Jeff Vanderkruik, a Winchester High School class of 2003 graduate, has been pursuing his passion for writing and telling jokes since his days at Winchester High School. After graduating from Tufts University, Vanderkruik made his way to New York City where he eventually worked on Saturday Night Live. From NYC and SNL, Vanderkruik went out west to Los Angeles where he is currently living and writing on the NBC sitcom, “A.P. Bio.′ Check out ‘A.P. Bio’ Thursdays on NBC or through the show’s website: nbc.com/ap-bio. The season premiere is Thursday, March 7, at 8:30 p.m.
What connection, if any, do you still have to WHS or the community?
My parents are still in the same house where I grew up, so I try to get back several times a year. During the holidays, my twin sister, Rachel and I will try to stop by a basketball game and connect with old friends from WHS and the community.
Was there a favorite moment, person or experience at WHS that you remember that has helped you find your passions or reach your goals?
I spent A LOT of time hanging out in the front office and became quite friendly with the people there – shout out to Karen Branley! As for someone who helped me find my passion, my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Evrigenis, stands out. She recognized my writing and encouraged me to pursue that path.
What was the path you took to get where you are today?
After graduating from college, I enrolled in the NBC Page Program, which led to a writers assistant job at ‘Saturday Night Live.’ I spent three years there, made some great connections and incredible friends, and followed one of my mentors out to Los Angeles to work on her sitcom. With TV being as fickle as it is, I bounced around for a little while, landing almost every job as a result of people I met at SNL. With each job, I made some progress – first jokes in a script, first episodes on air, and then finally first staff job, where I have been ever since.
Please share a success since leaving WHS.
Being assigned my first script for “The Last Man on Earth” was very special. It was pretty surreal to see actors I have admired for years reading something I wrote and then watch the episode on air with a group of friends.
Is there insight or advice you can share with current students?
Nothing too profound, but these three things have served me well – be kind, work hard and always think of your next step. It’s easy to be complacent, but keep looking forward to pushing yourself to do more. And make friends with teachers and faculty – it can come in handy!