Each week on HBO’s Crashing, budding comic Pete Holmes stays on the couch of a different, established comic as he struggles to build a career in New York City. This story is a familiar one to Della Temple, who also endured homelessness on the path to a career in comedy.
Today the former Dallasite lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she runs an Instagram account, delladreamsofcomedy, with over 30,000 followers; produces a podcast, "In Rare Form;" and is mentored by comedian and actress Lisa Sundstedt. Last July, Temple was on the bill of Sundstedt's "Pretty Funny Women" showcase at the Comedy Store.
It was a milestone for Temple, 26, who'd seen her first comedy show at the club exactly one year prior.
“I saw a show at the Comedy Store in July of 2015 with my boyfriend at the time," she says. "Chris D’Elia and Sebastian Maniscalco performed, and I said to myself, 'This is what I want to do.'”
One month later, Temple moved from Dallas to LA to pursue comedy, never having performed stand-up. Now the Comedy Store is a second home to her — she'll perform at the La Jolla location twice this month, on the 17th and the 24th — but the transition wasn't so easy.
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“Everyone told me, 'Don’t move to LA and start doing comedy. Do it in Dallas first, then branch out because you’re going to get killed if you start off in LA,'” Temple says. “I would nod my head like, 'Yeah you’re right,' meanwhile I was already making plans to move. I didn’t get a chance to do comedy for about eight months because I was working seven days a week and had two jobs."
After her first official show at Flappers Comedy Club in April 2016, Temple quit one of her jobs so she'd have more time to hone her comedic skills. Which she did, but the loss of income left her without a place to stay.
For four months, Temple found herself homeless, relying on a rotation of friends who made their couches available, and several short-term housing arrangements. She never had to live on the street, per se, but there were plenty of times when she was huddled outside with her belongings, trying to figure out her next move.
"But I’m grateful for the experience," she says. "It makes me appreciate where I am now. I’m the happiest girl that’s ever lived in the Valley.”