‘Abbott Elementary’ Star Janelle James Says Comedy Helped Her Cope With Depression | Video

“UnWrapped” Podcast: “Am I depressed now? Not as much. That’s probably why I do less stand-up now. I’m happier.”

Before Janelle James was an Emmy-nominated actress on “Abbott Elementary,” she was stand-up comedian in Champaign, Illinois. During a recent episode of TheWrap’s “UnWrapped” Podcast, the actress opened up about her early days of comedy.

“Like most comedians, I started stand-up because of hardship,” James told TheWrap. “My dad was ill and dying, and then I found this thing that helped me refocus … It helped me process what I was going through.”

Nowadays, James is in a much better place. (It helps that she just got a dog — and that her boyfriend helped choose the name Braxton!) While the Virgin Island’s native has taken a break from performing stand-up, she is “happy” she can continue making people laugh as Principal Ava. 

“Am I depressed now? Not as much,” she said. “That’s probably why I do less stand-up now. I’m happier.”

For other women who are experiencing depression, the actress recommended therapy. “Don’t give up on the first [therapist] you try,” James said. “Everybody thinks you just go and you automatically like your therapist, and you get the answers in a month and now you’re fixed. That’s not how it goes. If you don’t like your therapist, find another.”

During this episode, James also …

  • Talked about the legacy of “Abbott Elementary”
  • Broke down dancing to “Back That Azz Up” in the Season 3 premiere
  • Shared details about the “Abbott Elementary” Season 3 wrap party
  • Revealed that her boyfriend says Ava’s confidence is the same confidence she has in herself

About “UnWrapped”

“UnWrapped” is a podcast produced by WrapWomen, dedicated to empowering the next generation of women in media and entertainment. Each episode “unwraps” topics from entertainment news and industry trends to career advice, Hollywood headlines and more. 

Special guests include industry leaders, actors, producers and studio execs. The aim of the series is to connect those looking for knowledge and access to those with the knowledge and access, providing the WrapWomen community with tools to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

You can listen to the full episode on TheWrap.comSpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon Music, TheWrap’s YouTube page or wherever you get your podcasts.


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