Megan Mullally has carved out an incredible career in theater and comedy—especially for someone who doesn’t consider herself a trained actress.
“I never studied acting and I never took an improv class—was too scared to—and I’ve never done stand-up,” she said in an interview with TheBestofNewOrleans.com. “I knew that I could land a joke if I needed to, but it wasn’t until Will and Grace that I thought of myself as being actually funny in any kind of way that was better than average. I got a lot of confidence from Will and Grace and you’re right, my milieu is very much the comedy milieu and somewhat the indie movie world. But I realize now it’s changed so much in the last 10 years. It used to be that you never ever could improvise anything—you’d just be summarily dismissed on the spot. But now I feel like you almost are expected to improvise, so I learned how to do it. Learned on the job. And I enjoy it quite a bit.”
Growing up, Mullally insists that she was interested in everything. “Even though my father was technically an actor, growing up he wasn’t really acting anymore,” she said. “Very sporadically he’d do something regionally or maybe do a play in Dallas or something. So it wasn’t like I grew up in a showbiz family or anything. I sort of sprang from the womb in a top hat and tap shoes and a little cane ready to sing and dance for the people.”
“I spent my entire only childhood secluded away in my bedroom by myself making up dances and dramatically singing in front of the mirror. So that’s how all that happened. It wasn’t really my choice, it was just what came over me. It was an irresistible attraction.”
Mullally has had the fortune of working in different types of media, including television (she won an Emmy for Will and Grace), film, and voiceovers. For the most part, she doesn’t find the transitions between the projects to be difficult. “I think it’s pretty easy—it’s all about telling a story,” the actress said. “It holds true for everything, even appearing on a talk show…I think we’re in the service industry and the service we’re trying to provide is entertainment of one sort or another, successful entertainment…I really enjoy doing everything.”
This ability to switch between forms has allowed Mullally to feel gratified for the path her career has taken.
“I feel like I’m really lucky because I get to do a weird, crazy combination of theater, animated shows and I recur on Bob’s Burgers and I’m also on a new show called Axe Cop,” she said. “So I get to do that, and I get to do a lot of television, and I’m starting to create shows and write more and produce. I’ve been lucky in the past year to get some supporting roles in some indie movies. I feel pretty lucky and happy, and I think Nick [Offerman, her husband who appears on NBC’s Parks and Recreation] would say the same. The fact that I sing too, adds a different element for me…I just get offered a little bit different things sometimes since I sing. It just opens that many more possibilities.”