Interview with Megan Mullally

Megan Mullally is known best for her role of Karen Walker on the TV sitcom “Will & Grace”. Megan is also a stage veteran, most recently on Mel Brooks’ original Broadway musical, “Young Frankenstein”. Megan is currently starring as Chief on Adult Swim’s “Children Hospital” and the show just started it’s third season. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Megan about working on “Children Hospital” as well as some of her other projects.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you first get involved with playing the chief on “Children’s’ Hospital”?
Megan Mullally: My husband Nick Offerman had done a movie with Rob Corddry that never saw the light of day and they became buddies during that time. Rob had written some episodes for the web and he had written a part in those for Nick. Rob gave Nick the scripts and asked him if he knew of any middle aged women that did comedy [laughs]. Nick put me on the list and that’s how that happened. I had only met Rob one time previous to doing the show and I didn’t know a lot of the other cast members either but they are all great to work with.

MG: What do you like most about playing that character?
MM: It’s a really fun character to play. The show is very innovative and I dare say a few of the episodes are ground breaking for what it is. It’s very freeing to play the ugliest, grosses person in the world. I can get ready in about 10 minutes as I don’t wear any make up and I wear a man’s wig which I bought on Hollywood Blvd. The show is jokes but it also is very innovative with its concept. It’s this weird mix of stupid dick jokes and innovation.

MG: Who came up with the idea for you to use a walker on the show?
MM: That would be me! My character is supposed to be riddled with all these crippling diseases yet everyone wants to fuck her. In the web series I had these metal crutches that wrap around your arm but they were reducing my scrawny white Irish arms to smithereens, so I switched to a walker. We added a hunchback as well but it doesn’t seem to read very well as we couldn’t figure out how to make an actual hunchback. We ended up using a pregnancy pillow stuffed into some pantyhose that tie around my body. It’s really made up of like a nude colored pair of boy shorts underwear with a pregnancy pillow stuffed inside that I put one arm through a leg hole and the other through the waist.  So it is hysterical.

MG: How do feel this season stands out from the others?
MM: I think that every season the shows get more and more ambitious technically and conceptually. I think that what they are doing with the show visually is what makes it innovative. Rob has told me that for the next season there should be no continuity between episodes. Characters in relationships in one episode shouldn’t be together for the next and nothing should be commented on about previous episodes or occurrences. They are trying to go that certain way on purpose and the show continues to get more ambitious in terms of the visual.

MG: How do you feel this show compares to working on “Will and Grace”?
MM: It couldn’t be any more different! “Will and Grace” was never improvised and it was more of an old fashioned mind set where you learned your lines and you came in and did them.  It was very character driven and used season arcs. “Children’s Hospital” is largely comprised of people with improv or sketch backgrounds. Some of the actors write episodes and it’s a completely different vibe. Most of what you see on screen is scripted but we do a lot of improvisation and maybe 10 percent of that ends up in the show. It couldn’t be any more different. It’s really a no holds barred type situation and you cannot be for better or worse too big on the show.

MG: You are known for your stage work. Do you prefer one over the other?
MM: I like doing both. I did a play in Los Angeles about a year and a half ago called “The Receptionist”. I loved doing that and it’s probably one of my most favorites that I have ever done. We performed in a small 99 seat theater and I just loved the play and the cast so much. Going to New York to do a year of a musical again, I am not as enthused about as I am when I do a short run of a play in Los Angeles.

MG: Besides season three of “Children’s Hospital” what other upcoming projects do you have going on?
MM: I’m coming back on “Parks and Recreation”.  I am also doing an arc on another show, however I can’t say quite yet which one as I haven’t signed a contract. I am in the process of developing shows to produce and I have one that is doing really well right now. There is also talk of doing one of the “Children’s Hospital” episodes as a musical and touring it, which I really hope happens. There are also talks of doing a “Party Gown” movie, which would be really fun.

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