Aaron Therol dragged his co-comedians Anjelah Johnson and Geoff Keith out of bed early last week the morning after a late-night Portland show.
They drove to R.A. Long High School, where they shared tips on making it in the entertainment business with one of Susan Donahue's drama classes.
Johnson, who grew up in San Jose, Calif., never participated in drama in high school. "I went to a few different schools because I didn't like school very much," she said.
Her break into show biz was as a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders.
After moving to LA, Johnson found work doing commercials and later won a following as a rude fast food server on MADtv, a sketch comedy show that originally appeared on the Fox network. Johnson had small roles in the 2010 movies "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" and "Our Family Wedding."
"I am an example of somebody who started from the bottom and went from there," she said. "I had a dream."
Movie acting isn't always glamorous, she said. "You wake up at 3 a.m. to get to the set by 4. You hurry up and wait. But the little things inspire me, like hearing ‘Action.' I'm very lucky and very blessed every time I'm on a set."
When asked her age, she hesitated. "In LA, everybody lies about their age. The older you are, the more unmarketable you are. I still play 22-, 23-, 24-year-olds on TV, but I'm going to be 29 this year."
Not everyone who calls himself a producer or director can be trusted, she said. "You have to have your judgement glasses on."
Keith has been one of the regulars on "Disaster Date," an MTV show in which he plays blind dates from hell paired with unsuspecting women while hidden cameras roll.
Keith said networking is vital for entertainers. "You never know who you're meeting," he said, and a chance encounter can lead to work later.
"A lot of comedians are lazy and they don't take care of themselves," Keith said. Going to the gym to stay fit can help you land a part.
Still, a talented, fit actor may just not have the right look for a part, he said. "There are a million reasons why you don't get a role and one reason why you do get a role."
"A lot of people think, ‘I'm going to get discovered in two weeks," Therol said. "Those stories don't exist. It takes two years to figure out the traffic system — where the freeways are."
Despite LA's reputation for backstabbing, people are usually pleasant and supportive, he said. "Being true and being nice really gets you a long way."