Posted on March 14, 2016, BY Matthew Beltz

Actress and comedian Ellie Kemper, who plays the lead character in the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and gained notoriety for her role as Erin Hannon in the NBC hit comedy series The Office, will speak at Bucknell University on Monday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. The event is part of the Bucknell Forum series "Revolution Redefined" and is free and open to the public. || See ticket information below.

During the talk, Kemper will discuss her journey to success as a comedic actress in Hollywood. In 2013, GQ asked Kemper to write a response to a Vanity Fair article titled "Why Women Aren't Funny." In a 2014 TEDx talk, Kemper turns to comedy to address the idea that women can't be funny. "I think we can put the question of 'are women funny?' to rest, because people will disagree about what they find funny all of the time," she said. "Instead, I think, we should focus our attention on things that have more weight, things like what will tomorrow bring — for Kim Kardashian? What is she going to put on Instagram and will she and Kanye stay together? I don't know."

The talk will be moderated by Professor Sheila Lintott, philosophy, who teaches courses on topics such as feminist philosophy, philosophy of art and philosophy of laughter. Lintott — a self-described amateur stand-up comedian — is also the organizer behind an April 2017 conference at Bucknell on the ethics and aesthetics of stand-up comedy.  

Kemper, originally from St. Louis, Mo., attended Princeton University, where she quickly began to focus her interest on improv comedy and theatre. After quitting Princeton's field hockey team, she joined the campus improvisation group, Quipfire!, and its musical theater group, Triangle. After graduating in 2002 with a degree in English, Kemper spent a year at Oxford University pursuing graduate studies in English literature.

Following her time at Oxford, she moved to New York, where she studied improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and the People's Improv Theater and also interned for a year at Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where she appeared in sketches on the show.

As an actress, she got her big break when she landed the role of Erin Hannon on The Office. Originally slated for appearances in just four episodes in the fifth season, Kemper instead became a series regular for the show's final four seasons.

Kemper has appeared in dozens of television shows and films, and currently stars as Kimmy Schmidt in the Netflix hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which debuted in 2015 and was recently renewed for a third season. As a writer, she also contributes to The Onion as well as the literary journal McSweeney's.

Event information
The event is free and open to the public. Current Bucknell students, faculty and staff may receive up to two free tickets at the Weis Center box office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the day of the event. A valid Bucknell University ID is required to receive advance tickets. Use of multiple Bucknell IDs to pick up additional sets of tickets is prohibited.

Tickets will be available for the general public at the Weis Center box office beginning at 6 p.m. on the evening of the event. All individuals may receive up to two free tickets, depending on availability.

The Weis Center lobby will open at 6 p.m. with doors to the auditorium opening at 6:30 p.m. Individuals should be seated by 7:15 p.m., as unoccupied seats will be released at this time.

An ASL interpreter will be signing at the event for the deaf and hard of hearing community. If attendees need this service, they are asked to contact sebright@bucknell.edu for seating arrangements.

General questions regarding this event should be directed to the Division of Communications by calling (570) 577-3260 or by emailing theforum@bucknell.edu.

About the Bucknell Forum
Since 2007, the Bucknell Forum speaker series has featured nationally renowned leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multidisciplinary and diverse of viewpoints.

Through the voices of renowned agents of change, the current Bucknell Forum series, Revolution Redefined, explores social change and how it has — or has not — evolved over time, as well as how individuals can grow to become global citizens who make meaningful, lasting impacts on society in a variety of ways.

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