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Good Day, Ellie!

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Good Day, Ellie!

Good Day, Ellie!

Good Day, Ellie!

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/459114289/459116139" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Ellie Kemper, right, stars alongside Tituss Burgess in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which follows a former doomsday cult member as she adjusts to life in New York. Eric Liebowitz/Courtesy of Netflix hide caption

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Eric Liebowitz/Courtesy of Netflix

Ellie Kemper, right, stars alongside Tituss Burgess in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which follows a former doomsday cult member as she adjusts to life in New York.

Eric Liebowitz/Courtesy of Netflix

"I don't know if the people who wrote those characters see [positivity] in me. I would like to think that I am cheerful and have an optimistic outlook," actress Ellie Kemper told host Ophira Eisenberg of her tendency towards enthusiastic roles on TV and film. "But I hope there's some grain of similarity there."

Kemper recalled looking up contact information for one of the editors at the parody news website The Onion before she made it big. "And I just kept sending him headlines and he kept not responding... I just kept badgering him." Eventually, she landed a writing gig with them. Her first headline? 'Grapes Big Hit at Area Picnic.' This moment of inspiration struck while eating a fruit salad at a Las Vegas bachelorette party.

Kemper's determination has certainly paid off. Since her grape hit it big, Kemper has starred in The Office, Bridesmaids and most recently, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Kemper recently guest hosted for the Today Show and Ellen, and Eisenberg asked her if she has any interest in being a late night show host. "Oh, I don't know about late night talk shows," said Kemper. "But I would like to host a talk show... something maybe during daylight hours."

For her VIP game, Kemper identified various talk show hosts from audio clips. Contestants battled it out to win her prize: a bear that, when hugged, plays a recording of Kemper speaking vague sentiments of despair.


Highlights

On playing optimistic characters

I don't know if the people who have written those characters and who have directed those characters see that in me. I would like to think that I am cheerful and have an optimistic outlook. But I don't think it's as relentless as some of these women...But I hope that there's some grain of similarity there.

On her first headline for The Onion

It came to me while I was in Las Vegas for a bachelorette party and I was eating a fruit salad for breakfast...Guys, when inspiration strikes─it strikes...And it was 'Grapes Big Hit at Area Picnic.' I was eating a grape at the time!

On the pitch for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I saw in the notes it was, you know, the innocence and joy of Elf mixed with sort of a wily, young John McCain. And I left that dinner and I did think they were pranking me. Like it was a test of my intelligence. And if I thought that they were serious, surely I was not smart enough to work with them. But I was wrong because that was the premise.

Heard on Ellie Kemper: Good Day, Ellie