Megan Mullally: Her Lips Are Unsealed
BY Brandon Voss
April 16 2010 6:50 PM ET
Having won two Emmys as rich and bitchy socialite Karen Walker on Will & Grace, Megan Mullally now embraces the unglamorous life in the second season of Party Down, a comedy about a ragtag team of Hollywood cater-waiters, which returns April 23 on Starz. After discussing the impact of two major Advocate cover stories — hers in 1999 and friend Sean Hayes’s last month — Mullally, an accomplished stage actress recently involved in a Broadway brouhaha to rival Jeremy Piven’s Speed-the-Plow sushi scandal, explains why fans should forget about Lips Together, Teeth Apart and focus instead on the future of Karen: The Musical.
The Advocate: Hey, Megan, how are you?
Megan Mullally: Good! Is this my Brandon? There’s a Brandon I did a big interview with for The Advocate years ago. Is that you?
No, sadly, I am not your Brandon. I wish that I were your Brandon. But that interviewer’s name was actually Brantley.
Oh, OK. Well, I could’ve had two Brandons.
Megan, times are hard. Why are you making me pay for the Starz network?
[Laughs] That was my mission — to make you get Starz. But it’s worth it because it will make you forget all your cares and troubles.
In a way you’re filling the gap opened by Jane Lynch when she left Party Down to join the cast of Glee. Those are some big sensible lesbian shoes to fill.
I know. It’s funny, because I’ve known Jane for many years. I saw a one-woman show she did years ago at the L.A. theater where UCB is now on Franklin. I was like, “OK, that bitch is amazing.” Then I’d see her around, and we have mutual friends, so we’re really friendly. Then I stumbled upon the first season of Party Down, and I was like, “What the hell? This is the best show!” So my husband [Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman] and I both started watching it, and we couldn’t get over it. When she left to do Glee, I was like, “Thank you!” because then they offered me a role. So, yeah, I’m fulfilling exactly the same function as Jane, but it’s a different role.
Tell me about your character, Lydia Dunfree.
Lydia has moved to Hollywood from the Midwest with her 13-year-old daughter, Escapade, who is going to be the next Hannah Montana. Lydia’s very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, extremely optimistic, superfriendly, and she loves everybody. Most of the other caterers are pretty cynical, so it’s a bit of a jolt for them when Lydia bursts onto the scene. But she’s got so much goodwill that they can’t resist her.
It must’ve been somewhat daunting for you to join an established cast after a whole season.
I never worry too much about that stuff because I always figure, “Oh, it’ll all work out and everyone will be nice,” and luckily they were. It’s the nicest group of people. They were so incredibly welcoming, and there was never a moment where I felt like the new kid or anything.
Talking about Lydia’s racist ex-husband, you get to say the phrase “Jew faggot” in the first episode, which really sets the tone.
[Laughs] I know, and I was very pleased when I read that in the script. Yeah, Lydia’s ex-husband is not a very nice person.