Interview: Wendi McLendon-Covey

Mimi ON Nov 25, 2011 AT 9:45 am

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita

With the hilarious comedy Bridesmaids coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray today (14.11.11) we’ve managed to pin down funny-lady Wendi McLendon-Covey (who plays Rita in the film) for a quick chat about how she got into acting, her funniest memories on-set and what her ideal Hen-party would involve. We’ll give you a clue… it involves wads of cash.

How did you get into acting/comedy?

Wendy: When I was a kid I was obsessed with comedy! I used to listen to Bill Cosby and Steve Martin records all the time; I’d watch Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball on a daily basis and try to write little sketches for all my friends to be in. But I didn’t start taking acting and comedy classes until I was in my late 20s, and that’s when I started at the Groundling Theatre in Los Angeles.

Explain to those that don’t know what they are, what The Groundlings are and how you became involved?

The Groundling Theatre is a sketch/improv theatre in Hollywood that has a lot of famous alumni (Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Pee Wee Herman, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Coolidge, Cheryl Hines, just to name a few!) After I saw my first show there, I was determined to get into that company. Unfortunately, I was so shy that it took me four years to gather the nerve to actually take a class.

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids

Did you enjoy your time working alongside your co-stars?

It was so gratifying to work with those girls, especially the ones that I knew from the Groundlings. Believe it or not, I met Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig at a wedding shower 10 years ago. Isn’t that wild?

What’s your fondest memory?

My fondest memory of making Bridesmaids was watching the writers (Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig) watching us on the monitors and doubling over with laughter.

What’s your funniest memory?

My funniest memory involves the toasting scene (at the engagement party) between Kristen’s character and Rose Byrne’s character. They kept getting more and more outrageous, and I couldn’t hold it in any more and started laughing so hard that the director (Paul Feig) chastised me for being distracting.

What’s it like on movie sets compared to TV? Which do you prefer?

TV shows film at a much faster pace than movies; there’s a lot of dead time for an actor on movie sets. I don’t prefer one to the other necessarily, so I’ll just say that I prefer whichever one keeps me working the most!

What was it like working on Bridesmaids? Did you relate to your character at all?!

I didn’t relate to Rita at all, which is why she was so much fun to play! I don’t have any kids, and I’m not unhappily married or unfulfilled in life, so I took a lot of inspiration from a TV show here in the states called Real Housewives Of Orange County. You’ve never seen such spoiled women in your life, and all they do is complain. And they’re always completely done up with perfect hair and nails and sparkly t-shirts. They’re hilarious!

Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey

Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey

What there a lot of improvisation on set?

Yes! They actually encouraged us to improv quite a bit, which I love to do because the dialogue sounds so much more interesting that way.

If you had to arrange a hen-party for a group, like the one in Bridesmaids, what would you choose to do?

Well as you know, the economy here in the USA is terrible, so I don’t think I’d plan anything that involves travelling. I also have no patience for hen parties anymore because it’s just a matter of time before someone gets their feelings hurt and pulls out someone else’s hair extensions…I think I would just get straight to the point and encourage all the bride’s friends to show up at her apartment, throw wads of cash at her, and then go home. The whole thing could be over in ten minutes.

What have you got in the pipeline for the future?

I’ve still got my recurring role as cat-loving Liz on Rules Of Engagement; I’ve also got guest starring roles coming up on the shows Hot In Cleveland, The Wedding Band, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter. As far as movies go, I’ve got What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Sleeping Around, Magic Mike, and White Trash Christmas Carol coming up. I’m also pitching a few projects…I’m a little busy I guess. Life is good.

Bridesmaids is out on Blu-ray and DVD today. © 2011 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

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