On last week’s 30 Rock, Liz Lemon hired comedy writer Abby Flynn for a “femolution” (feminine + evolution, get it?), but what she got was a blond, ditzy, threesome-loving “sexy baby,” brilliantly played by Cristin Milioti, 25. We talked to the New York actress about perfecting that creepy voice and eating pretzels with Tina Fey.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you land the role?
CRISTIN MILIOTI: I auditioned and the next day I was on set. We shot maybe five or six days. It’s one of my favorite shows, and I don’t have a TV so I watch everything on Hulu.
What were you up to before?
I do a lot of theater in New York and did a film that opened the Toronto Film Festival last year, Year of the Carnivore. I did a small indie film that’s supposed to come out later this year, I Am Ben. I just did the Nurse Jackie finale — I play a crackhead – and The Good Wife early in the season.
I went to [NYU’s] Tisch for a year then I dropped out. I did not like it. But an agent had seen me in a show and sent me on an audition for The Sopranos, [and] I booked it. It was really lucky right out of the gate. Then I booked my first Broadway show a month later – The Lieutenant of Inishmore. It was very, very lucky. I was at the right place at the right time. But I hated NYU.
What was the audition for 30 Rock like? Did you have to do the whole Abby shtick?
Yea, but they didn’t tell me Tina Fey was going to be in the callback, so I walked in and couldn’t speak. I cried afterward because I thought I had totally blown it. But she’s the nicest woman alive. She was like, “Hi, how are you? I’m Tina.” And I’m like “Uhh.” Then I read with the casting director and she said, “That was great. Have a great day.” And I said, “Uhh.”
How did it feel walking around set in that costume during breaks?
It was weird because at one point I was walking down the same set of steps as Blake Lively [who films Gossip Girl in the same studio lot as 30 Rock], and we bumped into each other. She was like – and I don’t blame her – “What the f—?” Every time I walked around, people just gaped. Walking around the set, I felt super awkward. I was much more comfortable when they put me in that fake nose and unibrow for the stand-up video. It’s hard to see, but I was in the makeup chair for two hours getting a prosthetic nose. That was much more comfortable than walking around in hot pants.
Did you use any famous people to model that baby voice after?
I watched a bunch of videos with Paris Hilton on David Letterman. That was what I did for the audition, and it changed from there. For the audition, I wore a plaid shirt and gray jeans. That was the sexiest thing I had, which is really sad. I wear jeans and long shirts in the summer so I wasn’t really comfortable [in Abby’s costume].
What has the response been like after the appearance?
I heard from people I went to kindergarten with, got emails and Facebook messages – it was nuts. I’m auditioning five times a day because it’s pilot season, and every time I go in for something, someone will say, “You were really awesome on 30 Rock!”
Any word if you’ll come back?
They didn’t say, but it was a dream job. It’d be a ridiculous, wild, dream-come-true scenario.
How was sharing screen time with Alec Baldwin?
He’s really awesome. It was actually his idea to do the trampoline. I was just supposed to be jumping up and down on it myself, and then he said, “It’d be so funny if I got on there with you.”
And your scenes with Tina?
She’s incredible. She’s an insane martian genius when it comes to comedy. She’s an incredible woman to look up to. But after a while, it was, “Oh, that’s Tina Fey, and she’s cool.” We just hung out and ate pretzels. We sat in a warming tent and ate pretzels.
Missed Milioti’s guest stint? Just want to relive the “sexy baby” hilarity? Check out a clip from the episode:
Photo: Ali Goldstein/NBC