A Comic Scene-Stealer, Six Decades in the Making

Breastchester, the rustic upstate New York residence that is home to the “Girls5eva” star Paula Pell, is a two-hour drive from Manhattan, at the end of a long stretch of road where occasional yoga studios and art galleries eventually give way to a tranquil countryside. It is secluded, but its proprietor is hardly in need of companionship.

Pell’s coterie here includes her wife, Janine Brito, the comedy writer and actor who gave their mini-estate its body-positive nickname. Then there is the congregation of rescue dogs that had overtaken the living room of the main house one recent Friday morning, all scratching and barking for attention. Eloise and Verbena, Pell’s horses, were in a stable on a hill above the house.

“There’s two old mares up there and one old mare down here,” Pell said theatrically, running a hand through her long silver locks.

Pell has been known to nurse stunned birds back to health. She volunteered at a nearby sanctuary, where she took care of neglected pets and farm animals. “I was called the pig whisperer,” she said. “I have pictures of me sleeping on the pigs. I’d lay there and sing to them.”

Her love of animals is sincere and integral to her personality, as much a part of Pell as the brassy, oblivious characters she dreamed up on “Saturday Night Live,” where she spent 18 years as a writer, and which she continues to play in movies and on TV.

“Humans, always, will be imperfect,” Pell said. “They will still say I love you when they don’t. Animals, to me, are the only ones that when they love you, you totally believe it.”

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