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Interview with Jenn Lyon of "Saint
I really enjoyed interviewing Jenn. She was so funny!
Here is the our interview. I hope you
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Here's the transcription by
1. How did you get the part on "Saint George"? What was
I actually put myself on tape for it on my iPad and sent
in a tape, and I was just reading by myself for it, 'cause
it was the closing night of a play. I didn't have anybody to
read with me, so I read by myself, and I sent that tape in,
and they somehow liked it, and then George flew to New York
to meet me. We had coffee, and we really hit it off, and he
drove me to my audition for a macaroni and cheese
commercial, and we laughed a lot. And then I flew out to LA
to test for it, and then I got it. So, it was a real rags to
Were you familiar with George's work?
I was a big fan of his stand-up, yeah. I thought he was a
fantastic comedian and writer. I had watched his sitcom
maybe once or twice, so I wasn't as familiar with him as an
actor, although I had seen "Henry Poole Is Here" and also
Adriana Barraza, who was the original mom in Saint George,
was in that as well. That was a great movie. She was great
in that. But I was a fan of his stand-up, yeah.
2. What was it like being on the show as sort of the
token white person?
It feels great! Oh, it feels good to represent the
Caucasians. The pale people have been held asunder in this
sitcom, and to be able to let the beige ??? fly I think is
important for us.
3. Is it very serious on the set or is it pretty funny
It's so funny and relaxed. I mean, there's a lot of
improv. George is so fast on his feet, and he encourages
other people to make the lines better, funnier, and more
natural if you can. I mean, if you can't, don't -- like
stick to what's written, but if you have a better idea and
it's funnier, throw your hat into the ring. The writing is
great to begin with. We have a great staff of writers and
executive producers, and they're on set as well, so even in
rehearsal, they're always working to make it sharper, or
throw in a better ad lib, so it's a really wonderful
collaborative process. And it's hard to keep a straight
face. Everybody is so funny, you know? With the exception of
Harper, the little boy. He's a real tyrant. He runs the set
with an iron fist.
4. Is it different doing a comedy or drama?
Yeah, yeah, I'd say it's different. You want both of them
to be grounded in reality. Comedy is the best when it comes
from a place of truth. That's when you're gonna get your
best laughs, but certainly, yeah, they're different beasts.
I prep for them differently, I'd say.
5. If you had your preference, which one would you
probably do more of?
Gosh, I don't know. It depends on when you get me. I
don't know. On a Tuesday, I might say drama. On a Wednesday,
I might say comedy. I mean, I really love falling downstairs
and stuff, so I've got a special place in my heart for
comedy, but I also love Shakespeare, so I love drama as
6. Have you heard yet whether it will get more episodes
We haven't heard. We're hanging on. I think we'll know
after the ten episodes air, and we really want people to
tune in and watch it. We haven't heard, so we'll just keep
our fingers crossed.
7. I like your character on "Justified" and was
disappointed when she turned out to be dishonest and not the
right girl for Raylan.
Oh, that's sweet of you to say. I wouldn't say she was
bad. She was just complicated. She just, you know -- all
those women on "Justified" -- it's tough, you know. Just
like Jessica Rabbitt, she wasn't dirty, she was just drawn
that way. But, you know, Raylan's a lone wolf. I don't know
if any woman is right for Raylan.
8. How was it working on that show?
Oh, so dreamy. I just felt so lucky. It was the second
thing I ever did on TV, and to have it develop into a
recurring character and get to work with those amazing
writers, and Timothy, it was just -- I was scared out of my
mind, trying to keep my pants on, 'cause I didn't really
know what I was doing. To have that kind of writing to
support you and that kind of character, I just felt so
lucky. And to have that kind of company to keep. To be one
of your first times at bat, I was just really flabbergasted.
9. You've been on TV a lot the past few years. Are you
finding that people are recognizing you more when you go
I don't think so. I think I look different in real life
than I do on TV. You know, on TV, they do your hair and your
make-up. In real life, I don't have a spray tan and the
lashes and nice hair. In real life, I look a little dirtier
and gross. I don't think I would get recognized. Maybe I'll
start to brush my hair a little more and that would maybe
10. Do you have other shows, movies or plays coming up?
I have some stuff in the works happening. I just produced
and shot my first short film called "The Flower Shop" which
is in the process of being edited. That will be submitted to
festivals and stuff this coming year. I'm in that as well as
having produced it. There's some stuff in the works that I
can't talk about it, 'cause I don't know if it's happening,
but as soon as I know, I'll tell ya.
11. How did the short film come about?
I had produced before sketch comedy and stuff like that
with my comedy group, and I had the opportunity to work with
this playwright and characterizer that I really like a lot
named Max Baker. He wrote this script, and my boyfriend is
an Emmy-nominated editor, and he works for the New York
Times, and we know a lot of people in the film world, so we
got together this group of awesome artists and shot this
great little thing.
12. Do you have plans to write or direct as well as act?
Yes, absolutely. I think it's important to make your own
work instead of just waiting on people to hire you. It
certainly gives you more control in the game, instead of
letting other people be the gatekeepers of your destiny, I
13. Do you have any fun stories you can share about
working on Saint George?
Oh, my gosh! They're all fun stories. I mean, we were
singing every day. Hanging out with Magente every day?
What's not fun about that? Just like every day is fantastic.
It's just so fun! We crack up at the craft service table. We
just have a great time every day.
14. Does anybody play jokes on each other?
I mean, we shot them so fast. There wasn't like enough
time to really play great jokes on each other. I mean,
George bought me some new hair, 'cause he made a lot of fun
of me for wearing clip-in hair, 'cause you know, Mackenzie,
is like a Beverly Hills Housewife. She has a lot of hair,
and he saw my hair laying on a mannequin head in the hair
and make-up trailer, and was making fun of me about it, and
then he bought me some way-better hair, 'cause I just had
like beauty-store hair that I bought myself, so he bought me
some good hair. So, you know, stuff like that. He's so
generous. It starts like a practical joke, but then it turns
out he got me some actually really good hair, which I wear
all the time. Joke's on him -- he got me some really good
15. How long did it take you to actually shoot the 10
We shot the first 10 in, I want to say, like 2 months. We
shot one episode in two days. So, it's really fast. Like a
normal TV show, a comedy, you would shoot an episode in a
week. You have days of rehearsal. It's in front of a live
studio audience. You have time to rehearse it. With this,
you just hit the ground running. You shoot on the rehearsal.
It's really, really fast, so we didn't have the leisure to
practical joke each other that much. And then we had to do
reshoots, because we got a new Alma in there, so when Olga
came in to shoot, we did re-shoots in 2-1/2 - 3 weeks. It
was really fast. Time is money. Originally, the mother was
Adriana Barraza, who is Oscar-nominated for Babel, the movie
with Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett. She's fantastic, but
there was a real language barrier. It was a mutual decision.
We had her for like two days, and her English just wasn't
good enough to work that fast. So, then we had Renee Victor
for the original 10 episodes, and she just didn't work out,
so then they brought in Olga Merediz from "In the Heights"
and then we re-shot the 10 episodes and that's what you see
on TV, is Olga. And she's so fantastic and is true to the
vision of the mother that George wanted. Renee was great,
but I think she just wasn't the Alma that the script had
envisioned. It just wasn't clicking quite right, and so they
went back and re-shot it with Olga. It happens often. Pilots
get recast a lot. We just happened to have two episodes of a
16. Is there any possibility you'll be going back to "Suburgatory"
at some point?
Man, I hope so. I hope so. Wouldn't that be great? That
was a real dream. That was so fun. I get to play with those
kinds of comedians, like Julia Duffy has been a comedic idol
of mine most of my life, and Cheryl Hines is so funny. Emily
Kapnek, the creator and producer, has made one of the
funniest shows on TV. And to keep that company, too, is
amazing. The executive producers on "Saint George," Matt
Williams and David McFadzean, they did "Roseanne" and "Home
Improvement." These guys are legends. So to get to work with
the producers and executive producers I've gotten to work
with is just -- I couldn't be luckier.
17. What TV shows do you watch for fun?
I'm a nerd bird, so I love -- right now I can't stop
watching "Cosmos" on Fox. Oh, my gosh! What, I mean, 'cause
I loved the old one with Carl Sagan. I've got a big crush on
Neil deGrasse Tyson, so this new version I'm just have it on
my DVR, and I just love it. I also love on reality TV "My
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding." I love just terrible stuff like
that. In terms of actual programming, I love "Parks and
Recreation" and "Community." In terms of drama, I love "Law
and Order" always, "The Good Wife," "Hell on Wheels,"
"Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones," "Louie," "Justified," and
18. Anything else you'd like to tell the fans?
I just want the fans to keep watching and stay tuned in.
The best episodes are yet to come.
original new series Saint George premiered last month
and shined a spotlight on Jenn Lyon,
who portrays “Mackenzie”. As George Lopez’s wry but patient
ex-wife, Jenn showcases her knack for zingers, which she’s
adept at off-camera as well. No stranger to television,
fans know Jenn for playing “Lindsey Salazar”, the
shotgun-wielding bartender and paramour of “Deputy U.S.
Marshal Givens” in FX’s Peabody-award winning drama Justified.
This month, she also played Cheryl Hines’ sister, ‘Georgia’,
in ABC’s hit series Suburgatory. I’d love to talk
with you about setting up an interview with Jenn.
As co-founder of the New York-based
online sketch comedy troupe — Poykpac — Jenn writes,
produces and stars in a series of hilarious online shorts
that have taken the Internet by storm. Most notably, the
group’s recent clever video-short entitled “Movie Title
Breakup” using 154 movie titles as the only lines of
dialogue, not only went viral but received national
attention and was featured on the TODAY
Show. The group’s YouTube channel has garnered more than
80 millions views.
The diverse actress began her career on
stage and has amounted an impressive resume with leading
roles in the new production of His Girl Friday at the
La Jolla Playhouse, Born Yesterday at ACT Theatre,
and has appeared on Broadway in the original American
production of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy, The Coast of
Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage opposite Ethan Hawke,
Billy Crudup, Martha Plimpton and Jennifer Ehle. She also
guest-starred on notable television episodes of Suburgatory,
Louie and HBO’s telepic Phil Spector.
Jenn’s career has been thriving ever
since. To view clips of Jenn, see the link below.
Jenn on "The Better Show"
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Page updated 8/13/14