By Julianna Grimson ’20
Last week, Joanna Sloame ’05 visited the 8th grade drama classes. Joanna specializes in comedy and improv, and came to share her insights and advice with students. She then led the class in some fun acting games, which resulted in laughter and excitement for students eager to try writing their own comedy scenes.
After graduating from Columbia University, Joanna started off her professional life as an online editor for the New York Daily News. Then, at the urging of her best friend, Joanna left the East Coast and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy. She didn’t have a job lined up when she left, but it took just two months for her to land a position in television as digital coordinator for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. Over the next two years, she had a front-row seat to the inner workings of one of the best late-night shows and learned a tremendous amount about creating great comedy. She’s currently a content writer for NBC with hopes of getting a job writing comedy for a television series.
In her spare time, she writes, directs, and acts in comedy videos and web series.
Recently, Joanna took a giant step forward in the world of comedy by enrolling in the improv school Second City’s Hollywood Training Program. The experience was invaluable and one she recommends for anyone interested in pursuing acting or comedy writing.
Joanna has a Sidwell Friends faculty member to thank for getting her started in comedy: Diane Scattergood, who currently is an English teacher and 9th grade dean. When Diane held a playwriting competition in which students performed the winning plays, Joanna saw hers come to life on stage—and light up the room with laughter. From that moment, she was hooked. “I knew I wanted to chase that high” of making people laugh, she told the students.