First up, how did Nancy & Beth come to fruition?
"Stephanie Hunt and I met doing an indie movie in Austin called Somebody Up There Likes Me. Stephanie had told me that she played the ukelele and wrote songs. When I asked to hear something, she cheerfully consented, but asked me to sing along with her. The minute we did, we looked at each other wide-eyed and said, 'Well, sh*t, dawg. That sounds real purdy.'"
Tell us a bit about Nancy & Beth's sound — what influences your songs?
"There's a certain fresh-faced, throw-back-y take on 'entertainment,' I guess you could say. I have thousands of songs archived, and Steph and I have sifted through hundreds and hundreds of them. When we hear one we really like, we get wide-eyed, say 'well, sh*t, dawg,' then add it to the freak-out list. We stand in front of the bathroom mirror and do choreography, then we go in my closet and play dress-up, deciding what we will wear for our shows. It's like little girls in a way. There is some interest in the fact that Stephanie and I have a 30-year age difference (I'm younger), and yet we seem to perceive music from a very similar perspective, and often work songs straight through without ever actually discussing anything, in a weird, one-brain sort of situation."
Are there any musical icons that you find particularly inspiring?
"Kind of a wide range — everyone from Al Jolson to Nina Simone to The Violent Femmes...our sound is not reminiscent of any of those artists, but there is a joy that I hope is in the vicinity."
You've played some memorable crazy-lady characters (our favorites are Bev on 30 Rock and Tammy on Parks & Recreation) — how do you create these incredibly funny and unique personas?
"I guess I must be crazy, but my condition lies dormant until someone lets me in front of a camera."
What's your secret to time management, given the fact that you're working/touring all the time?
"Oy. I don't know. Let me know if you have any ideas."
Let's turn the tables a bit. What do you find funny?
"My husband. Our dogs. Stupid comedy. Smart comedy. The Bachelor. So many things."
Last but not least — how do you keep your skin looking so amazing? Seriously, people would kill for that glow.
"That is really nice, thank you. I think it's genetic. My mother is 91 and confined to her bed, but man, does her skin look fantastic."
Catch Nancy and Beth at The Birchmere on Friday.
Photo: Courtesy of Megan Mullally/Andrew McLeod