Paula Pell
Pell interviewed on Employee of the Month in 2014
Born (1963-04-15) April 15, 1963 (age 58)[1]
Joliet, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationComedy writer, producer, actress
(m. 2020)

Paula Pell (born April 15, 1963) is an American comedy writer, producer, and actress, best known for her work writing for the sketch series Saturday Night Live.[2][3][4]


Pell was a writer for Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2013. She is credited with creating some of its memorable characters such as Debbie Downer, the Culps, Justin Timberlake’s Omeletteville mascot, and the Spartan Cheerleaders, among others.[5] She also was a producer and writer for the sitcom 30 Rock, and is credited with writing the episodes "Argus" and "Floyd". In 2006, a pilot she wrote, Thick and Thin, was picked up by NBC for 13 episodes, with Pell as executive producer, but it never aired in the United States.[2] Pell has worked with Judd Apatow providing additional writing for the films Bridesmaids and This is 40.[6]

As an actress, Pell appeared in several episodes of 30 Rock as the wife of Pete Hornberger, and played the mother of Ron Swanson in a 2011 episode of Parks and Recreation.[3] She has also appeared as an extra or in bit parts in dozens of SNL sketches. Pell voices Gadget Gal in the Hulu original series The Awesomes.[7]

She has a small cameo in the 2013 comedy film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. She co-created web series Hudson Valley Ballers with fellow SNL writer and long time friend James Anderson with whom she also co-stars.[8] Tina Fey produced and starred in Pell's first feature screenplay, Sisters (2015).[9] Pell also played the dream producer and Mom's Anger in the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out. In 2016–2018, she guest-starred in the TV series Love as Erika. She also played a character based on Elaine Stritch in the mockumentary musical episode Co-op on Documentary Now![5] She played Helen Henry DeMarcus on the show, A.P. Bio. She also plays Aunt Mo in the Showtime series SMILF.

Pell co-starred alongside several other Saturday Night Live alumnae in the 2019 Netflix original comedy Wine Country.[10]

On August 10, 2020, the comedy-mystery Mapleworth Murders, which she also co-wrote and executive produced, aired on Quibi.[11]

In 2021, she currently stars as Gloria McManus in the Peacock comedy series Girls5eva.

Personal life

Pell was born in Joliet, Illinois. She has stated she wanted to be an actor from an early age and studied acting and visual art at Orlando's Seminole Community College and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.[12] She took a job at Walt Disney World, working in the nightclubs of the adults-only Pleasure Island section of the park.[13]

Pell is openly gay,[14] and was married for 17 years before getting divorced.[15] She later married Janine Brito on November 13, 2020.[16][17]


  1. ^ Bendix, Trish (October 24, 2013). "Paula Pell on being out in the "SNL" writers' room and her new web series -". Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Paula Pell". Here's The Thing. NPR. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b Longwell, Todd (2 December 2011). "Pell: 'SNL' scribe plays for bigscreen laughs". Variety. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  4. ^ Evans, Bradford (8 January 2013). "Talking to Paula Pell About Working at 'SNL' for 17 Years, Writing with Apatow, and Other Stuff". Splitsider. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b Erbland, Kate (2019-05-17). "You Might Not Know Paula Pell's Name, But You've Loved Her Comedy for Decades". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  6. ^ Erbland, Kate. "You Might Not Know Paula Pell's Name, But You've Loved Her Comedy for Decades".
  7. ^ Walker, Allison (September 23, 2014). "SNL's Paula Pell 'waiting for the action figure'". News 13. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Hartsell, Carol (17 December 2013). "10 Reasons You Should Watch 'Hudson Valley Ballers' Right Now". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (4 February 2013). "'Pitch Perfect' Helmer Jason Moore In Tune With Tina Fey For Uni Comedy 'The Nest'". Deadline. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Wine Country (2019)".
  11. ^ Porter, Rick (December 3, 2019). "Lorne Michaels' Quibi Murder Mystery Lines Up All-Star Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  12. ^ "Paula Pell, queen of comedy: On her "SNL" years, making "Wine Country" with Amy Poehler and more". Salon. 2019-05-13. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  13. ^ Harris-McCray, Chandra. "Funny Lady". Tennessee Alumnus. Tennessee Alumnus. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  14. ^ Crittenton, Anya. "Gay comedian Paula Pell on getting her first on-screen love interest at 56". Gay Star News. Gay Star News. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  15. ^ Leishman, Rachel. "I Got to Geek out with Paula Pell over Wine Country". The Mary Sue. The Mary Sue. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  16. ^ Crittenton, Anya (2019-05-03). "Comedian Paula Pell says it's lonely dating as an older LGBTI person". Gay Star News. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  17. ^ Paula Pell [@paulapell] (November 17, 2020). "On Friday the 13th I had the extreme luck of marrying my beloved @janinebrito on a sparkling day in front of our old pal and our dogs. We wore hastily purchased Target duds and cried so many joy tears. We can't wait to have a celebration w our friends and family when it's safe" (Tweet) – via Twitter.