January 25, 2011

Well, I have an announcement…

The next Mystery Hour may be the last Mystery Hour…


In a few weeks I am picking up and moving…

To Los Angeles…


To give it a shot at in acting.

I usually joke around on this blog, but this time I’m serious, and fairly scared to death. I’ve always thought about the idea of trying  it, and this summer I started to get serious about exploring the idea. I figured I needed to do it before Michelle I started having kids. We were talking about kids and I realized, “Oh my gosh, I have to try this first.” So, we decided I needed to go for a week this fall to see what I thought. As I said, I’ve always liked the idea of it, as an idea, but I needed to see if I would like the reality of it. I met with friends of friends and contacts and really could see myself liking it (even though I got a $500 red light camera ticket).

Through my time at the Skinny Improv I’ve been able to see that writing, acting, improvising, and hosting are what I really really love to do. If it was possible to pursue this as a career in Springfield, I would do it, but, unfortunately, it has to be tried elsewhere. I don’t think this move would have seemed to be a possible thing for me if I wasn’t able to cultivate my talents, friendships, and ideas at The Skinny Improv. Had I moved to L.A. eight years ago instead of moving to Springfield I wouldn’t have been able to do a fraction of the things I’ve done. All of my ideas would just be ideas rattling around in my head. Instead, my ideas have rattled around on stage, and people have come to watch. I feel so lucky that I happened to meet a girl who was from Springfield.

Someone said to me the other day that my decision is brave. I told her that if I would have known how frightened I would be right now, I never would have made the decision. A little funny and a little truth and hardly brave.  The truth is I’ve been dreading writing this because The Mystery Hour and The Skinny Improv are so precious to me. I’m sure people will read this and say, ‘What’s the deal buddy? It’s just a once a month late night talk show, that I’ve come to just a couple of times. It’s not even televised.” To which I would say, “Hey, you’re right, but why did you have to bring up the not being televised part?” Actually, it does take a lot of time each month, and it’s partly the creative process that I love. More than that, it’s been an exercise in self actualization. I have never felt more in my element than when I’m on stage with a full house interviewing people or doing some strange and random sketch, or performing an improv show with my friends. I will certainly be going through withdrawals from The Skinny. It’s been a twice a weekend deal for me for 6+ years, and most of my best friends have come as a result of it.

So here’s the plan. By plan I mean, a loose association of hopes. I’ll be leaving in mid-February and I’ll be staying with a friend, actually his parents’ house in West Hollywood first. I’m going to start taking improv classes so I can get to know people. I will also start getting up doing stand up often. Then, I can hopefully find someone to represent me and start doing auditions. I will also try to find a job, doing whatever. I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to the business side of things out there, so I will be seeking all kinds of advice, and connections big and small. If vampires are still cool when I arrive I will feel confident that there isn’t anyone paler than me. I actually had a woman who wanted to reprersent me, that I met on the plane in October, but that has kind of fallen through recently. Yikes.

Michelle, my wife, will stay here for the time being, she works for a school, so she has summers off. She will come out and stay for the summer and we will re-evaluate in August. We are still going to be so married and so in love, just far away. It’s going to be difficult. Very difficult. However, I must say that my wife is amazing to let me do this. I appreciate that it is rare, and I am lucky.

So, here’s the thing. I may come back in a few months, or a year, or who knows. If I’m back in a few weeks, this will all seem pretty melodramatic. That’s why I have hesitated to make a big deal out of it. But, it’s been hard not to, I get really attached to things. I’ve made so many good friends in Springfield, that I feel awful about leaving them. I may come back and do an improv show and a Mystery Hour periodically, after all my beloved wife is still here. If I move back I will most certainly be cranking The Mystery Hour back up again. If I’m not successful in my time there, I will happily come back, because more than anything I need the experience of going through this.

As you can tell, it is mostly up in the air. I’m in the realm of chasing dreams now, and I’ve never really been here before. It is exciting and it is terrifying. I’m not delusional so I recognize that the Skinny and the Mystery Hour has meant more to me than readers of this blog, and people who have come to shows over the years, but thanks for being a big part of this self actualization process for me.

This blog will continue, so keep checking in. In fact, I will probably have more time on my hands, so I will probably post more.

Frequently Asked Questions

-What are you thinking?

—–I have no idea

-Do you want contacts or connections? I have a friend who______

—–Absolutely! I will take any contact or connection out there, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

-I just got General Error 408

—-Unplug your computer, then plug it back in.

-What shows do you have before you leave?

—–February 4th will be the last Mystery Hour for the foreseeable future, and I will be doing the Mainstage Improv shows at The Skinny on Friday nights until I leave in mid February.

-Can I contribute to a fund for your move? You don’t seem like someone who has a ton of money.

—–I ain’t too proud to beg.


About jeffhoughton

I'm a sometimes writer, actor, comedian and an all the time adventurer.

15 responses »

  1. Allan says:

    Good for You! When you get out here let me know. I’ll get you into Disneyland to make it an authentic experience.

  2. danclair says:

    i love this and hate this. hate that the mystery hour and the memories associated with it will cease to produce new ones. plus the fact that a big piece of why i miss springfield will be leaving.

    i LOVE that you are chasing those dreams. as someone who has recently done this myself (and is still in the process obviously), i am SO EXCITED for you! enjoy it, and don’t ever forget how blessed you are to be given this chance, and for the talents you so obviously have.

    i’m cheering for you and praying for you, mystery. love you, my host.

  3. Jenn says:

    I am totally pumped for you, Jeff Houghton! Grant and I have always said that “Jeff is the most famous, yet unfamous person we know.” And now, we are confident that you are going to be the most famous, famous person we know! You are very talented, and how cool that Michelle is supporting you. Best wishes in CA…you will go far! And really, while I feel for the fans of the Mystery Hour, I feel much more sorrow for the Blood Bank of Missouri, or whoever it was that employed you. Blood donation is about to plummet, and that is a serious matter.

  4. Melanie Tarrant says:

    good luck Jeff! we’ll miss you a lot, but you need to do this!

  5. Rich S says:

    Props for giving this a shot now so you won’t regret it later. That in itself is brave, regardless of how you feel. I only saw your show once but it was certainly memorable, and I have a feeling you’re going to be okay.

  6. Jeff, I am so proud of your decision!!! It takes guts to just get out there and follow a dream. We’ll try to put you in contact with some people we know in SoCal. I hope to see you on TV shortly! I’ll be praying for you!

  7. Julie says:

    Good Luck Jeff! Springfield will miss you. Don’t forget us when you get all famous and stuff.

  8. Tim Smith says:

    Good luck my man! Can I guard you one last time in basketball, since you are at the same athletic level as me? Can we have one last ping pong tourney to show you my real abilities at the table? Angela and I will miss you man. You’re in our prayers!

  9. Good luck Jeff. Wish you all the best.

  10. Katie P says:

    Good luck, Jeff! You will be missed!

  11. Lisa Ebisch says:

    go as far as you can see. and when you get there you can see farther.

  12. Jeremiah says:

    Jeff, I live here. I am also living in the scary stratosphere of dream chasing. We need to talk. I miss you. And Springfield. Call me. Sometimes. Short sentences. All jammed. Together. Can be fun. Unintentional. Or not. At the beginning. Now I’m ranting.

  13. jenksie says:

    “I have never felt more in my element than when I’m on stage with a full house interviewing people or doing some strange and random sketch, or performing an improv show with my friends.” Then this is EXACTLY what you are supposed to do. I think if Oprah read this, she’d tell you the same. And then give you a million dollars. That’s it! Talk to Oprah! You’re welcome. 🙂

  14. Alan Bush says:

    Do you qualify for any of these jobs?
    Let me know, I’ll put you in touch with our HR director.
    Jobs are in Pasadena and/or Anaheim.

  15. Shanners says:

    I am so happy and excited for you, and so sad for me. I’ll miss you and your shows. I started early by missing your last Mystery Hour. So, I’ve been missing you since last Friday. But you’re amazingly talented, and so fun to watch, I’m sure you’ll do great in LA. Just don’t forget us little people here in MO. 🙂 And if anyone LOVES the photos I took – give them my name so I can be famous, too.

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