Jennifer Ann Kirkman (born August 28, 1974) is an American stand-up comedian and screenwriter, podcaster, and actress. She is known for her regular appearances as a round-table panelist on Chelsea Lately for 70 episodes from 2008 to 2014. Jen Kirkman was also a guest on @midnight, as well as for her appearances on the Funny or Die sketch series Drunk History and its continuation television series on Comedy Central.
Her first three comedy albums released are Self Help (2006), Hail to the Freaks (2011), and I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) (2016), the latter also serving as her debut stand-up feature for Netflix. Her second stand-up feature, Just Keep Livin'?, premiered in January 2017 and was released as an album in November 2018. Her debut book, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids was published in April 2013 and became a New York Times bestseller.
Kirkman was born in Needham, Massachusetts, on August 28, 1974, and is the youngest of three sisters. She is of German, Polish, French-Canadian, and English heritage. Kirkman majored in acting at Emerson College in Boston. Kirkman performs stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, California, appearing regularly at the Hollywood Improv, The Laugh Factory, Largo, and The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. She has performed with comedians Maria Bamford, Greg Behrendt, Mike Birbiglia, and Chelsea Handler.
In 2009 and 2010, she performed as part of the Comedians of Chelsea Lately. In 2009, Entertainment Weekly named her one of the "Top 12 Rising Stars in Comedy," and in May 2010, both MSN and The Huffington Post named her one of the top comedians to follow on the social networking service Twitter. Kirkman produces No Fun, her own weekly podcast (previously titled I Seem Fun and Having Funlessness), and has made several appearances on The Crabfeast podcast, which is hosted by comedians Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler.
She also appeared regularly on the monthly Pod F. Tompkast podcast with Paul F. Tompkins, on which he referred to her by the nickname 'Southie.' In 2006, Kirkman released her debut comedy album, Self Help, through AST Records. Her second album, Hail to the Freaks, was recorded live at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on December 11, 2010. It was released on May 17, 2011, with a bonus disk of additional material and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart.
Kirkman's first book, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids, was published in hardcover on April 16, 2013, and was listed on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller list. In late 2013, she signed her second book deal with Simon & Schuster, a follow-up to her best-selling debut. Her second book, I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself: Dispatches from a Life Under Construction, was published in April 2016.
She also has several published essays, which have been included in Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped & Canceled and Bad Sex: We Did It So You Don't Have To. In 2001, Kirkman founded Girlcomic.net with fellow comedian Becky Donohue. The website featured interviews with comedians such as Joy Behar, Margaret Cho, Sue Murphy, Amy Poehler, and Sarah Silverman. On the intention of the website, Kirkman stated that the "one thing about feeling like there are still threads of sexism is women can get discouraged, and we wanted [to encourage] girls to write funny stories, and we wanted to interview famous female comics to let their stories get out.
It was meant to be positive and cool, and we included men on the site too." Regular updates to the website ceased in 2003, and the domain was ultimately closed in 2006. In 2021, Kirkman joined The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as a stand-up consultant for the jokes told by the character of Midge Maisel.