Postcard from Los Angeles: One of the team from the surreal TV sketch show Absolutely heads for the big time

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Dear All,

I'm getting used to this intercontinental commuting thing. After a 12-hour flight I can now almost form sentences and look marginally less like I've been hit over the head with a kipper.

On arrival at LAX airport my manager takes full advantage and drives me to Sony studios to read for a part in The Critic, a cartoon written by the blokes who do The Simpsons. I get the part until some actress called Meryl Streep decides she'd like to do it. Ditched for Dame Meryl, I can almost smell 'show-business'.

I go to the usual round of meetings, where I smile a lot and start to sound like Julie Andrews. In the evenings I rehearse for a TV experiment for my friend Joel Hodgson. Sci-fi freaks might know Joel from the cult cable show Mystery Science Theatre 3000. He's trying out his latest invention which he calls 'X-Box'. Instead of standing on a stage to do sketches while the camera moves around, the X-shaped stage rotates while the camera stays still. It's extraordinary, nutty and an especially pleasant experience as there are no TV executives involved.

Joel has paid for the pilot himself because, as he put it: 'No one offered enough money to have an opinion.' We record the show over two nights in a warehouse in the Projects. By Saturday night 'X-Box' has become the gig to go to. The cast of the hip Ben Stiller (director of Reality Bites) show turn up and actress Juliette Lewis - you know, Husbands and Wives, Cape Fear - is seen snogging Saturday Night Live's Adam Sandler in the quick-change area. Blimey, Mrs.

Between rehearsals I visit my agency, UTA. My agent is Gavin Polone, 27 and already something of an LA legend. He looks like Jesus and does deals like the devil. He wears black, drives a black Ferrari and scares me stupid. When he relays good news it's like he's telling you you've got cancer. Leaving UTA for my next meeting I get into the lift with Chris 'Wicked Game' Isaaks. We are introduced and I almost faint. 'Hi,' he says, looking deep into my eyes. 'Oh dear, I'm ever so sweaty,' I reply. Damn.

Also had to pitch the MTV sketch show I've co-written. For the big network meeting I break with tradition and try to make an effort with my appearance. I feel good. Five minutes before the meeting my manager calls to wish me luck. She asks what I'm wearing. I tell her. 'What about that other dress?' she says. I feel depressed.

Back at my hotel, autograph-hunters rush up to me. I tell them I can't possibly be whoever they think I am. They are unconvinced. I sign their books: 'Lots of love, Whoopi'.

Not that it's all autographs, agents and managers over here. I do have a real life and real friends. Honestly. But should I ever begin to get things out of proportion, I promise I'll head straight back to Absolutely Productions to be teased for being titchy, bossy and hopeless, and where the most glamorous thing I'll meet in the lift is a bunch of hungover Scotsmen.

I'm about to fly home when I get a call to say that Meryl's just dropped out of The Critic so could I please fill in? Oh, I think I could just about manage .

So, 'Absolutelies', a little less of the 'short-arse' from now on, thank you very much .

See you,

Morwenna Banks

(Photograph omitted)

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