Megan Mullally Talks 'Childrens Hospital' & Oprah Playing Her Husband's Wife
Megan Mullally is one of the few actresses in Hollywood who can easily play a wide range of comedy. From the scene-stealing Karen in beloved NBC sit-com, Will & Grace, to the decrepit "Chief" in Adult Swim's off-beat Childrens Hospital, Megan has proven that she can easily mix in with TV's A-listers and still hold court with the comedy cool kids.
Celebuzz got a chance to talk to the hilarious actress about the third season of Childrens Hospital, her work on Party Down, and how she feels about her husband (and Parks & Recreation mustachioed stud) Nick Offerman gunning for Oprah to play his first wife on his hit NBC show.
Childrens Hospital plays off of a lot of other medical shows – were you a fan of medical dramas before you started the show?
Yeah, I don’t watch any. I watched ER when it was at its peak of success. But no, I’m not a medical drama person…I don’t like them. It kinda grosses me out or something [laughs].
That’s funny, because I interviewed Rob Corddry last week and he also said that he wasn’t into medical dramas at all when he started the show.
Well, I’ve seen enough episodes of those shows to send them up, but I don’t watch them on a regular basis.
You guys also have a lot of great guest stars coming through the show – are there any dream guest stars that you'd like to work with?
Oh, yeah! Catherine O’Hara, she can play my sister [laughs]. There are so many people… I think that something that is really noteworthy is that there is this whole big far-reaching circle of people who do comedy in Los Angeles. A lot of the Upright Citizens Brigade people moved to Los Angeles in the last couple of years and it turned everything around for comedy in Los Angeles. There is this influx of new people with innovative ideas and that is part of the reason that Childrens Hospital has come together in the way it has.
It’s really interesting, there is this big network of comedy people. I’d say that it is overall really supportive and collaborative; everybody wants to work with everybody else. There is no exclusivity about it, if you’re funny and you’re a nice person you’re in! So that’s what’s been really great, that extends to Parks & Recreation, that whole group, and certainly Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza and all of those people, those are New York transplants. The whole Party Down group is included in that too. So it is definitely really great!
There has definitely been a lot of crossover between shows – especially Parks & Recreation, Party Down and Childrens Hospital. Have you found any difference working for a more off-beat comedy like Childrens Hospital and Party Down as opposed to a traditional network sit-com?
Maybe there is more a cool factor for shows like Childrens Hospital that are so off the beaten path that it gives you the impression that you are the only person who has discovered it. So that is appealing to audiences I think. It’s funny that this show has done so well, because it is on this network that people aren’t particularly familiar (Adult Swim). I didn’t know much about it. I had heard about it but that was it, I didn’t know that it was the nighttime version of Cartoon Network and I didn’t know that they take a lot of risks on that network and they’re really innovative, they do it their way.
It’s great too, it’s great from a producing standpoint because there is no interference from the network. On shows like Childrens Hospital and Party Down, I don’t think we get like any network notes from Adult Swim and we got a few on Starz. That’s kind of freeing too, it becomes more of a hotbed of creativity when you have the freedom to be innovative. Some of the episodes of Childrens this season, there is something really groundbreaking about some of them because I haven’t seen anything done like that on television. Just conceptually and technically, the look of the show and the way it is shot. Content-wise, all of the episodes are just jokes, but I think conceptually what they are doing with the show is pretty innovative.
Check out Megan's hilarious roast of Alec Baldwin below.
Does it feel liberating as an actress to play a character like The Chief who is so, well, gross? Everyone wants her but she is literally falling apart.
That is the joke, she is the most disgusting person on earth but everyone wants to f**k her. Every year I try to think of how to get grosser and grosser – now I’m up to, I walk on a walker, I have a hunchback, I have a traveling mole, I can’t wear any makeup, I wear giant glasses and I wear man’s wig. Where do you go from there, I’m not sure [laughs]. I got really mad because they are doing this other show on Adult Swim where a female character wears an eye-patch and smokes a pipe, and I was like, 'Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?' So if you have any suggestions, I’m open to them.
I can’t think of that many other actresses who would [play a gross character]. I guess Catherine O'Hara would do it. I mean, Laura Linney has done stuff without makeup, but she is on John Adams which is on HBO, with like 20 Emmys, but you know, this is comedy.
Going into Parks & Recreation your husband Nick Offerman (who plays Ron Swanson on the show) recently said that he thought Oprah should play his first wife, Tammy 1, because she is the only person who could intimidate you. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, I totally agree with that. That pitch actually came from a friend of mine I have known since first grade. Nick and I were in Oklahoma City, and we were having dinner with this guy and he said 'What about Oprah?' and Nick and I were like, 'Yes. What about Oprah, what about Oprah.' So we pitched that to [NBC] really hard but I don’t think….I think they have to go somewhere in a realm that would be…I don’t know, I don’t know what they are thinking. I don’t think Oprah turned it down, but I think they are trying to be a little more realistic [laughs].
Check out Megan playing her real-life husband's ex-wife, Tammy 2, below.
Aside from Oprah, are there any other women that you'd like to see play Tammy 1?
We were pitching a lot of people, we were pitching Helen Mirren, Rosie O’Donnell, Roseanne Barr. We tried to think of people that were intimidating but funny too. What do you think?
I think Helen Mirren would be pretty good.
She would be so good! I like the idea that she is a little older. Ron likes the older ladies.
Watch Childrens Hospital on Thursdays at 12 midnight on Adult Swim and Parks & Recreation Thursdays at 9:30 ET/PT on NBC. Party Down season 1 & 2 are available on DVD and Netflix Instant.