When I started “follow my bliss” in January of 2009, I wrote: “My name is Jen Curran. I have had some sort of desk job every year since I was 17. Today, I am 28. I’m on a journey to leave my desk job.”
A lot has happened since then:
It was fun. It was also really hard.
Today I spend my days as the Managing Director at the Peoples Improv Theater (the PIT) in New York City, and the rest of my time working as a comedian, improviser, writer, actor, teacher, girlfriend, cat-mom and unlimited Metrocard carrier.
The goal has always been to pursue work I’m passionate about. I’m proud to say, I’m doing it.
THE SORDID BACKSTORY
I studied acting in college. I’d always always dreamed about being an actor, and at age 17, I moved to New York City to go to NYU. It was a thrilling time that quickly turned sour when I couldn’t get out from under some kind of depression. I didn’t want to go to class, or do my homework. I had an amazing new boyfriend, my first love, who was fun to be around, and my friends were great, but I was also exhausted and burnt out and unmotivated. Oh and I was fat. During my freshman year, I gained about 100 pounds.
The next three years didn’t get much better. I fell in and out of depression, I made a bunch of impulsive, crazy choices, I went to class sometimes, flunking some and acing others. I barely slid by. When my mother discovered a string of terrible grades I’d gotten and lies I told her, I dropped out of school. I was lost and floating. Then one night, after months of doing nothing but smoking pot in my gay boyfriend’s basement and making more crazy, impulsive decisions, I punched my boyfriend in the mouth. We were fighting, as we often did, and I snapped. I got kicked out of the apartment we shared and lost several important friendships.
At age 21, I was a college dropout without a job or a place to live. I’d hit my rock bottom. It was excruciating for me, a “good” girl from the mid-west. I sat on a generous friend’s apartment floor one night a few days later, $12 to my name, and made a list: Lose weight, Graduate college, Get a job, Find a place to live, Get out of debt.
It almost sounds ridiculous to say that something clicked in me that night. Does that really happen? Well, if something didn’t click, a culmination was reached. The timing was right. I sat there and stared at these incredibly tall orders on my plate. And I thought, I’m 21 years old. Either, I can succeed or I can fail. It didn’t really feel like a choice, it was time to get my shit together.
Over the next five years, I started chipping away at my mess. I went to therapy. I started Weight Watchers. I eventually lost 115 pounds, graduated college, got a job, and then another and another, and today my life looks nothing like it did ten years ago.
Now I do improv with the Baldwins & sketch with Harvard Sailing Team. I teach comedy acting & writing at the Peoples Improv Theater (the PIT) and I’m also the theater’s Managing Director. It’s incredible to realize I make my living entirely from comedy. In fact, I don’t appreciate often enough how lucky I am.
Likes: yoga, cats, baking, eating, serial killers, strawberries, rude jokes.
(Wanna email me? Okay! : firstname.lastname@example.org)