Bell: Workaholic aces ‘Master’ class

10 Comics to Watch 2012 - Jillian Bell

At age 18, having just completed her first semester of college, Las Vegas-raised Jillian Bell took a gamble. She left her hometown to study in Los Angeles, promising her parents she would return after the semester was finished.

She never came home.

“I auditioned for a Kelly Osbourne musicvideo and was like, ‘I’m not going back. This is fantastic!’?” says Bell, who tried out with the Groundlings and was asked to be a part of the group’s Sunday Company.

Soon after, “Saturday Night Live’s” Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers stopped in looking for new talent. They invited the young Groundling to audition for “SNL” (her first trip to New York City). Though Bell didn’t make the cut, she was soon called back in by Meyers, who wanted to discuss the possibility of her writing for the show.

“I had the interview on a Monday, and Tuesday I was working there,” she says.

After writing for a season, Bell returned west and picked up where she left off with the Groundlings. She also landed a part on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” playing Jillian Belk, an office manager who gets little respect from her co-workers. The role — characteristically off-kilter, much like her appearances in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Bridesmaids” — caught the attention of an unlikely fan.

“Paul (Thomas Anderson) watches ‘Workaholics,’ which was mind-blowing to me,” says Bell, who was surprised to land a role in Anderson’s upcoming “The Master.”

“I have a small part in it, which is fine, but I’m … I don’t know how much I can say,” she says coyly. “I get so nervous!”

LAUGH FACTS
P.O.V.:“I started doing improv when I was 8 years old, so it’s always been in my life. I would feel naked without it.”
Influences: Her father, Ron Bell; Amy Poehler; Tim Curry in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” “I feel like it’s okay for both guys and girls to be very attracted to Tim Curry in that movie. He’s just sex on a stick,” she says.
Reps: Innovative Artists/3 Arts/SMGSB

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading