Ellie Kemper: Wikis


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Ellie Kemper

Photo from Princeton University in 2002
Born May 2, 1980 (1980-05-02) (age 29)
St. Louis, Missouri
Occupation Actress
Years active 2003–present

Ellie Kemper (born May 2, 1980) is an American actress, writer and comedian, best known for her role as Erin Hannon in NBC's The Office.



Kemper was born in St. Louis, Missouri,[1]and attended high school at John Burroughs School.[2][3] Kemper was introduced to improvisational comedy as a student at Princeton University, where she participated in the Quipfire! improv troupe and the Princeton Triangle Club. She also played field hockey at Princeton, although she said she sat on the bench "roughly 97 percent"[4] of the time. Kemper graduated from Princeton in 2002 with a degree in English, then studied English for a year at the University of Oxford.[4]

She has appeared on comedy sketches on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and an episode of E! Television's The Gastineau Girls,[3][5] which has been described as her "breakout role". She has appeared on Fuse TV's The P.A. In October 2008, Kemper appeared on The Colbert Report in a PSA for Teen Voter Abstinence[6]. Kemper has written several sketch comedy shows, many of them with her comedy partner Scott Eckert,[3] a fellow Princeton grad.[4]

Kemper is a contributing writer for the national satirical newspaper The Onion[7] and for McSweeney's, the literary journal founded by Dave Eggers.[3] Her essays for McSweeney's included "Listen, Kid, The Biggest Thing You've Got Going For You Is Your Rack",[8] "Following My Creative Writing Teacher's Advice To Write 'Like My Parents Are Dead'",[9] and "Some Relatively Recent College Grads Discuss Their Maids".[10] Kemper has also appeared in several national commercials. One was a radio spot for Dunkin' Donuts.[3] In a commercial for KMart, Kemper is featured as a camper with a live tarantula crawling over her face.[11]

"I'm the most comfortable when I'm playing a naturalistic character. I auditioned for Saturday Night Live, and when I was doing the biggest characters, I felt the least comfortable. I'm just more comfortable when it's some version of myself."
Ellie Kemper[12]

Upon moving to New York City, Kemper participated in the People’s Improv Theatre[4] and the city troupe of Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisational comedy and sketch comedy theater. She has appeared in several shows for the Brigade, including Death and/or Despair, Listen Kid, Gang Bang and The Improvised Mystery.[3] At the UCB, she performed with the house improv teams Mailer Daemon and fwand.[3] At the PIT, she performs with the house improv team Big Black Car.[13]. In August 2008, she auditioned for a spot on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, but was not cast.[12] In July 2009, Kemper was named one of Variety magazine's "10 Comics To Watch".[12] Big Black Car teammate Kristen Schaal was also named.

Kemper gained some Internet fame in August 2007 for her part in "Blowjob Girl", a humor video on the sketch comedy site Derrick Comedy. The video, which was circulated on the popular site CollegeHumor, was a two-minute close-up of Kemper offering to perform oral sex on her boyfriend, but startling him by promising to bite and smash his genitals, which she seems to believe is arousing.[14] As of February 2010, the video has been viewed by more than 16 million people on YouTube.[15] Kemper herself has said she feels "a bit uncomfortable" about the video because "I always think of my family seeing it".[12] She also co-starred in the fake iPhone commercial on Late Night With Conan O'Brien in January 2007, six months before the first iPhone was released by Apple Inc.[16]

In 2007, she appeared in How to Kick People, a performance combining stand-up comedy and literary performances. In March 2008, she wrote and performed in the one-woman show "Dumb Girls" through the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.[5] She also performed in the one-woman show "Feeling Sad/Mad with Ellie Kemper"[12] and has appeared in comedy sketches on Funny or Die, the comedy website started by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's production company, Gary Sanchez Productions.[17]

Kemper will co-star in the upcoming 2010 films, Get Him to the Greek, a Nicholas Stoller comedy starring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, and the Sofia Coppola comedy-drama Somewhere.[12]

The Office

"Being on set with them is like being in a dream, except the dream is real and I can reach out and touch them. Except I am trying not to touch them too much, because I was raised right."
Ellie Kemper, on The Office[4]

Starting in the fifth season of NBC's The Office, Kemper was cast in a supporting role as the Dunder Mifflin office receptionist Erin Hannon. Kemper described herself as a "huge fan" of the show and was thrilled to be cast.[4]

Joshua Ostroff of Eye Weekly described Erin as one of the best new television characters of the 2008-2009 season and said, "Erin’s high-grade adorability, up-for-anything attitude and sheer niceness is unlike anyone else in the office, adding a welcome new wrinkle for next season."[18] Andy Shaw of TV Fodder said she "adds some freshness to the cast"[19] and Josh McAuliffe of The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said he liked Erin's "cheerful, appealingly goofy personality".[20]

In May 2009, The Office screenwriter Jennifer Celotta, who described Kemper as a "fun addition" to the show, said she would continue to appear in the show's sixth season as a regular.[21]


  1. ^ "IGN: Ellie Kemper Biography". IGN. http://stars.ign.com/objects/029/029656_biography.html. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  2. ^ "St. Louis rules at 'The Office'". STLtoday.com. http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/tube-talk/tv-news/2009/08/st-louis-rules-at-the-office/. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Ellie Kemper". Upright Citizens Brigade. http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/performers/2983. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tomlinson, Brett (2009-04-15). "Office Addition". Princeton Alumni Weekly. http://blogs.princeton.edu/paw/2009/04/office_addition.html. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  5. ^ a b "Biographies". How to Kick People: About this Show. http://www.howtokickpeople.com/bios.html. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  6. ^ "Colbert Report". Colbert Teen Talk. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/186530/october-01-2008/colbert-teen-talk---voter-abstinence. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  7. ^ "Contact The Onion". The Onion. http://www.theonion.com/content/contact_us. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  8. ^ Kemper, Ellie (2005-12-14). "Listen, Kid, The Biggest Thing You've Got Going For You Is Your Rack". McSweeney's. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2005/12/14kemper.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  9. ^ Kemper, Ellie (2006-10-23). "Following My Creative Writing Teacher's Advice To Write 'Like My Parents Are Dead'". McSweeney's. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/10/23kemper.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  10. ^ Kemper, Ellie (2007-12-13). "Some Relatively Recent College Grads Discuss Their Maids". McSweeney's. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2007/12/13kemper.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  11. ^ "Kmart Tent". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbH7hsyzT2E. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Hensley, Dennis (2009-07-17). "10 Comics to Watch: Ellie Kemper". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118006156.html?categoryid=3183&cs=1. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  13. ^ "Ellie Kemper". The PIT. http://www.thepit-nyc.com/performers/ekemper.html. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  14. ^ "I'm Gonna Make it Sooo Dry For You...". 2007-05-07. http://www.amfmpm.org/2007/07/blowjobs-blowjob-right.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  15. ^ "Blowjob Girl". YouTube. 2007-08-03. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hm7pp_JFOs. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  16. ^ "Last Night's Episode". NBC Message Boards. http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?showtopic=718874&st=1260. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  17. ^ Cain, Brooke (2009-03-21). "New receptionist on "The Office"". The News & Observer. http://blogs.newsobserver.com/category/tags/Ellie-Kemper. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  18. ^ Ostroff, Joshua (2009-05-20). "Leaders of the New School: Great performances in the margins brought a so-so season to life". Eye Weekly. http://www.eyeweekly.com/film/tv/article/60934--leaders-of-the-new-school. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  19. ^ Shaw, Andy (2009-05-07). "The Office: "Cafe Disco"". TV Fodder. http://www.tvfodder.com/office/archives/2009/05/cafe_disco.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  20. ^ McAuliffe, Josh (2009-05-08). ""Cafe Disco" Recap". The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania). http://community.thetimes-tribune.com/blogs/theoffice/archive/2009/05/08/quot-cafe-disco-quot-recap.aspx. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  21. ^ ""Company Picnic" Q&A with Jen Celotta". OfficeTally. 2009-05-22. http://www.officetally.com/company-picnic-qa-with-jen-celotta. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 

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