NashvilleStandUp alumni Heather Ho (aka “Heather Horton”) has been in Los Angeles for the last few years, doing stand-up, improv, shorts on the web, AND she recently appeared on NBC’s Parks and Recreation (Season 4, Episode 13: “Bowling for Votes”).
She’s in the opening scene, sitting closest to the television in the focus group.. and she delivers her lines about 40 seconds into the episode: “She’s kind of short, don’t you think? Aggressively short almost. It’s like she’s throwing it in my face!” If you missed it, here is the video of the full episode:
N’Sup asked Heather to talk to us about the whole experience.. here’s what she said:
I had only had my agent a few months and had only been on one other audition but I felt pressure to book something soon. That shouldn’t creep into your mind but it does. It’s there – like the memory of that embarrassing moment when someone pants’d you in the school cafeteria in the 6th grade. The day was a Friday. It was raining. They say rain is good luck for weddings. I now say rain is good luck for auditions. It was only 3 days before that a casting director asked me what shows I’d like to work on and I answered “Parks and Rec” and “Modern Family.” So if you believe in that whole putting stuff out to the universe thing, there you go. So I arrived at the audition. I had made my character choice but was loose and ready for re-direct if needed. They were very specific on what they were looking for – women ages 23-60. Fortunately my 25-35 age range just made the cut. Obviously, I would say it was one of my best auditions. Everything just clicked and I knew the casting director liked it.
I booked it! It was my first Co-Star. That co-star credit on your resume gives the casting people the confidence that you’ve been there and you won’t screw up. For some, it helps you get an agent if you don’t already have one. For others, hopefully it leads to other co-stars and so on. We shot the following Thursday. It’s a fast process. They’re constantly casting and shooting, no callbacks for the tiny parts. Something about Hollywood people may not know is that there’s a lot of hopping around with the studios. Parks and Rec shoots at CBS Radford interestingly enough since it’s an NBC show.
My call time was 9:00 AM. I was ushered to my private dressing room where the wardrobe people came in and picked out a lovely purple turtle neck, blue sweater and gold earring combination that fit nicely with the Pawnee town folk character. No, I didn’t get to keep the outfit. Then I waited. 3 hours. They were shooting early that morning and got stuck at the other location. So I got paid overtime to sit in my dressing room and read my Kindle and play on my iPhone. Now you know what
devices I’m “on.” PS I was reading Bossypants. Being on the set was amazing as always. It’s so nice to work with professionals. There’s a reason these guys get paid to do this – they’re professional, hard working and courteous. I have never been on a paid gig where any of the staff were assholes. I have only had that experience on “independent” sets.
The shoot was great. One of the actors had never seen the show. I always find that interesting because I try to catch a few episodes before auditioning for something I’ve never seen. Eventually Amy Poehler breezed through and told us how good a job we were doing. Collectively the group mumbled a blushing thank you. There was, in my mind, one of the most brilliant female comedic actresses
of my generation standing in front of me and the first thing that came to mind was “Holy crap, she’s shorter than I thought.” She’s really short you guys – hence my characters lines if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
She was very gracious and it was great to watch her work; how meticulous she is with each line is amazing. People who “get it” about comedy understand that it’s not easy. Although it’s not shouted to the rooftops by awards shows and the likes, comedy IS well respected by the industry. So for a day, I won the lottery. And that’s what it is. I see some of the best actors not book and I see some of the shittiest actors book all the time so all you can do is put your head down, work hard on your craft and hope you have the winning numbers.
Congratulations to Heather for doing such a fantastic job on one of the funniest shows on tv!