Jenn Sterger On Working For AEW, Her WWE Divas Tryout, Standup Comedy & More
Jenn Sterger (@jennifersterger) is a comedian, actor, TV host and previously a backstage interviewer for AEW. She joins Chris Van Vliet for an in-person interview in Hollywood to talk about her time working with AEW, interacting with people like MJF and Chris Jericho, helping to write promos for Peter Avalon, how she got started as a standup comedian, what happened at her WWE Divas tryout in 2012, how she feels her situation with Brett Farve would be handled now, why Back To The Future is the perfect movie and much more!
Check out Jenn's website: http://jennsterger.com
“You know, it just all depended on who it was with, and I had such good chemistry with a lot of a lot of the cast. And they knew they could be funny with me, or they could be engaging with me. You know, I remember I gave, I think it was Scorpio Sky like a funny one liner and I was like, you should add that in there. Because he was cutting the promo, he was trying, it was very Rock-ish, you know, it was a very Rock type promo. And I was like, You should add this line in there. And I'm like, and then Frankie should react to you saying that line because it was like, it had like a little entendre to it. And so and I watched that clip back all the time, and I'm just like that was so smooth.”
“Usually they were just like keynotes, you had to hit you know what I mean? Like you make sure you promote this match coming up, ask their feelings on this. And then this is going to happen, then you have to react to this, and then this person is going to come in and hit this person, please get out of the way Jenn, we're not insured for you, like that type of thing. You know, I had to do one in the ring one time and it didn't go quite as planned, like someone jumped the cue a little bit faster than they should have. So I'm standing there in the ring interviewing Dustin, Dustin Rhodes and I was like sitting there talking to him. And all of a sudden, I think Sammy or somebody missed their cue and came in early. And I caught them out of my peripheral and I was like oh crap, I'm not supposed to be here. So you just see me sprinting out of the ring in like six inch heels. And my family was like I had no idea she could move like that. Like everyone was just really impressed, Jenn's got some speed on her even in high heels, good for her. But I think I was so scared that it had happened out of sequence that I dropped the mic in the middle of the rings that was picking up all of the noise. You know what, it was like being involved in a circus. That's the only way I can ever describe it.”
“You know, I think my fan base was always predominantly male. So I don't feel like that really don't know. But I don't feel like it changed that much. I think actually, comedy has, has really started to change my fan base. And I think the more vocal I am about women's issues and the things that really matter to me, and creating a safe space for women, not only in comedy, but just, I taught a class the other morning about Sports Media at the University of Florida. And one of the things they asked me about was, you know, just creating a safe space for women and like giving all these women advice that had been through tough stuff and work environments and things that were going to prepare them going forward. And I just told them, I'm like, it is just so important that women become other women's allies. And that means supporting their projects, supporting their art, just support women, it's not that hard. You know, we can ask men to be better allies all we want, but if we're not supporting our own, like that's the real problem.”
“You know, I just think it has to be the right opportunity. That travel schedule is wild. It’s way faster than comedy, honestly. You would get in the morning of, or shooting the next day, and we were only doing east coast loops, it was tough on my body. I was also doing 3 hours of live radio every day, so even when I was doing television, I had just done 3 hours of live radio. I know I won’t be bumping, that’s for sure.”
“For sure. Like, for instance, I thought I was going to be a diva. I legit thought I was going to be a diva while divas were still a thing you know, in the WWE, like that's what my dream was as a little girl. You know? I grew up watching wrestling, like Saturday mornings religiously right after cartoons came wrestling. And to the point where I love wrestling so much that I actually went to the hospital as a three year old child because I tried to do a flying elbow drop off the back of the couch. [Chris - like Macho Man?] Exactly, and took out the coffee table, the coffee table won. My mom was like, oh my god, I have to take my daughter to the hospital with this broken arm and they’re gonna be like what the hell did you do to her? She's like they're gonna think I beat you. No, the coffee table, the coffee table won that match.”
“Every girl that watched wrestling at the time wanted to be Lita. We all got sent home from school for wearing our underwear above our pants. You know what I mean? I couldn't find padded bras big enough to be Trish Stratus. Like I wanted to be that, but not just because they were sexy and gorgeous, but because they were just these badass women that despite everything the late 90s put them through, because let's face it, totally different era of women's wrestling. They owned it, they owned who they were. I got the opportunity to audition for the Divas in like the last Divas Search that they did you know, where they were still taking girls that weren't necessarily athletes or wrestlers. But they were like, are you a model? Are you moderately athletic, we'll take you. I was in that crop. So they brought me in, I think at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013, I had just recovered from breaking my neck the previous year. I somehow passed their like a physical they may do. I was just like, oh my God, I am held together by graham crackers. I was like, I have no idea, like how I'm getting through this. And it just didn't work out. You know, I ended up breaking my neck again in that training. And they were just like, we're just gonna we're just gonna table that for now. They tried to bring me in to do like, announcing type stuff, but I don't think I understood as much as I thought I watched wrestling and I understood wrestling, I don't think I understood the world back then as much as I thought I did.”
“And so it's funny because I don't think I really got the gist of it while I was auditioning at WWE. I still was trying to be Jenn the comedian and Jenn like the host, when it was much more about being a good storyteller. And even when they were like, Jenn we want you to be like a heel announcer I didn't know what that meant. So I just came in with this roast heat, you know, and they were like, that's not it. And so now when I look back at my notes from my audition, I was like, oh, that's why I didn't get hired.”
“Again, it was not getting WWE, I was taking stand-up classes when I was learning to be a Diva. I hadn’t started doing stand-up yet, it was 2013 when I first started taking classes and really learning comedy. Had WWE panned out, I might have never got onstage and realize how much I loved comedy.”
“Yeah, that was really weird and something that in general wrestling should get away from. I think that had something to do with the Divas era and this is pre-me too. We can’t get mad at things when society was still figuring things out. We were different people back then, we can’t cancel somebody for something they said or did as recent as 5 years ago. So much changes as to what is acceptable and what is not.”
“I moved out here because I wanted to get away from a terrible relationship. Besides that, I just felt like I had done everything that I could do in New York. At the time, I guess I was getting out of the public scandal thing that I went through, I was tired of seeing my face on the front of The Post every few weeks. I just wanted to anonymity, and coming out to LA, no one cared who I was. It was a chance to start over and figure out what I wanted to do again. At the time I had a job with Spike TV, I was doing some hosting for them and I interviewed this comedian. He was like ‘You are super funny, have you ever taken improv classes?’ I was like no, so I went and took some improv classes. But then I was like ‘You know what would be great? If we wrote all of this down and we f*cking rehearsed it.’ I had this thing where friends don’t ask friends to come to their improv shows. It’s great to have a skill, but I was always drawn to writing a story and making people laugh.”
“I mean a couple of nights a week for sure. When I am not on stage, I also help to teach classes with women that want to get into stand-up and comedy writing. But I try to be funny every day, try to stretch those muscles every day.”
“Oh I did work for Abercrombie. I got fired because I got fake boobs and they said you don’t look like the all American girl anymore. True story. But I got fake boobs because I wanted to look like Trish and Lita, I wanted to be a Diva my entire life, but I am so f*cking uncoordinated. This is the stuff we need to talk about.”
“[I tell people] I am an entertainer, that’s what I say. I don’t say I am a lady of the night! I like to entertain people, I like to host, I like to do comedy, I like to act, I do all of it! I’m a writer, I even teach classes, I teach other women how to write comedy. It’s like Jack of all trades, master of none, what are they paying me for? Right now it is comedy, there is no better feeling than when I am on stage doing stand-up.”
"Society took so long to catch up. It was basically weirdo cyberstalking. Celebrities, they are just like us! It was a really unsupportive time. I think the hardest part was being attacked by my peers, by women. They were supposed to have my back, because they know damn well it is happening to all of us. It's just the way it is. I had a comedian tell me that comedy is hard for pretty women. I told him that every job I have had is hard for pretty women, how about all women? I had a chance to talk to some of the women that called me out in 2010 to further their career. When they were beating the drum, I called them out and asked them where were you when I needed you? I'm sorry I was not a good enough victim for you."
"On making people laugh, the amazing fanbase and friends I have made along the way."