Is Jameela Jamil Anything Like her Character Tahani on ‘The Good Place’?

NBC’s The Good Place is a hilarious sitcom featuring Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop in this show about the after-life and what it means to be a good person. In the first season, she highly dislikes Jameela Jamil’s character, Tahani but the two eventually form an unlikely friendship. 

Tahani is a bubbly, upbeat character who has a condescending way of speaking to those around her and is constantly name dropping. Jamil — who has only ever had seven months of acting experience in her life — provides a stellar performance even though she is nothing like Tahani off-screen. Let’s compare Jamil to her on-screen personality in The Good Place.

Jamil does not believe she is as funny as her character, Tahani in ‘The Good Place’

The role of Tahani is Jamil’s first-ever acting role. She is a former model who was a host and presenter on British TV before she became the confident Tahani we all know.

Jamil expressed to TV insider, “I still don’t even know if I was funny in Season 2, I haven’t seen any of it. I just haven’t even been able to watch Season 1 because I’m so mortified that I might be sh*t. I definitely don’t feel worthy of any of this and I think that Michael [Schur] is a maniac — I’m very open about that — for giving me a job.”

Anyone who has seen The Good Place knows that Tahani is a charismatic yet hilarious personality who believes she truly deserves to be in paradise because of her countless fundraisers on Earth. Viewers can not tell at all that the actor behind her voice is actually not as confident in her acting or comedy skills as she seems. 

Jamil had to act as if she were drunk, never having had a drop of alcohol in her life

Another way that Jamil differs from her character on-screen is that she has never had alcohol besides the little bit found in cough syrup. 

Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil | Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

“Yeah, so I’ve never had a drink and I’m playing drunk in a room full of two hundred extras and just feeling so embarrassed. It’s hard to gauge if you’re getting it right, especially if you’ve never even felt that way. I’ve never felt hung-over, I’ve never felt drunk, and I’ve never felt slowed down like that. And so I think I lost like seven pounds that day, just out of sweat.”

Jamil’s performance is so accurate and funny that we find it hard to believe she was nervous at all. It certainly helps that she has “been surrounded by people who day-drink,” her entire life. She explained that she channeled those in her life who drink as well as the feeling she gets when she has a small amount of cough syrup to pull-off the drinking scene.

To play Tahani’s narcissistic character, Jamil channeled someone she knows personally

Since Jamil is not self-centered at all, she had to find inspiration somewhere to become Tahani. She remembered someone she knows from England and copied the person’s entire personality to help her act stuck-up and annoying.

She told TV Insider, “I think all narcissistic monsters are, deep down, just sad and insecure people. I think if you can approach anything with empathy, approaching a character who is particularly irritating, just finding what it is that made her so annoying. And also Michael Schur was brilliant to write her such a sympathetic backstory.” 

Jamil truly is able to get into character and become someone she is not with Tahani. We find it very impressive since this is her first role and she has hardly any acting experience. 

We can’t wait to see what other hilarious one-liners she comes out with on the upcoming season of The Good Place on NBC when it premieres on September 26, 2019.