zap photo lake bell red carpet 420 'New Girl': Lake Bell 'can't think of a smarter group'Lake Bell is about to begin another season of her own show, but she’s happy to be a guest on one of television’s top new hits, too.

The actress resumes her role as finding-her-way Rachel in the HBO comedy series “How to Make it in America” Sunday (Oct. 2) … then two nights later, she turns up in the third episode of FOX’s Tuesday ratings smash “New Girl,” playing a co-worker and romantic temptation of Jess’ (Zooey Deschanel) less-than-confident roommate Nick (Jake Johnson).

“Oh, that’s great!,” Bell tells Zap2it upon being informed her “New Girl” stint is about to air. “Liz (Meriwether, the show’s creator, who also wrote the Bell-featuring movie ‘No Strings Attached’) and that team of people are such good friends, and I love Zooey. I’m just happy for them. It makes me so pleased, because I can’t think of a smarter group. That’s the kind of comedy I feel should be succeeding.”

Bell says she became “fast friends” with Deschanel on the show’s set. “I had never met her, but it was immediately like, ‘Let’s exchange e-mail addresses.’ We became pals, but most of my scenes were with Jake. Working with him is so effortless, it was great to play with him. I had already known him from ‘No Strings Attached,’ but this was the first time we got to interact. And we really interact in this episode.”

The “How to Make It in America” schedule is compact, the first season having run just eight weeks, and that suits Bell’s packed itinerary. She also appears in Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital”; she writes and directs her own projects, her short film “Worst Enemy” having been in this year’s Sundance Film Festival; and her background as a racetrack owner’s daughter has led her into an added job as a car columnist for The Hollywood Reporter.

“HBO has the luxury to shoot a smaller [series] season, so we pack it all into a couple of months in New York, which is a joy,” Bell reports. “I don’t work every day, so I can be writing on my ‘off’ days, which I do take advantage of. I went to Maine and shot a thriller called ‘Black Rock’ with Kate Bosworth and Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass right after production on these episodes was done, so yes, this is incredibly favorable to going and doing other things.”

Thanks to HBO and Cinemax, Bell also can be seen — a lot — these days as Alec Baldwin‘s reasonably younger, self-involved wife in writer-director Nancy Meyers‘ 2009 movie comedy “It’s Complicated.” She reflects, “Working with Meryl Streep is on every actress’ bucket list, and you’re lucky if that ever happens. And working with Meryl and Alec and Steve Martin and Nancy Meyers all in one fell swoop was kind of overwhelming.

“Once that sort of settled in, I could actually enjoy it. It was monumental for me, and truly an honor. I was so excited and such a fan of Meryl, it was hard to be b****y to her [as the character]. I will forever remember that experience as epic.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin