Notes from the Underbelly
“Right off the bat I’d say Madeleine Kahn because I adore her. I love Teri Garr because she is so honest. I really look up to Catherine O’Hara. And Betty White. You know, just very real, very funny woman.” Rachael Harris (on her favorite comedic actress).
Comedic actress Rachael Harris, whose trade mark is her glasses, was widely recognized while serving as correspondent (2002-2003) on Comedy Central's acclaimed half-hour American comical news television program "The Daily Show," and playing Kevyn Shecket, Kirstie Alley’s make-up and hair stylist on Showtime's one-season sitcom "Fat Actress" (2005). On the big screen, she was credited in such films as Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), Daddy Day Care (2003), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Kicking & Screaming (2005), and For Your Consideration (2006).
As for her upcoming projects, Harris will appear in Evan Almighty (alongside Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman) and License to Wed (with Robin Williams and Mandy Moore). TV viewers will soon watch her on an upcoming ABC sitcom, "Notes from the Underbelly," which will premiere on April 11, 2007 at 9:30 pm.
Childhood and Family:
On January 12, 1968, Rachael Elaine Harris was born in Worthington, Ohio. She graduated from Worthington High School and received a BFA degree in 1990 from Otterbein College, a private, independent and liberal arts college located fifteen miles northeast of Columbus. Rachael has performed with the Los Angeles improv troupe, Groundlings. She is currently a member of "The Groundlings Main Company" and also teaches in the "Groundlings School of Improvisation."
"The great thing about the Groundlings is that we have rules that you work from. Some of the basic rules are you never deny what somebody comes up with. You label the situation and add information that is positive. If I came up to and said ‘I really like your skull and crossbones you’re wearing on your t-shirt’ and you say ‘I’m not wearing that’, it kills the improv. You also never play crazy or a child younger than eight because it can make the information being said unreliable. The rules we play with allow you to be creative but still push the scene forward." Rachael Harris.
Rachael has been married to actor Adam Paul since 24 May 2003 and currently lives in Los Angeles with him. In her free time, she enjoys listening to hip-hop and R&B. She likes Stevie Wonder, Green Day, Prince as well as American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken.
“I really love, this is crazy, but I love a lot of hip-hop and R&B. I love Stevie Wonder and Green Day. And Prince, and who doesn’t love Prince? I’m crazy though. My guilty pleasure is Kelly Clarkson. And I f***ing love Clay Aiken. I love all of the American Idol kids.” Rachael Harris.
After auditioning for three years, Rachael Harris landed on her first television gig in an October 1993 episode of NBC sci-fi series “SeaQuest DSV.” She followed it up with bit parts in Henri Charr's crime drama film Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars (1995; starring Gail Harris and Annie Wood) and writer-director Francis Megahy's pseudo-documentary on the disappearance of a fictitious wealthy British film producer, Kevin Johnson, The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson (1997; starring Pierce Brosnan, James Coburn and Dudley Moore).
Following her appearance in an April 1997 episode of UPN sci-fi series “Star Trek: Voyager,” Harris went on to a recurring role as Simone (1998) on the WB (now on Disney Channel) sitcom “Sister, Sister.” During that time, she also lent her voice in the English version of the Japanese animated series "Battle Athletes daiundokai" and the anime series ""Serial Experiments: Lain." Additionally, she played a role in Sean Travis' independent drama/comedy The Week That Girl Died.
In the new millennium, Harris appeared as Winky's party guest in Christopher Guest's Golden globe-nominated mockumentary film, Best in Show, starring Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard. Next, she co-starred with Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy in Tom Dey's Razzie-nominated comedy/action film Showtime (2002) and provided her voice in Rob Minkoff's Stuart Little 2 (2002; voice starring Michael J. Fox), a sequel to the 1999 film with the same name and includes characters from the children's book by E. B. White. Meanwhile, TV audiences could catch her in an episode of the WB sitcom "Grosse Pointe," NBC comedy series "Three Sisters," CBS serial drama "Judging Amy" and NBC huge hit sitcom "Friends." She also served as correspondent on Comedy Central's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning half-hour American comical news television program, "The Daily Show," from 2002 to 2003.
Being asked about her departure from the acclaimed show, Harris explained: “The timing was just rough for me. I was getting married and I knew before I signed on the show that I didn’t want to live in New York. I had lived there for ten years and it’s a completely different animal; the quality of living is rough and you have to make a lot of money. I loved doing the show it but it required a lot of traveling. My husband [actor Adam Paul] was in L.A. and we would have had to move to New York.. If I was still in New York I would have stayed forever but my life was in Los Angeles. It was a scary decision but the Daily Show kind of knew so they were cool about. But it was hard (moans). I still cringe when I see the show and I wish I will still on it sometimes but if I hadn’t have moved out to L.A. I wouldn’t have gotten the chances to do some pilots or Kicking & Screaming”
From 2003 to 2004, Harris played the recurring role of Claire the Madam/Debbie Dangle on Comedy Central's "Reno 911!" During that time, she was spotted as a guest on such sitcoms as "Frasier" (NBC), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO) and "According to Jim" (ABC) as well as the serial drama "The West Wing" (NBC). She also served as host/correspondent on the comedy show “The Smoking Gun.” On the big screen, she reunited with Christopher Guest in his Oscar-nominated mockumentary about a reunion concert of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen, A Mighty Wind. She also appeared in Steve Carr's comedy film starring Eddie Murphy, Daddy Day Care, and reteamed with Murphy in Disney's ghost movie by Rob Minkoff, The Haunted Mansion, which was loosely based on the theme park ride. Additionally, she was cast in Todd Phillips' comedy/action film Starsky & Hutch (starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson), a spoof remake of the original television series from the 1970s, and in Brett Ratner's thriller movie After the Sunset (with Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson and Don Cheadle).
2005 saw Harris co-starred with Kirstie Alley on Showtime's one-season sitcom "Fat Actress," playing Kevyn Shecket, Kirstie’s make-up and hair stylist. She recalled: “I play Kirstie’s make-up and hair stylist. I’m basically her paid friend because I work for her but I live in her garage. I’m very loyal to her and I have no problem giving her advice, although quite often it’s really not good advice.”
During her "Fat Actress" stint, Harris also guest starred on such sitcoms as "Committed" (NBC), "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (ABC) and USA Network's Emmy Award winning show "Monk." Moviegoers could also see her in Jesse Dylan's comedy film Kicking & Screaming (2005; starring Will Ferrell) and reuniting with Christopher Guest in his drama/comedy movie set in the mid-1940s American South, For Your Consideration (2006; with Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy and Harry Shearer). Additionally, she starred in two short films, In the Dog House and I'm Not Gay (both in 2005).
Recently, in February 2007, Harris guest starred in an episode of Comedy Central's "The Sarah Silverman Program." She will soon play the regular role of Cooper on upcoming ABC sitcom "Notes from the Underbelly," which will premiere on April 11, 2007 at 9:30 pm.
As for her upcoming film projects, Harris has completed Tom Shadyac's comedy film Evan Almighty (starring Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman), a sequel to the 2003 Bruce Almighty which is scheduled to be released on June 22, 2007. She will soon wrap Ken Kwapis' romantic comedy movie License to Wed, alongside Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski.
The funny lady, who is well known for being featured in many funny commercials, including spots for GEICO, Avis Car Rentals, Expedia, and Outback Steakhouse, revealed: “Actually I feel very fortunate. Dinty Moore, Expedia, Avis, you know, all those commercials felt like mini-sitcoms. They had great directors and the ad agencies shared my point of view. I’ve never had to do commercials were I selling the product, but rather act with situations where the product would be used. I was advised that if I did a good job with the commercials, it would pay off later, and I was lucky to receive such good advice.”