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From Iconic SNL Writer to Retired Pop Star in Girls5Eva, Paula Pell Is Comedy Gold

In Style
 2021-05-14

Cover picture for the articleAs a child, I quickly realized how fun it was to make people laugh. It became my superpower to get out of trouble whenever I did something wrong. I would do bits in school, like running my fingers along the blackboard and then patting one of my favorite teachers on the back to tell him he was doing a great job. We had this "wink-wink" relationship where we gave each other shit, and he was fine with it as long as I didn't disrupt the flow of class. I was also a theater nerd. At age 13, I played Mother Superior in a school production of The Sound of Music. I've always said I was born at 50 because even as a kid, I looked like an older woman. I was repeatedly cast as a mother or grandmother and had gray spray in my hair all throughout high school and college. But I didn't want to play the madam of a brothel forever. I loved acting and had a lot of comedy confidence when I was young, but that confidence goes down the toilet once you start doing it for a living. You deal with a lot of rejection. So when a writing job at Saturday Night Live came along in my early 30s, I decided that would be my path.

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