When asked “what is the meaning of life?” Jeffrey Jena responds, “Nobody knows..
But–life is always referable to the alternative.
Other unanswerable questions like, “Is there life after death?” and “Is there a God?” are fielded with equal comic aplomb by Jena. “I have my own philosophy about life: I think; therefore, I am what I am; it’s sort of a Descartes-Popeye philosophy,” he proudly explains.
In his youth, Jeffrey was known as the class clown. “But,” he says, “when you grow up in a small Mid-western town ‘comedian’ is not an option they present to you on career day.” So he went to college and got a Masters degree in Education. This, plus his askew but well-informed perspective, served him well during his years as a teacher in Australia, Thailand, Japan, Italy, and inner-city Houston, Texas. It was in Houston, while teaching junior high school math & science that Jena’s comic persona ripened and he devised his E=M+$40.00 equation; meaning your Expenses equal your Money plus the extra $40.00 you always need but never have. He began performing at the Comedy Annex, honing his skills along with other talents like the late Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison. He then moved on to Chicago to study improvisational comedy with the legendary Del Close of Second City.
During the next decade on the comedy circuit, audiences continued to respond positively to Jeffrey’s thought-provoking humor and rapid-fire delivery that is reminiscent of his personal hero, George Carlin. He also acquired a reputation for having sharp social and political observations. Though he shies away from being labeled a ‘political’ comic, Jena-a Libertarian–is often quoted in the media at election times and has commentated on the Conventions for a number of radio stations.
Jeffrey’s journey up through the comedy ranks has been filled with good fortune. When he’s not headlining on the road two weeks out of every month, he performs regularly for corporate audiences, lends his services to numerous charity events, and adds to his growing list of radio and television appearances that include “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” “Evening At The Improv,” “NBC’s Friday Night,” and HBO’s “Short Attention Span Theatre.”
Jeffrey is an avid golfer (he boasts a 6 handicap) and a runner. He is also a newly-wed who notes that he found himself “suddenly out of the planning loop” for the Big Day when his wife asked what kind of cake he thought they should have. “Honey, I like pie. Couldn’t we have a huge wedding pie?”
Jeffrey has a seasoned, relaxed attitude about stand-up after 17 years. “Performing is the easy part…finding good material is the hard part. You have to be like a shark, always looking for food.” During the last couple of years, clubs around the country have hosted Jeffrey’s one-man show, “Grounded Forever.” The performance piece draws humorous observations from his seven years of teaching and 40 years of living. Like many experienced comics, Jeffrey has made some inroads into television and film and is currently developing a sitcom for a female comedian and himself.
Watching him on stage, it’s clear that he loves live performance. “I’ll never stop doing it, “says Jena. “It’s a real high. I keep thinking of that line in that movie about Patton with George C. Scott, where he’s standing on the battlefield and thinking about the war coming to an end and he says “God help me, I love it so!” Then Jeffrey laughs at the image. “I have a job just like anybody else has a job. And when I go home at night, I take out the garbage, pet the cat, and go to bed.
Shout Out to Jeff Jena for his performance for the Durham N.C. GOP Fundraiser. The client was extremely laudatory and said things like, “The best entertainment ever.”