Jillian Bell has been in the entertainment industry for over a decade, however, she got her first major break into the mainstream in 2014 thanks to her role in Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s box office hit, 22 Jump Street. But before then, Bell had already established herself to series lovers with her role as an incompetent office assistant Jillian Belk in the Comedy Central series Workaholics.
Since announcing herself in the mainstream, Jillian Bell has gone on to establish herself as one of the top comic actresses of Hollywood. By our calculations, it won’t be long before she can be ranked with big names like Melissa McCarthy, Tina Fey, and Amy Schumer. If you’ve ever seen any of her films, then you know she clearly has all the comedic skills it takes. Channing Tatum even thinks she’s there already and is of the opinion that there’s no one who can give Jonah Hill a run for his money like Jillian Bell.
Follow us as we take you through some facts you need to know about Bell.
Facts About Comic Actress Jillian Bell
1. Jillian was raised in a family filled with casino employees
Born on April 25, 1984, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jillian had many of her family members working in the casino. Little wonder why her parents supported her choice of entertainment as a career. That knack for performing and entertaining people runs in Bell’s veins.
Her grandmother Nonna who is of Romanian descent became the first female to work at the front desk of a Las Vegas Casino. As Bell revealed to Vanity Fair, Noona wore leather pants, had a boob job and dyed her hair red.
2. Jillian began taking improv classes at the age of 8
Jillian was a highly energetic child never running out of gas to burn. As a result, her parents enrolled her in ballet classes, but she was soon kicked out (we suspect for lack of focus) after which they enrolled her in improv classes at the age of 8.
When she attended Bishop Gorman High School, the only private Catholic high school in Nevada, Jillian formed her own improv team. Blown away by her improv prowess, her friends voted her the “Most Likely to Be Famous.”
3. She had a stint writing for Saturday Night Live
With hopes of going professional with her comic skills, Bell relocated to Los Angeles, shortly after her high school graduation in 2002. In LA, she joined Groundlings and later interviewed to join Saturday Night Live. She got the job the next day, not as an actress but as a junior writer.
Bell wrote for the 35th season in 2009. She wrote a total of 22 episodes before leaving to return to LA.
4. Bell has worked with Paul Thomas Anderson and hopes to appear in drama roles in future.
On getting to LA, Bell scored a minor part in Bridesmaids, appeared on one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm before the makers of Workaholics who had taken notice of Bell at Comedy Cocktail, a monthly Hollywood sketch show brought her on the series to portray Jillian Belk.
Her portrayal of her Workaholics character was what attracted the drama-centric Paul Thomas Anderson who gave her small parts in two of his films; first The Master (2012) and then Inherent Vice (2014). She told Esquire that working with PTA inspired her to want to try out dramatic roles in the future.
5. She is the creator and writer of Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter
Bell has leveraged her fame to create her own show Idiotsitter in collaboration with Charlotte Newhouse. The show was picked up by Comedy Central as a web series before premiering on the channel on January 14th, 2016.
6. Bell pitched the idea of a Splash reboot to Tatum’s Free Association production company and he bought the idea
Bell impressed Tatum so much so on 22 Jump Street that he brought her on to pitch for his production company. Of her many ideas, Tatum jumped on a gender-swapped reboot of Splash. Bell will portray Tom Hank’s character while Tatum will play mermaid/merman.
7. Bell maintains a very close relationship with her sister Breanna Bell
Jillian is very close to her sister Breanna Bell. In 2016, she lived with her sister and her fiance in a 5-bedroom house. With help from her sister, Bell created and launched a T-shirt line, Neon Witch. They also plan to start their own production company.
8. Justin Timberlake was her childhood crush and Keith Morrison is one of her favorite people on the planet.
Bell as a teenager was a huge fan of JT’s NSYNC. She told The Huffington Post in a 2014 interview that her AOL password “had something to do with Justin Timberlake.” She was star struck when she encountered him for the first time during her days at SNL.
Bell has a special place in her heart for Canadian broadcast journalist Keith Morrison, the long-time Dateline NBC correspondent.