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Jillian Bell explains why female comedians are so important for little girls to see

Actress and writer Jillian Bell (Goosebumps) stars as Seth Rogen’s wife in the new holiday comedy, The Night Before. We sat down with Bell to find out what it was like working with Rogen and if she thinks we’ll see more female-driven comedies in the near future.

The Night Before
Image: Sony

Like Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig before her, Jillian Bell started off writing and performing sketch comedy with the famous improv theater, The Groundlings. From there, she auditioned for Saturday Night Live, and became a writer for the 2009 season, even earning an Emmy nomination.

But this talented comedian wouldn’t stay behind the camera for long. Soon, she was acting alongside some of the best male comedians in TV shows like Eastbound and Down and Workaholics, and soon appearing in films like Bridesmaids and the recent hit, Goosebumps.

Bell now stars as Seth Rogen’s very patient and supportive wife in the holiday film The Night Before. Just like any other up-and-coming actress, Bell told us she had to audition for the part.

“I met Seth during the auditions; I was very nervous because I was such a fan of his. I auditioned a couple times, but there was also a big movie star in the room, auditioning for the same part, so I was positive I wasn’t going to get it. But it turned out in my favor for some reason!”

Bell would not tell us who the other actress was, saying only that she “was lovely.”

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Apparently, Bell and Rogen found each other’s “funny” early on and admits they were able to crack each other up on set.

“There’s a scene that takes place in a strip club with Seth and I, and we could not stop laughing. At one point, the director came over and said, ‘Come on guys, let’s get this one done,’ But that’s some of my favorite times, when you’re just breaking up. You kind of want to have those moments because that means you’re doing something right because you want the audience to be cracking up when they see it.”

Bell admits being a fan of doing what she calls “male comedies,” saying, “That’s been most of my career, doing Workaholics and 22 Jump Street and now, The Night Before. But I also think there’s something great about giving the ladies a real shot at pulling in big numbers at the box office, and I’m so proud to be part of that right now.”

Because she’s also a writer, she’s able to focus on creating exciting and funny roles for herself and other actresses. She’s writing and starring in a new show on Comedy Central with her writing partner, Charlotte Newhouse, called Idiotsitter, about a woman on house arrest. She’s also writing a feature film called Let’s Get Married for MGM.

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We’ve all heard a lot about how comedy has typically been a male-dominated field, and that there are a lot fewer roles for women, but Bell is proof things are definitely changing.

“There’s no more avoiding it anymore. Bridesmaids really changed the game in a major way. People are requesting female-driving comedies, and they should be,” she said.

Bell is looking forward to the upcoming female Ghostbusters movie and thinks it’s a really exciting time to be involved in the film business. “It’s important for little girls to have funny women to look up to, I know I did when I was younger. Basically, the posters I had on my wall were of Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler and Ana Gasteyer.”

She is thrilled to star in a holiday-themed comedy, The Night Before, hoping that, “People can sit back, laugh and escape from the craziness of everything that is going on during the holidays.”

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The Night Before opens Nov. 20.

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