David Bartlett & Jeff Jurgens
Jeffrey Paul Jurgens
Coaching people along the journey while they explore their voice is one of my favorite things to do on this planet. Watching someone progress week after week as they prepare to perform their very first stand-up routine is intense, it brings me joy. The fun of being there when someone rediscovers how to play while we improvise together is another source of wonder.
For some people, the fear of public speaking or performing is so real that it physically manifests in them. It used to happen to me when I was a child. I overcame that fear by doing exactly what I feared. And I learned that I actually enjoyed the stage.
It's this process and journey that I love to share with people, to bring them to the edge of their fear and be there with them as they explore jumping into that fear. Then they find their art, their voice.
Stand-Up Comedy: I accidentally started performing stand-up in middle school where I grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa. My teacher assigned a speech and I was scared to death of public speaking. I also happened to be a big fan of George Carlin and Richard Prior, so I wrote a 'funny' speech to make it less scary. Several unexpected laughs later, my teacher allowed me to perform 'funny' speeches as long as they focused on the topics of the class. Making the teachers laugh became my goal. The more laughs, the higher the grade!
My first real stand-up gig was in December of 1998 in the Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, CA. I have performed off and on since then in LA, NY, NJ, and now Florida. I typically don't perform unless I have something new to say - I do it for the joy and the challenge.
I have taught a Stand-Up Comedy for Beginners class since 2014 through the Santa Fe College Continuing Education Program, The Doris Bardon Community Cultural Center, and now through Rolling Laughter.
Improvisation: I was first introduced to improv, formally, through a series of drama classes that I took in high school, but I believe we all start improvising when we're kids, we just forget how to play as we get older.
While living in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, I auditioned for and then joined and performed with the F WORD (pronounced fwurd) Improv Troupe. We primarily performed the Harold and other long forms to unsuspecting audiences in a 35-seat theater in Hollywood.
From there, I joined forces with my F WORD buddy, Paul Bloom, and we co-directed a few of our own groups and put on and ran various open-mic stand-up, improv, and sketch shows throughout Los Angeles, including the Acme Comedy Theatre.
I rejoined the U.S. Navy after 9/11 and improvised with a group of fellow sailors while stationed on the USS ESSEX (LHD 2) in Sasebo, Japan.
Moving to Gainesville, FL in 2010 to attend UF, I volunteered at Shands, utilizing Theater Playback with patients to facilitate processing and coping with terminal illness. I also volunteered at the Honors Center for Veterans, utilizing improvisation techniques to allow veterans to focus on social skills and adapting to civilian life.
Sid Homan formed the Much Ado About Doris improv group in 2013 out of the Doris Bardon Community Cultural Center in Gainesville, FL and named me its first Director in January of 2013.
Since then, we have performed over 40 shows, both short and long form, and have had over 30 performers. We changed our name to the Gainesville Improv Guild (GIG) in 2017.
Education: In 2013, I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus in Drama, Film, and Creative Writing from the University of Florida. As part of an Independent Study program, I focused on being a Director for the Much Ado About Doris Improv Group.