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Quinta Brunson shares how a random encounter with Paul Rudd inspired her to work in comedy

Before she was famous they met in a movie theater and he gave her advice.
/ Source: TODAY

You never know who'll be the one to turn your life around. And in the case of "Abbott Elementary" star Quinta Brunson, that man was Paul Rudd.

As she revealed during a recent Hollywood Reporter roundtable with fellow funny performers Amy Schumer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Selena Gomez, Bridget Everett and Molly Shannon, Brunson was in a Philadelphia movie theater with a date she wasn't super into when she spotted Rudd in a seat ahead of her, and had a moment with him that she said changed her life.

"I was young with aspirations of doing comedy, but I kind of was keeping them to myself because I’m just a kid from Philly and it just seemed so far-fetched," she explained.

But when she and her date went to see "Inglourious Basterds," they made up 50% of the screening's audience. The other 50%? Rudd and his "bodyguard," as she recalled. It turned out he was in town filming 2010's "Dinner for Schmucks."

Brunson mentioned that she was interested in getting into comedy. "And he was like, 'If you want to do comedy and you love it and you can do it, then you should do it. There's nothing that should stop you or get in your way, you should absolutely pursue it.'"

Paul Rudd in "Dinner for Schmucks"
Paul Rudd in "Dinner for Schmucks"Dreamworks / Alamy

With that advice in hand Brunson felt empowered. "It changed my life," she said, adding that she dropped the guy she was on a date with and planned to move to Los Angeles. In time, she became known for roles on "A Black Lady Sketch Show," "Miracle Workers" and now "Abbott Elementary."

But there's one regret she has: "I almost hate telling this story because it makes people love him more," she chuckled. "And I'm like, that’s enough!