Janelle James likes being a bad boss in 'Abbott Elementary'

Would you like to survive the apocalypse? Oh no. Oh my God no. I’ve been to Costco and everything. Why would I even want to live in t...


Would you like to survive the apocalypse?

Oh no. Oh my God no. I’ve been to Costco and everything. Why would I even want to live in this kind of world?

I see Ava as a scammer, and I think real scammers can be placed on a spectrum from “they believe what they’re doing is right” to “they just mess with people because they can. “. Where do you think Ava falls?

She’s right in the middle. I think part of his thing is, “Hey, the school system is screwed up.” She was probably a product of the same school system, so here she is – she became a principal; Nothing has changed. So why not enjoy it ? Why not position yourself in the best possible way with what you treat it to? While Janine is optimistic and thinks things will change, Ava is the opposite: things won’t change, what can I learn from this until it all falls apart?

When did you start stand-up?

I’ve been in New York for almost 15 years, and had a brief stint in the Midwest for about four years, and that’s where I started at a rockabilly biker club called Memphis on Main [in Champaign, Ill.]. I did an open mic there, and I really did it by accident. I loved it, and I never stopped doing it. For good, I just caught the virus, baby!

How do you approach your stand-up compared to a role like Ava?

Having someone else write for you is a piece of cake! Like I said, I didn’t want to be an actress, and I still don’t treat it like a professional – I mean, I guess I’m a professional actor now, but not like someone who’s been through the school theatre. I don’t prepare. I read it by myself, then I go to the set and I do it. But I think that comes from being a stand-up for 10 years. So it’s not like I didn’t prepare; I just prepared in a different way. I can read something and immediately know how to interpret it in a way that will make people laugh.

I don’t really write my stand-up either. I used to do that when I started – I wrote every word, I went over it several times. Now, like anything, you do it long enough, and you kind of know. If I have a thought, I know it’s funny before I even say it. I don’t necessarily sit down like, “I need to write jokes.” I try to live a lot of life for things to happen to me and hope – on my knees, praying – something feels as funny as I can put it in my stand-up set.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Janelle James likes being a bad boss in 'Abbott Elementary'
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