Megan Mullally: “I Had Never Thought of Myself More Than Mildly Humorous.”
Megan Mullally has kept us in stitches since the late 80’s, appearing on shows such as ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Frasier,’ ‘Mad About You,’ and ‘Caroline in the City.’ However, it was 1998 when the LA born Mullally landed the iconic roll of Karen Walker on NBC’s ‘Will & Grace.’ The sharp tongued, booze driven character earned Mullally two Emmy’s and three SAG Awards for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor.’ She is also noted as being one of the top people to “change the perception of women in film and television.”
Since the end of ‘Will & Grace,’ Mullally has been keeping busy. She was given a talk show, guest starred on numerous series and even played ex-wife to real life husband, Nick Offerman, on ‘Parks and Rec.’ When she’s not acting, she performs with Supreme Music Program. She also formed a band with Stephanie Hunt called Nancy and Beth.
While out on the road with her husband for the “Summer of 69” tour, Mullally sat down and spoke to us about being a shy child, realizing she was funny, and not letting your ego get the better of you.
Did you always know you were funny?
No, I never thought I was. I knew I could get by, I had done a lot of musical comedies, but never thought of myself more than mildly humorous. In life, I was always drawn to people with a great sense of humor and spend a lot of time laughing but it wasn’t until ‘Will & Grace” did I think I was a comedic actor. I don’t think it was until then because I had so many chances to try it out. My rule of thumb was,”if I thought it’s funny other people will think it’s funny.” I always took big chances in auditions, even before ‘Will & Grace’ and it was too much for some people. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was funny and would go in with these full blown characters. Every once in awhile I would get cast but a lot of the time they would be like “please call security.” I never stopped taking chances.
Had you always been supported to follow show business?
My mom was extremely supportive, she was the one that started taking me to ballet classes and art classes. My father was an actor and would say, you know, “you don’t want to do this. It’s a tough business.” It didn’t matter, I couldn’t be stopped. I remember my father coming to the first show I was in when I was 12, ‘Fiddler on the Roof,” and he took notes. He gave me the notes afterwards,
Hopefully they weren’t too harsh.
He did say one thing that stuck with me, “You’re still acting even when you don’t have any lines.” Like, you still have to be in the story. I mean, I think I would have figured that out pretty quickly, but I was 12. I remember being like, “Oh! That makes sense!”
To read our full interview with Megan Mullally, order your copy of Inspirer’s fall issue here!