Interview: Jenna Elfman Knows Funny

by | February 5, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Interviews, TV News

Jenna Elfman (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Jenna Elfman (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

BY: Alicia Rancilio

NEW YORK – Jenna Elfman knows comedy. She starred in ‘Dharma & Greg’ from 1997-2002 and won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated twice for an Emmy.

Now, Elfman plays a 30-ish movie critic who has a one-night stand with a guy in his 20s on CBS’ ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ (Mondays, 8:30 p.m. EST). She ends up pregnant and the two decide to raise the baby together. Elfman, 38, who is pregnant with her second child in real life, talks about her show and finding the funny in life, in a phone interview with The Associated Press from Los Angeles.

AP: Do you like the pairing of your character, Billie, and the father of her child, Zach, on ‘Accidentally on Purpose’?

Elfman: I like playing them as a couple because they’re so different and they have such a great friendship, and it’s been a lot of fun playing it and I’m kind of liking playing that.

AP: Will future episodes focus more on the age difference between Zach and Billie?

Elfman: It’s always going to present difficulties and their whole point of reference is different. … It’s someone who has a lot of life experience and someone with minimal life experience trying to raise a kid and find out who they are together.

AP: You’ve been married a long time (she wed actor Bodhi Elfman in 1995). That’s rare in Hollywood.

Elfman: I’ll say!

AP: What’s your secret?

Elfman: We don’t have secrets. And we stay real clean with each other. If we break an agreement or we do something the other doesn’t like, we say so. When all things are known it’s amazing how healthy the relationship stays.

AP: Is playing pregnant while you’re pregnant easier?

Elfman: The whole universe of being pregnant is a very specific, particular sensation for a woman so being pregnant while playing pregnant is really cool.

AP: The classic sitcom has had a hard time in recent years thanks to reality TV and the single-camera comedy. Is that affecting your show?

Elfman: I think it’s going to take (viewers) getting used to it again. The trend and the zeitgeist has changed. This generation of television viewers’ point of reference has shifted in terms of what they’re used to. … I think with “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother” being so popular, the classic sitcom is getting back into the cultural zeitgeist. … It’s challenging but not horrific. Our ratings have been going up and up.”

AP: Your comedic timing is interesting and you’re great with snappy dialogue. Do you work at that?

Elfman: It’s nothing I sit around and think about. … I just love comedy and I love sitcoms. I think if you really look, there’s a lot that’s funny in life. … I’m always people-watching like nonstop, and I think doing that I’ve become educated into humorous rhythms from different moments in life.

AP: Some actors say it’s harder to be funny.

Elfman: I think so because you have to have the same level of belief that you have when you’re doing drama but make people laugh on top of it. It’s an added duty.


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