I'm an adult woman living on an elementary-school student's schedule. Because I work at Saturday Night Live, which is on the air from September through May, I, a 29-year-old with a mortgage and a small terrier-mutt codependent, get a summer break just like my tween nieces. For the past four years I've gotten three and a half months to do whatever the heck I want. Every year I think I should start a band! Or learn to Rollerblade! Or start a Rollerblading band whose best song is called "Fat Baby USA!" But I haven't.
During my first season on SNL, the adrenaline was constant and thrilling. I worked long, fun days, and eventually I got to do my comedy on TV. Comedy that I wrote! I performed with Louis CK, Kristen Wiig, and Justin Timberlake. I met Paul McCartney!! It was worth it to work twenty hours straight because " Oh. My. Hell! Bruno Mars is so cool! " I felt like I had been abducted from my little life in Chicago by glitzy aliens — nice, good-looking aliens who took me to live on Planet Hollywood (sorry, had to sneak in a Planet Hollywood reference), and I loved it.
But after nine months I was back in my quiet little life. Now what? It was a jarring feeling to go from "every day is a personal Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert" woman to "dirty pajamas in a studio apartment with cockroaches" woman. Working in a place that is so magical and so wonderfully old-school-glamour showbiz made the contrast to real life feel so much more, um, real. That first summer was the hardest. I had no income once the season finished, and I didn't know how to fill my time. I did lots of improv, went to Chicago, and visited my parents a lot. I wanted to be home, but at the same time I had a constant nagging feeling that I wasn't working enough. Were other people shooting movies? Or writing? I couldn't understand if this feeling of limbo was just how it is to be a TV person or if I was already failing at being a TV person.
In the past couple of years, I've been getting summer jobs — but not like the ones of my sweaty Phoenix childhood, babysitting or washing my neighbor's car; nor like my college summers, when I swept up men's hair and answered the phone at a Chicago barbershop. I've got a brand-new Hollywood lyfe, baby, where I do fun and glamorous summer jobs! Last summer I got to shoot an episode of Girls in Tokyo! So fun! And I wrote, produced, and starred in my own short film, Darby Forever, with my best friends! This summer, I went to Cannes with my SNL buds Cecily and Vanessa for NBC, and I ate a fancy salad on a beach in Saint-Tropez. I'm pretty sure that's what gorgeous Hollywood women do!! And I did it!
But I want to be very honest with you. The Adult Woman Summer(™) is not all sexi global trips and beach salads. There is also the fact that all your peers and friends have real jobs. Like, you know, how jobs are? Where you do work all the days except Saturday and Sunday? My own boyfriend gets up to go to work at 6 a.m.! I sometimes sleep until eleven and then spend an hour figuring out what I will have for lunch. There is a dangerous amount of time where everyone in my life is occupied and I am not.