If you Google "Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger," you won't find much right now. Now try "Kelly Kursten." Oh, there I am! I was born Kelly Kurtzhals on a farm in Detroit. While I picked beans and hoed tomatoes, I dreamed of a life far away in a place where my fingernails weren't always dirty.
I changed my name to Kelly Kursten and began as an actress. I won a scholarship to New York University where I learned from some of the greatest teachers: including Lauri Peters at Circle in the Square, David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company, Louis Scheeder’s Shakespeare Studio, and with improvisational theater guru Paul Sills. When I was cast as the fool, and not the queen, in my senior production of Cymbeline, I realized I’d better give comedy a shot.
I started standup, soon performing regularly at the Comedy Cellar, New York Comedy Club, and many others. I moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a regular at the Laugh Factory, followed by the Comedy Store. My name is now permanently etched on the Comedy Store's wall among so many other famous comedians. If you look above the Main Room door, right next to Eddie Murphy, you'll see it right there in white letters: Kelly Kursten. And as of now, my headshot still hangs outside the men’s room.
My first televised standup performance was on an NBC show called Later, followed by a win on the Star Search-style spinoff, PAX TV’s Destination Stardom. I also scored a minor but poignant role in the film Pauly Shore is Dead.
Writing standup was a natural transition into my current life as a professional writer. My first television credit was writing game show content for the Whoopi Goldberg/Ellen DeGeneres-helmed incarnation of Hollywood Squares. After returning to school at New York Film Academy to learn producing and directing, I was hired to write more reality-based content for HGTV on What’s With That House? and Manland, for ABC’s Wipeout, and Clean House Comes Clean on the Style Network.
Breaking in at Style Network was a huge stroke of luck and timing. I was then able to land a producer/writer position for E! Network’s The Daily 10, where I learned to apply my honed comedy skills to newly hard-learned entertainment news writing. My experience there led to my current position as producer for E! News, where I’m involved daily with writing and reporting on celebrities and pop culture. I’ve since been nominated for four Daytime Emmys.
Now, my haunting dreams of buried civilizations and secret rooms have forced me with their cold dead fingers to finally write horror and sci-fi. The demons also convinced me to reclaim my original name, Kurtzhals. "Geiger" is a very recent addendum, courtesy of my husband. My first piece of published fiction, "Buried!" appears in the anthology, Hell Comes to Hollywood II, available on Amazon. My most recent short story, "The Cellar," is also available on Amazon in the anthology, Cemetery Riots.
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