Alison Brie: Two Shows, Two Totally Different Characters

How many actors do you know who are appearing in two hit TV shows at once? The only name that comes to me is Alison Brie. She’s currently on both Community and Mad Men… and she’s playing two totally different characters!

She recently talked with Vulture about both shows, how she started acting and more.

Did you start out as a comedienne?

Not originally. In my personal life, I’m hilaaaarious! I was always a bit of a jokester. My sister and I would put on these little SNL-esque sketches at family barbecues, which were actually a little dirty — though we were only about 8 and 10, so our idea of dirty humor was, like, hot dogs as wieners. Our parents got a great kick out of them. But I was gearing toward dramatic work, in high school and at Cal Arts. I thought I probably had a more dramatic look, I’m not sure why — maybe it came from teachers. But the first TV show I ever booked was a guest spot on Hannah Montana. And then I booked Mad Men pretty quickly, so I thought, Well, here’s the drama. But even there, Trudy is more comic relief. It’s nice to think that I can do both.

Both Annie and Trudy are such fully formed characters, and both clothing and voice seem to figure heavily into that. Is that true for you?

I think you’re totally right. For Trudy, she’s obviously very fashionable and it puts into perspective how she spends her days, and for Annie, watching how her clothing evolved over the season was a big part for me to see how she was maturing, discovering herself as a woman, maturing sexually, discovering boys. The shirts got a little more low cut, the sweaters are a little tighter. But it’s as much an outside-in process as an inside-out process. With Trudy, especially with the period undergarments alone, you hold yourself differently, and with Annie it was a lot of thinking about her self-consciousness, how she’s not a person used to being looked at.

Knowing you’re no Wasp, your Wasp affect on Mad Men is particularly fabulous.

Honestly it just came sort of naturally with the way the character was written; I didn’t totally realize I was doing it until Vincent Kartheiser started making fun of me. He does this impression of me, “Ooooh, you’re Truuudie Campbell!” And I’m like, I do a voice? Both characters are a bit affected …

It seems like you guys hang out a lot as a cast. Who are you close with?

Danny [Pudi] is probably my closest buddy on set. We are trailer neighbors; our trailers conjoin at the bathroom wall. So we tend to check in every morning, and we both live in Pasadena. We have conversations through the wall when we’re both in the bathroom. That’s as close as you can get with someone, maybe?

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