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13 Things Taylor Swift Does That You Don’t

By The Second City | Feb 26, 2015

1. TAKES REJECTION

You auditioned twice–didn’t get cast–and yelled, “Screw it!  I’m giving up comedy!” as your co-workers at Groupon kept typing nervously.

At the ripe age of 11, Taylor went to Nashville with her parents, dropping off tapes at every record company she could find.  Swift dealt with more rejection at the age of 11 then I did through all of high school.

2. PLAYED AT BARS

You think you’re too good to perform at bars because you’ve been studying comedy for four years and your friend once compared you to <insert SNL star here>?

Taylor was playing bars at the age of 13 to people who didn’t want to listen. Ironically, those same people are now singing her songs in bars to other people who don’t want to listen.

3. KEPT HER ARTISTIC INTEGRITY

You can’t decide if you should appear nude in your comedy sketch because of your “artistic integrity.”

At 14, Swift broke her development deal with Sony because she didn’t want to write other people’s songs.
I think my lesson here is clear: keep your artistic integrity, and take off your clothes for that sketch.

4. USES CRITICISM AS A WEAPON

Fuck.  Really?  You don’t like this? I’m going to write a song that includes your exact wording and make millions of dollars off of your critique…kind of like Taylor swift did with the song “Mean.”

It’s one long fuck you, set to banjo music. 

Which is pretty much all banjo music.

5. MAKES HER WORDS COUNT

You get up on a stage for at least 20 minutes every time you perform. You have a captive audience–and not just because the fire exits in the bar don’t work.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Swift said she understood that every person in the public eye is raising the next generation.  And as long as they were, “make your words count.”

*This should not be confused with the short form game where you count the words that you can use in a sentence.

6. WRITES LIKE CRAZY

Not “like you’re crazy.” You’ve finished a half-dozen sketches and can’t figure out why you’re not on Lorne Michael’s speed dial?

Taylor writes roughly one song per boyfriend.

She’s writing continuously.

Taylor is on Lorne Michael’s speed dial.

7. LEARNED MORE THAN ONE INSTRUMENT

Sketch, stand-up, dance, singing, juggling, pole dancing… all of these things will be useful in your improv life. And it also makes you more useful if the pole dancer gets injured.

8. RECOGNIZES & ACKNOWLEDGES PEOPLE 

You try to avoid that weird guy with the fucked up hair and socially awkward head bob who comes up to you after your show just to tell you that you’re the funniest-gosh-damned thing he’s ever seen.

Swift once spent 13 hours greeting her fans and put the guy with the screwed up hair in her music video, which is why Swifties are known as the secret service of pop star fans. They would take a bullet for her.

9. IS FREE

Even before she wrote “Shake it Off,” Taylor was known as one of the more awkward dancers around.  And yet, at every awards show, she’s the one person in the audience dancing her ass off.

Stop judging yourself.

10. IS FEARLESS/LOOKS STUPID

Speaking of “Shake is Off” and being okay with yourself, why aren’t you taking more chances?  If the queen of pop can make an entire video about dancing poorly, why are you so afraid of making an ass of yourself?

I mean… it’s your job.

11. GETS PERSONAL AND REVEALS

Have you seen the video for “Blank Space”? Holy balls! It’s about as close as you can get to a musician cutting her artistic veins open (next to Rachel Yamagata’s “Elephant”).

An audience is drawn in by the real. It’s how we fool them into caring about us.

12. GIVES GIFTS

Alright, so you don’t have to search through your fans’ social media accounts and buy them all gifts for Christmas.  But the least you could do is name your scene partner and tell them what they’re wearing.  And NO!  The answer is NOT “plaid!”

13. LISTENS

 Taylor is loved by her fans because she listens.

Make your scene partner love you twice as much.

If you do, they might write a song about you.  Or an album.

John Abbott is a Second City Conservatory graduate who has been improvising for 15 years and photographing for over 25 years. If you need headshots, visit www.johnabbott.net or email him.

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