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Turning a Loss Into a Promotion

December 17, 2012
Stephen Tobolowsky at the Moore Theatre, Seattle.  Photo by David Chen.

Originally published:
December 1, 2012

(Photo here by David Chen.)

September was the Jewish High Holy Days. This is the period of time you are supposed to search your soul and take stock of your life. I was concerned that The Mindy Project was going to have me working on Yom Kippur. I wasn’t sure how to navigate it. The show was so new. I didn’t want to seem like Elton John making demands. As it turned out, all of that worry was for nothing. Before Yom Kippur, I was written out of the show. Yes. The dream job. The moment of “actor heaven.” Now gone. It was devastating—but perfect for Yom Kippur.

Being fired always is embarrassing, financially debilitating, and did I mention embarrassing? The one good thing about it is all of the free liquor you get from friends when you tell them the news.

Fortunately, I still had something to do. I called my publishers in New York and told them I had more time to promote my book, The Dangerous Animals Club. I went back out on the road. I performed in Seattle at the beautiful Moore Theatre for 1,100 people. I performed at an old movie house in Gloucester, Mass., for a couple of dozen hearty souls. I was on my way to the International Storytelling Festival in Ottawa and then off to perform in San Francisco. I recognize this sounds romantic. It is if you like laundromats.

While my wife, Ann, and I were in Gloucester, we wandered into the only place that seemed open early in the morning. It was a Sicilian coffee shop. We ordered cappuccinos and a slice of ricotta pie, for which it was famous. One bite and I was transported. After a sip of the perfect cappuccino, I realized I hadn’t felt heartsick over “Mindy” for at least two weeks. In fact, the show seemed like ancient history. Time can be a great ally. It can make the end of a dream of plenty in the future pale before the joy of really good pie in the present.

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  1. I wish I got free liquor when I was fired this summer. That would be a nice silver lining. I’m glad you were able to have your holiday and add to the promotion and move from the embarassment to enjoyment. It is a good lesson for all to learn. I’m still trying.

  2. As you know, time will help get you over your various Mindys. Glad you’re enjoying the coffee. Now, as for me… Bought your audiobook and enjoyed hearing your stories again in the new format. Finished up last night and, ahem, I’m so glad to hear you have more time to work on a new podcast! 😉 Cheers, from Toronto

  3. Pie is the true salve of life. I haver met pies that I wanted to marry but treated them like a praying mantis soon after our introduction, eating them before the complete act was consummated. Sending a late Happy Holidays and hope there is plenty of pie in all of our futures.

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