Hitting Singles with Office Ladies
I thought I peaked when they played my song “Whispers in the Breakroom” on their podcast. But oh no. It just got better. Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer (aaaaah!!!), of Office Ladies, are my very special guests this week. They tell me about becoming friends over a partition, the hard years before their big break, and why they won’t stop talking about their time on “The Office.” Plus, Jenna shares a hot tip on how to meet celebrities at fancy events.
Please note, Funny Cuz It’s True contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
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Elyse Myers, Angela Kinsey, Jenna Fischer
Elyse Myers 00:00
What was my first and last experience working in an office? Great question, I would love to tell you. There was a short stint of time when I was about 25 years old and I was going to school online, trying to figure out just kind of what I wanted to do with my life. I did what most people do in that season. And I just cast a very wide net when applying for jobs online, almost so wide that it doesn’t even exist. It’s just you and the jobs, all of them every job. I was lucky enough to get an interview for an office job that I was well under qualified for, but I just had the right availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sign me up, please pay my bills. The interview went great. I found out later they actually just offered the position to a few different people. And I was kind of the last resort. Honestly, I’d be scared if I wasn’t the last resort for this job. This was an executive assistant to an HR manager of a quality of life services company. Now you might be thinking to yourself, what do they do? And to that my answer would be yes. Yes, literally everything food, concierge catering, construction, home services, vending machine services, Employee Benefits Services, just a big old Yes. So because I was the executive assistant to an HR manager of a global company, I was part of conversations that I had no business being even BCCed on, let alone in the room while they are happening. And when Friday after a very long week, all of the higher ups like my boss and all of his colleagues were on a group message thread discussing an issue. But the conversation moved from like serious to light hearted and people began talking freely as if they were just friends on a group chat. Well, for just a moment, I forgot where and who I was, and who I definitely wasn’t. And I decided to respond to a funny message in the group thread. My response to this clever joke was, quote, I am deceased. Skull emoji. So apparently I believed at the time that my addition to that conversation was so necessary that I didn’t even have time to run my eyeballs over it to make sure I didn’t misspell anything or I don’t know, change your word completely to mean something else entirely and possibly be in trouble with HR aka me. Who knows? I just constantly close my laptop and left work that Friday. So Monday rolls around, and I get back to the office and notice something printed out on my desk and it looks like screenshot messages, oh, okay. Okay, is the conversation from Friday. Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. That’s not what I meant. Marked by a blinding yellow highlighter is my message that reads quote, I am diseased, skull face emoji. Diseased. Apparently my bosses colleagues just thought that I was taking this casual opportunity to let them know that I have a disease one that they cannot legally follow up about and I am forever too embarrassed to explain. I worked there three more days and then I quit. And the worst part is I think they think I quit because of my disease. Thank you. Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t so this is going to be the theme song right here.
Elyse Myers 03:52
Okay, welcome back to funny because it’s true. I’m Elyse Myers. All Okay, let’s get all of that out of the way. Today I am talking to Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fisher from office ladies. Listen, okay, these two ladies are amazing. Jenna, we’re just gonna go by first names here received an Emmy for her role as Pam on the office. She’s also starred in the sitcoms You mean the apocalypse and splitting up together. Currently, she writes, produces and CO hosts the office ladies podcast with Angela Kinsey. Our second guest, Angela win a Daytime Emmy for her portrayal of Angela Martin in the webisodes, the office, the accountants, she can also be seen in the Netflix original movies tall girl and tall girl too. And the Netflix series Haters Back Off. Two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, Angela is a self-diagnosed digital hoarder, which is really hard to say actually, now that I’m saying it out loud, but I’ve never related more to a self-diagnosis. And number two, Jenna convinces me to do a live update from a bathroom stay tuned for that one. So with that let’s get into the interview. Oh my gosh, how are you guys doing today? First of all, where are you guys are you guys know out in the office right now.
Speaker 2 05:01
I am in my podcasting closet.
Angela Kinsey 05:04
And I’m in a garage that has become sort of like garage slash, there’s a guest bed slash there’s some random art because we had a leak in our attic. I’m in that space.
Elyse Myers 05:15
I really like it. I feel like I’ve heard your guys’s like explanations of your podcasting space for so long. So seeing it is really funny, but I thought you guys would enjoy I brought a plant to like warm up my podcast space. And I just feel like.
Jenna Fischer 05:29
At least I brought my plants in. So my plant lives in my actual office. But every time I podcast I moved the plant into your closet because I just, it feels more natural. Yeah, I don’t know.
Angela Kinsey 05:43
I had hummingbirds.
Elyse Myers 05:45
I like it. Did you bring it just for this interview? Or there’s like all the time.
Angela Kinsey 05:49
I take it off the wall. I go downstairs, I ran into the garage, I hang it. It’s
Elyse Myers 05:54
just imagining like carrying it just like everywhere you go like you’ve got your purse, your liquids, and
Angela Kinsey 05:59
My hummingbirds painting.
Elyse Myers 06:01
Well, okay, thank you so, so much. I kind of just wanted to dive in a little bit about how you guys got started how your friendship kind of evolved. I know that you guys talk a lot about it on your own podcasts. But I kind of just wanted to know, like, how did you guys start to connect? Was it over the show? Where did where did that start?
Jenna Fischer 06:19
It was on the pilot of the office. We didn’t know one another before we were both cast on the show. And I was very nervous. I have a lot of social anxiety, which causes me to either become very, very quiet or to overshare in weird ways.
Elyse Myers 06:36
Heard that. I’m serious. I relate to this more than I want to.
Jenna Fischer 06:40
And Angela is just very friendly and outgoing. And she started talking to me right away talking to me so much from the very moment I met her. And I found this really comforting. This was great for me, because here was this person who seemed really comfortable in her own skin who was friendly and warm. And I liked her right away. And then when I had my weird moments of oversharing, she just seemed totally charmed by them. So it was like this just way that our personalities gelled right away.
Elyse Myers 07:14
I love that. And then Angela, did you notice that you were like, This is gonna be my friend. How did that happen?
Angela Kinsey 07:20
You know, Jenna sat closest to me. But she was right over there behind the little partition. And I would just pop up and start chatting with her. I had known Oscar for years. So that was instant comfort for me. We had done a sketch show together in our 20s. I mean, like we were so young, it was called hot towel. It was a total train wreck. But so I saw Oscar and I was like, oh my god, I have a buddy here. And then I knew Kate Flannery. So I felt very comfortable right away. And Jenna was she just reminded me of someone from home, you know? And so I would just pop over to just kind of be like, hey, I’m gonna check in with home, how’s home doing? And she became home for me.
Elyse Myers 08:05
Oh, my gosh, I love that. I saw an interview where Angela, you talked about being like a digital hoarder, which I very much like connect with. I just cannot like get through my inbox. And if I do what is archived. I, like genuinely don’t understand what archive means.
Angela Kinsey 08:22
Sometimes I hit archive by accident. And I’m like, where did that go? I’ll never see it again. But I guess I’ve saved it. I don’t know.
Elyse Myers 08:28
Okay, pause. I just spent the majority of my life thinking that everybody got wildly overwhelmed with every single piece of information that found its way into your inbox. Like other people don’t just pretend it doesn’t exist. And then they just start over with a new email address. I mean, I hoard emails, text messages. My phone is a graveyard for text messages. If you have texted me, I probably haven’t seen it. Actually, right now. I have 311 unread text messages. I will not be reading. But I know that you guys like had shared a lot of back and forth like emails and stuff that you Angela had digitally hoarded. And is there anything when you look back with like fondness that sticks out to you from that time when you were like connecting back and forth?
Angela Kinsey 09:18
One of the things I love about it is, you know, our friendship really predates a lot of, well, smartphones, anything to do with a smartphone. So instead of leaving each other, these long voice memos that we do now, we would write huge emails to each other. I’m talking like, sit down, get yourself a cup of tea. I’m gonna write you an eight page email about my week. And I have those and they are such a snapshot into whatever was going on. They read hilarious and I treasure them so I can’t delete them Elyse like I have to keep them. And every once in a while I’ll find one and I’ll send it to Jenna like I found one. The week we went and looked at wedding dresses for Jenna And we were very, really obsessed with the sash Jenna, you wanted a sash and we traded so many emails about dresses with sashes and we took it very seriously,
Elyse Myers 10:12
would you? I would imagine you guys would like write those when you were sitting on set like when you had to be pretend like acting in the background. Would you ever do that on when you were in the background of scenes?
Angela Kinsey 10:23
All the time. There was one year, what year was it Jenna, like the third year like?
Jenna Fischer 10:27
Year three, we got the I am yeah, called instant message sent message.
Angela Kinsey 10:32
And then we just started typing each other, like during scenes,
Jenna Fischer 10:37
But the whole cast [..] going with everybody, all kinds of people.
Elyse Myers 10:42
Is there anything else when you guys were chatting back and forth that you see that? And you can’t remember the context of it? I feel like I’d see so many things.
Angela Kinsey 10:49
Oh, yeah. I mean, I found an email where Jen and I were getting ready to go to something. And I might I wrote to her. My whole outfit is stupid. What is this about? Where were we going? Why did I hate my outfit so much?
Elyse Myers 11:06
Oh, my God. I mean, I feel like that’s kind of how you guys created your book is that kind of how the office BFFs came into existence?
Angela Kinsey 11:14
You know, it came out of Jenna and I deciding to clean our sheds and garages and all the places you stash things in your home. You know, you all have those nooks where you stash things. And we decided to do it as a best friendship sort of partnership. And in doing that we found all of these bins of memorabilia that we were both holding on to. And so Jenna laughs because she loves to tell this part of the story where I said, Jenna, what do we do with it? We should write a book and Jenna said, What did you say, Jenna?
Jenna Fischer 11:44
I said it. No. Angela said, come on.
Angela Kinsey 11:48
I come on; this will be great. It’s going to be a gift for our children. It’s like our time on the office. We’re going to treasure this and I just wouldn’t let up.
Jenna Fischer 11:56
And you were like, We want to scrapbook this stuff anyway. It’s just what’s the big deal. If we also write a book, it’s the same thing.
Angela Kinsey 12:03
And then Jenna was like, I don’t know if we’ll have enough photos. And I was like, lady, back that up because I have so many in between the two of us. We probably had 3000 photos we did the publisher kept being like, can you scale back the pictures ladies, there are so many pictures.
Jenna Fischer 12:18
There’s almost 300
Angela Kinsey 12:20
But I am Jenna. And I know you are too I am so thankful we did it. I treasured the book; I love the stories we decided to share. That was also really difficult too, because we had so much to say about the time, our time on the office and about our friendship that came out of it. And at the core of the book is about friendship, and I’m so thankful for my friendship with Jenna and I now I’m glad I have this book that I can give my daughter and that other people who love the office and have a BFF can enjoy it.
Elyse Myers 12:50
I think it’s so special though, like, because you guys were starting out in this very new big space and you got to connect with somebody and such a deep level so quickly. I feel like that rise for you guys happened so fast. And to have someone so close to you at the same time is really special. Like, not a lot of people get to do that, especially people that don’t bond on a cast like that. And so it feels really like, like a gift that you guys got to have that in each other.
Jenna Fischer 13:18
Well, yeah, I mean, the office was my very first regular role on a show my first series regular and then it became so popular wasn’t an instant thing, though. I mean, we were on the verge of cancellation all the time. And for the first couple of years, we would maybe be nominated for an award. But there wasn’t such a big viewership that anyone really knew who we were, we would go to these Emmys parties. And, you know, we didn’t have people coming up to us all the time. And so we got to be really fly on the wall at these big events. And I feel like we were fortunate enough to ease into that whole aspect of the entertainment industry. And I had Angela by my side the whole time. It was so great. And we were very similar in what we wanted to do at these kinds of events. We definitely wanted to hit the bathroom line because yes, everyone has to go to the bathroom at some point. Hot tip. If you’re ever at a Hollywood party, go to the bathroom.
Angela Kinsey 14:21
This is Jenna’s favorite, like fancy party hack. Like I can’t even tell you how many times she has told total strangers have you been to the bathroom?
Elyse Myers 14:30
Because of who you can run into.
Angela Kinsey 14:32
I ran into Angelina Jolie. We stood in line for the bathroom together. We didn’t speak but I stood right next to her.
Elyse Myers 14:40
Right this is an amazing tip.
Angela Kinsey 14:42
Everyone has to pee. Especially if these things were you probably went after you do the red carpet hours have gone by. You got to hit the bathroom.
Elyse Myers 14:52
I think it’s funny to imagine such ginormous celebrities just like waiting to pee. That just feels so normal. Okay, so fun fact, I will be going to a movie premiere tomorrow. It’s my first ever like red carpet situation. And I am losing my mind. I’m going with Jonas. And by the time this airs, it will have already happened. But you can for sure bet every dollar that you own that I am going to be making a trip to the restroom and letting you know how it goes. Okay, I have been here for about an hour. I’m in the bathroom. And I have not seen a single celebrity. Okay, I’m in the bathroom again. It’s 30 minutes into the movie and I still haven’t run into a celebrity in the bathroom. I spilled butter on expensive pants. So only butter. No celebrities yet.
Elyse Myers 14:57
Like seeing like someone who you just think is like the fanciest of fancies struggling with their dress at the bathroom. You know, like coming out of a stall like being like, Oh, wait, I guess that strap went their crap.
Elyse Myers 16:03
Somebody like back with their outfit?
Jenna Fischer 16:06
I feel like I held like an award for Julianna Margulies once or something.
Elyse Myers 16:14
Want me to carry that. So did you guys both get into acting the same way like or did you have both have the same start when you got on the office or no different?
Jenna Fischer 16:23
We were very different. We came at it from two totally different directions. I think I majored in theater in school. But Angela, you majored in writing?
Angela Kinsey 16:34
Yeah, I was a creative writing major.
Elyse Myers 16:36
And then did you find that those were like helpful when you went into the office, both backgrounds? Or does one seem more helpful than the other?
Jenna Fischer 16:42
1We had a real mix on the show. Angela also comes from an improvisation background. I didn’t study improv beyond just a couple of classes that I took, like auxiliary classes once I came to Los Angeles. And also I’d never really done any sketch comedy. I really had focused on theater. And so when I came out here, I had a theater degree. And I took a few improv classes on the side. And I felt like our group on the office was a real mix of theater nerds and improv performers. And it was a great it like was a great thing.
Angela Kinsey 17:21
There was a little bit of a rivalry though because like Jenna and rain and Brian they live to throw out their theater degree, you know, like lingo?
Jenna Fischer 17:30
What’s your moment before for the scene? What’s your super objective?
Elyse Myers 17:35
Wait, what are both of those things?
Jenna Fischer 17:37
So enacting before you start a scene, you should consider where were you in the moment right before this happened. So if you know a simple example is if in the scene you are in the moment before you were rushing you were running, then obviously, when this scene starts, since you didn’t do that, you have to manufacture that you need to be out of breath, because I’m sorry, sorry, I was just, I was running from my car. So that’s how you like, yeah, you have to come up with what happened the moment before I got here. But it could be any moment before you know, something that will, I don’t know just endow you with an emotion or a gesture or something. So that’s moment before, it just gives some specificity to the scene that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
Angela Kinsey 18:30
And then you would have like the, the improvisers and comedians who would be like, I’m just going to yes, and you whatever happens, I’m gonna go with it. If you know, spill your drink during the scene that lives in the scene that is now part of the scene.
Jenna Fischer 18:51
I mean, I spill a cup of coffee might throw a theatre person who’s like, they’ve maxed it out. They’ve made all their decisions. And so it was such a great thing for me to work with all of these improvisation performers because I got to see the magic of just oh my gosh, the coffee spilled. And now someone responded to that in character in the most amazing way.
Elyse Myers 19:15
So after thinking about it for like, 30 seconds, I have come to the conclusion that both of these backgrounds scare me and I don’t think that I would be able to do it. Either improv or classic like theater training. I would crumble under the pressure I am positive of it. Some of the coolest turns on the office were moments I feel like that weren’t written in like shooting drafts, but then happened because of the chemistry of the cast. And I think that is just such a huge strength to the cast of like if you have that chemistry, if you have the skill, then like magic can kind of happened like both on paper and then like off of it after all the like scripted stuff has happened already. I just think that that’s really cool. That’s like, that just takes a lot of talent coming together in one room.
Angela Kinsey 20:00
It really does. I always felt so fortunate to because if you know who your character is, then you know exactly how they’re going to respond at any time. And our writers really gave us clear characters. And that was such a gift from the writers room that I never had a question about who Angela Martin was. And that was such an asset.
Elyse Myers 20:22
Wow. Yeah, a deep understanding of like, the backstory of the character like moments before, but their entire moments before their whole life before? Yeah. All right, we got to take a quick break. But when we come back, Angela and Jenna talk about their early days as actors. Did you guys ever, like get to a point where you were on the show or just in your careers in general, where you were like, this is going great. But I don’t know if I want to keep doing this. Or like, maybe it wasn’t going great. Like, I just feel like so many actors that start out, you know, they it’s just not as successful like that. And I feel like there was probably moments before the office where it wasn’t successful.
Jenna Fischer 21:10
Yeah, I mean, I was in LA for eight years before I got my role as Pam on the office. And I didn’t get my first speaking role on a television show until year five. I wasn’t earning a living as an actress until year seven. So I was doing a lot of bit parts, you know, things I was popping up on your TV screen are a small part in a movie. I was making a living. But, you know, no one knew who I was. And I had to struggle to get every single one of those jobs.
Elyse Myers 21:40
How do you keep going after like that many years? I like don’t know, that world of auditioning and try it. Like, where do you keep the momentum?
Angela Kinsey 21:52
Well, I think it comes from a really deep place. Like Jenna, for me, the office was in year nine. I was in Los Angeles for nine years. I had multiple jobs; I had had little tiny parts. But I think what kept me going is I just knew I was always going to do this. I was just always going to do it. And I wasn’t going to measure my success by other people. Because performing made me happy. So if that meant I was going to do community theater until my 70s, or whatever that manifested, I was going to follow my happiness and my happiness was performing. And so I wasn’t going to measure how the world saw my success. Because for me, I was already winning.
Jenna Fischer 22:34
I had that but I want to say like that realization and kind of confidence resolve to keep going. I didn’t start with that. I every anniversary that passed that I was in LA and I still wasn’t a working actress. I sobbed and called my mom. I did a lot of crying. I remember one day I had gone to a Pottery Barn. My friend was getting married. She was 25 maybe and I had to get something from a registry. And I went into pottery barn and I couldn’t afford anything on her registry. I could get her maybe a cup, maybe a couple of glasses. And I looked around Pottery Barn and I thought, oh my god, what am I doing with my life? Like my couch came from the side of the road. Someone was throwing it away. And me and my roommate. We carried it in to our apartment because it was better than the one that came with the apartment. So I was like, what am I doing here? Look at my friend like she’s having a life. She has a regular job with a regular paycheck. She’s fallen in love. She’s getting married. And, you know, I went and I made her a homemade. Like, I painted her at a pottery place a little thing that she could hang her keys on when she came home because that’s what I could do. You know, that was my wedding gift to her. But I started off wanting to be an actress because I loved acting so much. But I also really wanted success. I wanted fame and success. And when the fame and success and the that wasn’t coming. I had to decide that more than that I wanted to just perform like Angela said, no matter what it meant. And if that meant that I was even going to move back to St. Louis and I was going to perform in community theater, but then I was going to have I don’t know what job I was going to have because I hadn’t really prepared myself for any other career. Then I just knew that that piece of me always had to have a voice. And then I don’t know every time I just managed to talk myself into one more day.
Elyse Myers 24:47
Is there anything you would say like is there a specific phrase you kind of clung to in those moments?
Jenna Fischer 24:52
Well, very early on. I got the good fortune to run into Molly Shannon. I was working at a As a transcriber, and I was transcribing some, what do you call it press conferences that actors would do about their new TV shows. And I got to run into her at this event. And she told me, I’ll never forget this encounter. She said, listen, don’t give up. It was 10 years before I made it on Saturday Night Live. Nothing was happening for me. And then all of a sudden, my life changed. So just don’t give up because you never know. You just never know. And I would say that to myself, and my mom would say that to me, she would say, Jenna, remember what Molly told you? She’d said, don’t give up. Don’t give up 10 years, Jenna. And so that would come in my head. I would just remind myself that how Molly Shannon go unnoticed for 10 years. I thought, well, my goodness.
Angela Kinsey 25:54
You know, like, my mom used to always say to me, and that, Jenna, you saying that made me remember because I’ve shared it with you. But at least my mom would say to me all the time and to my sisters. Why not you? Why not you? You know and like, it’s such a simple phrase. But I carried that with me all the time. I go into some big meeting. My mom, the other nugget, she would tell me was when I would walk in a room to be politely bored with everybody be politely bore. Like, okay, well. It means you don’t need them. You don’t need them. You can you have your power; I feel like doing my mom’s acts.
Elyse Myers 26:35
So I like that you slip in your mom’s accent as soon as you start talking.
Angela Kinsey 26:39
But those little phrases just kept me going.
Elyse Myers 26:42
Man, I have a phrase that Jonas my husband and I cling to and it’s honestly him just like reminding me of when things just get like, a little messy. You know, just in this like world. He says like, just hit singles. And I think that a lot of the time we believe that like everything that we do, especially when we start to get notoriety or whatever, like everything should be like a homerun everything should be like the best thing you’ve ever done. And once you do it, the next best thing has to be like the best thing you’ve ever done. And I think that the idea of like hitting singles for us is has really helped because everything, like pushes the needle forward. And sometimes you do things like because you love it. And you because you feel like that’s like what you’re supposed to be doing like performing for you guys. And for me, it’s like storytelling and writing. And sometimes there’s gonna be those things that it might not translate to everybody else, or it might not open up to an opportunity. But if it was like something that you loved, and it filled your soul up, and it made you happy. That’s like hitting singles. And you just gotta keep doing that one at a time. And every once in a while you’ll hit a homerun and that’s great, and you celebrate it and then you go back to hitting singles. And it’s great.
Angela Kinsey 27:50
I love that.
Speaker 1 27:51
I’m gonna use that I know, I’m gonna keep hitting singles.
Elyse Myers 27:54
It’s so comforting to know that people that are so wildly successful, still have to encourage themselves and remind themselves that they shouldn’t give up, especially Angelo’s like why not me, you know, that feels so powerful. I think that it’s hard to believe that you’re the one that the big break is going to happen to or you’re the one that’s going to be successful. But why not? Okay, time for a quick break. When we come back. We hear about how streaming gave the office its second life after it went off the air. Did you ever imagine that it would be this big like could you have ever imagined this would happen?
Jenna Fischer 28:48
No. I mean, we didn’t imagine we would do more than the first six. Angela and I always laugh we took everything when we left the first season the nameplate off our door.
Angela Kinsey 28:59
Our names, by the way is when she says we took our nameplate it was a piece of paper they had laminated, but we leave we live with Velcro, Velcro to our door. But guess what, we took it. Because we wanted to remember every single thing about it. We knew the show was special. We knew we had lightning in a bottle. We didn’t know if anyone else would ever get a chance to really see it.
Jenna Fischer 29:22
And then you know, it did slowly grow an audience and then it was winning awards and it was a big hit. But then what after we did the finale, none of us could have imagined that it would then go on to streaming and still be so in the zeitgeist even today after so many years of rapping.
Elyse Myers 29:42
Does that feel weird? Or does that feel cool that you’re like having your kids friends watch this for the first time?
Angela Kinsey 29:50
It’s both and I mean, you know my kids are middle school age and you cannot go to a middle school anywhere in America and not spot a Dunder Mifflin shirt or a shrewd Farm shirt. Oh, yeah, that’s kind of wild. You know?
Jenna Fischer 30:03
Yeah. My kids know me as a podcaster.
Elyse Myers 30:07
Jenna Fischer 30:08
They say that’s my job. My mom’s a podcaster.
Elyse Myers 30:11
That is so yeah. Well, it’s cool, because I feel like for me, at least, I would be nervous that I would always be that character. But do you feel like you have that fear going into just other roles? Because I know that you’ve played in so many things on like, even while the office was airing, and you were filming. Like, have you ever struggled with that fear of just being these characters?
Jenna Fischer 30:35
I don’t know, that’s a thing. I know that actors say, Oh, I don’t want to get pigeonholed or typecast because I played this one role that’s so memorable, or that everyone knows, but I just feel so honored to have been Pam. And my goal, when I came out to LA was that I wanted to play a memorable character in a long lasting hit comedy show. So I mean, why how can I be mad at meeting my goal?
Angela Kinsey 31:05
Yeah, that is exactly right. Every once in a while, you know, on social media, there’ll be some snarky snark comment. That’s like, you know, if we post about the podcast, someone will be like, oh, I mean, let it go already, or something like that. You know, sometimes I want to write back and just say, this is the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m never going to let it go. I’m just going to rejoice in it and be thankful in it and live in that happy gratitude as long as I can.
Elyse Myers 31:31
Well, it’s funny listening to your guys’ podcast, every episode that I listened to, I get so excited and then so sad, because I know, like as if I am like on this podcast with you. I know that you guys will have to wrap it up eventually and do something different. And I’m just like, what are we doing next? Like I’m already trying to get home like we can’t leave this world right? Like, are we doing webisodes? What are we getting like consumed eggs? So yeah, I don’t think that you that like that fear should ever get in the way of like continuing to do work around that character. Okay, so all of this prep that I’ve been doing for the interview with Jenna and Angela, I have been trying to figure out like, what it is about the office that makes me feel so comforted. And just keeps me like binging the show from beginning to end. And I just like start over again. I don’t really know what it is about the show. It just makes me feel safe. And I think that the way that it was directed and filmed, and kind of staged and like blocked, because they do it in a way that feels like such real life, that really just one person is sitting with a camcorder following these real people around. And I think that it makes you feel like you’re in that world. Outside of the office. Has there ever been a role that you’re like, oh, man, this was one of my favorites.
Angela Kinsey 32:53
You know what I did the show, with Colleen Ballenger called haters back off, and it had Steve Hill and Francesca […] and the cast was so strong. And I played this character, Bethany. And I had so much fun on that set. It felt electric and we got to improvise. But then words were on the page. And Colleen was such a great creative partner. And she really just created this really amazing environment to just sort of push your comedy boundaries in the most fun way. And there was a scene that I had with, with Steve and with Francesca and Colleen around the kitchen table. And it’s probably the second hardest I’ve ever laughed at my life next to being on the side of the office. And you know, pretty much every week I laughed that hard on the side of the office, but I had never laughed that hard since and we started improvising about a bag of salami. I don’t know what we were doing. Like and it all stayed in Coleen fought to have this whole long improv. Stay in.
Elyse Myers 33:58
To Colleen Ballenger. I just feel like that would be a wild time.
Angela Kinsey 34:04
One of my biggest joys is having an actor that is very good at staying in character and me throwing them an improv line that makes them break. It’s one of my biggest choice.
Elyse Myers 34:13
Do you have any memories of that from the office?
Angela Kinsey 34:16
Oh, yeah. I mean, I used to make Brian as Kevin Brake all the time over in accounting. I improvise a line one time where it was at the end of the scene and I sit in Kevin had Greek food again today. It’s like why she why Angela was having a bad day and was an improv line. That was an improv line. And Brian was on camera, but he would do this thing Jen and I call it the tea kettle Brian. Everyone breaks differently. Like Mindy covered her face, right? Some people look down at the ground. John would go all noodle, you know, like his shoulders. But Brian did the tea kettle and it looked like this. He would try to like let air out of the side of his mouth, like trying to release the laugh.
Elyse Myers 34:58
Yeah. Jenna, do you have any roles outside of the office or like this was my absolute favorite?
Jenna Fischer 35:05
Yeah, I got to do this movie called Walk hard with John C. Reilly. I played Darlene. And it was the most hilarious group of people. I laughed so hard on and offset on that movie. But I also got to do all kinds of fun things, really. Like I got to take voice lessons, and I had to learn how to horseback ride because there was 20 seconds of me riding a horse. And I had something like, I don’t I can’t remember the number, but it was over 100 wardrobe changes. And I even had to have latex old age makeup on, which I hated. I thought, Whoa, this is gonna be the coolest thing. And I had to wear it for three days. And after about two hours on the first day, I shut down inside because I realized I was gonna have this on, it created a kind of cluster phobia. I felt like I was being sort of smothered like my, all the face on my skin and neck were smothering me. And I became very, I was very quiet, very depressed on those three days. Because this makeup it just had like a, I don’t know, this thing. I wasn’t expecting that. You know, I’m so proud of that movie. I’m so proud of that performance. It has endured as a cult favorite, but it was a box office bomb. And it kind of really broke my heart. Because really, when it came out, and it wasn’t this huge success that we all hoped that it would be. I remember thinking to myself, well, I don’t know how to be better than that. I don’t know how to throw myself into a role more. I don’t know what more I could do. Yeah. And I got really bummed out. Like that was a hard one to get over. And one thing that is funny about that was at the premiere of that movie, I ran into Molly Shannon again. And it was exactly 10 years from the time I had met her originally. And I was able to tell her the story of how meeting her 10 years ago had kept me going. And it was really magical.
Elyse Myers 37:31
So you saw Molly Shannon, did she remember telling you?
Jenna Fischer 37:36
She had no memory of the interaction, but I told her the whole story. And then I grabbed a photographer and I was like, will you take our picture. Because this was before smartphones we didn’t have you know, I couldn’t take it myself. I so I called like a professional photographer over. And I was like, come take our picture.
Elyse Myers 37:51
That feels so much like the universe like, hey, because you said that the movie didn’t do as well as you would expect it and then running into her at the premiere. I feel like that’s like, just you know, just keep going. Don’t quit. Like, that’s just so poetic.
Jenna Fischer 38:07
Yeah, it was like the universe reminding me. You’re right and even see it that way.
Angela Kinsey 38:13
I’m hitting a single. I’m hitting a single.
Jenna Fischer 38:15
That movie. I hit a single.
Elyse Myers 38:16
Yeah, hitting a single. Exactly. I just think that that is so beautiful. And I just am so curious. Did that like, did the performance of that movie? bleed into your work outside of it? Or did it not affect the confidence?
Jenna Fischer 38:30
It didn’t know it affected; I don’t know. I had to kind of like hibernate for a little bit. I had to lick my wounds.
Angela Kinsey 38:40
Yeah. it’s sort of wounded you, you know. Yeah, the office was this juggernaut. It was established, you knew you had that. But this was a creative step you took outside of that safe space. And I think you were really vulnerable about it. But it’s a great movie. And, you know?
Jenna Fischer 38:57
I’m so proud of it. I know. So that, you know, there is that piece of it, I’m able to hold both things. At the same time, I’m able to be extremely proud of the film and my performance. And also be sad that it you know, but listen, it really is a cult favorite now, especially with musicians. I don’t know a lot about the music world, but I have run into humongous people in the music world who love that movie and compliment and quote that movie to me. So that’s kind of amazing.
Angela Kinsey 39:29
Interesting, Jenna, of all the things we’ve worked on two of our favorite things, we’re not hits because Haters Back Off was canceled after season two, and but I still I feel so good about the work we did. And maybe that’s the real truth, right? Is that to do work that you’re proud of and feel good about and how it’s received is not your business.
Elyse Myers 39:50
Oh my gosh, I could I could write 17 books about my feelings on that. Like that’s just something I specially for me in the nature Have what I do is so, like, quickly consumed and the feedback is so immediate, that it causes this feeling of like, I need to be giving people what they are responding to, and you almost lose that creative drive within yourself. If you don’t protect it, if you don’t protect the feed yourself from the feedback, you want it, but you also don’t, right. Like, you don’t want that to be driving your creative decisions. And for me, I’m constantly holding those to have like, I need to do things that fill my soul that I love, that I’m like passionate about that I would do for free that I would pay to do. But then I have to do the things as well, that people love of mine and that entertain them. And how do I marry both of those?
Angela Kinsey 40:50
And you don’t want to lose your voice. Because as soon as you give in to what everyone else thinks you sort of lose a little piece of yourself each time.
Elyse Myers 40:58
Yeah, maintaining your creative integrity and all of it and doing things you know you should do that are right, even if it doesn’t really make sense. And it like ends up paying off, you know, like the office of waiting nine years, seven years like it pays off. You guys did it in your gut like walking testimonies of like, do what feels right. And it’s gonna kind of work. It’s really cool.
Jenna Fischer 41:22
I’m thankful I got a chance to work with Megan Mullaly on a project. We did this crazy TV show called you me in the Apocalypse, and it shot over in London. And we relocated there. And she and I were kind of a duo. And I remember her telling me something that really stuck with me. I asked her like, how do you choose your projects? Like you’ve done so many things. And she said, well, there’s a different reason every time but one thing I’ll tell you is every time I’ve taken a job just for the money, it never turns out great. She’s like, there’s the money jobs. And then there’s the ones that really feed you. And sometimes you have to just pay the bills, you know, and you have to take that money job. But she said the ones I always end up loving, and the ones where I end up connecting with people and bonding the most. They’re never just, they’re never the money grab, you know, it’s never it. They’re always your I think as artists, we’re always looking for that deeper artistic connection to the work to the people or whatever. And in this business, there are a lot of people who are just in it for the money or who have money as like the number one thing on the priority list. Yeah. And as an artist that, you know, that’s not always compatible.
Elyse Myers 42:45
Well, thank you so much for being on today. I can’t believe this has happened.
Angela Kinsey 42:51
At least before we go. I want you to know Jenna and I have absolutely just delighted and watching you and your journey and how you share and you’re doing it, you’re doing it and it’s awesome. And you’re hilarious, and you’re smart, and you’re kind and I’m just so happy that I’m getting to know you. And this is the first time I actually get to have a full conversation and not just leaving you random messages on DM and Instagram. And you were part of our podcast, you wrote this beautiful song off of something silly. I said about whispers in the break room. And you’re just the real deal. And we love you and we’re so happy for you.
Elyse Myers 43:28
Oh my god. Okay,
Speaker 1 43:29
I want to back that up. And I want to say something to you that my acting coach used to say to me, he used to say, the world needs you. And the world needs what you have to say, the world needs you as an artist. And that is so true with you. When I watch you and I watch your work. I think the world needs this. Yeah, I need it. Yeah, but the world needs this. And artists really do affect us and they change the world. And thank you, thank you for doing because we know we’re artists, we know it is not easy every day to show up and bring that vulnerability and bring your art out and sometimes you have to hide and that’s okay to get to take breaks. But thanks for thanks for being a part of it.
Angela Kinsey 44:18
This is a hug. This is a hug.
Elyse Myers 44:21
Thank you guys. Oh my gosh. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’re doing it.
Elyse Myers 44:33
Man, it was so hard to be present in this moment. I had producers on my end just messaging me saying be here right now. Feel this, accept it, receive it. This is for you. Feel it and don’t emotionally escape this moment. It’s so hard to accept this kind of like encouragement and praise from Jenna and Angela. It’s very hard to feel like I deserve it. And it was so overwhelming. I obviously cried because I cry at everything. But I was so nervous for this interview all day. I literally didn’t sleep the night before. And then the interview happens. And I’m, I’m finally just thinking, Okay, I did it. And I didn’t make myself look like an asshole. And I think I’m in the clear, like, genuinely, we’re getting ready to log off. I did it. And then they go in with this encouragement. And I just, like, wasn’t prepared. My heart was like, not there. For that moment. It was like, we were supposed to just be done now. So I can, you know, not melt down. And then they went into the encouragement and it was so kind and so timely, and so needed to receive that from two people that I look up to so much felt like a holy moment. I don’t really know how else to explain it. It just felt precious to me. I will never forget that that happened. And the fact that I have it on an audio recording forever is honestly the best gift I could have ever received. So yeah. I don’t know how to end it because I feel kind of at a loss for words. So there it is it it’s, we did it. Okay. Okay, that’s it for this very exciting episode. Make sure to check out the office ladies podcast wherever you’re listening right now. Thank you so much for listening to funny because it’s true. If you do like the show, tell your friends about it. Or you can give us a rating and review to help other people find the show too. I’ll be back next week. See ya. If you want more funny because it’s true. Just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts for some exclusive bonus content.
Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.