Exclusive Interview: Jane Lynch Talks GLEE and PARTY DOWN

jane lynch glee

There’s a good reason why Jane Lynch’s resume is a mile long. She is, as fans of THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, ROLE MODELS and BEST IN SHOW can attest to, one of the funniest actresses in Hollywood and the very definition of scene stealer.

And luckily for this TV Addict, she is also one of the nicest actresses in Hollywood and was only too happy to invite myself (alongside a few fellow reporters) inside her tiny trailer on the set of GLEE to talk about her new FOX series, if she’ll be able to pull double duty on PARTY DOWN and why she prays to God she’ll never have to show up on DANCING WITH THE STARS.

What can you tell us about GLEE’s Sue Sylvester?
Jane Lynch: She’s all about winning and gets more and more extreme in each episode as to what she’ll do. She likes to create competition between people and is very obvious about her strategizing and manipulation. They’re her mortal enemy and she’ll do anything and stop and nothing to destroy them. It’s fun, and a much different character than Constance (PARTY DOWN), who kind of lives in a soft cotton place.

Since you brought up PARTY DOWN, if it comes back, will you be able to juggle both shows?
I think it’s coming back for a second season and I don’t know. I hope so, it was so much fun.

Do you have a preference between television and movies?
I never really think about it.

It seems like you’re doing an awful lot of television lately.
Yeah it comes in waves. This is a lot of TV, which is a lot faster. But the movies I do, like with Christopher Guest or Judd Apatow, the way they’re shot it’s not so far off from doing television. It’s only once in a while where I do a major motion picture that costs millions of millions of dollars and I spend a lot of time sitting in my trailer.

How did you become a member of Judd Apatow’s gang?
Steve Carell who I know from Second City, his wife, Nancy Walls suggested that he bring me in to audition for the store manager that was a guy’s part, so I owe my connection with Judd to Nancy. There was a lot of improvisation with THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and that’s where we came up with my coming onto him. The Guatemalan love song came later while we were shooting.

Back in high school where did you fit in?
I was one of those happy travelers and really didn’t stay in one group. I kind of got around without getting humiliated and was in a little bit of everything. I knew some of the popular kids, I knew the theater dorks, choir kids (I loved choir) and smoked cigarettes with the burnouts and the woodshop people. I got around.

The burnouts only smoked cigarettes?
At that time yeah. If they were smoking pot, I didn’t know about it. I was very naive. People were having sex and doing drugs and I had no idea. In fact, my nickname behind my back was the narc. I’d walk into a party and hear whispers of “the Narc’s here.”

Has GLEE made you at all nostalgic for high school?
No, not at all. What you see is that it’s a microcosm of life really. Sue Sylvester is always at war and it’s exhausting.

Does Sue get involved at all with the drugs floating around in the pilot?
Sue has a segment on the local news called “Sue’s Corner” and in an upcoming episode, she gets all hopped up on speed and ends up throwing a chair and destroying the set.

What drew you to the role.
Ryan Murphy. I was in POPULAR for one episode and I loved it. He’s just great and this part, as I’m getting to know the writer’s better, represents their inner mean girl and I get the benefit of their loving to write lines for me.

Did you get to work with Kristen Chenoweth (who is guest starring in GLEE’s sixth episode)
I didn’t get to work with her but I just love her. We gave each other signed autographed pictures of each other which is a long story that goes back to Lainie Kazan giving her one out of eh blue. She’s a huge talent and we were so lucky to get her on the show, as she really brings up our credibility.

I hear she plays the opposite of her perky adorable self.
She plays a drunk, Glee club has-been who is squatting in a McMansion in town. But she’s still go the voice and the moves and really shows the kids how to put on a show.

Can we expect anymore talented musical guest stars?
Not that I know of. But I know that I’m doing a swing-dance number with Matthew Morrison next week and I don’t dance at all.

Are you taking lessons?
Nope, just going to do my best.

Have you been watching DANCING WITH THE STARS?
No, that stuff makes me so uncomfortable

So you’d never want to be a contestant?
Hopefully my career will never be at a point where I need to go on it.

Ouch! There’s no shame in appearing on a Top 10 Show and there is always one funny star.
Oh yes there is and that funny star won’t be me.

As an actress, do you resent reality TV for taking away jobs from talented actors.
No. Unlike Sue Sylvester I try not to have any resentments in my life. I don’t lie in bed at night and go, “Reality TV is destroying my career!”

And finally, because we understand you have to run and shoot a hilarious FUNNY OR DIE video, can you take a moment and talk about the track suits you get to wear
I love it. It’s like coming to work and putting on pajamas. I love our wardrobe designer, she’s fantastic and I love coming to work in a track suit.

GLEE premieres on FOX this May 19 following AMERICAN IDOL. New episodes of PARTY DOWN can be caught every Friday night at 10:30PM on Starz

For all the latest TV news and reviews