In this episode I had the opportunity to interview my wonderfully talented friend Aba Amuquandoh about her career as a sketch comedian in Toronto. Not only is she hilarious, she’s an award winning playwright and member of the well-known sketch comedy troupe The Sketchersons, AND, I’m lucky enough to call her my friend!
I met Aba almost a year ago in our conservatory class at the Toronto Second City Training Centre. In this time I’ve been so grateful to have the opportunity to learn alongside her, for many reasons. As a writer and performer, one of Aba’s key talents is her ability to rapidly generate deeply layered points of view with improv and sketch comedy, which consistently blows me away and challenges me to work harder at the craft. Add the bonus of her unwavering support for her troupe members, her ability to cultivate an inclusive community of learning AND her friendship, and you’ve got one of the coolest people in Toronto.
Aba also shares how she holds herself accountable for jumping on opportunities to grow and develop her career as they come her way. By recognizing imposter syndrome when it emerges and reminding herself that she absolutely can accomplish her goals, she continues to challenge herself to keep moving forward.
Often times imposter syndrome will come out of comments she hears about her work from others. “At the beginning of my career I definitely took those comments for face value. I thought they were worth something. Newsflash, they’re fucking not.”
“Sometimes I have this, I have this habit of making things feel a lot bigger than they are in my mind. You know, you make them so grand in your mind, you inflate them. they seem way more important than they are. And when you don’t do well, it can, it can be a blockage. It can feel as though, while this is the end of the road, or like, why try anymore? Like, I embarrass myself so bad that I don’t, maybe I’m not cut out for this and all those things, all those moments that I felt two years ago, now that I look back, you know, they they’re absolutely nothing.”
And the big takeaway from this conversation was understanding our own definitions of balance within our careers, and how it looks for everyone individually.
“I think near the, end of last year, though, I did begin to realize that I need to take more time for myself as a creator, as somebody who is, who has to be on. In order to do the jobs that I do, It’s important to have periods of rest. I think that for a lot of young creatives or people who are up and coming, we sometimes imagine that our schedule is going to have time for a day job that gives you a good paycheque every two weeks. And then underneath that, you’re going to have your creative career where you can perform at night. Then you can schedule vacation time and hang out with friends.
“And unfortunately it doesn’t work like that at all. I think I expected that. And instead what I got were these weird periods, like two, three months at a time where everything is so busy and I’m getting not that much rest, but then a month or so after that I’ll have an extended period of not working and not getting gigs and kind of just chilling at home.
“I think that is also a type of balance. And for everybody our balance doesn’t have to look the same. It can be this organized schedule of taking time off, or it can be working in these crazy spurts and then having extended periods of rest.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Nostalgique Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/nostalgique/id1492223483
- The Sketchersons https://www.sketchersons.com/ (Note: Sunday Night Live has been put on pause as they reassess their diversity structure)
- Aba’s Twitter https://twitter.com/abaistalking
- Aba’s Instagram @abaquann https://www.instagram.com/abaquann/