. Seriously. High five.

It’s 2:52 AM and I have to work in the morning so I think I’ll end it there.

Sincerely,

Lauren Bancroft
Actually a Pretty Good Planner

Got a booked spot at Mouthypants tonight! Looking forward to doing some time in NoHo (North Hollywood). I’m most excited to hangout with some comics. I feel like I haven’t had much social time these days.

Danielle (Soto, great friend and Boston comic now in LA) has a show in Ontario so hopefully she stops by my show after. I’ll be there late. I’m spot 21/25. YEESH.

High five!