If you watched 22 Jump Street you may have been won over by the hilarious performance of Jillian Bell as Mercedes, the deadpan roommate of Schmidt’s (Jonah Hill’s) love interest. Her sarcastic delivery of a range of cutting insults aimed at Schmidt’s appearance were one of the highlights of the movie, as is her sexual-tension filled fistfight with Hill during which she can’t work out whether Schmidt is about to kiss her or hit her. Hill has said of Bell “Jillian makes me want to quit show business and realize I am a complete fraud, because she is the funniest person I have ever met in my life.” Outside of 22 Jump Street, Bell is probably best known for her role as Jillian Belk in the Comedy Central series Workaholics. Her straight faced humour helps her to steal the limelight from both her Workaholic costars, and Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in Jump Street. Speaking about her time working on Jump Street she said “I basically got paid to call Jonah and Channing old for an entire movie. Afterward, I would always walk up to them and say, “You know I don’t mean any of that, right? You both look very young and are very handsome.’”
Jillian Bell was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and begun studying improve from a young age. After moving to Los Angeles, she became a member of the Groundlings, a well-known comedy group that boasts such alumni as Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Melissa McCarthy. Her start in improve and sketch comedy would later lead to a role as a writer on Saturday Night Live’s 35th season (she was there for the iconic Betty White episode), after a failed audition to join the cast. She has had small roles in popular films and shows such as Bridesmaids, Eastbound and Down and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
But with her breakout role in 22 Jump Street, more people are finally starting to pay attention to her, and she has big things ahead. The webseries she created, Idiotsitter, has been picked up by Comedy Central and is set to be turned into a series. She can also be seen in the upcoming Goosebumps film, Inherent Vice, her second movie with Paul Thomas Anderson and as one of the voices in the 2016 Angry Birds movie.