Jillian Bell is known by many different names. She’s been slowly building up a resumé that includes stints on Workaholics, big budget action comedies like 22 Jump Street, and Paul Thomas Anderson films. She’s played strait-laced, sweater-loving coworkers like Jillian Belk, controlling wives like Dixie on Eastbound and Down, and spoiled rich girls under house arrest, like Gene on Idiotsitter, created by Bell and her writing partner Charlotte Newhouse.
Along with the second season of Idiotsitter, which recently premiered on Comedy Central and sees Gene and her best friend/reluctant mentor Billie (Newhouse) heading off to college, Bell’s got a raunchy summer comedy hitting theaters today, Rough Night, a film in which she appears alongside Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon and others that follows a group of college friends reuniting for a girls weekend that begins with a murder and ends… well, probably not well. Bell talked to Uproxx about her favorite sex scene on Idiotsitter, her first time smoking weed, and her love for Meg Ryan.
Congratulations. You’ve gone from wearing Costco sweaters on Workaholics to starring in a movie with Scarlett Johansson.
Yeah, it’s very nutty but it’s been going all right.
That Catholic school upbringing must’ve done something right. I didn’t even know there were Catholic schools in Las Vegas.
Well I went to Catholic elementary school, there are a few of those but I believe at the time, it was the only Catholic high school in Las Vegas.
Now you’re dropping F bombs and killing strippers in movies. The nuns must be proud.
[Laughing.] I haven’t checked in with them but I believe they’re very happy with the progress I’ve made as a human adult. No really though, I feel like every time I check in with my mom I’m like, “You still good with everything?”
Rough Night must’ve been something she loved then. How do you get a raunchy, all-female comedy like this made? They’re still not the norm.
That’s true. This is all from the beautiful brains of Paul [Downs] and Lucia [Aniello]. The script was so clever, so funny, and I love anything with death and comedy. I think that’s always a good partnership.
Was it important to prove that girls can snort cocaine and have Weekend at Bernie’s adventures too?
I think Lucia and Paul did a good job. I feel like a lot of times, the way women are portrayed or written in films like this, they go way towards being dudes and then they’re not relatable to women. Or guys don’t relate to jokes that are too feminine. It’s a really hard line. I think they did a beautiful job of making it from a female perspective but the men will laugh just as much as the women.
And there’s real heart to this too. At the end of the day, it’s about these female friendships.
Exactly. There’s a friendship there and at the beginning of the movie, you see where they came from, you see them in college and how close they were and then, when you get into your thirties, as happens with everyone in their thirties, you move into a new life. Career and family and all that takes center stage. It’s a good story about remembering the people closest to you.
I heard you smoked weed for the first time on set.
I want to be clear. I didn’t smoke it on set. [Laughing.] We weren’t that wild.
Was that a good team bonding exercise? You had the master, Ilana Glazer, guiding you.
She’s the best. She let me kind of do my thing. I invited a friend out from New York and it was the weekend and I was like, “I’m going to try this and see how it goes.” I was so nervous. I was 32 and I’m like terrified about trying it but it was wonderful and it made me feel so creative. I know that’s not the case for everyone so I’m not going to encourage anyone.
Disclaimer: Weed might give you great ideas but it might also give you paranoid delusions.
Yeah maybe you’ll think the cops are after you or something.
Idiotsitter season two just premiered on Comedy Central. This second season feels far removed from the first. Did you want to expand the world a bit this time around?
There’s stuff I genuinely love about that first season. It was all in one place because Gene was under house arrest. It was a small cast, it was just about two friends and their relationship and to me, that’s what will always be a part of the show: the friendship of these two people and how different they are but how similar they are too. The second season we sort of blew it out and got all of these new characters and took it to college and it has a little bit more life. It was certainly a quicker pace this season. We wanted to get a lot of things in there and just experiment with this new world.