×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Jessica Biel Limetown Premiere

    Why 'Limetown' Star & Producer Jessica Biel Thought the Show Was Based on a True Story

    In a world of increasingly outlandish headlines, the story behind “Limetown” — in which an entire community in rural Tennessee disappears overnight — seems plausible. Even Jessica Biel, who executive produces and stars in the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the hit 2015 podcast, was initially convinced that it was real. “I just thought I [...]

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I'm Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content