Megan Mullally Talks 'Party Down,' 'Karen: The Musical'
You know that lady on 'Party Down' with short hair and pink glasses that just seems to earnest for her own good? That's Megan Mullally as Lydia, a Midwestern mom who moves to Hollywood to pursue her daughter's dreams of stardom and she's the latest edition to the band of misfits on 'Party Down' (Fri., 10PM ET on Starz).
Mullally's seasoned comedic chops are nourished by her co-stars Adam Scott, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr and Ken Marino, whose behind-the-scenes pranks of leaving little gifts behind in trailer toilets feed into the insanity of the show.
The actress who may be best known as the bodacious Karen Walker on 'Will & Grace,' chatted with TV Squad to talk about her new role on one of the most critically-acclaimed, ratings-challenged shows, 'Karen: The Musical,' Children's Hospital' and a sing-off with 'Party Down' alumna Jane Lynch.
What is your role on 'Party Down'?
It's my new favorite show. I'm playing a dorky screwball caterer Lydia in the company called Party Down. [She] is this clueless, bright eyed and bushy tailed woman from the Midwest who comes to Hollywood with her 12 year-old daughter Escapade who is going to be a star. This season we're catering backstage at a def-metal concert and we're catering an orgy. I have a crush on every person in that show including Lizzy Caplan. I would literally make out with any of those people although that would be kind of disgusting because three of them are in their 20s and I'm 51!
How would you describe the look of your character?
I bought this $99.00 wig on Hollywood Boulevard because I don't exactly have comedy hair these days because it's long and straight. I like to say it's Jane Kaczmarek's 'Malcolm in the Middle' look circa 1950s. It's this short bob with this little flip up on the ends and I just love it. She also wears pink eye-glasses because you know, she's just so hip.
What are some fun behind the scenes stories that you can share?
This is a cast that loves to prank each other and I had so much fun working on this show. We were shooting in this park and Ryan [Hansen] who plays Kyle Bradway picked up this duck in the pond. He just has a way about him -- I mean he could a back-flip from a standing position -- anyway, he pins the feathers down on this duck, managing not to get bitten, takes it out of the pond and leaves it in Adam's [Scott] shower in his trailer!
Can you imagine seeing this white duck with an orange beak in your shower!? When Adam saw it, I want to say that he screamed like a girl. Another raunchy thing the guys do with each other I've named the Poop-Off, because they leave behind little gifts in the toilet in each other's trailers and let it sit there for days until it ripens to a disgusting point. It's a good thing they never do it with the girls.
Did you ever work in the food industry?
I was horrible at waitressing. I worked at a restaurant back in the day and failed miserably because I never got the orders right and I'm sure that I dropped food on someone's lap. Waitressing is a really hard job and I also have a new found respect for caterers after hosting this event for White House Project Epic Awards where I introduced Meryl Streep. I couldn't help but stare at them since I now know what's involved with catering after being on 'Party Down.' I think they thought, "Why is that crazy Karen from 'Will & Grace' eying me for?!" Their food was a lot more upscale than 'Party Down' since we're on a low budget. I think their hors d'oeurves are really radishes on a toothpick or on triangular pieces of bread because you can't really see what the food is on TV so they can get away with it.
Do you have other television projects in the works?
The great thing about 'Party Down' is I did 10 episodes and then did 'Children's Hospital,' that will be on Adult Swim. It's kind of like a spoof of 'Grey's Anatomy' where all the doctors are having affairs with each other and just make-out everywhere. I play this sexy chief of the hospital and everybody just wants to f**k me! It's so politically incorrect because it's a children's hospital. Since Jane left 'Party Down' to do 'Glee,' I would love to do Glee and maybe be Jane's nemesis on the show. We could have a sing-off!
Looking back how has 'Will' & Grace been received in your home town?
They won't let you watch any gay things in Oklahoma City and they won't let you be gay in Oklahoma City and they'd probably cut out the characters of Jack and Will and call the show, 'Karen.' Actually, they (NBC) wanted me to do a spin-off. They talked to me about it as early as the fourth season. That was kind of the plan and then around the sixth season they were like, "Oh no, we want you to host a daytime talk show instead." I did the talk show and that didn't work out. I wanted to do a different kind of show not just with celebrities because Ellen (DeGeneres) was already doing it. I wanted to talk to every day people about their stories. So I wasn't disappointed when it didn't work out because that is not the show I wanted to do in the first place. You really learn more from the things that don't work.
What happened with the Off-Broadway show 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart?'
Thank you for asking, but I'd really like that to come out organically about what happened, but I will tell you that I'm doing 'Karen: The Musical' which will be a bus and tour show with Beverley Leslie (Leslie Jordan) from 'Will & Grace.' We're still in the process of writing the book but the working concept is Karen goes to see a Broadway show and has no idea about how to be in it but is suddenly interested in her own musical. So it would be like a show within a show with big musical numbers. Jeff Blumenkrantz is doing music and lyrics. Leslie is a perfect fit because he is very involved in Broadway and I think that Karen Walker and his character were so much fun together that people would want to see it everywhere 'Will & Grace' was popular. We're taking it on the road, even overseas, so I'll be on tour like Aerosmith!