A.J. Jacobs Interviews His (Very Distant) Cousin Jane Krakowski
Jacobs catches up with the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star
Author A.J. Jacobs is mapping out a giant family tree in hopes of finding out how we’re all one big, happy family. Then, on June 6, he’ll hold a giant family reunion. (See globalfamilyreunion.com for details.)
Each month until then, Jacobs will be interviewing one of his famous “cousins” for PEOPLE. This month: Trop50 spokesperson Jane Krakowsi, who stars in the upcoming Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
You are my aunt’s seventh cousin’s wife’s husband’s eighth cousin twice removed.
So we can still marry!
We’ll see how this phone call goes. I don’t want to rush things.
You have deep Polish roots. Tell me about those.
My great-grandparents came from Poland. Interestingly enough they were named Adam and Eve. But I do not believe they are the original.
And where did they settle when they came to America?
Both my mom and dad’s families moved to the great city of Brooklyn. I love the story of how my parents met, because it seems very 1950s Brooklyn. They met on a brownstone stoop as my father was singing a little doo-wop.
Yes, I’ve got some good New York roots in me. That I try to get bleached out every month.
Your last name means [from Krakow], the Polish city.
Yes. I visited Krakow about 10 years ago, and when you’re named Krakowski, you are very welcomed. I loved every minute of it. They had Ally McBeal on Polish TV. People offered to drive us out to our family’s farm.
So your ancestors were farmers. Did you inherit a green thumb?
I have trouble keeping plants alive. Even plastic ones.
Do you speak Polish?
Very little. Whenever my grandparents didn’t want us to understand, they would speak in Polish. So I learned things you would never repeat.