24's Mary Lynn Rajskub

updated 05/22/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/22/2006 01:00AM

AGE: 34

HOMETOWN: Trenton, Mich.

YOU KNOW HER AS: Perpetually pouting Chloe O'Brien, the Counter Terrorism Unit computer whiz who helps superagent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) make it through the day.

▪ PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST: Attending art schools in Detroit and San Francisco, Rajskub (pronounced RICE-cub) first aspired to be a painter (she does watercolors and acrylics). "But I got put off by the idea of trying to market myself," she says, and turned to performance art before moving to L.A. in 1995. "My comedy act is based on me being uncomfortable, so I got cast as a lot of quirky girls" on TV (The Larry Sanders Show) and films (Legally Blonde 2; Dude, Where's My Car?).

▪ DUDE, WHAT'S MY MOTIVATION? Rajskub was asked to try out for 24 after creator Joel Surnow caught her as Adam Sandler's overbearing sister in 2002's Punch Drunk Love. Still, "I didn't want to go to the audition," she says, "because it was like, 'Yes, Jack. No, Jack.' And I was like, 'I don't really get it!' But my mom said, 'It's the best show! You've gotta watch it!'"

▪ THE CHLOE SCOWL: Rajskub says she comes by it naturally. "The normal me is like, 'Ugh, I'm tired today. Could I get a nother cup of coffee?' Especially when it's like, oh, five scenes in a row of talking to someone on the phone while looking at the computer screen. Those are the multiple-coffee mornings. But the 24 crew moves really fast, and they're like, 'We're ready!' And I'm like, 'Okay, okay !'"

▪ SUDDENLY SINGLE: Rajskub and comedian Duncan Trussell "broke up about half a year ago," she says. "Moving on is hard [but] it's a good thing. I need to grow up a little bit. I think I really have to practice dating and not jump into relationships."

▪ WHEN SHE'S NOT BUSY SAVING THE WORLD: "I like to perform comedy and go to comedy shows," says Rajskub. "But I really need a block of time off for the painting because it only really works when you are able to do it every day or at least once a week."

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