NBC-TV’s long-running hit comedy The Office couldn’t have operated as hysterically as it did without its St. Louis stars: Jenna Fischer, Phyllis Smith and Ellie Kemper. The three thespians hail from the Gateway City, as did several behind-the-scenes show staffers. In fact, there were so many St. Louis alums on The Office set, they once held a gooey butter cake bake-off contest.

Claim to Fame: Portrayed the bubbly Dunder Mifflin Paper Company receptionist Erin for five seasons of The Office. Can be seen everywhere from films (Bridesmaids, anyone?) to guest hosting stints on Ellen and The Today Show to the acclaimed Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Neighborhood: Ladue

High School: John Burroughs, Class of 1998

Passion: Comedy and improvisation. The improv section of her 9th grade theatre class was taught by fellow St. Louisan Jon Hamm. Teacher and student reunited when Hamm co-starred with Kemper in a recurring comedic turn on the first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ellie’s love of improvisation continued during her days at Princeton University. She kept the funny vibe going while interning for Conan O’Brien, marrying comedy writer Michael Koman and hanging out with her sister Carrie who was a writer for The Office. You know you’re “funny ha ha” when comedy icon Tina Fey creates a show just for you, as she did for Kemper with Kimmy Schmidt.

More: Imo’s Pizza, Nelly, Jon Hamm and more are topics when Ellie Kemper plays “Plead the Fifth” with St. Louis’ Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. Ellie asks the questions and Andy answers at