We had the pleasure of speaking with Angela Kinsey (Angela) and Ellie Kemper (Erin) from The Office about the Webisode series, what it was like working together, and the baby episode!
First I wanted to say that Ellie, I’m a big Subtle Sexuality fan and I was wondering if we can expect any new music from them? I’d love to see you do a remake of “Tardy for the Party.”
Ellie Kemper: Me too. I am also a big fan. I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’ve heard rumors that they are going to write another song and maybe make another video but I’m not sure that those rumors are accurate. So I actually know as little as you do. I hope they do. I think it’s fun to dress up in those clothes and sing. But I’ll put in that request for sure. What is it “Tardy for the Party?”
Angela Kinsey: When I saw those I was like, “Dang it, why doesn’t my character ever have any fun?” Because I never get to do any of that stuff. It’s so much fun.
Ellie Kemper: I think it would have been that much more interesting a story if Angela like did just put her hair down.
Well Ellie, when you first joined the cast did you find there was instant chemistry when you started working with everyone or did it take a bit of time to develop?
Ellie Kemper: Well everyone there luckily is so welcoming and so kind. I would imagine that sort of dynamic or warmth doesn’t exist on every set. And I have to say for a show that they have made – they did all the work to make it great and then I just got to come in in the fifth season and be a part of it, it’s like really lucky for me.
So I don’t know about chemistry or whatever, I just feel really fortunate that they made me – they like wove me into the fabric really…
Angela Kinsey: And, I mean, come on there was a hazing process…You got through it so…
Ellie Kemper: I never mentioned that part. Angela in particular hazed me the hardest.
Angela Kinsey: Yeah, a lot of pranks.
Ellie Kemper: A lot of pranks with this one. But she’s letting up. I think she’s finally starting to let me into the fold. I don’t know, I don’t know, every day is a challenge.
And Angela, we know that you have a bit of a maternal instinct with cats on the show. However, do you think that Angela might have a human maternal instinct soon?
Angela Kinsey: Oh my goodness, I mean, I can’t imagine Angela Martin as a mother. I think that would be very interesting. I remember a few episodes – a few seasons ago she said that she might like two very small well-behaved boys so she could parent those.
Listen, I would love to see her try to nurture a human. I think that would be a lot of fun to watch her go through those motions. But, yeah, I don’t know, I mean, it definitely would be a great idea.
Well hey listen I love the Anne Geddes photos – my character, so, you know. But you have to remember my character has a weird thing about photos of babies dressed up remember that Christmas episode where she got exactly what she wanted which was two babies dressed up as jazz musicians so…
Ellie Kemper: Oh my gosh.
What could you see Jenna’s – Pam’s baby as? What would his or her theme be?
Angela Kinsey: Maybe like a very – like a very small version of like – I don’t know, thinking, like a Mother Theresa, like give her like a little habit. I think come Christmas time I could try to make a live Nativity scene…
Ellie Kemper: Oh my gosh.
So there have been lots of special baby episodes on different shows throughout the years; how is this one going to be different? And then from there what do you think will change about the show once Jim and Pam have the baby?
Ellie Kemper: It won’t.
Angela Kinsey: I think what’s the great thing about our show is that they find ways to make our characters grow without really changing a character’s arc, you know. And that’s always a fine line in television. But if you change a character too much the audience falls out of love with the character.
But characters need to evolve and grow over the years. And I think our writers are brilliant at doing that. So I think with Jim and Pam having a baby you’re going to see new aspects of them but it’s not going to change the dynamic of our office and what’s funny within the office.
I loved this baby episode. I actually went to the writers and tried to pitch them some breastfeeding jokes because I actually came back to work and – when my child was eight weeks old and I – not to over share but I had to pump. I mean, that’s a working mom’s life is you want to breastfeed. So we had to take pump breaks all day and I had to go to my trailer. And I did that for like 11 months.
Ellie Kemper: Oh my gosh.
Angela Kinsey: Yeah, I went to the writers because our female writers on the show don’t have children, and so I pulled Mindy and BJ aside and I’m like, “Okay are you guys going to have this happen? What about this in the hospital? Because this and this happens to you right off the bat.” And I mean, I don’t know what all they used or didn’t use but it’s a fun episode. And I think what’s great about it is as far as different baby episodes on television is that there’s a little bit of reality there. I mean, we can have some more real moments because we are a mockumentary and we can go into some subjects that maybe your standard sitcom would skip over. And so I think it’s going to be really fun for people to watch.
Ellie Kemper: Yeah, I thought the same thing when I was watching Niagara, the wedding episode, I thought what a – just a signature sort of perfect way the writers put the whole thing together in such a way that it is this monumental event, you know, it’s this landmark thing that’s happening.
And these two huge things to be happening in such a short span of time, the wedding and now having the baby. But again treated like, you know, like Angela just said, bringing out moments that other sitcoms may have to skip over but that are very real and combining them to make this like realistic portrait of what it is to go through this. But at the same time it’s – I haven’t seen the delivery episode yet but just watching Niagara it’s like, “Oh I was crying, I was laughing.”
Angela Kinsey: The writers are great and then I also have to say that Jenna and John have been so wonderful at creating this couple. It’s sort of in conjunction to what the writers have given them. Jenna and John have made Pam and Jim a classic television couple. And we all – even people on the show, we know the episodes coming out, we’re there when they’re shot and then we find ourselves when we’re watching them, like Ellie said, tearing up and rooting for them. And they’re a couple that you want to root for. And that makes it.
And Ellie has there been anything about joining the show that surprised you or is it pretty much how you expected it?
Ellie Kemper: The thing that has surprised is the fact that I’m able to be on it. I don’t know how. I always think, “Oh, a year ago what was happening.” And actually a year ago I think was my first -when I was in the first episode. But I think its surprising in just the most wonderful way. I just said this so I don’t mean to repeat myself, but it is strange to have watched a show, like on your futon for five years and then to be on it is completely surreal. I think that it’s so weird because I go to work and I see these people every day so now I’m like, you know, they’re real people.
But then every now and then I have a moment where it’s just, “Oh wait a second, these are the people on the television show that I love.” It’s weird. But they could – just everyone couldn’t be warmer. It’s very – it’s a huge relief. Like I was stressed.
What do you love about shooting Webisodes versus television? Is there more freedom in what you can say and what you can do? Is there more improv? What attracted you guys to that medium?
Angela Kinsey: Well I know the very first Webisodes we did were the accounting Webisodes. And at that time is was very new genre, you know…
Ellie Kemper: Yeah.
Angela Kinsey: …I mean, we came in on our day off and it was me and Brian and Oscar and we had such a small skeleton crew. I mean, I remember we were all just kind of cracking up. It felt very free and loose; it felt like something you might have done in college. And now they’re more organized, they’re more structured a little bit. But there’s still that real sense of freedom and a real sense of play because it’s kind of like going to school, you know, during off hours. There’s no one really there and you all kind of cut up a little more and maybe you get your work done but instead of sitting on your chair at your desk you sit on your desk, you know.
So that’s kind of what the energy is like there. Like it feels like we’ve all come in on a day off and it’s a lot of fun. And our show, you know, we get to improvise on our show. We definitely do the script as it’s written but we have this sense of play already on our show. And I guess come Webisode time that same energy is there. We do improvise but I wouldn’t say it’s anymore than we do already on our show.
Ellie Kemper: And I felt like, you know, it’s a shorter timeframe to get it all done. It does seem – it is, like Angela said, it’s like going in on the day off of school or something where it’s just, “Oh, we’re just having fun. It’s still getting all the work done but I felt like it was – I don’t know if relaxed is the right word but there was more room for…
Angela Kinsey: Usually Webisodes only feature about three or four people. And so, when there’s 16 of us all there we need to get through hair and makeup quickly. It has to be a well oiled machineso that we’re not holding up production. We all get to set. Things all have to fall in place for the day to run smoothly because there’s so many of us. But when there’s just three or four people on set it is just much more relaxed. I mean, we’re not going to go over our day, you know…
And Angela, what do you think was the motivation to actually take Ellie’s character under your wing and be her mentor?
Angela Kinsey: Thank you for asking that. I actually think that’s a great question. I sort of feel like Angela Martin wants a friend but she’s so prickly that it takes such a tall order to be her friend. But, you know, she’s not – she’s not a robot, you know, she misses Dwight, she misses her friends, I mean, because I think he was her best friend. And, you know, I’m sure her ladies group at church is catty. So she – or if she does have one friend outside of work I think it’s always nice to have an ally at work. And she doesn’t have that. So I think she sort of jumped at the chance. Plus she loves accounting so this is some person who says that – who seems bright enough to understand concepts. It’s not like she wants to mentor Kevin. But, you know, I think she sort of jumped at the chance to maybe mentor someone who’s interested in something she loves to do. And then she would have a friend at work. And that hasn’t happened for her in a while, having someone at work to confide in.
Now with Jim and Pam having the baby and as a couple they’re pretty solidified. You guys are both the female halves of the “will they, won’t they” couple. So what do you see as coming up with Angela and Dwight and Andy and Erin?
Ellie Kemper: Well Andy and Erin – I for Andy and Erin anyway I think the groundwork has been laid. It seems sort of like every step forward is a step – like it’s not – it’s unclear how it’s going to work because there are always obstacles in their word courtship.
I don’t know how much I can say or whatever. It does seem like they do overcome these obstacles to actually make a match. I don’t know – I’m not sure what lies ahead for Andy and Erin if there is going to be a period of bliss like a honeymoon period or if it’s going to fall apart again. I don’t really know because I don’t know what the writers have in store.
Angela Kinsey: I love the Andy and Erin. Like there’s such a sweet innocence about them. I mean, they’re kind of both buffoons. And there’s a real sweetness to that that makes me want to root for them in a way. We actually just had a table read and I can’t get in too much of it, but it was really fun. They actually – you see a whole other side of Ellie’s character emotionally. And it was hysterical so I’m really excited to see that.
But as far as Dwight and Angela, I think Rainn and I have always thought that Dwight and Angela are sort of, you know, we’re geeky soul mates. We’re geeky militant soul mates. And we hope that someday they find their way back to one another. I mean I think sometimes – what I try to do is take these crazy situations that happen on The Office and then realize that there’s always some reality in them.
I mean, my mom had a friend throughout my childhood who was on and off again with her spouse. And you knew they were meant to be together, but she’d get pissed off at him and kick him out of the house. Then they would get back and I feel like Dwight and Angela are like that. I feel like they’re going to find their way back to one another. But they might fight all the way.
Ellie Kemper: Yeah. I hope they do. I love them. I’m rooting for them too. Like he’s – I love that, militant, yes. They are sort of meant for each other it seems to me.
Ellie, how much of that warm bubbly personality of Erin is actually you?
Ellie Kemper: That’s a good question. And we were just talking about this a minute ago. In the situations Erin has been in we’ve only sort of seen her bubbly side. I think that I have a bubbly side. I also realize I have a not bubbly side. And I hope coming up that they do explore that non-bubbly side because I think I can be – that is even more interesting to see exactly what Erin’s story is. We keep hearing little bits and pieces of her back story, you know, where she came from, what this girl is all about. And I think she might even be a little bit weirder than we might think.
Angela Kinsey: Maybe a little more damaged. I think that – I have to say because I’m sort of on the outside looking into this question. I can tell you from being on set and going and having margaritas with Ellie and just hanging out on a daily basis that this sort of very genuine sincerity that is Ellie definitely comes through her character. And it’s a really wonderful thing you bring to Erin.
Ellie Kemper: Oh, Angela, that’s like the nicest – thank you. That’s so nice. And I have to say as equally in the opposite way, Angela Martin doesn’t smile that much and then when I walked on set and I actually met Angela like in person, oh my gosh a warmer person you do not know. So it was the opposite…
Angela Kinsey: I’m just a spaz. That’s the hardest thing for me about being Angela Martin, is to turn off the spaz.
So is there an aspect of comedy then to playing the opposite of yourself?
Angela Kinsey: Well it’s definitely a lot of fun because I find that when I play characters much closer to my own personality I’m a little bit more self conscious, because I feel a little bit more exposed as myself. But when I play a character that’s very different from me I can really have fun with it, because it’s such a departure from how I would react.
I am horribly non-confrontational. I’m from the South. I usually start most sentences with “I’m sorry.” So, it’s very fun to play someone who would quickly tell you off or definitely knows exactly what her thoughts and opinions are and is going to share them. It’s fun to be so different.
Just reading both of your bios and remembering how everyone from The Office comes from different comedy backgrounds, is it all sort of compatible when you all get together?
Angela Kinsey: Oh yeah, without a doubt. And in fact it’s such an asset. I think when you do improv or sketch or standup in LA the town shrinks quite a bit. And almost all of us on set, you know, some of us knew each other before The Office because we had been at comedy clubs together. And then when we get on set and we start doing the name game. We’re like, “Oh yeah, I did a show with him one time.” It’s really a great synergy.
And Ellie, if somebody were as vague and non-specific as Andy was, would you be as clueless as Erin or would you figure out they’re trying to tell you something?
Ellie Kemper: I think I would figure out they were – I hope I would figure out that they were trying to tell me something. I think that I mostly go where I think, “Oh gosh, that person hates me.” So any – in real life I mean, so any hint that, “Oh, this person just said a nice thing,” even if it’s vague, I think I would pick up on that. I think I’m a little more discerning than Erin is.
I still don’t completely buy that. I am a little convinced that Erin is playing a game as well which is pretty clear to me that Andy is hitting on this anyway. So definitely though in real life, yes, I would so pick up on a hint.
Well there’s so many office romances on The Office. Do you think that’s a good idea? Would you guys ever go there professionally?
Ellie Kemper: I, you know, my current real – I don’t know. I guess it depends – I don’t know. I guess that’s where a lot of people meet their partners, right? In work?
Angela Kinsey: Sure I think you – I think it’s very easy to fall in love at work, it’s very easy. And then I think sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I mean that’s sort of a very generic answer but, when you work as long hours as we do and it’s so many people in America, my sister is a nurse and their shifts at the hospital are like 14 hour shifts. We’ll work a 10-14 hour day. I mean, that’s totally common in television and film. And I think when you’re at work that long you just go home and you fall into bed and that’s it, you crash out. And you don’t have much of a life. I feel like I don’t see friends that aren’t on our show until hiatus, because between work and Isabel I just want to be home. So it easy to fall in love on set. But I think it’s a slippery slope.
Ellie Kemper: It seems like it. And in any quarters that close you have to be careful, I think. I mean, like you said as a general rule. I don’t know but I guess people fall in love at work all the time.
Ellie, on the “Mafia” episode Oscar calls Jim and Pam and pretty much divides the office into sane versus insane, with himself, Jim and Pam on the same side. Which side do you think Erin falls on?
Ellie Kemper: My knee jerk – my immediate reaction is that Erin is on the insane side. I’m not sure that she knows she’s on the insane side which is why I think that she is on the insane side.
Angela Kinsey: Exactly, crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, come on.
Ellie Kemper: Exactly. But that’s like what it is, like you – so I guess, yes, that’s the answer. She would be on – in truth she would be on insane but she might consider herself to be on the sane side.
Angela, I was wondering from your character’s perspective what inner-office dating advice would she give to Erin and Andy?
Angela Kinsey: Oh my God, well first of all they’d be crazy to take her advice. But I think – what would she give Erin and Andy? Oh my God, she’d probably tell Erin like, “Really? Andy? Really? Walk away now, fool.” And then she would probably tell them – because she’s hypocritical, she’d probably tell them it’s highly inappropriate; you shouldn’t date at work. Then she would go and shag Dwight in the warehouse so…
And as far as Jim and Pam’s wedding how do you think Angela felt about that?
Angela Kinsey: It was very hard for me because, you know, I love our show so much and when we shot the actual ceremony it was really moving. We’ve all grown – we’re a family and it’s like six years of our lives and all the up and downs and we’ve all been there for each other. It’s a very unique path to journey with someone to go from waiting tables or answering phones at 1-800-Dentist to then go through this ride of a hit TV show that is lightening in a bottle and we know we got the lottery ticket.
So here we all are at this big moment in our show. And there was this real energy in the room of happiness and celebration. And I’m trying to be not enthused and at the same time I’m tearing up because I’m so excited to see John and Jenna have this moment on our show as Jim and Pam. Honestly if I was answering as Angela Martin I’d be like, “Well it’s about time. I mean, how long was she going to look at the floor, really?” I mean, you know, so she was kind of that attitude. And then when everyone clapped at the end I was like, “Hmm, yes, okay fine, you know, now they’re legitimate in the eyes of the Lord, okay great.” So I think she just thought it was about time to be appropriate, Pam.
And Ellie, how do you think Erin felt about it, not being completely involved and very new in the office?
Ellie Kemper: At the very beginning she was leaving a voicemail saying we’re off – like we’re not at work today we’re celebrating a wedding, I think she was ecstatic. This is her first job, these glamorous people surround her and – what she considers to be glamorous – and we’re all going to a wedding together. What could be more fun or like a more group fun experience. Not sort of realizing she is – or I think it was like – it was such a party and with the coolest people she knows. I mean, I don’t know if this was the first wedding she ever attended but it’s just sort of like in real life when I – Ellie – got to go the Emmys with these people. It’s what is happening.
So it’s the same thing when Erin gets to go to the wedding of these two super stars of her work environment. I think she was just thrilled. And I think in the car ride over with Kelly she was excited for a little girl’s trip, yeah, she was thrilled.
Ellie, first we all know that Erin is such a nice character and she’s a really good person to just play along with things. She played along with Kelly for the Subtle Sexuality stuff and you got to dress in all those crazy 80s outfits. And from watching the previews of these new Webisodes, we see Ellie wearing an outfit that looks eerily similar to what Angela is wearing.
Angela Kinsey: A lot similar.
Ellie Kemper: A lot similar.
Is Erin just a nice person? Is this the way she makes friends? Obviously she’s really nice and she’s really great at playing along, but where is this all going to go?
Ellie Kemper: I’m not sure she thinks she’s playing along. I think that Erin is so – I guess the word desperate, to be accepted in the office and also so eager for a friend and a mentor. Someone to show her the way that at first it seems to be Kelly, the cool girl who buys her clothes at the mall and is like willing to make – not really befriend Erin, but sort of make her her subordinate.
So then when she like finds another mentor/friend in the form of Angela I think it’s again trolling for – I don’t think she thinks she’s playing along. I think it’s just like, “Oh, I want to be accepted. I want to be good at what I’m doing. And oh, oh Angela is willing to take me under her wing; this is amazing.”
Angela Kinsey: What’s been revealed about your character, I mean, you were in an orphanage. There’s been some little things dropped here and there that would definitely lead me to believe that she’s looking for family in whatever shape. It is somewhat similar to the way that Michael Scott sees the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch as his family. He completely believes that they are much closer than they are. And in that way I feel like Erin is going to be someone who’s looking for things that most people have at home but she’ll look for it at work.
And it’s interesting that of all the characters to be united that it’s you two. You do have this strange link that we sort of mentioned about Andy that Andy was previously in love with with Angela’s character and now the has this crush on Erin. Is his character appearing at all in the Webisodes?
Angela Kinsey: Actually Andy is not, this is more about just sort of work stuff and there’s no relationship stuff in this Webisode series. But I definitely think that as Andy and Erin’s relationship progresses that you’re going to see everyone in the office weighing in on it and including my character.
Is anything that’s happening in this Webisode series going to be winked at or mentioned in the actual series?
Angela Kinsey: So far our writers have totally kept those things separate. Like Webisodes are almost like the show after the show, you know. And all of these things are happening within this world. It’s almost just like the documentary crew had so much footage that this is like extra stuff. So usually they sort of stand alone on their own and don’t enter into our main storyline and story arcs.
How was it, Ellie, wearing the sort of Victorian doll clothes? Was it binding? Is it hard to breathe? I know Angela said in other interviews it’s kind of interesting putting that stuff on.
Angela Kinsey: Oh my God it takes forever. There’s like 32 buttons on that shirt.
Ellie Kemper: And they’re tiny, tiny buttons. I feel like my fine motor skills were completely – I could not – I couldn’t button them they were so small. It is weird. It’s a throwback to another era I guess. I liked it but it was only because it was for one day. I liked having my hair in a French braid. I liked being sort of up tight I guess. Erin like her normal clothes are kind of weird clothes as well in a different way.
Angela Kinsey: Yeah, they’re crazy. I mean, I think everyone on our show dresses a little off.
Ellie Kemper: Yes, yes. Anyway I don’t know, I was trying to think of who the normally dressed person is, maybe Pam. Anyway, so, yeah, it was fun. It was fun to dress like Angela for a bit I thought.
Angela, were you able to give her any tips on how to actually wear the clothes and be slightly comfortable?
Angela Kinsey: I did mention to her I was like, “Get ready for the tiniest buttons, that you’re like how the heck do you button these?” You know, I pitched a joke one time that we didn’t really get to shoot, but that Dwight was trying to – like very sexy trying to undo my top three buttons of my neck buttons before he even got to my chest buttons and that he couldn’t get it – they’re so small like a man could never do it because they’re too tiny. And then he just got just fed up and was like, “Oh forget it,” and we walk away and we don’t mess around. But, I did pull Ellie aside and say, “Okay, get ready for the tiny buttons, it takes forever.” And I was – not to over-share but I do – when I was breastfeeding I would be like, “Come on, man.”
Ellie Kemper: Oh God, so that must have taken forever.
Angela Kinsey: I mean, it took me forever just to get situated.
And will you be giving Jenna some tips like on how to like – for the show, just how to kind of do the maternal things?
Angela Kinsey: Well you know what, Jenna was with me in the hospital when I had my baby. Yeah, it was my mom and Jenna and my husband Warren and that’s who was there. And so Jenna was very first hand, she saw everything. And I remember after we read the script for the baby I was like, but wait, I go, “Jenna do you remember?” – she like, “Oh yeah, oh yeah, I remember. I had to turn away.” You know what I mean. And so it gave her some really good perspective. And then she recently told me this very sweet story that I gave her like a little tip about how to quiet a baby. And she was able to use that with her sister’s baby and her whole family was like, “How’d you do that?” and she was like, “Angela showed me that.” And I was like, “Woo-hoo.” But no, I mean, Jenna’s going to be a great mom. I ,of course, want her to get pregnant like yesterday because come on, Isabel – my bff, come on, we need to have bff babies.
The show started off as a mockumentary and there was a documentary period taking all this footage. And now in these episodes, you guys barely interact with the cameras except in the testimonials. How do you and the other actors handle that?
Angela Kinsey: Well I think it’s sort of – it’s kind of an interesting thing that happens just to you as a person. When there’s a camera around you all the time – and I think we see it in reality TV because all of a sudden several episodes into a reality show one of the personalities will do something and you’re like, “Holy crap, they would never do that. There’s a camera right there. Come on.” And then what happens though to you as a person is when there’s cameras around all the time they just start to become like a fixture, like a couch or a lamp. And you find yourself getting more and more free. And whatever boundaries you set for yourself at the beginning get pushed and pushed and pushed. And I think that that is a natural progression of our show with our documentary crew.
And so I actually think it’s very realistic. But, you know, having worked on other projects in between The Office we still reference the camera way more than shows that obviously don’t have a camera crew. I feel like the camera crew is our other character on the show. It’s always there. But yeah, that’s how it sort of seems natural to me.
I do find that Erin glances to them and has moments where she gets embarrassed in front of camera because it is new for you.
Ellie Kemper: Yeah right, yeah. Yeah, like you said it is, it’s another character in the show, so you include them as well.
Angela, could you kind of discuss the importance of these Webisodes? Do they just kind of keep you creatively fulfilled all the time? Because you mentioned in the early days of the show you guys would just kind of play games with yourself to amuse yourself back before your character had much to do. So is it kind of fulfilling in a way to also be able to do these Webisodes and to keep you from getting bored and so on?
Angela Kinsey: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like what’s great about the Webisodes is to, use sort of a basketball term, we kind of have a deep bench. We have a lot of players and Webisodes allow us to explore those other worlds because you have the world of Dunder Mifflin Scranton and it’s definitely seen a lot through Michael Scott’s eyes and what’s happening there. And then within any office you’ve got the main office but then you have these hubs like what the heck is happening over in Human Resources? And then you got the IT guys and they have their own thing going on. And that’s the reality of an office and that’s kind of cool for us in the Webisodes to explore what’s happening in Accounting because Accounting is going to be having it’s own drama within Michael’s day and his drama.
And it’s a lot of fun as an actor. I feel like they have more freedom to pair us up and put us in situations that maybe they couldn’t do in a full episode because there’s too many storylines. So it’s really fun to have my character, for example, get paired up with Erin which may not happen in a big episode with all the other characters present.
Who’s initial idea was it to put Angela and Erin together in a Webisode? Because a lot of times the actors will make suggestions. Was it you guys or was it the writers who came up with that?
Angela Kinsey: No it was the writers, I mean, that’s my impression, right Ellie?
Ellie Kemper: Yes, that’s…
Angela Kinsey: It was Nate and Jonathan; this was their idea. And we’re so thankful for it because we definitely had a lot of fun with it.
What was your first reaction? Did you think, “Oh wow, this is like the two most opposite personalities coming together and it’s so obvious that, you know, they should be together,” or was it like, “We never thought of that, but this will be really fun?”
Angela Kinsey: I feel like – I was excited because my character has three shades that you see of her; it’s pissed, slightly more pissed and really pissed. I worked with people like her. I worked with this woman who was constantly grumpy. I’m like, “Holy crap, do you ever have a good day?” And then like one of her favorite days – I was temping – one of her favorite days was the day we cleaned out the fridge in the break room. And I think she got quiet joy out of it because she would look to see if it was even borderline smelly and just chunk it in the trash. And then people would come in and be like, “Where is my risotto?” And she’d be like, “It smelled.” And they were like, “I brought that in today.” Whatever. I’m just saying like there are people like Angela. But so I get excited when we get to see a little color in Angela Martin. I loved the episode when I shared with Pam that my knight in shining armor had driven all the way to New York to turn in my tax forms and I was actually giddy for Angela. It was hard for me because they told me they wanted me to laugh. And I realized – in four or five years at that time of being on the show my character had never laughed and I didn’t know how to laugh as her realistically.
Ellie Kemper: I mean, you actually asked Pam to go to Starbucks with you. It was like a moment.
Angela Kinsey: It was a moment. So I think when they told me I was going to be this mentor to Erin I was like, “Oh my God, this is going to be great,” because I know I’m going to get to have some little discoveries as my character. Like I got to – in that Webisode series I got to go through emotions like pride. I was proud of her, you know, I was even excited to show her new forms.
Ellie Kemper: In watching them I can see, yes, there is a warmth. There’s like a satisfaction coming from it that’s not – it’s not like ill intentioned you’re just…
Angela Kinsey: No I was genuinely – my character was genuinely happy to help you.
Ellie Kemper: Yeah, yeah. And like Angela said earlier it was great because I’m not sure that we would have been able to see that story. I’m so happy that they came up with that story.
How much do you think that the romantic tension that the show has had has sort of contributed to its longevity in terms of the comedy that you can derive from that? How important do you think that angle of the show is?
Angela Kinsey: I feel like romantic tension can fuel a whole season. I mean, that’s very apparent in sort of the Ross/Rachel of Friends and you know, definitely with the Jim and Pam. In the beginning of seeing them go from friends to people who had crushes on each other to finding each other I think there’s a good part of us as American viewers that are kind of hopeless romantics. We even looked on a show that’s like an action thriller show like Lost and everyone is wondering what’s going to happen between Sawyer and Freckles. So I think it’s just a natural thing for us. We want within our comedies, within our dramas, we want to see emotion and we want to see heartfelt moments. And so I think they’re really important but I think at the end of the day for a comedy you have to remember that you’re a comedy. Like it’s finding that balance.
Is there any episode that gave you jitters where it was really hard not to laugh?
Angela Kinsey: I crack up every day on set. And it’s not just me, we all have moments where we’re trying to dodge the camera lens because we’re laughing so hard and we don’t want to ruin the take. I mean, Ellie, what was the biggest one for you? I’m thinking of…
Ellie Kemper: I’m trying to think of my, yeah, actually there, well this hasn’t aired yet. There’s something Michael is doing – now I can’t remember what impression he’s doing. It’s maybe like – I don’t know what – I can’t remember. Like Jack Nicholson, he’s doing some impression but he was improvising it. But it was just – he and I were the only ones in the scene. And I just kept laughing.And in a way I’m like I want to laugh because it’s funny. I think it’s one of the most terrible feeling to have to hold in laughter. But you really can’t – you have to hold it in because you have to get the scene done. But I go through – like Angela said – yeah, I think it’s every day.
And then I’ll go through like specific hours where I’m like giddy and it’s just too much because the whole thing is just this like comedy show I get to go to everyday to like watch. It’s…
Angela Kinsey: Well and I think we’re working with some of the funniest people on television right now.
Ellie Kemper: Yeah.
Angela Kinsey: You know, like in the business right now we’re with some of the funniest people. And it’s just amazing to be part of that. And I actually – I lost it. And this has aired so I can talk about it freely. But, you know, when the new – when Kathy Bates and her sidekick, Tom, and the new employees come in and Dwight shows up with a tray full of hotdogs to offer them and then they say no.
And then he is just looking for a place to set them down. And just watching – there was this kind of improvised moment where Rainn’s like, “What do I with this tray of hotdogs?” And he’s trying to find someplace to set them down in the background as these two people are talking. I was standing by the copier and I was – Brian was next to me and him and I were losing it.
A small moment but it’s everyday like that.
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