Philadelphia native Jessica Barth reprises her role in Ted 2, one of this summer's most highly anticipated comedies.
Northeast Philly native Jessica Barth returns to the big screen in Ted 2 alongside Mark Wahlberg, Morgan Freeman, Seth McFarlane, and Amanda Seyfried. As Ted’s abrasive love interest Tami-Lynn, Barth made such an impression in the first movie, which holds the title of highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, that she has an even bigger role in the sequel. “Seth had texted me [before filming the sequel] and said, ‘Stay on your game, Barth, because you have a lot to do in this one,’” she says. “I got to really sink my teeth in a little more—a lot more—for this one.”
Barth, who now lives in Los Angeles, got her start acting at age 8, taking classes through her grandfather’s casting agency in Center City. She continued acting as a student at Northeast High School and studied the craft at the Wilma Theater. But what really made her fall in love with acting, she says, was watching films with her dad when she was a little girl. “I grew up on movies like Casino, mobster movies, so actors like Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson really inspired me.”
She studied communications at La Salle University before transferring to West Chester University, where her theater training really took off, prepping her for a move to Hollywood after graduation. Being a struggling actress was not easy, but Barth credits her supportive family in Philly for getting her through the initial rejections she endured.
“There were many times when I said, ‘I think I just want to come home,’ and my sister encouraged me to keep going. Always having her to call on the bad days or go home to if I needed to go home was nice. I always feel so rejuvenated when I go home.”
Eventually she landed spots in highly successful TV shows, including That ’70s Show, How I Met Your Mother, Family Guy, and Parks and Recreation, as well as the Steve Carrell film Get Smart. Despite having a small part in the film, Barth says simply observing Carrell on-set helped her learn much about acting, like the importance of taking risks. “His mind just works so quickly. People couldn’t even keep up with how much he was improvising, and then in between he was really quiet and really focused.”
Barth tries to visit her family and friends in Philly a few times a year, and being home in her old neighborhood often takes her back to her childhood. “We had block parties and ice cream trucks, and we were always playing kick the can. It was more like a family than a neighborhood, and those are definitely my greatest memories.”
Despite her West Coast address, Jessica Barth is a hometown girl at heart.
Guilty pleasure: “I enjoy a nice scrapple sandwich on white bread with ketchup. Don’t judge.”
Local landmarks: “My house was situated right under the El. I miss falling asleep to the sound of it to this day.”
Philly on film: “I love Rocky—every one of them. I may be slightly biased since my dad’s name is Rocky.”
Making the rounds: “When I come back to Philly, I always visit my best friend in West Chester and watch movies and laugh with my mother.”
Philadelphia idols: “Adam F. Goldberg, the creator of The Goldbergs. It’s a genius TV show.”