Welcome to ComedyNerd, Cracked's new deep dive series on funny business. Today's topic: the person responsible for unearthing some of the greatest comedic talent of our age. (Also, the ComedyNerd newsletter launches September 30. Sign up here.)

Being a casting director is a hard, sometimes thankless job. You sit through hours, maybe days of auditions and callbacks. You agonize over decisions you know can make or break a project. And after all that work, audiences go “well, obviously you cast John Krasinski as Jim Halpert. OBVIOUSLY you cast Christopher Mintz-Plasse as McLovin!” But that's writing the story after the fact. Casting directors have to have a specific eye for talent, and one name has stuck out on the credits pages on a lot of our favorite movies and TV shows. Today, we pay tribute to that hero: Allison Jones.

If there’s a comedy show you’ve loved in the 21st century, chances are that amazing casting director Allison Jones found the quirky actors who play your favorite characters. From Freaks and Geeks to The Office to Parks and Rec, here are 13 actors who were virtual unknowns until Jones discovered them. 

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