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Way Back When: Elizabeth Banks

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Before Elizabeth Banks turned heads in Judd Apatow‘s ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ and made a career out of being a hilarious and beautiful leading lady, she had some much lesser-known roles in television and film. In today’s Way Back When, we take a look at some smaller parts — and one awkward commercial — you’ve probably never seen.

‘Sex and the City’

HBO

Tons of stars have had bit parts on ‘Sex and the City’ during its six-season run, from Timothy Olyphant to Will Arnett and even Alanis Morrissette. Elizabeth Banks was one of them in the episode “Politically Erect,” in which she played the character Catherine during a small arc in which Carrie dates a candidate for city treasurer, played by John Slattery of ‘Mad Men‘ fame.

‘Stella Shorts’

Before the ‘Stella’ TV show and ‘Michael and Michael Have Issues,’ ‘The State’ alums David Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter put out a series of shorts called ‘Stella Shorts,’ featuring many of their acting pals, like Bradley Cooper (who also had a bit part in ‘Sex and the City’ once, and starred in ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ — for more on the latter, see below) and a then little-heard-of actress we know as Elizabeth Banks. In the below short, titled “Yoga,” the guys decide to get healthy at a yoga class — which they hilariously mistake for yogurt — and Banks has a very small role as a fellow student.

‘Wet Hot American Summer’

Banks also starred in ‘Wet Hot American Summer,’ the film from the Stella crew of Wain, Black, and Showalter (which, as aforementioned, also co-starred Bradley Cooper). In the film — which is also one of the best comedies ever made — she plays a promiscuous camp counselor who sucks face with Paul Rudd’s character. The clip below features their most memorable sequence of scenes, and one of our favorite lines in comedic film history: “You taste like a burger. I don’t like you anymore.” Yeah, this isn’t one of her most obscure roles, but if you hadn’t seen ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ or any of her more current work before seeing this one, you might not have had any idea who she was at the time. And if you haven’t seen this movie, you have no excuse — it’s on Netflix Instant. Get correct ASAP.

Pregnancy Test Commercial

And finally — the most obscure of Elizabeth Banks’ pre-fame roles: this commercial for the Fact Plus pregnancy test, in which Banks is confused by most modern pregnancy tests, and the commercial overlords assure us that Fact Plus makes finding out if you’re knocked up so much easier than other popular pee-stick brands.

Way Back When: Aaron Paul

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