Rejoice, out-of-work Law & Order extras! We know it’s been hard since your favorite legal procedural/gravy train went off the air, but there’s a new job on the horizon for you, and it’s not playing a murder victim in Central Park or waiting tables. Actors, it seems, are the perfect personalities for ad-hoc bed bug exterminators, at least according to the Wall Street Journal who today profiles “Bed Bug Busters NY,” an extermination company that specifically hires actors to chase out household pests.
The Journal also has the (stunning) revelation that acting work is sometimes, you know, a little inconsistent. But since catering and restaurant work is “way down” (at least according to the Actors Fund Work Program, a nonprofit that helps entertainment industry workers find “supplemental gigs”), many actors are making ends meet by searching for work elsewhere — including in seasonal retail gigs, as tour guides, at the Census Bureau, in temp jobs, and prepping homes for fumigation, apparently.
Actors, owner Janet Friedman says, are great because they can improvise, work quickly, and handle stress well. One of the actors Friedman hired said she uses the work as acting practice, faking a pleasant attitude while dealing with clients and vermin.
The actors don’t actually exterminate the bugs themselves; they come in to clean the homes and prepare them for professional exterminators. Friedman, herself a former Broadway stage manager, says she’s raked in about 130 clients since she launched the business and “charges $1,080 for a one-day job and up to $4,320 for four days.” She has a actors and stage managers on her payroll part-time, whom the Journal says she pays $15 to $30 an hour.
Ghostbusting, fortunately, is still reserved for professionals.