Ellie Kemper remembers having Jon Hamm as her ‘dreamy’ drama teacher

Long before they shared the screen in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jon Hamm and Ellie Kemper had an unlikely connection.

Hamm and Kemper both grew up in St. Louis, where they attended the same high school about 10 years apart. After graduating, Hamm returned to John Burroughs School as a drama teacher, where he taught a then-freshman Kemper.

Kemper, 43, recently appeared on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live, where Cohen — himself a fellow St. Loiusan — asked her whether she ever had a crush on the future Mad Men star.

“Here’s the thing,” Kemper explained. “So, he’s 10 years older than I am. He went to my high school. To give people some background, he went to my high school, went to college, came back and taught drama for a year at our high school. And he’s the youngest teacher by far. He’s not bad looking, and he’s teaching drama.”

“Excuse me,” Cohen interjected. “He’s great looking.”

“He is in fact great looking,” Kemper added. “Dreamy.”

Jon Hamm and Ellie Kemper.
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Kemper went on to explain that when she launched her own acting career after school, she reached out to Hamm. He went out of his way to help support her — even after he’d already found success on Mad Men.

“Jon Hamm is a generous, selfless kind of guy,” Kemper said. “I reached out to him when I was doing my one-person show. A little comedy show. I had my little suitcase of props. I was doing this one-person show in Los Angeles, and at that time, he was already famous on Mad Men. I emailed him from our high school directory. I said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this show. I know you’re really busy, but it’d be great if you could come.’ And he came, and that’s when I really reconnected with him.”

“I mean, that’s a class act, right?” Kemper continued. “He’s a good guy.”

Kemper later found stardom of her own after joining the cast of The Office, and the two St. Louisans both appeared in 2011’s Bridesmaids. Later, Hamm joined Kemper on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, playing Kimmy’s reverend kidnapper Richard Wayne Gary Wayne.

Back in 2013, Hamm interviewed Kemper for an issue of EW, where they reminisced about meeting at John Burroughs.

“You were in ninth grade, and this is a class that had everyone from ninth grade to seniors in it — so you were on the young end of the spectrum,” Hamm said at the time. “And yet I remember you being very good.

“That’s very generous of you,” Kemper said. “I don’t remember being very good, but I remember enjoying it a lot, and I’m not trying to kiss up to you.”

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