American Way


Make ‘Em Laugh … ‘Til They Cry
By Kristy Alpert

Jennifer Garner and Megan Mullally n Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Dale Robinette

This comedic sweetheart may ruin your day.

Although Megan Mullally is known best for bringing smiles to viewers’ faces with her lovable-mess roles as Karen Walker on Will & Grace and as her real-life husband Nick Offerman’s nemesis, Tammy Two, on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, there’s one person this funny lady can’t seem to make smile. Mullally’s latest role is as Jennifer Garner’s belligerent boss, Nina, in Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (an adaptation of Judith Viorst’s children’s book), out this month, for which she is quite convincing as Garner’s tetchy superior. Despite frightening her co-stars, Mullally’s actual role in life is to make people (her adoring husband included) laugh with her quick wit and charming personality.

American Way: First things first: Was it fun to play the bad-tempered boss?

Megan Mullally: It’s a small part, but it was a blast to do. I only shot for like two or three days, and on the second day Jennifer Garner told me that she was scared of me. I said, “You’re kidding,” and she was like, “No.” Maybe she was kidding, but maybe she wasn’t. That’s how mean I was.

AW: You’ve played some really fun characters throughout your career. How do you select your roles?
MM: Since I’m mostly known for comedy, I tend to get offered really kooky, crazy, broad comedic characters. It’s nice to be known for making people laugh, because when people see you, their faces light up. It’s different from being known for playing Charles Manson or something. It’s a little nicer.

AW: What else do you have going on right now?
MM: Traveling, so much traveling! I’ve been doing a lot of theater and some Broadway concerts, and I have a band called Nancy and Beth that’s been going really well. Then Nick has his stage show, American Ham, which he’s been touring with constantly, plus shooting movies and shows out of town. We’ve been flying constantly because we have our two-week rule.

AW: What’s the two-week rule?
MM: Somehow we’ve never been apart for more than two weeks in 14 years. We don’t like to be apart. Nick and I talk on the phone a lot when we’re not together, and we text a lot. Our relationship is extremely flirtatious. We love emoticons, and we’ll emoticon-text for, like, a whole day.

AW: Any other creative pursuits … besides emoticon flirting?
MM: I’m teaching myself to play the ukulele. I have traveled with it quite a bit in a giant African purse. That way I can take it on the plane with me.