Q & A: Casey Wilson and Ken Marino Talk ‘Marry Me’

The two discuss working together, the fate of recent sitcoms and more!

Marry Me Casey Wilson Ken Marino

NBC’s Marry Me is a very cute show that I think will only get better with time. Starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as Annie and Jake, the show started off when Jake was just about to pop the question. But, before he could ask, Annie, in a hilarious freak-out,lets loose on him for not wanting to commit to her. So, after ruining the proposal, the two decide to hold off on the engagement until they can finally do it right.

Wilson and Marino are perfect together and, after chatting with them on a recent conference call to promote the new series, you can tell they really get along.

In this interview, the two talk about the show, working together, the fate of recent sitcoms and more!

Marry Me airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on NBC

In describing this show, a lot of people used the word “cute”. Is that an appropriate term or does that sound kind of juvenile?

Casey Wilson: I mean I think it is cute. I think it’s – I hope – I think it’s also kind of subversive and has some heart. But I guess maybe if you combine those, we get cute. I’ll take it.

Ken Marino: That’s right. If subversive and heart ran into each other, they would make a cute baby.

Is cute something you can just if you have the right two people or is it just takes some kind of magic? I mean there’s a difference I think between cute and sexy, right?

Casey Wilson: Now you’re just hurting our feelings.

Ken Marino: Yes. I just – I assumed our show was sexy.

Casey Wilson: I did too. I thought we were making a very kind of erotic comedy but I guess now we’re hearing from America differently. I think – and I think you know, at the end of the day we’re hoping it’s funny. But I do think – I think Ken and I and the rest of the cast – I think everyone really does have really great chemistry, which I think is probably why you’re feeling that way. So I think it’s good, yes. And I think it has to be the right chemistry and I think we did get lucky on the show.

Casey, how much of Casey is in Annie and how much of Annie’s in Casey? So when you go to work is it like you’re slipping into a costume or are you already that character when you go to work?

Casey Wilson: I think Annie is a little more upbeat and probably friendlier than I am. I think – no, I think there are definite similarities and I think I’m pretty emotional and I get big ideas and I want to see things through and kind of – they’re often wrong headed ideas.

But I feel as though I’m playing a character but you never know. Maybe I’m not. You’ll never know.

Casey Wilson: Ken, do you want to tell them about your character process?

Ken Marino: Sure. I mean I have a whole process. You know, there’s a big difference between me and Jake. I am actually six foot one. I’m 6-1. Jake is six foot. So every day I have to act an inch shorter on set.

Casey Wilson: It’s very expensive to dig those trenches.

Ken Marino: Yes. Well sometimes if I act too hard, I’m like – I’ll – they’ll get the (daily’s) back and I’ll be 5-8. And then we have to do a whole re-shoot where I have to act less.

But, you know, the key to acting is less acting and just reacting. So when I get to the reacting part, I’m usually landing – I’m usually coming in at six foot.

Casey Wilson: And I’ll tell you, these are the kind of pearls that I get showed with all day on set. And it’s really scintillating as everyone on the line can hear.

What stories from your real life relationships are making it on screen or what can we expect to see?

Casey Wilson: Well, I’ll tell one on you Ken.

Ken Marino: Go head.

Casey Wilson: Which is that I think it’s more of a runner right now but I’ve heard news that it might turn into more of a full fledged intervention between Annie and Jacob about Jake’s karaoke problem. And that is a problem Ken struggles with.

Ken Marino: It’s not a problem. I have a…

Casey Wilson: You can see that’s the thing. He’s in denial right now.

And what about you Casey?

Casey Wilson: I’m trying to think. Well we did have a – so a few episodes ago where my character or actually Ken’s character tried to get me to do this thing called then open eye cuddle, which is an intimacy exercise that I learned in acting school that I tried to get my husband to do where you stare about two inches from each other’s face and just stare into each other’s eyes. And my husband thought I was insane and refused to do it.

Ken, does your wife kind of – does she feel the need to remind you of things you’ve done that might work on the show? Good things. Bad things.

Ken Marino: She hasn’t yet. I mean, you know, we – she hasn’t said anything that we should put on the show. But she’s constantly reminding me of all my flaws and things that I need to be better at in the house.

Like putting my socks in the hamper as opposed to just kind of leaving them close to the hamper. She’s like, “You’d be right next to it. Just get them in there. Why just put them near it? Just get – just – go the extra distance.”

Given that both you guys are writers and both you guys are super funny, how much of this is actually scripted and how much is stuff that you come with?

Ken Marino: Well I mean David and the room full of writers are amazing and they write great scripts. So, you know, we – David will encourage us to improvise off of that a little bit but I mean a lot of it – probably 95% of it is scripted I would say. Right Casey?

Casey Wilson: Yes. Yes. It’s definitely, you know, collaborative in a sense of if there’s something we want to do; we definitely do it and have fun with it. But the scripts are pretty tight, but we – Ken and I have initiated our own writer’s room with just the two of us that I wouldn’t say it’s gone over well.

Ken Marino: No, no. They’re not – they’re not a – they’re not big fans of it. But we use – mostly use stuff from line Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrappers and just kind of try to reinvent those jokes because those are classics and, you know, I think America wants to kind of enjoy the classics. You can’t get enough of it.

Casey Wilson: It’s caused I guess a rift is the word but it’s okay. We think that the writers (move) our way by the end.

Ken Marino: I mean who wants – who wants to talk to the writers of the show anyway?

Casey Wilson: That’s why they’re not on this call. They’ll never be on this call.

Casey, other female comedians like Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham show that women don’t have to be perfect to be considered, you know, funny or sexy or smart. They’re breaking down barriers, which I think you are doing as well. So with that said, do you think your character Annie feels the same way and why do you think she’s so relatable to women?

Casey Wilson: Well, thank you. I think that – I don’t know if Annie feels exactly the same way. I think Annie’s a little more high strung and kind of self conscious about how her life should look. But I think that – and it obviously never works out the way she’s planned. But, you know, I think the show – I’ve seen a little bit of criticism about, you know, especially our opening episode because Annie really wants to get married.

But I actually think there’s something a little bit more like (unintelligible) about it in the sense that this couple’s been together for six years and this woman, you know, for a woman who works and kind of does it all, sometimes getting engaged is the one thing you don’t have any control over, which I think can be kind of frustrating.

And I think it is actually relatable that, you know, you kind of – and I know a lot of women like this. You want to be in control of the one thing you kind of can’t be in control of in a way. So I don’t know if that answers your question but I think Annie is a little bit less so in thinking that she – that everything needs to be perfect. I think she’s does think everything needs to be perfect.

Has there ever been a time when get a script and there’s some humor in there that I wouldn’t say is inappropriate but maybe we haven’t seen on network TV before and you think, “How are we going to get away with this?”

Ken Marino: You know, I think that it’s always nice to read a script and see something that you haven’t seen before or something that’s pushing the envelope a little bit. And, you know, that’s always exciting for me to kind of go in and do that. And then, you know, whether or not it’s going to work on TV is kind of out of hands.

I mean I – it’s just an exciting thing to, you know, approach and do and then, you know, you hope especially if it’s funny, you know, you hope that it gets on the air. And, you know, I think we’ve been kind of – I don’t know if we’ve been pushing the envelope or anything but, you know, we’re doing what we want to do on the show and then, you know, that stuff is getting out there and I think that’s what makes the show special.

Casey Wilson: Yes. And I think what’s so much – there’s obviously so much programming and so many great cable shows that people love and gravitate to, to some degree that I think in some way we’re trying to do a show that exists on the line as much as we can just because I think there’s a reason, you know, people love something a little bit edgier.

And I think in one episode – Ken, I’m thinking of the fertility episode. There was a scene that came – I think the network had the show was going to air like halfway through the season instead of earlier because it was a little too much. But I think ultimately it’s better to try that and see where we land.

There have been cancellations of some new comedies recently. Do you feel like comedies have a harder road to success than dramas? And how have you felt about the reception that Marry Me has gotten so far?

Casey Wilson: I think it’s very hard these days to make any television show. And anyone who’s trying to do anything should be applauded. It’s really hard. And I don’t think shows are given enough of a chance. And it’s a bummer because whenever I see anything on TV, and not to be too dramatic, but I think those people worked really hard on that show no matter how you feel about it. So I was bummed.

Ken Marino: And I think it’s been nice the reception that Marry Me’s been getting. I think, you know, I feel like it’s – people have been responding mostly positive to it and both critically and they’re just, you know, fans and, you know, people I run up to on the street and certainly my mom.

You guys have such great comedic timing. Is it something that’s always been natural to each of you?

Ken Marino: I don’t know. I mean I just – it’s always been fun to kind of joke around and I’ve always enjoyed comedy. So I don’t know if it’s natural. It just – I’ve kind of been around – I think we’ve both been running around in circles, you know, with friends who are comedians and actors who are, you know, comics and it just maybe kind of rubbed off on us. I don’t know. Casey.

Casey Wilson: Yes. I agree. I don’t know. I think that’s a hard question only just because – I don’t know. I think it’s just – I don’t know. Maybe just sort of habit from growing up. I’m not sure.

Ken Marino: Yes. I – we’re huge fans of comedy and have studied comedy growing up and through our, you know, throughout our lives. And so it’s just I think that we try to, you know, we want to – we want to do it because we enjoy it.

Casey Wilson: Yes. I always think like I wish growing up I’d been more into more subtle like actresses. I only watch like the (broadest things) and so my timing is so broad and it’s probably just, you know, mimicry.

Casey, what do you think it is about the show that’s made it such a quick fan favorite program?

Casey Wilson: Well, I’m happy to hear that. I mean I think – I don’t know. I think there is something nice. I like shows about a relationship because right away there’s some stakes to that and I think most people are in a relationship of some sort and especially a long-term one.

There’s so much that goes on in it that’s funny. And I think it’s kind of nice to see that. And obviously it’s a sitcom and it’s a comedy. But I don’t know. I think there’s something very relatable and kind of it gives you a bit of a warm feeling but also you’re getting jokes out of it. So I hope that’s why people like it.

Ken Marino: Yes. And I think that people – I know I do like when I watch TV. It’s nice to have a couple that you can root for, you know, as opposed to, you know, something where it’s like will they, won’t they; are they going to get together, are they not going to get together.

I like shows where like there’s a team that are, you know, they’re against the world. And I feel like, you know, with Jake and Annie are a team that you get to watch every week and enjoy kind of the, you know, the situations that they get into. And that’s the exciting thing. What was that? Hello.

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