Ellie Kemper rose to fame thanks to her role as Erin, the eternally cheerful receptionist, on The Office. Kemper lucked into the role by accident, and her time on the show left her with rosy memories. Kemper has dealt with some pretty embarrassing experiences as an actress, but one memory in particular was more than a little embarrassing — though it’s her favorite memory of the show nevertheless.
One episode in particular of The Office is Kemper’s favorite, “Work Bus.” In the episode, which was incidentally directed by Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad fame, Jim (John Krasinski) convinces Dwight (Rainn Wilson) that the Dunder Mifflin building’s wire insulation creates an unsafe working environment. This bit of trickery came back to bite Jim, however, when Dwight chartered a bus for the team to work from in the parking lot rather than provide the week off that Jim was really after.
Not to be outdone by his office nemesis, Jim then rallied the other Dunder Mifflin employees to convince Dwight that they needed scenery and dessert to increase productivity. So Dwight took the team on a manic drive to Laverne’s Pies. This drive led the character to singing “Shabooya Roll Call,” an homage to Spike Lee’s 1996 film, Get on the Bus. This was the scene that Ellie Kemper will never forget.
Ellie Kemper’s laughter led to unforeseen consequences
“There was one really funny moment where you had to be there,” Ellie Kemper told Insider during an interview that touched on the above scene. “I’m saying this, but it will not make sense to anyone. It didn’t make sense to me at the time. But I was laughing so hard during this song called ‘Shabooya’ that I just wet my pants.”
It was a pretty embarrassing experience, but Kemper faced it head on. Instead of trying to hide it or pretend like she spilled something on herself, Kemper straight up admitted what she’d just done. “I stood up and I said, ‘I have to change my skirt because I wet my pants,'” the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star confessed. There was a distinct split between how her male and female co-stars reacted to her admission. “…All the guys were so grossed out,” she revealed, but “not one lady batted an eye. They were like, ‘Of course you wet your pants. What can we do?'” Despite her male co-stars’ shock, or maybe even because of it, that scene became a favorite memory from her time on the show.
The role was her accidental big break
Ellie Kemper’s big break was definitely her role on The Office, but like we mentioned above, it was something of a fluke that she was cast in the first place. She’d initially auditioned for a role on Parks and Recreation, another hit NBC comedy. The two comedies shared more than just a network. Michael Shur co-created Parks and Recreation with Greg Daniels. Shur was also a writer and producer on The Office, which is how Kemper came to get her role.
“I was reading for a part that didn’t even exist in the show, it was just a scene,” Kemper told Entertainment.ie. “Obviously I didn’t get that in the end, but it was great that I got to meet them and then this part in The Office came up later, so it all worked out in the end!” Thank goodness that audition didn’t work out the way Kemper expected. The Office wouldn’t have been the same without Erin the receptionist.