If you've been watching 30 Rock, then you probably have mixed feelings about Hazel Wassername, a recurring character played by comedienne Kristen Schaal. On the one hand, Hazel is the thorn in lovable Kenneth's side; on the other, Liz Lemon seems to like having her around. Either way, Schaal's brand of zany, punchline humor fits in with the rest of the cast's antics. So where did she come from?

"I think growing up on a farm in a certain amount of isolation, with not a lot of friends nearby, makes you entertain yourself and kind of grows your imagination — being alone is quite good for all that," Schaal told The Guardian about her upbringing on a cattle farm outside Boulder, Colorado. "You make up stories, talk to the animals, let them be an audience, a bunch of cows. Also, I would make up stories and scare myself a lot, like I would convince myself that all my dolls would come to life and kill me somehow, and I'd hide outside from them till my mom got home."

From Colorado, Schaal headed to Northwestern University, where classmates reacted to her unusual speaking voice. "I didn’t know it was different. It wasn’t until I transferred to Northwestern in my sophomore year that everybody was like, 'Aaah, your voice!' And I was like, 'What?'" she told Salon.com. "Not long ago I tried to disguise myself for Halloween, so I could get drunk and wouldn’t care if I ran into a Flight of the Conchords fan, but as soon as I started talking, people were like, 'Hey, it’s you!'"

HBO's Flight of the Conchords was Schaal's big break, after she had moved to New York and built up her comedy career. But some viewers did not react positively to seeing Schaal on the small screen. "The first time I was on TV, on Flight of the Conchords, someone put up a YouTube clip and said, 'You’re too ugly to be on TV,'" she said. "And I was like, 'That is exactly why it’s a good thing that I’m on TV.'”

Watch a clip of Schaal as a guest on David Letterman:


  • Johnathan Lugo
    Johnathan Lugo on

    Funny and adorable…great addition to 30 rock.

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