It's not supposed to happen this way. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "There are no second acts in American lives." I'm trying to prove him wrong. Don't misunderstand me. My first act was an action-packed and sometimes harrowing roller-coaster ride, but this is not a psychology journal or a Shakespearean tragedy, so I'll be focusing on my second act. Also, Act II takes place in Paducah and, to be honest, it wouldn't be possible without Paducah.
My name is Todd Holloman and I'm 44 years old. I was born in Princeton, Kentucky and the only thing I've ever really been motivated to do is perform. School plays, church cantatas, alone in my room performing stand-up comedy to a wall, it didn't matter what the stage was, as long as there was a stage. I did a brief stint studying theatre at Western Kentucky University where I dropped out after three semesters (okay, THEY claim I was asked to leave, but that's another story). After that things are a little fuzzy, but I remember working in radio for a while. End Act I.
Act II begins in February of 2012 in Princeton, where I was working in a hardware store which has been in business since 1923 and which most of our customers have been patronizing since 1923. Purely by chance, I saw an article in the Paducah Sun about auditions for an improv comedy troupe.
"You've always wanted to do improv. You should go,” said the voice in my head that is always encouraging me to make something of myself.
"You're 42 years old. It's gonna be a bunch of kids. Shut up and sell a hammer, old man,” said the voice that sometimes makes it a struggle to leave the house in the morning.
I went. It was a bunch of people younger than me and they all seemed to know each other. I did the best I could do and left thinking that it was fun and glad that I did it, but I had no hopes of making it into the troupe. It's not supposed to happen this way.
The call came just a few hours later. I was a member of Paducah Improv. A few months later, I made Paducah my home and not long after that I fell in love with Paducah the way a teenage girl falls in love with a teenage boy who can sing and dance at the same time and says "girl" and "baby" a lot.
Paducah was the perfect city for me to start my second act. Where else in western Kentucky can you start your evening with the symphony and end it drinking cheap beer with the salt of the earth in a dive bar? What other city on this end of the state has a professional improv comedy troupe, an art house cinema, and drool-worthy barbeque all at the same time? We get the best of Broadway AND have our very own film festival. Lower Town is home to amazing artists and odds are good that there is an incredible local band playing somewhere in town this weekend.
The thing I love most about Paducah is this: For the first time in my life, I am surrounded by people who not only talk about doing cool and creative things, get this: THEY ACTUALLY DO THEM. Since moving here, in addition to Paducah Improv, I've helped create a sketch comedy show for YouTube, started doing stand-up comedy, and started a weekly podcast. Oh, I've also had bit parts in a few independent films made right here in Paducah. I'm not saying this to brag (alright, maybe just a little), but to make the point that if you have a desire to get involved with any type of creative venture, Paducah is not a bad place to do it. I'm 44 years old and I did it.
WARNING! CLICHE AHEAD: It's never too late to start over. I had almost given up. I thought my dreams were going to stay dreams. I was going to be 80 years old and performing stand-up comedy to the wall in the rest home. No matter what age or where you are in life, it's truly never too late to try that thing that you never got around to or take another shot at that dream you've had since you were a kid. I took a chance. It paid off. I feel like my life is just getting started and Paducah is a great place to start. I'm doing something else this October that I've never done before, as well. I'm getting married. It's not supposed to happen this way. Says who?