While her her nasal socialite Karen Walker from ''Will & Grace'' remains the actress's best-known role, she has since built a career as TV's go-to funnywoman on more than 10 shows. As the 53-year-old star steps into her latest gig — Contra Security head Veronica on Fox's rebooted comedy ''Breaking In'' — EW asks Mullally about some of her favorite TV roles
Parks and Recreation
Tammy Swanson/Tammy 2
When I got the part, my husband [Parks star Nick Offerman] and I were both really excited. The very first scene I shot was where Ron [Offerman] and Tammy are in a sexual frenzy. I was like, ”Um, I’m gonna take my top off!” I just ripped my sweater off. And they used it! They left it in! They just put a big dot over my boobs.
Casey [Wilson, who plays her character’s daughter] and I have this crazy affinity for one another, acting-wise, kind of like what I had with Sean Hayes on Will & Grace. Literally, we can read each other’s minds. You just don’t have that with that many people.
Will & Grace
It’s not that I really miss playing Karen as much as I miss Karen herself. I hope she has an existence independent of me — that she’s out there somewhere popping pills and annoying people in an alternate universe. The eight years I spent on Will & Grace changed me forever.
Murder, She Wrote
I hadn’t gotten a job for so long, and I was in a complete panic because I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent. So I get a call one day from my agent that I’d gotten offered a guest role, and it paid $5,000. I literally fell down onto my knees and testified and wept. I played some former protégée of Jessica Fletcher. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever shot.
I tested to be Elaine, but they gave me this other role. I played a love interest for Jason Alexander who is hard of hearing in her [right] ear. He can’t go left — which is the way he likes to do it — so he has to go right. He flips me over the couch and tries to get on the right side of me. It was nuts!
What they’re doing is just a step beyond what’s happening on network television. Maybe in 10 years you’ll see a show like Childrens Hospital on a network. I can literally do anything and it’s fine. Nothing is too big, nothing is too absurd. I don’t wear any makeup, I wear men’s wigs, I have a hunchback, I walk with a walker, I wear orthopedic shoes, and I have gigantic glasses that look like the Hubble Space Telescope. The whole point is that she’s the grossest woman in the world, but everyone wants to f– her.
It’s an experiment in building a character, basically. The writers have been very collaborative and let me play around and experiment. That’s a big change from even 15 years ago, when you could not go on a set and throw out [comedic] pitches. But now, it’s almost like if you don’t do that, they’re like, ”But where are your pitches?”