Kristen Wiig on Paul, Her Future at SNL and How Her Mom Doesn't Like Gilly

kristen_wiig_gilly.jpgDo you feel that Gilly is polarizing? I feel it's a character that people either love or they don't particularly like.

Uh... yeah, probably. I mean, the first time that I did it, my mom, the next day was like, "Oh, I did not like that. That new character you did, I did not like her!" [Laughs]

When you thought of that character, did you figure some people wouldn't embrace her?

No. I mean, I think that before I do anything.


Well, because people are going either going to love it or they are not going to love it. But I can't think about that stuff when I'm writing something. You know, it's great when they like it, but, if they don't, they have their right to not like it. But, I don't know, I enjoy doing it.

You're kind of a chameleon in that way. I mean, there are people who don't like Gilly...

Thanks! [Laughs]

You're welcome! But someone who doesn't like Gilly can love Penelope. It's not you -- it's just your recurring characters are different.

I don't think about it at all. If you're creating anything at all, it's really dangerous to care about what people think.

I've read that you've traveled around with Lorne Michaels for the last wave of SNL auditions?


Really? I've read that in numerous places.

I went to a Groundlings show when they all went to look at people. I went with them just because I'm in the Groundlings. But I don't know if you would call that scouting.

Well, people are.

Oh, no. No. I think I did read that somewhere, too.

Yeah, I remember thinking, "Oh, wow, Wiig's in charge now!"

[Laughing] No. I'm not in charge. Oh, they might have been talking about when you did audition. I did get to see the tapes -- the audition tapes. But it wasn't like I had any clout in the decision.

OK, so no clout...

That people are saying? No. But that's an OK remark! I'm just kidding.

In the entire SNL cast, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and you have the most active film careers. Has it crossed your mind to leave SNL soon to further pursue your movie career?

I still have some time left at SNL. And hopefully I'll be making movies for a really long time. I love doing it, it's what I've always wanted to do -- that and being on SNL. So I feel extremely lucky right now. I'm very happy. I hope to be able to do more dramatic things and direct sometime. But right now I feel extremely grateful to have the situation that I have doing SNL and then on the hiatus, hopefully, working on films. I couldn't be happier.

So, movies is where you want to be full time. Eventually.

Yeah. I mean, I can't be on SNL for the next 20 years.

Hammond came close.

No, he wasn't on that long. He was on, I don't know the exact number, I think it was around 10 or 11. But I'm not leaving right now!

And you have Bridesmaids coming up...

I'm really excited about it!

It's funny, when I mentioned to a few people that I'd be talking to you, they all brought up Bridesmaids.

Well, I wrote it with one of my best friends in the world who's my writing partner, Annie Mumolo, who's amazingly funny and so f*cking talented. Yeah... I said it.

We allow that word on the Internet.

We f*cking wrote this script... No. We started writing it almost five years ago for Judd [Apatow], which, on its own, to me, was just an amazing opportunity to go through that whole process with him and rewrite the notes and learning how to write a movie. Neither one of us had any experience at all. And then to have it actually happen and have Paul Feig direct it -- who is one of the best people I've ever known. I still pinch myself, I can't even believe it's going to be in theaters. And it's real. I'm so excited.

How was that, writing with Judd? Obviously he has experience on how to make a successful movie. Would he read the script and say, "No, that part won't work in a movie."

It was never, "No." It was more like, "Maybe we could punch this up. Do you guys have any other ideas? Why don't you think of 10 more things." Sometimes it would be one of those 10, sometimes it would be the original thing and maybe we would shoot some of the other 10. It was very collaborative, there are scenes in the movie that are his idea.

From the way you're talking, it sounds like Bridesmaids is your pride and joy.

[Nodding head vigorously] Yes!

So this last question is kind of silly...

I like silly questions.

When did Penelope become supernatural?

[Laughs] Actually! You know what's funny about that? The first time that we wrote it, I wrote it with John Lutz, who's now on 30 Rock. We couldn't think of an ending so, just kind of as a joke, we wrote in that she would fly away at the end. And then it was one of these, "We'll figure out the real ending later," but we couldn't figure out anything at the table. And then, I think the very first one, they were like, "Is she really going to fly away?" I can't remember in the first one if I did anything. I can't remember the first one, I'm so sorry. But then after a while, we just thought it would be funny that in one of the long list of the things that she says that she does, what if she actually did it? And then at the end you're like, "Wait? So are all of those things true? But they can't be true. How did she grow a beard and how is she two inches tall?" I don't know, I'm a fan of the absurd and silly and, to us, that made us laugh.

It changed the dynamic of the sketch. The first time I saw her do something supernatural I said, "Wait, I guess she's not lying about anything. She has powers!"

I really can't remember if in the first one of she did wind up flying away or not -- or something happened. I do remember that when we wrote it, because with sketch writing the ending is the hardest part, we could not think of an ending. It was the middle of the night and he actually did the sound effect with his mouth and I'm like, "Just put that in and do that sound effect at the table and we will see what happens." And then it ended up getting picked and we were like, "Oh, shoot, now we really have to think of an ending." [Laughs] No one has ever asked me that before.

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  • Patrick McEvoy-Halston says:

    She doesn't do mean comedy. Hmmm. She certainly played an important part of the Joe Schmo deception, which left the "Schmo" pretty unsettled numerous months afterwards. I think she is a pretty good person, but in being so ready to play a part in something she is too self-aware to know could easily end up hurting a much better, if also much more anonymous and unimportant, more settled and therefore less reaching, non-registering, one, I'm sorry she apparently comes close to being all we'll allow our sense of goodness to know exists.
    It is true, though, that she and Hader are the most conscious, most kind people on SNL right now -- something that is beginning to cause them troubles, for it making them balk some at the dismaying absence of their fellow cast members: it's tough to do comedy when in the middle of sketches, even, you can't help but thinking, "how can you be the way your are!? -- you're frickin scaring me!" No wonder they're probably mostly now thinking films together. If she was somehow to reach Michaela Watkins' heights, no matter her brilliance, for discomforting everyone with the cowing power of her intrinsic scrupples and backbone, she'd be off the show in a season.

  • Jason says:

    I appreciate your attempts to make her disavow Gilly, even though she seemed a bit nonplussed by the line of questioning.

  • Buffy st. Clair says:

    Did you actually watch the Joe Schmo show? The dude (Matt?) was a great sport and had a great attitude about the whole thing. He was not scarred by the experience, and I'm sure if he had seemed mentally unstable they wouldn't have cast him. I actually watched the whole thing and I didnt think it was mean at all. The guy came out of it looking like a great, funny dude (not like some idiot they were mocking).

  • Patrick McEvoy-Halston says:

    I think pretty evidently, I did, Buffy. What rocked the show pretty early on WAS, in fact, just how much what was going on was affecting Matt, and it is to everyone's (however small) credit that they all became concerned not to let the experience waste the guy. You remember: he was dismayed when Earl -- the veteran -- was evicted. He was stunned and humiliated when the "rich bitch" told him she thought of him as a brother, when SHE was causing something of a problem for the show in her liking and personally needing him so much (or at least his stopping sheer goodness) she was more noticeably showing how much more attracted she was to him than her readyness to make sport of him.
    As the show was drawing to a close, his "best friend" looked to be developing ulcers over what would happen after the great reveal -- when Matt would know him in an instant as the false best friend out of the Truman Show. And it is in how Matt reacted to him months afterwards that I most noted the LASTING effects of the program, how, ultimately, he had processed the whole of it. Matt liked the actor playing the part, and they both wanted thereafter to keep some of their true affection for one another alive. But as much as this actor and the show hoped he'd just sweep everything under the rug, to will him to be the good sport their consciounesses required he just had to be to let everything sit well for them, he wouldn't let this falsehood stand without inserting some sliver of disquiet. He still suggested in a way that made this "best friend" noticeably uncomfortable, that there must be something amiss, perhaps unredemiably damning, of someone to be willing to lull someone else to be your best friend just to get a show to work. Even if in the development of this role "you" pull back because there is enough in you that fears what revealing of the falsehood would do to this person you've actually come to like quite a bit, and care about what he ends up thinking of you, to so readily agree to the part, and to actually script it for yourself -- what kind of a perhaps unforgivably, deeply-tainted human being are you for actually WANTING part of that? Anyway, he certainly did good-sport along after his final dismaying "What is going on!!!!????, and he amply and fairly communicated that he enjoyed his spending time with the people playing the trick on him, but unmistakably (to me, at least) he found subtle but effective ways to make them aware that some considerable bad likely happened there as well. I wouldn't be surprised if he's decided to mostly pass on them all at this point, and if they've decided his experience with him is enough of a troubling conundrum they can't let themselves be much reminded of him.
    Matt's experience with Wiig was pretty odd. She was amazed by just how much he lent himself to her puppet therapy (she was ostensibly a therapist), but not really so-much concerned by it. Why wasn't she worried about the thereafter effects of someone trusting you enough to undertake your strange therapy, whom you know for sure would come to know that it was for you mostly an acting challenge? ("He really fell for it!," she exclaimed in amazement [out of someone being so non-detached and trusting to so let themselves get so involved] and delight [in her being so persuasive in something she was wholly making up as she went along].) Also, he liked her; he was attracted to her. The show couldn't have that so "they" suddenly turned her into a humiliation and a source of self-doubt, by having her ostensibly sleep with the despicable Hutch. Remember?: Matt was dazed, quite affected by this -- and not just by the sudden, unfathomable turn-around in what your intrinsic sense told you was surely a dependable, sensible person (though it was certainly partly that as well).

  • Dw. Dunphy says:

    Wiig is awesome and I've enjoyed the majority of what she's done but, yeah. Gilly is the woman who goes to the grocery store to stare at the carrots, and how in the world does one cope with that?

  • firebrand says:

    Sorry people, but Kristen Wiig is paaaainfully unfunny. Gilly is a travesty, and it boggles my mind as to why she's still on SNL. Like all of SNL's female denizens (with the except of Tina Fey), she's terribly UNFUNNY. And that is a fact.

  • Mr Adventure says:

    SNL has a long history of recurring sketches that have varying shelf lives - The Cheeseburger Sketch, The Coneheads, The Gyro/Juice sketch, The Roxbury guys, The Cheerleaders, and so on. They often cling to a weak premise, but sometimes find the right combination to keep it fresh time and again. Gilly does not fit that mold. It was funny initially, but subsequently, to me it feels like the sketch is just padding in the show timeline, hoping the audience will laugh during the pauses. I've tried to watch the newer Gilly sketches, but I can't, I just can't. Worse than the worst of the "It's Pat" bit, IMO.

  • Geoff says:

    Gilly gets a lot of hatred, but as far as I can remember, the character's only appeared 4 times across three seasons (not counting the Christmas special). The first two appearances were basically the same, but the third with Drew Barrymore and fourth with Jane Lynch both switched up the formula and made it at least somewhat entertaining. I'm certainly not pining for her return, but Wiig's done many worse characters (Thomaaaaas......Thomaaaaaas.....).
    I just hope Target Lady eventually makes a reappearance. My friends and I quote her all the time.