Writer & Performer
Writer and performer Jenny Allen has been delighting audiences and readers for many years. “I Got Sick Then I Got Better,” her solo show about being diagnosed and successfully treated for ovarian cancer, opened in New York to rave reviews (Ben Brantley, of the Times, called it “embracable…full of pithy, quotable observations”). Jenny’s show, directed by Tony-winning director James Lapine, has been described as “a comic riff on one woman’s adventures after falling down the medical rabbit hole, combining biting humor with searing emotion in a witty monologue that limns the personal and family collateral damage a life-threatening illness brings.” Read More >
I Got Sick, Then I Got Better
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow | The Moth
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance 2010 Conference
Jenny’s “I Got Sick Then I Got Better” calls for no scenery, props, or special lighting. Jenny tells her story directly to the audience, establishing a warm, immediate rapport. Jenny happily makes time before and/or after her performance to talk with audience members, who are often eager to ask questions or share their own stories.
Jenny takes a light look at what cracks us up and why, drawing on everything from theories of humor to classic Nichols and May sketches to Chris Rock’s stand-up to research proving that primates, and even rats, know how to laugh. She talks about how what makes us laugh both changes from one era to another— we used to laugh at dumb blonde jokes, and worse--and remains eternal. Jenny’s talk includes encouraging tips for those who’d like to try writing humor.
After being treated for ovarian cancer, Jenny Allen’s mantra was, “Please let the rest of my life be uneventful.” So much for mantras. Served unexpectedly with divorce papers after nearly thirty years of marriage, she had to sell the apartment where she’d raised her family, leave her comfortable city life, and move to a very old, very neglected house in the country. Here she learned how to keep warm when the furnace breaks in February, the many, many uses for duct tape, and the secret of resilience: never lose your sense of humor, even—or especially—when it’s all you have. The essays in Jenny’s collection, Would Everybody Please Stop?, were largely inspired by her experiences, and Jenny shares those experiences with all the wit and laugh-out-loud humor of her written work.
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