Could you imagine The Good Place without D’Arcy Carden as Janet? Michael Schur, the creator of the show, feels that D’Arcy is “fluent in Janet.” The show would not be the same without her. She plays ‘Good Janet,’ ‘Bad Janet,’ and ‘Neutral Janet—all completely different personalities. Fans of the show will recall that in one episode, she played each of the four humans, complete with correct attitudes and mannerisms.
Her trek to stardom was not an easy one, and she admits she felt like a failure while others around her were becoming successful. Let’s take a look at how D’Arcy almost didn’t make it to our television screens, but now she is all the talk.
D’Arcy moved to NYC with high hopes of becoming an actress
D’Arcy knew she wanted to be an actress from the time she was a small child. The 39-year-old graduated from Southern Oregon University, where she studied theater and then moved to NYC. She feels she got herself a “lousy” agent who often forgot about her and began taking classes at UCB.
D’Arcy primarily performed improve while in NYC, along with the million strange auditions she went on. She lived in barely liveable apartments while struggling to become an actress.
The Good Place star worked at awful temp jobs, which she hated and as a nanny, which she loved. She also spent time as a guide on a NYC tour bus. It was, “One of those jobs where you can tell yourself, ‘I’m acting!’ But you are so not,” she told The Washington Post.
As she continued to audition for parts she wouldn’t get, she lived off of snacks stolen from offices and late-night pizzas.
At one point, D’Arcy felt she missed her chance to be a real adult
D’Arcy certainly had a tough patch in her late twenties and early thirties. “That was a rough few years, when I was doing dirty comedy in the basement of the UCB theater and [my friends] were getting married and having babies,” she explained. “I’d be getting wedding invites in the mail and going, ‘Cool! Can’t afford the flight. The idea of getting a hotel is truly hilarious.'”
Her classmates in her UCB classes began scoring big-time roles, and she started feeling like more and more of a failure.
“Those are the type of moments where you’re like: I missed it. I’m not a real adult,” D’Arcy says. “I missed my opportunity to be a successful human being.”
Finally, after years of trying, she got two big breaks
Just when she thought she would never become an actress, D’Arcy auditioned for two more parts she didn’t think she could get. She was already 36 and beginning to think this just wasn’t in the cards for her.
She auditioned for the part of ‘Janet’ with Michael Schur. He was looking for a sort of “centralized information database” for his show about the after-life. He thought it would be fun to have a person instead of a kiosk provide information to the residents of the neighborhood.
Schur told Post, “We auditioned a million people, ranging from 13-year-old boys all the way to 75-year-old women and everything in between.”
D’Arcy was positive she would not get cast, so her only goal was to make Schur laugh during the audition. While she was waiting to hear back, she also read for Natalie, a desperate acting student for a dark HBO comedy, Barry.
Within a month, D’Arcy was shocked when she landed both roles. Three years later, she stars on two of the most critically acclaimed comedies on television. Fans rave about her and are hoping she gets picked for an Emmy this year for her role as Janet.
You can watch new episodes of The Good Place on NBC Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern.