Hannah's Comedy Crush
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
There I am. 21 years old. I've just moved to the big city, Toronto. I wanna be an actor but don't know anyone. The subway intimidates me. The people are rude. It's winter in Canada. It's so cold.
Where do I even begin to try and make it as an actress? I have no idea. But my dad does. He tells me to go to the Second City. That's where Mike Myers was discovered.
Ok. Why not?
So I sign up for an improv class- whatever that is. It's some kind of acting class, I guess. I show up to class. And a man walks in the door who transforms my life forever.
It's Peter. He’s my... improv teacher. But he isn't just an improv teacher; he's a REAL comedian. He just got off Second City mainstage- which means he's hilarious. The who's who of the Canadian Comedy scene. Picture Hollywod but with no star system, paparazzi or job stability. Peter is a working actor. He’s want I want to be.
Now back in class….maybe it's the power dynamic, but I want Peter to notice me in class. I've always been a bit of a teacher's pet, but it’s more than that. And I want him to like. I wonder if he thinks I’m too young for him?
Peter’s not traditionally handsome, ruddy face, beer belly, receding hairline. But he's funny. He's so funny. And he's flirty. He’s flirting with me, right? Or is that just his teaching style? He’s a great teacher. I do my first improv scene, and I surprise myself. I’m a natural. I have all these characters living inside my head. People are laughing. Oh my gosh. I AM FUNNY. I thought I wanted to be an actor, but maybe I could be… a comedian.
Peter recognizes my talent too. He compliments me sometimes. Is he holding back, though? Maybe he doesn't want to favor me? Maybe he doesn't want to be too nice to me because it will show that he has a crush on me too? Can he tell I like him? Does he like me? He must, right? He laughs every time I’m on stage. Is he telling his bosses at the Second City how talented I am? Is it against Second City policy for a teacher to date a student? Probably. Yeah. That's why he's not making a move. He's a professional.
I mean, there is no way an attraction like this can't be a one-way street, right?
Eventually, I graduate from Peter's class. He never reaches out to me, but he's always in the back of my mind. Peter believes in me, so I believe in me too. I can do this. I am funny. So I go out in the comedy world, and I hustle.
A couple of years later, I land a TV show. I'm making good money. I'm a star. Well, I'm Canadian famous. You know so, I’m praying rent every month but I’ve got roomates still. I’ve got an Imdb page but I’m still working one shift a week at Timothy's. Professionally, things are going well. But I can't help but wonder, does Peter know what I'm up to?
We're friends on Facebook. I check his profile every once and a while. I like and comment sometimes. I wonder if Peter is proud of me? Does he know I consider him my mentor and my muse? Maybe now that I'm professionally equal to him, he will ask me out? Does he think about how great of a power couple we could be?
Peter flits in and out my imagination like this for a decade.
As my career waxes and wanes, as I go in and out of relationships, Peter is always there in the background, pushing me forward, making me feel worthy.
Then... one day, fate brings us back together.
I run into Peter at an audition. He is playing my dad. Weird, but I go with it. The audition goes well for both of us. And afterwards, we talk in the hall. It's flirty and sweet. I'm nervous, but I'm feeling confident after a good audition, so I'm really impressed by how not awkward I'm being. It's our first conversation in ten years. It feels like just yesterday.
Then, and in the middle of our conversation Peter cuts me off.
I'm sorry sweetheart, what’s your name?
Well, so nice to meet Hannah, but I gotta run. Find me on Facebook.
What's your name?!?! He asks me.
Find me on Facebook!!?! He says.
I LOVED YOU FOR TEN YEARS, and you don't even know who I am?!?! WHHHAAATTTT?
This crush on Peter started as a seed. I watered it with young hope. I nurtured it with delusions. I maintained it for a decade with an irrational conceit so that it grew into a groundless obsession that comforted me when I didn't book a part or consoled me when a different guy rejected me. Peter was my safe place. But it was all a lie. He didn’t even know my name! He didn’t know I existed!
Maybe I should have known better than to get caught up in a fantasy world with a man that clearly wasn’t making a move on me. But at the time, pining over him was a way to keep my heart warm in a cold city. Peter gave me comfort during a time of instability. I was living in strange, foreign city. Latching on to this guy as romantic ideal made me feel good when everything else around me was uncertain. My attraction to and unattainable men was an instinctive coping mechanism.