Annie Baria, a 2004 graduate of Davis High School, was recently invited into the Groundlings Sunday Company in Los Angeles.
The esteemed comedy theater was founded in 1974, and alumni include Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Phil Hartman, Melissa McCarthy, Lisa Kudrow and countless others who have gone on to feature films, television and commercials.
The Sunday Company is the highest level in the Groundlings School, and is by invitation only. Thousands of students take classes every year, vying for one of 14 spots and a chance to perform sketch and improvisational comedy every Sunday night.
Members write their own material for a weekly show in the style of “Saturday Night Live.”
“Because you are constantly writing new sketches, I draw inspiration from anything and everything,” Baria says in a news release. “I’ve based characters on girls I was in a sorority with, my mom’s book club, even myself as a kid when I was stuck wearing an eye patch.”
A 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, Baria has optioned a feature screenplay she wrote loosely based on her college experience, and she also can be seen in national commercials for Jack in the Box and AXE body wash.
She was recently cast in an all-improv feature film being shot by the cinematographer for Bruno and the people behind Christopher Guest’s films, on location in Texas later this month.
“The roles I book are always a variation on the dumb blonde, but I’m OK with that,” she says. “I love dumb blondes; they’re confident, and there is a freedom in their lack of self-awareness.
“A director I recently worked with said ‘You have to be smart to play that stupid,’ which I’ve decided to take as a compliment.”
Earlier this year, Baria launched a comedy website, www.BitchHumor.com, which includes a Twitter feed, videos and blogs written by Baria and fellow comedians. The site is gaining notice in Hollywood, with Baria’s hero Judd Apatow Tweeting about its launch.
Baria also cites Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings as her role models.
“I’d love to have a career where writing and performing comedy go hand-in-hand,” she says.
Baria can be seen performing live every Sunday at the Groundlings, 7307 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. Her blog and videos of her sketches can be viewed on www.BitchHumor.com.