60 Seconds With Megan Mullally, TV's Funniest Crazy Lady

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We have a serious weakness for funny ladies — whether it's Kristen Wiig or Lucille Ball, a witty woman with a knack for physical comedy can always find a place in our hearts. So, when a little birdie told us that actress Megan Mullally was in town this week with her musical act, Nancy and Beth, we jumped at the chance to pick her very funny brain. Ahead, she dishes on her creative pursuits, crazy characters, and what makes her laugh.
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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."
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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
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