Megan Mullally Explains Sitcom Ubiquity

by | January 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Happy Endings, Parks & Recreation, Up All Night

Maya Rudolph and Megan Mullally on "Up All Night" (NBC)

Maya Rudolph and Megan Mullally on "Up All Night" (NBC)

It feels like we’ve been seeing a lot of Megan Mullally on our TVs lately, haven’t we? She’s been the hot guest star of the moment, appearing in multiple episodes of “Happy Endings” as the always-on mother of the needy Penny (Casey Wilson). Of course, she’s popped up as Ron Swanson’s vixen of a second wife, Tammy II, on “Parks and Recreation,” playing opposite her real-life husband, Nick Offerman. She is also one of the stars of “Children’s Hospital” on Adult Swim and has been producing and starring in comedy videos for Funny or Die.

Last night, she showed up in yet another critically-lauded comedy, “Up All Night.” She played Shayna, a woman whom Ava (Maya Rudolph) and Reagan (Christina Applegate) rescued from obesity and depression; she’s gone on to start her own talk show and is stealing Ava and Reagan’s topic ideas. Finally, fans of the saved-from-cancellation FOX comedy “Breaking In” will see Mullally as a regular cast member when it comes back in the spring.

Mullally does feel like she’s become the Edgar Martinez of comedy: a supreme designated hitter. Plug her into any lineup and she has a good chance of knocking it out of the park. Even when the lineup is strong, like when she replaced Jane Lynch in the second season of “Party Down,” she does a great job of fitting in the ensemble to keep the funny moving.

Watch Mullally in “Up All Night”:

What is it about Mullally that has her in such demand? Well, eight seasons playing the iconic Karen Walker on “Will & Grace” didn’t hurt, but she’s managed to avoid typecasting by exhibiting her versatility in Broadway musicals, her short-lived daytime talk show, and in roles where she shows a willingness to look bad in order to get a laugh. For instance, her role in “Children’s Hospital,” as the lusty chief of medicine who isn’t deterred by her disability or the fact that she looks like a grandmother, shows that Mullally’s physical comedy chops are right up there with the best on TV.

Mullally feels that she’s in the phase of her career that when someone asks her to be on a comedy she likes, she won’t hesitate to say yes. “I feel like the half hour comedy, most of them to me aren’t really funny,” she told critics at the TCA press tour. “So I thought, you know, if there’s a show that is in the milieu of what most of the people that I know that work in comedy think is funny, then say yes. I like to say ‘yes’ to things anyway, though, you may have noticed.”

Watch Mullally in “Happy Endings”:

We’re all for seeing Mullally in as many roles as she is offered, even if seeing her as a regular on “Breaking In” is taking up time that she could be spending as one of her other established characters. She and Offerman both confirmed that we may or may not see Tammy II again this season on “Parks and Rec” because of her “Breaking In” schedule, though Mullally said we may see her in another one-scene shot like we did earlier in the season.

Perhaps FOX can give her a day off so she can just get shuttled from studio to studio, doing one-scene walk-ons on all the shows we mentioned above. Then we can see Mullally on our TVs almost every day of the week. She’s just that funny.

Watch Mullally on “Parks and Rec”:

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