Driven by Laughs

By Andrew Greiner
|  Monday, Nov 16, 2009  |  Updated 9:00 AM CDT
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One man's dream is his car's nightmare.

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A man from Oklahoma wants so badly to become a comedic actor that he’s putting his car through hell in order to garner an improv education.

Thomas Crane takes a weekly class at the iO Chicago, the improv company that launched the careers of Tina Fey, Chris Farley and Mike Meyers.

Funny thing is, Crane, 24, commutes to his weekly three-hour class from Blanchard, Oklahoma.

It’s 840 miles each way. About 15 hours coming in, and 15 hours going out. Not to mention $150 in gas.

“This is definitely insane. I know it is,” Crane told the Chicago Tribune about his incredible commute. “I really am a sane person.

“Still, this is not the most intelligent thing you could probably do. You think 'Oh, I can slam 1,700 miles a week!' Then on the drive back, you start talking to yourself, and maybe, you know, you even start making videotapes of yourself talking to yourself, because you have got to do something and talk to someone, you know?"

Crane decided to embrace the commute and the comic lifestyle after he lost his job as an emcee at a local dance club. He saw a report about the famed comic institution and decided to make the drive for comedy.

He also wanted to prove to his late-grandma that he could make it in the performing arts.

“I was in choir, and when I performed I got a bigger thrill [than from playing football]. It's like I found that thing in life that wakes you up and tells you what you should be doing," Crane told the Tribune.
    
"After high school I started thinking of being an actor. But my grandmother, she didn't believe in that. I wanted to prove her wrong. I hate that she died before she could see me achieve anything,” he said.

Crane is just a month into the program at iO. He plans to take classes for the entire year, but it could be cost prohibitive. And he might go a little nuts with the commute. 
 

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