‘The Good Place’ Star D’Arcy Carden: “Acting is so weird. And finding success in acting is so weird”

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Actress Darcy Carden

“I truly never considered another option, even when I was struggling for 10 years and dirt poor in New York with my husband and trying to get jobs in L.A. It’s a hard one.” – D’Arcy Carden

The Good Life star D’Arcy Carden has succeeded as an actress on the popular series, yet she spent the last several years being “realistic” about her acting career. Speaking with Jezebel, Carden explains why acting is only for people who really want it — and how Upright Citizens Brigade saved her career.

On why she thinks it’s “pretty dumb” to want to be an actor one’s whole life, Carden says, “You’re told so quickly that it’s almost impossible. As a kid, everybody wants to encourage you, but by the time I was majoring in theater in college, our professors were like, ‘Get out of this profession. If there’s anything else you want to do, do that instead.’ Because you’re not gonna make it. It’s a million times more likely that you won’t make it. So I knew all that stuff, and again, I really feel like I have like, common sense about a lot of things. But I truly never considered another option, even when I was struggling for 10 years and dirt poor in New York with my husband and trying to get jobs in L.A. It’s a hard one. But I was like, well, there’s no other choice for me.”

When asked to elaborated, Carden continues:

Acting is so weird. And finding success in acting is so weird. So many people do it at such a young age—I mean literally, children do it—but then starlets and ingenues and everything, you have to be like, 18, 19, 20 for that. People find success in this business at such different times. I have character actor friends from the Upright Citizens Brigade that I’ve worked with for years and I’m like, “Oh you’re not gonna make waves until you’re in your 40s, and then you’re going to like, explode.”

But it’s obviously hard as an actor when you’re not literally making a living at it. It’s hard to be an actor when you have to have other jobs. I’m not answering your question here. There is… I think this is true: there’s a part of every actor that is waiting for their turn and at the same time, knows it might never happen. You know what I mean? We have to have this sort of blind hope and also realize that it probably will never happen. It’s a confusing one. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to know that you have something to offer, and you have to fucking love acting, because otherwise, why in the world would you be doing it? I do agree with my professors back in college: If there’s something that brings you equal amount of joy, do that instead, because there’s just so much pain [in this line of work]. Man, I’m making it sound like we’re soldiers or something. I get that [acting is]a silly froo-foo job! But it can really mess with your self-worth.

Carden admits that participating in UCB is what kept her pursuing acting during even challenging years. She recalls, “UCB was my saving grace. Being able to perform there got me through some of my biggest career struggles. Even when I wasn’t making a living at acting, I was still getting to perform with people that I thought were the funniest people on the face of the Earth, like Amy Poehler. It made me feel like I was doing the right thing and on the right path.”

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About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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