Being an actor can be a lonely process.
You walk into an audition room by yourself, relying only on your talent, work ethic, and genetic makeup. You hope you inspire someone to say “yes” but nine times out of ten, you’re a “no” and you walk out alone to your car and drive home. This can be the hardest part of being an actor as actors by nature are collaborative artists. We need writers, directors, producers, etc. to work. We need a family.
In the course of my career, I have been lucky to be on numerous shows, pilots, and movies. But recently, I was without a theatre group or project to work on. I was back to the daily grind of auditioning, getting close, moving on: rinse, and repeat. And then I got the audition for DISJOINTED: a new Chuck Lorre (BIG BANG THEORY, TWO AND A HALF MEN) sit-com pilot for Netflix. I was elated. Not only had I worked with Lorre before, but one of my big dreams has been to be a series regular on a sit-com.
For years, the industry has been saying how the sit-com is dying. “It’s dead. It’s been buried. #RIPSitCom.” And yet, shows like BIG BANG THEORY and MOM win their time slots and keep steady audiences. Sit-coms are like warm blankets. They give you a safe place to laugh in the comfort of your home with a group of strangers (the live audience). That’s why shows like I LOVE LUCY, FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, and FRIENDS continue to dominate in syndication. Sit-coms are comforting pieces of Americana.
As an actor, I have always loved the format of sit-coms; they’re the closest television format to theatre. I enjoy the intimacy and camaraderie of theatre. It’s a team sport. You cannot mount a production by yourself. Theatre is live, and exciting. I loved theatre so much I got a Bachelors of Arts in it! In fact, I met the founders of YOMYOMF through the Asian American theatre group, LODESTONE. LODESTONE was a home for me and many other Asian American artists for years. That theatre company gave us a safe space to network and work on our craft.
I remember the phone call from my team when I booked the role of “Jenny” on DISJOINTED. I was still in bed, sitting in my alpaca themed p.j.s, hair in a messy bun, and scrolling through my social media feed liking pictures of dogs when my manager called me. My whole team was on the line and they screamed that I had booked the role. We all yelled our congratulations to each other and as I hung up the call, my brain starting to finally comprehend what was happening, I let out the breath I had no idea I had been holding.
“I just booked a series regular role on a Chuck Lorre sit-com on Netflix. Holy. Fuck.”
Walking onto set the first day was like going to a new school. I carefully curated my clothes for the day and packed a lunch. Yes, it’s true. I did both of those things. I was beyond excited to join DISJOINTED. I also was scared AF. Unlike other pilots I had been a part of, my other cast-mates and production team had been working together for a couple of days prior to me arriving on set. I was nervous to meet everyone. “Will they be nice? What if I mess up saying Kathy Bates name? Do I look Chuck Lorre in the eye? Try not to sweat too much, Liz. Too late. Already sweating.” All these crazy thoughts and more flooded my head as I stepped onto Stage 26.
The 2nd Assistant Director was friendly and greeted me with a big smile. She led me to my dressing room and showed me around on set. I put my things down, pulled up my lady-britches, and ventured toward the table where we were going to be doing the table read to see if I could meet my new coworkers. And that’s when my life changed.
What happened over the next eight hours was one of the most stressful and wonderful moments of my life. From the start of table read, to rehearsal, to the end of our run-through that day, the cast and crew accepted me instantly. We were in the trenches together from that point forward.
I have now spent hours in a dirty water tank with Elizabeth Alderfer. I have smoked way too many fake herbal joints with Dougie Baldwin. I got to make a parody YouTube ad for a strain of weed called “Eve’s Bush” and sell it on camera with award winning actress Kathy Bates. Through all of this fun and mayhem we became a family. We call ourselves ‘Fam’.
Twenty episodes later, our little family gets to finally meet all of you in the comfort of your living rooms/phones/wherever you stream your media. I am both excited and terrified to share DISJOINTED with the world. There is the natural fear that everyone will hate it. There is also the hope that everyone will love your art as much as you do. That all your hard work will pay off. But, that’s not up to me. That’s up to you. You see, you are our most important part of this piece. Our art cannot exist without an audience. You are the last member of the family. And we can’t wait to meet you!
Elizabeth Ho stars as “Jenny” in DISJOINTED premiering August 25th on Netflix.