Mary Lynn Rajskub

Active - 1996 - Present  |   Born - Jun 22, 1971 in Detroit, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

With a quiet exterior and a unique array of facial expressions that hint at something hilarious simmering beneath the surface, actress/comedian Mary Lynn Rajskub, born June 22nd, 1971, has come a long way since joining the cast of Mr. Show back in 1995. Born in Detroit, Michigan on June 22nd, 1971, Rajskub's entry into the comedy scene wasn't entirely intentional, the former performance artist decided to try her hand at humor when a non-comedic performance at the San Francisco Art Institute elicited unexpected laughs from the audience. Subsequently realizing the absurdity inherent in overly serious performance art, Rajskub soon adjusted her act to become a parody of performance art. The unique take on live comedy quickly caught on with audiences, and shortly thereafter, Rajskub was approached by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross and asked to join the cast of their upcoming HBO stream-of-consciousness comedy series Mr. Show. A somewhat bitter falling out with series co-creator Cross found Rajskub departing from the series after a year to take a job at Seattle's Best Coffee, but her career as a caffeine dealer would quickly come to an end when Garry Shandling caught wind of her act.

Subsequently cast as the enthusiastic but somewhat awkward talent booker on The Larry Sanders Show, Rajskub also began to branch out into feature territory with supporting roles in such films as Bury Me in Kern County and the mockumentary The Thin Pink Line (both 1998). Blink-and-you'll-miss-her roles in such high-profile releases as Man on the Moon and Road Trip were quick to follow, with a small but memorable turn as a bubble-wrapped cult member in Dude, Where's My Car? preceding yet another fleeting appearance in the "Fiction" segment of director Todd Solondz's Storytelling. By this point, Rajskub had expanded her presence on television with a recurring role in Veronica's Closet, and after appearing with Girls Guitar Club bandmate Karen Kilgariff in the independent drama The Anniversary Party, she made a move back to the small screen with the ill-fated sketch comedy series The Downer Channel. If that series didn't last long, Rajskub didn't need to worry since appearances in such features as Punch-Drunk Love, Sweet Home Alabama, and Legally Blonde 2 found her slowly drifting toward more substantial roles on the silver screen. After becoming a frequent player in the 2003-2004 season of the wildly popular television series 24, Rajskub took an ominous turn with her role as Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme in the 2004 made-for-television remake Helter Skelter.

In 2006 she took on supporting roles in the Academy Award winning comedy drama Little Miss Sunshine, and director Christine Jeffs slice-of-life comedy drama Sunshine Cleaning. The continued to deliver solid supporting performances in 2008's Julie & Julia, and 2011's Safety Not Guaranteed.

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  • Is of Irish, Czech and Polish origin; surname, of Czech origin, is pronounced "rice-kub."
  • Moved to San Francisco at 21 to attend art school. In the Bay area, she became a performance artist and then a stand-up comic.
  • Was an original cast member of Mr. Show With Bob and David in 1995; left the series when she broke up with creator David Cross. 
  • Replaced friend Janeane Garofalo on The Larry Sanders Show.
  • Is one half of Girls Guitar Club (with Karen Kilgariff), a comedy act.
  • Has appeared in two Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movies: Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love; other notable film appearances include Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde 2, and Julie & Julia.
  • Biggest break came in 2003 when she was cast as tech-savvy Chloe O'Brian on 24.
  • Appeared as Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme in the 2004 TV-movie Helter Skelter.
  • Appears in the self-penned, one-woman theatrical show Mary Lynn Spreads Her Legs.
  • Is a prolific painter.