Fans of Megan Mullally may best remember her as Karen Walker, the iconic pill-popping character she portrayed for eight seasons on NBC’s Will & Grace.
Mullally received 7 consecutive Emmy nominations and won twice for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” making her a valuable asset on shows like Parks and Recreation, the short-lived Party Down and her current gig as the Chief of Staff on [adult swim]’s, Childrens Hospital. One of the few live action shows on Adult Swim, the show was created by Rob Corddry and is set in a hospital where all the patients are young adolescents being treated by what can only be described as the worst set of doctors to ever be portrayed on television.
Mullally is The Chief, a middle-aged woman with a hunchback and traveling mole that needs the assistance of a walker to help her shuffle about the hospital, where she makes out with everyone on staff and has a secret love affair with the hospital’s administrator, played by Henry “The Fonz” Winkler. I was lucky to spend a few minutes catching up with Mullally as she prepares for the upcoming Childrens Hospital panel at Comic-Con, and discovered her close connection with the cast of Party Down and that fans of Childrens Hospital may get to see the show performed live sometime in the near future.
How did you get cast as The Chief?
Rob knows my husband and said, ‘Hey do you know any middle aged women who are really funny who could play this Chief part?’ So that’s kind of how it all came about. I had met Rob once but didn’t know him very well. I read the scripts for the web series and thought they were insanely funny and they certainly have gotten funnier.
It seems that the Chief has made out with almost every cast member on Childrens Hospital. Who’s responsible for that?
Not only have I made out with every cast member, I’ve made out with all the men, all the women and one guy who I didn’t even know what his name was. There was one scene where I was supposed to go down the line, making out with every person in the line, and there was one guy in there who I literally had no idea who he was and he was dressed as Captain Fantastic, and I made out with him. I think the joke is that she’s not your classic beauty, shall we put it that way. The joke is that she’s hideously ugly but everyone wants to fuck her. So every year I try to make her kind of worse and worse. She’s supposed to be a hunchback but we never really had a good hunchback. But she’s a hunchback, she walks with a walker, she’s got a traveling mole, I don’t wear any makeup, I wear a man’s wig that I bought on Hollywood Boulevard, I’ve got those giant glasses; she’s pretty.
Who is the best kisser on Childrens Hospital?
Oh gosh, it’s hard to check. I don’t know. I’d say it’d be a toss-up. I’m going to have to go with Ken Marino.
One of my favorite lines that Chief said this season was, “Use my vagina as a splint!”
Yeah and the thing that you didn’t see because of the way that the show was cut together, I actually jumped up onto the rungs of my walker as I’m saying that line.
Will we ever find out the Chief’s real name?
The Chief’s real name is Chief, and she’s one hundred percent Choctaw Indian, that will be established this season. In an episode there’s a flashback to the seventies and Chief is just a young candy striper.
Is there any correlation between the fact that the Chief uses a walker and that one of your previous characters was named Karen Walker?
Somebody else told that to me, that’s funny! I never thought of that but I’m considering naming the walker Karen and maybe emblazoning the name Karen on the walker for this next season. I think that could be a good idea.
Will there be a return of Lydia Dunfree from Party Down in this season of Childrens Hospital?
There is a Party Down moment that’s really cool. I haven’t seen that episode yet but, yeah it was really kind of cool when we shot it and very surreal and poignant.
How was the recent Party Down reunion?
It was at the Alamo Draft House in Austin, I’m in Austin right now actually. We just had the reunion, it was a marathon that they did at The Alamo Draft House. The whole cast came in for it and it was all weekend long, it was kind of great. It’s really weird; this is the closest cast of any show I’ve ever worked on. It’s just a really interesting dynamic and I’ve worked on a lot of shows with really great close casts. Will & Grace was a close cast and Childrens Hospital; we all get together a lot, but there’s something about that Party Down cast. I mean for everybody to fly to Austin for the weekend is pretty amazing.
Party Down definitely has a cult status that the show and its fans have created over time.
I know, it’s amazing. I think when it came out on Netflix is when it seemed to turn, like that’s when I started getting a lot of different people saying things to me about the show. I feel like it has this appeal because it’s a little bit off the beaten track but also because it’s more real. Not everything is tied up with a ribbon at the end. It’s a comedy, but there’s a darker more poignant side to it also.
Could you ever see Childrens Hospital done as a live show?
Yeah that’s actually been discussed. That’s in the works, it’s in discussion anyways to take a certain episode of this season that hasn’t aired yet and tour it as a stage show. And I think it’s a great idea, and if it happens it will be a musical. I’ve already pitched composers, I’ve already pitched myself to produce the musical part of it and everything else. I’m totally down with that.
Something I didn’t know about you was that you have your own band called, Supreme Music Program.
Yeah, I’ve had this band for thirteen years or something, and we have three records that are floating around out there in the ether somewhere, you can get one or two of them on Amazon and iTunes. It’s just this thing that we did that’s kind of a pure thing, it’s not a money making proposition. But we have played some great venues. We played at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, we played in London last year and there’s probably going to be a live recording from the London shows that’ll be coming out someday.
Has your band ever performed in San Diego?
We played twice at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, that’s the closest we’ve gotten.
Will you be coming down for Comic-Con this year?
Yes. I will be there.
Do you enjoy things like that where it’s just a giant fan-fest?
Well with this kind of show, yeah it’s totally fun, because the fan base for this show is very loyal and generally very young and kind of smart and interesting or nerdy; comedy nerds. Yes, I think its fun to do that stuff.
Does Megan Mullally have a message for the children?
Keep it real. Never go outside with wet hair, and love em’ and leave em’.
Childrens Hospital airs Thursdays at midnight on [adult swim].
This article was originally published on SandDiego.com
Gordon Downs is a stand-up comedian and regular at The La Jolla Comedy Store, and also serves as the Music & Comedy Editor for SanDiego.com. Follow him on Facebook www.facebook.com/gordondowns or Twitter @gordondowns