Posted on: April 8, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0


By Payton Millhouse

JRN 111 Student

When he walks out on stage, Jarrin Comer feels at home. His ability to take center stage and excel is what makes him an incredible actor. Jarrin admits at first it was nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t phase him anymore.

“It’s a part of the job. If you want to be great, you have to take all of the weight of the world,” says Comer. It wasn’t always easy for him, however.

Comer didn’t start acting until 16, when he hit a self-described “midlife crisis.” Unsure of what his future held, he had lost his drive for school. He was a member of the Marian Catholic speech and drama team, but he didn’t feel like he belonged there. While he performed well, he didn’t believe this was what he was meant to do. His choir instructor suggested he try out for Les Miserables. This first acting gig showed him his true purpose.

“I love the art form of acting.”

Jarrin Comer

Entering the acting scene at Moraine Valley last year as a freshman, Comer landed the starring role of Mamadou in the original spring play, American Griot. The play, developed by former Moraine Valley students Ronnie Malley and Reginald Edmund, became renowned. It was selected to be performed this year at the Kennedy Center Theater Festival, the only play from a community college to be chosen.

The play explores the history of early African Muslims sold into slavery and how they influenced early blues music. Comer said the role was challenging, as he had to accurately portray Muslim culture, despite being Christian, and the psychological effects of slavery played with his mind as a young African American man.

Being referred to on stage as “boy” was mentally draining, he said, but “it was the norm. People just lived. They didn’t question it.”

With his sophomore year coming to an end soon, Comer has been applying to drama schools, including his number one choice, DePaul’s Theatre Conservatory. The a school has a rigorous application program: of more than a thousand applicants, only 300 are selected to audition, and each aspiring student performs two monologues. Only 32 are granted enrollment to the prestigious program. 

Comer is proud to say that he is one of the 32 actors selected to be a part of the class of 2024. He will spend the first two years assisting with tech behind the curtain, after he which he can resume his on-stage career with the new skills and knowledge he’ll have learned at DePaul.

In addition to doing theater, Comer plans to work as a film actor. He credits his love of comics for driving him. 

“If Miles Morales [the main character in Into the Spider-Verse] comes to the big screen, I’ll have to audition for that,” Comer exclaims happily.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down live events all over the country, the long-term effects on the performing arts are unknown. Comer said his career as an actor has not really been affected, as he can still submit auditions online. However, the general amount of work available is limited, as most filming and performances have been canceled.

Comer is looking forward to starting at DePaul in the fall, though he’s uncertain whether the pandemic’s effects will continue. Whatever the challenges, he has truly found his passion.

He says that being recognized by complete strangers just from his on-stage roles is incredible, but while he loves interacting with fans, he isn’t doing this for the fame and fortune.

“I love the art form of acting,” he says with fervor and passion in his voice.

Payton Millhouse can be reached at