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Career Dispatches

Turn a Loss Into a Promotion

Turn a Loss Into a Promotion

The month began with 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 am 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.

Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in more than 200 movies and television shows. He was recently on “The Mindy Project” and “Californication.” He is the author of “The Dangerous Animals Club,” published by Simon and Schuster. He teaches improvisation and comedy for Kalmenson & Kalmenson.

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