After what was by far the most incredible experience of my life, I still find myself wondering if any of that was real. Regardless, I have my own list of people to thank:
Thom Tran: At times, I wondered if I wouldn’t have been better off never knowing you existed. Now I know that without you, I would have just been another college student shuffling through life trying to find a place in the world. Maybe it took some convincing on my part for you to even give me a chance, but that just made it all the more worth it in the end. The late nights and early mornings and dealing with you and your West Coast shenanigans were only part of the adventure, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. And so I thank you, for a life-changing opportunity, for a shot at playing producer, for supplying me with an ocean of inspiration and motivation that will never run dry.
Tom Irwin & Jose Sarduy: I hold you highly responsible for keeping Thom and his ambition within reason. Thank you for making some of the longest days of my life so much more enjoyable. For the comic relief, for not being absolute divas, and for letting me be a part of what you do, I am grateful. Working with you was an honor.
Paul DeWald: I still remember the day I listened to a voicemail from you saying “we need to talk, ASAP.” Nobody ever wants to get that voicemail. I suppose we could–for the sake of a good story–rewind to the reason I missed your call in the first place: That being the fact that I was on the phone with a recruiter from HSN and was just offered an internship in Florida over the summer. When I finally called you back, little did I know I was about to be offered an even greater opportunity to produce a comedy show that may or may not be in the running to air on Comedy Central. Thank you for fighting for me, for believing in me, for standing by me every step of the way.
Patrick Trinkley & Ken Giangreco: But where would I be if it weren’t for you? From the moment I accidentally discovered IR, you two have been the sole force keeping me at Buffalo State College. Everything I’ve learned–really learned–has been from you and your patience and your guidance and your encouragement. For almost two years, every ounce of my “can-do” mentality has stemmed from you, and there’s not a chance I’d be anywhere near the person I am today without you guys. Your friendship and mentorship means the world to me.
Rodman Schley: The borderline clinically insane guy who agreed to work with a bunch of college students on a television production that Comedy Central might buy–if it was good enough; the guy who was willing to put his studio’s name on a production that could have been just as much of a disaster as it was a success; the guy who I ran to, frantic, about things I had no idea how to handle and he effortlessly kicked every problem or worry I had in the teeth. Working with you was every bit as terrifying as it was exciting, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. You’re boss. When I grow up I want to be just like you. (;
Cayce Brown: The guy who took mental and verbal abuse from a 20-year-old wannabe for almost a month straight is, ironically, the guy that STILL bought me a beer–or two–when all was said and done. You know as well as I know I couldn’t have done it without you, and if I learned anything from this whole shebang, 93% of it happened in the three days that I got to work alongside of you, and during the 87,349 phone calls that we exchanged not even a week before the show. But perhaps most importantly, I learned that puns are always intended.
Kat Kowal, Frank Ishizaki, Anton Fresco, Travis Loving, & Rob Hume: I can’t even begin to explain how much of an honor it was work with and for such an amazing group of professionals. You are what everything I one day hope to be a part of is all about. Watching you work and watching the show come to life because of it was by far one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever experienced. Thank you for bringing this show to the next level and for letting me be a part of it.
Nikki Styliades: The girl that was my right hand for the past two months. I very specifically remember praying “God please give me someone in this class that has a brain and knows how to make things happen.” Lo and behold, there was Nikki. Thank you for taking the reigns when I went and got into a car accident a week before the show and filling in for me until I was back in action. I can’t think of anyone else I could have trusted to put Thom’s life (and mine, for that matter) in their hands. It certainly helps that you understand gibberish and can essentially read my mind. I would have gone crazy without you.
COM434: You guys seriously are and incredible group of people to work with. At times when things were really crazy and my head was spinning, I just thought about how many solid people I had working alongside of me and I knew we were going to pull it off, somehow. Thank you for sitting through weeks and weeks of uneventful classes while we were pulling this together, for setting your lives aside to make it happen, and for owning it when the circus finally came to town. You were, and are, awesome.
My friends–especially Leah, Liz, Taylor, Crystal & Bari–and my family, who put up with my random and frequent disappearing acts and for all but completely neglecting you while my life consisted of little more than Thom Tran and the GIs of Comedy. I don’t know what I would do without you by my side through thick and thin. Thank you for listening to my rants and hour-long venting sessions when I was afraid this thing would never happen. Thank you for not exiling me when I only half-listened to conversations and never made eye-contact because I was distracted by “GINA TAKE CARE OF THIS NOW OR I’M GOING TO MURDER SOMEONE” texts from Thom, and for putting up with countless last-minute cancellations when things inevitably “came up.” You have been the best support system I could have ever imagined.
Johnny: You, though. You put up with the worst of it–the worst of me. The cranky, hungry, overtired Gina that was dealing with a handful of people from three different states that needed me to “do this right now” for almost the entire time we’ve been together. Thank you for sacrificing and investing so much time and energy into getting me through this adventure. Thank you for getting me where I needed to be when I needed to be there for an entire week when I didn’t have a car, and for making me breakfast for fear I wouldn’t eat all day, and for so many cups of hot, delicious coffee to keep me going. Thank you for listening to me complain about the silliest things and freak out when things weren’t going exactly how they were supposed to go and for reminding me every time that I can do this. Without you, I don’t think I could have. I love you.