Sunday, November 18, 2007

Melanie Leads. Stephen Follows

THE ONION just released this story...

...which is particularly funny to me, because if Melanie Hutsell had never been on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, I probably would never have moved to Chicago.

You see, Melanie attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville a few years before I did. The story that I heard about her rise from UTK grad to SNL cast member goes something like this...

She moved to Chicago with a friend and hadn't auditioned for anything for months. Her friend convinced her to go to the audition for the Annoyance Theatre's production of THE REAL LIVE BRADY BUNCH. Melanie was cast as Jan Brady and her friend and fellow UTK grad was not cast, became discouraged and eventually moved back to Knoxville.

THE REAL LIVE BRADY BUNCH was a monstrous hit in Chicago and Melanie's Jan Brady was a stand-out. When the production moved to off-Broadway, Melanie was noticed by the folks at SNL and became a featured player for two years and then a full cast member in her third year.

When Melanie first hit SNL, I was still at UTK. In the theatre department. Just like Melanie had been a few years prior. So, it isn't hard to understand why so many UTK grads from that time period moved to Chicago. No one we knew in New York was working and Los Angeles may as well have been Guadalajara to us rednecks, but Chicago...

All you had to do was look at Melanie and realize, A) move to Chicago, B) get cast in the first show you audition for, C) that show becomes THE hit of the year, D) the show moves to New York, and then E) you become a cast member on SNL.

So, that's why I moved here. Oddly enough, that plan didn't work out.

And it's times like this - - weeks like this week, days like today - - when I'm so sad and depressed, that I regret the move, regret my choices, regret my current predicament.

But I know it will pass. Chicago is my home. I'm not quite how long it will remain my home, but it has definitely become home to me.

All because of Melanie Hutsell.

P.S. I don't know if one of the SNL writers came up with it first, but I have a hunch that the DELTA, DELTA, DELTA girls - - one of which was Melanie - - was created by Melanie as a rip on all of UTK's sorority girls.

Our sorority girls were as dumb as a box of hair. With a bow in it.

I remember reading OEDIPUS REX in one of my theatre classes and when the professor asked for our initial reactions to the play, the sorority sister sitting beside me with huge hair covered in a myriad of bows said this - - and this is an actual quote...

"Bless poor ol' Oedipus's heart.
Marries his mama, pokes his eyes out. Just bless him!"


Palm Springs Savant said...

Delta Delta Delta, can I help ya, help ya, help ya? I too LOVED Melanie!!! She was so much fun on SNL.

So I have to ask, if you had a crystal ball (or perhaps asked Dr Wang or Madame Esmerelda) what is your short list of places you'd move to someday???

Stephen Rader said...

Rick - Well, since I've never been to Palm Springs (and I've never been to me), I would probably either move back home (which is where I'm leaning at the present time) or to Atlanta (to be near my brother) or to Fort Lauderdale (the one town where guys actually were hot for me).

But I could be talked into Palm Springs. :)

khbronson said...

Well I for one am glad you moved here!

Aaron said...


Steven said...


And it's times like this - - weeks like this week, days like today - - when I'm so sad and depressed, that I regret the move, regret my choices, regret my current predicament. Ouch! I haven't seen this side of you yet. From what I have always read and noticed, you always have seemed to be someone well-entrenched and active in the Chicago community.

Stephen Rader said...

Karen - Thank you. And I'm glad I moved here, too. The move brought me your friendship and for that I am grateful.

Aaron - And I feel the same way about you, as well!!

Steven - And even though we haven't officially met, I value our new friendship, too.

And it is a different tone from what I normally write, but I'm trying to be more honest with my feelings - - in person and here on this strange online web log. I think a lot of people think I'm busy every day and night of the week, but I'm not. I sit at home alone quite a bit. And don't get me wrong, I enjoy my alone time, but lately, I can feel it slipping into a dark place. I've been there before and I'm trying not to fall in that hole again.

Hopefully, by writing a little bit about those feelings, it will help me sit in them, process them and move through them.

Thanks for you kind words, everyone. They mean more than you'll know. :)

Aaron said...

Oh, we SO have to put some light into that dark place!!!

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - Thank you. I'm sure the holiday will help me get through some of it. I'm not going home, however, and that officially sucks, but I'm busy these days, which is always a good thing.