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Here’s where you’ve seen the cast of ‘Abbott Elementary’ before

These talented stars have been making waves for a long time now.

The cast of ‘Abbott Elemeentary’
Image via Hulu

Everyone’s favorite group of teachers is back, as season two of Abbott Elementary premieres today. The hilarious mockumentary has become one of the most popular and adored television programs of the new year and has been met with widespread critical acclaim for its phenomenal first season. 

After the show’s glorious Emmy wins for Outstanding Writing, Casting and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, fans are expecting some more heartfelt laughs and moments from the talented ensemble cast. As a new season is set to take over Wednesday evenings, and introduce the incredible Leslie Odom Jr. to its cast, expect to see the wonderful teachers, and the hilarious Principal Ava return. 

The cast may be enjoying greater fame and acclaim with Abbott, but they’re all solid acts in the entertainment industry, and have been for a long time now. So, here’s why you probably recognize them from when they’re not roaming the Abbott halls and classrooms.

Quinta Brunson

Before becoming the first Black woman to bag a solo Emmy win for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, Quinta Brunson was steadily making people laugh out loud on the internet. After breaking out on Instagram and later Buzzfeed, Brunson’s comedic genius was fast being noticed on social media. You may even recognize her for the recurring meme of a shocked lady saying “Oh, he got money!” After leaving Buzzfeed Video and Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, she co-starred in and wrote for the HBO hit sketch comedy A Black Lady Sketch Show. All her funny moments have paid off now, as Brunson has gotten a huge wave of fans as the eager, but well-meaning second grade teacher, Janine Teagues.

Tyler James Williams 

One of the most popular child and teen actors of his generation, Tyler James Williams is undoubtedly most recognizable from his role as a young Chris Rock in the biographical sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. He also starred in multiple episodes of Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live as a child, before breaking onto Disney Channel with the original musical Let It Shine. He had a recurring role in AMC’s The Walking Dead as Noah, and starred in the popular films Dear White People, Detroit, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Now, he’s become a prized meme darling for his hilarious glances at the camera on Abbott.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

A veteran and Hollywood icon, Sheryl Lee Ralph is a multi-talented performer, shining in music, film, television, and on stage. She has numerous memorable roles under her belt depending on the generation in question, but her star quality perseveres throughout. She is best known as the original Deena Jones in the acclaimed Broadway musical, Dreamgirls, and Dee Mitchell in the popular UPN sitcom Moesha. For her role in Abbott, Ralph became the first Black woman in 35 years to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and her moving acceptance speech was quickly hailed as one of the best in awards show history.

Janelle James 

Janelle James is one of the funniest women around, and her incredible success as a comedian is proof of that. Her widespread breakthrough on Abbott Elementary is undoubtedly aided by years of hard work and making people laugh. James has opened for legendary comedian Chris Rock, and written for the comedies Black Comedy, and The Rundown with Robin Thede. She hosted a podcast titled Strong Black Laughs which featured many notable Black comedians, and was one of Variety’s 10 comics to watch in 2020. As the egotistical and incompetent Principal Ava on Abbott, James won the Hollywood Critics Association TV Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Comedy, and was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress, losing out to her co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Lisa Ann Walter

An established standup comedian, host, actress, and producer, Lisa Ann Walter has dabbled in several entertainment ventures. She has appeared as a guest star on many popular television shows, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nip/Tuck, The Exes, GLOW, Grey’s Anatomy, and 9-1-1. Walter also famously won a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. She’s also starred in the films The Parent Trap, Shall We Dance?, War of the Worlds, and Bruce Almighty. She has received praise from audiences and critics for portraying the tough, but kind teacher Melissa Schemmenti on Abbott.

Chris Perfetti

Chris Perfetti has also appeared in several popular television series over the years, including: Looking, Blue Bloods, Gotham, and The Resident. He is an accomplished actor on stage as well, performing in many theaters across the country. His role as the optimistic history teacher Jacob Hill has made him an instant fan favorite character.

William Stanford Davis

With several decades of acting and standup comedy under his belt, William Stanford Davis is another seasoned veteran that many fans will recognize instantly when watching Abbott Elementary. He has appeared in tons of popular films and shows, including: If Loving You Is Wrong, Ray Donovan, Snowpiercer, and Swagger.

About the author

Demi Phillips

When he’s not out exploring the underground music scene, Demilade Phillips covers entertainment news and other exciting topics for We Got This Covered. He scored his Bachelor’s in International Relations and has been writing for almost a decade on the things he’s most passionate about: music, black excellence, anime, and pop culture.