‘Abbott Elementary’: Janelle James Rejected a Stunt Double; Here’s Why

Filming for Abbott Elementary Season 2 starts in just a few days’ time and fans are chomping at the bit to see what else is in store for their favorite teachers. The cast of the hit ABC sitcom is excited to be returning for the sophomore season as well. Janelle James, in particular, is thrilled to be reprising her role as the hilarious and meme-worthy Ava Coleman.

Abbott Elementary actor Janelle James
‘Abbott Elementary’ actor Janelle James | Arturo Holmes/WireImage

Janelle James earned her very first Emmy nomination for her work on ‘Abbott Elementary’

In 11 short episodes, James has managed to create yet another iconic sitcom character. In fact, her performance as the complex principal earned her her very first Emmy nomination. And James wasn’t the only cast member from Abbott Elementary to be recognized for their work on the show. Her fellow actors: Sheryl Lee Ralph, Quinta Brunson, and Tyler James Williams also received nominations. In an interview with Variety, James expressed her excitement of getting back to work shortly after the show’s seven Emmy nominations.

“The first season was kind of a whirlwind,” James shared. “I’m just excited to come back as Emmy nominees. That’s a whole new feeling with a new joy and just excited to work with everybody again, like it was a fun gig and maybe the second time in my life I’m happy to go back to work.”

‘The Final Straw’ host explains why she rejected a stunt double

While Abbott Elementary fans know next to nothing about Season 2, they can rely on James to bring the laughs. The comedian is ready and willing to go the extra mile to nail a joke. The Final Straw host even rejected getting a stunt double for the sake of really driving a joke home.

“But I mean, I fell out of a chair multiple times even though I’ve hurt my back on a set before,” James explained. “Apparently, I’ll do anything. I was offered a stunt double and I was like no, I get the laughs myself.” Continuing on, the Abbott Elementary star explained that she knows how to inject physical comedy into her role.

“Yeah, like they won’t know how to fall funny,” James shared of why she turned down a stunt double on the set of Abbott Elementary. “I’m a comedian. I was like, I know how to fall in the comedic way. Thus far there hasn’t been anything that I won’t do. Like most clowns, professional clowns, I’d do anything for the laugh.”

James has improvised some lines for ‘Abbott Elementary’

Another thing that James is willing to do for laughs is ad-lib dialogue to make her character really pop on Abbott Elementary. “A lot of the things that made me happy are not necessarily a line, but little things that I added as an actress, because the funny is coming from the writers’ room,” James explained. “The scripts are coming to us already funny, and then we add our spice to it. Of course, ‘back my tasty a** up.’ That was the first ad-lib that I got through. Ava isn’t on screen as often as people maybe think she has been since I’ve been memed so much, but I’m glad that when I am I’m landing it, so that makes me happy.”

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