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Breaking Out

By Yash Egami on Apr 27, 2016

From the adorably funny Erin Hannon in The Office to the adorably funny Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper has used her comedic chops to vault her career from the improv stage to the big and small screen. With the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt just released on Netflix and voice over work in the upcoming movie The Secret Life of Pets as well as a new ad campaign for Chase (following a recent series of short films for Buick), Kemper is as busy as ever. She will be hosting The One Show on Friday, May 13 at Cipriani Wall Street. We spoke to her about her recent work and surprising connection to the ad industry.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is wacky and hilarious. Are you able to have a considerable amount of input into the humor and storylines?
Thank you! I am not a writer on the show, so I'm not in the writers’ room breaking stories or developing plot lines. All of the actors are able to contribute ideas on set, but the lines come to us so brilliantly crafted already. Most of my contributions come in the form of large sight gags or falling over things—I'm very cerebral that way.

Obviously you weren’t in a cult but how much of the show is about your past experiences adjusting to the harsh realities of New York?
I know that Tina [Fey] and Robert [Carlock] had watched The Office and knew that I could play sunny and upbeat, but I'm still wondering what it was in my face that screamed “Doomsday Cult Victim” to them. So I'm not really sure how much is actually based on my past. I had a fairly seamless transition from the Midwest to NYC, thankfully!

By the way, congratulations on the pregnancy! Will you shoot around it for next season or work it into the storyline somehow?
Thank you! I doubt that the pregnancy will be worked into the storyline, but I will stay tuned for the first table read of next season!

I just saw you on a Chase commercial, it’s so meta. How has your experience been shooting ads?
I will always have a very warm place in my heart for advertising, because I spent a summer as a copywriting intern at Leo Burnett in Chicago while I was in college. I even got a radio commercial on the air; it was a 30-second spot for the McDonald's Bacon Triple Cheeseburger. The gag was that everything rhymed with “bacon.” Rumor has it they are still talking about it at McDonald's headquarters.

Early on in your show that hilarious Buhbreeze commercial keeps coming up, there are so many ads that are just ripe for parody. Any favorite commercials that you’d love to parody in the future?
Probably any pharmaceutical ad that warns you about death as a side effect. The more information the better, but it’s tough to go back to your ramen noodles after hearing that.

You can see Ellie Kemper at The One Show on Friday, May 13 at Cipriani Wall Street. To purchase tickets, tables or a Creative Week pass, please visit our tickets page here: TICKETS.

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