iCarly star Laci Mosley is ready for viewers to meet her Schitt's Creek-esque character Harper
The actress and comedian opens up about being welcomed on the Paramount+ revival.
Laci Mosley is having a moment.
Literally - she only has a brief window in her busy schedule to chat as she's wrapping up a scene on the set of the iCarly revival series (premiering Thursday on Paramount+). She can also be seen in season 2 of HBO's acclaimed A Black Lady Sketch Show, and she hosts the popular comedy podcast Scam Goddess.
Over the phone, the actress and comedian - who some audiences first met on Pop's Florida Girls - is warm and a hoot to talk to. She's "elated" for original iCarly fans to re-enter Bushwell Plaza nearly 10 years later and catch up with OG influencer Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), plus meet new faces, including her character, Harper, Carly's best friend and roommate.
"I'm not nervous about fans seeing the show or my character. I'm excited. I'm elated. I'm really proud of the work that we're doing here," Mosley tells EW. "This show really honors the fun camp that iCarly was, but it's a new conception and it is a millennial show. If you grew up watching this show and you're the age that these people are on the show, you're going to feel like you grew up with them."
Stepping on the set for the first time, it felt like "I was walking into a museum," Mosley says. "I'm just touching everything."
In the lead-up to the show's premiere, fans have learned a bit about Harper, an aspiring stylist and the child of a formerly wealthy family. Mosley also teases that Harper's journey reflects a bit of what characters in another beloved series went through.
"It's a fun situation with Harper that does kind of mimic Schitt's Creek of where you get to see this woman who's adjusting to life as a 'regular,'" Mosley says. "And lots of fun jokes about how she used to be rich and, you know, the man who did TED Talks is a close family friend."
On the show, we'll find Harper working at a coffee shop to make ends meet while she strives to fulfill her dreams. A fashionista herself, Mosley was pumped about all the chic outfits she got wear on the series, including an original piece "that was made for Janet Jackson and there's only one in the world. And somehow our amazing stylists got it."
Harper is also bisexual, as Mosley is, though the performer says the writers intended for the character to be queer before she was even brought on.
"That wasn't a question I was asked when I tested for the pilot," Mosley says. "It just happened to be a coincidence that they hired a bisexual woman to play a bisexual woman, which they were all elated about."
Harper's dating life will be explored in the revival, and Mosley previously told EW that it will be "interesting and all over the place" for the "messy queen."
And it wouldn't be iCarly if Harper didn't have a few quirks of her own, including name-dropping like it's her job and putting on "wild accents" (plus telling the occasional lie).
Coming from an improv background, including performing at Upright Citizens Brigade, Mosley jumped at the chance to pitch jokes for Harper. She was "happy and proud" that many of her jokes made it into the final scripts, though she quips that she won't give them away "for free" before iCarly debuts.
As with other comedies, the show would do a "fun pass" where the actors got to ad-lib after they completed all the takes, and occasionally they ended up in the final cut, Mosley says. When asked who the best improviser was, she doesn't hesitate to name Trainor.
"Jerry Trainor is a boss," she says. "There's certain things that he can do as a comedian that other people just can't replicate. And he's constantly making me laugh and break. I've seen him do some wild physical bits. And sometimes we're running out of time and I'm seeing this man wrestle with a fake animal and they get it in two takes and it's astonishing and hilarious."
Trainor and Mosley's other castmates made her feel like she "belonged the first day, which was a wonderful surprise," she says. "Miranda's fantastic. Jerry's amazing. He gives me dating advice. Nathan's super-cool. Jaidyn [Triplett] is really sweet. So the transition didn't feel awkward or weird."
It was thanks to them that Mosley felt comforted after she became the target of racist comments on social media in May, shortly after her addition to the series was announced and promotional materials featured her and Triplett. Things got so bad that social media accounts for iCarly and Paramount+ addressed "reports of racism" in a statement reshared by cast members, which said such behavior was "not acceptable." Paramount+ and the show also posted subsequent statements saying they stood "against all instances of hate and racism."
Mosley says that "at first, I was taken aback by some of the vitriol. Obviously I've been in a brown body my entire life and racism is nothing new, but all of it at once was quite overwhelming."
Fortunately, her costars were behind her, to an extent that she realize about until later.
"I wasn't even the one who made the network aware of it, I believe that that was Jerry," the actress reveals (a representative for the show confirmed this with EW). "Having that kind of support behind the scenes and not even knowing how supportive everyone was until we all spoke, it just touched my heart. To have a cast, a network, a crew, a writers' room of people who are not just talented in the ways of comedy, but they do their part to make the world a better place. And seeing everyone rally together and really condemn hate was so comforting to me."
Additionally, Mosley says the situation proved which viewers actually took iCarly's messages to heart.
"After a lot of the negative comments was an overwhelming wave of positivity from what I call real iCarly fans, who are loving and positive and represent what the show was, which was fun, nice people having a good time in a weird world," she adds.
The haters certainly won't stop Mosley from thriving, she says, "Because at the end of the day, racism isn't going to stop me, baby girl. I've been Black my whole life. I will keep being Black and loving it."
Case in point: Mosley reveled in working with the likes of Issa Rae, Reagan Gomez, and Jesse Williams in the sophomore season of Robin Thede's A Black Lady Sketch Show, which dropped in April.
"Honey, I was alive," Mosley recalls. "We were doing a night shoot. I was staring at the sky, and Jesse walked up to me and he's like, 'Hey, what are you looking at?' I was like, 'Oh just the stars. You can't see them in L.A.' And he goes, 'Oh, let me point out the constellation to you.' So now I have Jesse Williams from Grey's Anatomy pointing out constellations to me. I would have never thought that that would be my life."
iCarly (TV Series Revival)