Entertainment Television

Lauren Ash is the talent in aisle four!

By Jane Stevenson, Postmedia Network

Former Zellers cashier Lauren Ash has found fame on NBC's Superstore. NBC

Former Zellers cashier Lauren Ash has found fame on NBC's Superstore. NBC

Canadian actress Lauren Ash boasts previous life experience she brings to Dina, her uptight assistant store manager character on the Thursday night sophomore sitcom Superstore (NBC-Global).

The 34-year-old thespian once worked at the now gone Zellers in her hometown of Belleville, Ont.

"I did two years in footwear. And then, I got bumped up to cash, which was real exciting for me," says Ash with a laugh.

"It's pretty surreal. It's funny to go from your first real job in one of those stores to then working in one of those stores on an international television series as an adult. It's a pretty funny; full circle story, for sure."

24 Hours caught up with Ash down the line from L.A. recently to talk about the surprise hit sitcom (on hiatus until April 21 after its March 9 episode) and working opposite one of her childhood heroes.

Are you a local celebrity when you go back home?

Not really. When I go home, I don't really go out. I tend to just stay at home. Last year, I remember my best friend came home with me to visit my parents in Belleville last year, and they don't have a pool, so we got obsessed with getting some sort of kiddie pool in the backyard.

Does Superstore creator/showrunner Justin Spitzer (Scrubs, The Office) mine your Zellers experiences at all?

There were lots of little things I told them. There are some bigger stories that I'm still kind of pushing for them to make into real stories. We'll see if that happens in season three. A lot of retail workers reach out to us on social media and talk to us about how accurate they feel the show is in terms of portraying what it's like working in [retail].

You're an alumni of Second City in Toronto and Chicago so how great is it that you get to work with Kids in the Hall member Mark McKinney who plays Superstore's devout Christian manager Glenn?

I mean that was like a dream come true, in many ways. Growing up, Kids in the Hall was something I watched religiously. That was like a ritual with my mom and I. I remember watching the series finale together and us both crying because we were so sad it was ending. It was a massive influence on me and inspiration to me in many ways so finding out the news that I would be working with him was amazing.

Had you met before?

Years ago, when I first started out in the Second City in Toronto in the touring company, he taught us a little two-hour workshop and I thought that was so cool. But it's obviously a different dynamic being brought in as a peer. But right from the beginning, when we shot the pilot of Superstore, we just kind of started improvising in the middle of a scene and they let us go for what felt like forever. They ended up using a bunch of it in the pilot. [The improvisation sparked] this beautiful kind of fun dynamic that two of us have created. Obviously, our characters hate each other on the show, which is very fun to play.

What has it been like playing love scenes with Colton Dunn as Garrett, who is paralyzed from the waist down? It's a great and inspired coupling ...

We had heard about it at the beginning of this season and thought it was a really funny choice. We might have shared one scene together in season one. We hadn't really interacted all that much. And so I thought it was an interesting and fun choice to bring us together because, again, we seem unlikely from a multitude of levels. But I think what's been great is that the audience has really responded to it. The fans have [transitioned] from the idea of a relationship that they never thought they wanted to a storyline they want all the time.