What Shanan Custer does for love and money

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Shanan Custer

Shanan Custer is an extraordinary comedienne, actor and writer. She’s also a veteran of Brave New Workshop. Today on MinnesotaPlaylist.com, Custer writes about the jobs one chooses, sometimes for the love of the work, and sometimes to pay the bills.

It’s a hilarious rant, but one comment she made stuck out at me:

The business we work in is strange for many reasons, but particularly for this: we apologize or see it as a possible liability if we do any work that is popular to a wider audience. Put another way, if a lot of people like something then, ipso facto, it must not be very good (this is the first time I’ve used the phrase “ipso facto” in a sentence and I think it went pretty well). The issue revolves around the term “wider” audience, I think. If a show is meant to connect with a certain segment of the population that we find socially undesirable (people with jobs and houses in mostly white neighborhoods with gun racks in their basement) then we say, “Well, it is what it is! I’m getting out as soon as I can to do some real stuff! Pays the bills!” If the show connects with a more desirable audience (people with jobs and houses in properly diverse neighborhoods and no gun racks), then we say, “I’m so proud to be a part of this! I feel so lucky!”

We know that sometimes great works of art aren’t popular straight off the bat. That’s why we have non-profit organizations in the first place – because they could rarely get by on ticket sales. But does being popular imply a lack of artistic quality?

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