The Hulu original series The Hotwives of Orlando is a hilarious and raunchy parody of one of the most popular franchises in reality television. It takes you inside the uber-exclusive and glamorous world of six hot housewives in the sexy city of Orlando, as they fight over pretty much everything, except for their love of shoes, plastic surgery and spending all of their husbands’ money. The seven-episode series stars Casey Wilson, Kristen Schaal, Angela Kinsey, Tymberlee Hill, Andrea Savage, and show creators Dannah Phirman and Danielle Schneider.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Angela Kinsey talked about how she got involved with the show, that she had never seen a single episode of The Real Housewives before doing this (and that she never plans to watch again), why this show is so funny, even if you aren’t a fan of reality TV, finding the right enormous boobs for her character, just how much she cracked up during scenes, how much improvisation they got to do, and that her favorite kind of comedy isn’t the cheap or obvious joke. She also talked about what it means to her to have been a part of The Office, and how thankful she is for that experience. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
ANGELA KINSEY: A lot of us knew each other through comedy circles. I knew Danielle Schneider. She emailed and was like, “We’re doing this thing, if you’d be up for it. What’s your schedule like?” So, she sent me the script and I was like, “I can’t believe The Real Housewives hasn’t already been parodied. It’s so ripe. I would love to do this!” They filmed in eight days, and I was only available for the eight days ‘cause I had a prior thing that I had already committed to, but I wanted to do it. That’s how it came about for me. A lot of us had known each other through either the Upright Citizens Brigade, or different comedy projects that we had done, and that was awesome icing on the cake. It was a super awesome roster of funny women. Of course, I wanted to do it.
People seem to fall into one of two categories with The Real Housewives, in that they either love to watch them, or they love to make fun of them. Which category do you guys fall into?
KINSEY: I had never seen a single episode, and when I told Danielle that, she was like, “What?!” So, she quickly emailed me some links that I could watch, and I was cringing. I felt so uncomfortable. I can see why people could get sucked into watching all of that unfold. I was blown away! And then, I realized that there’s a wealth of material there to have fun with.
Why would someone who hates reality shows about housewives still enjoy this show?
KINSEY: It’s just a group of really funny women, playing silly and horrible people. I do not watch The Real Housewives, and after seeing those links, I have no desire to watch them again. But the parody of all those shows is so perfect and awesome and fun. I would watch it, just because I think it’s funny to see those people parodied. Even if I was unfamiliar with the concept of reality TV and The Real Housewives, it’s just funny. The women are ridiculous. It’s a show of its own.
Who is the woman that you’re playing?
KINSEY: If you are in a room with Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider, they know every single person in all of these different worlds of reality housewives. It’s like they speak another language. It’s amazing. I’m just like, “Huh? What?” I see Crystal as someone who approaches religion like it’s a country club. Her husband is a little domineering. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. But, she’s a lot of fun. They added a wrinkle to her, which I love, and that’s that she’s the local weather girl. It’s so much fun to see this ridiculous woman do the weather. She’s the ditzy one who goes along for the ride.
KINSEY: I had to play her 100% sincere. Maybe that’s just my approach to acting and comedy, in general. The more honest of a place I can find for someone, the more fun it is and the more I can improvise because I’m coming from a sincere place. I think it’s also more believable to watch. I know I did that with my character on The Office. I see my character on The Office as someone who’s really bound by fear. That’s why she’s bitchy. I believed her, so that’s why I felt that I could portray her well. And for Crystal, I think she just wants everybody to be happy and she loves Orlando so much. She has a line where she says, “I know they say heaven is going to be amazing, but it’s hard to believe it’s going to be better than Orlando.” I feel like she’s a simple gal who loves her community. Her husband is bossy, but she made an oath to god. I played her very sincerely.
Much is made of Crystal’s boobs. Was there a process for deciding on the right look for the character?
KINSEY: First of all, they wanted me to wear this giant cross that would rest on these big boobs, so we had to create the resting place. I brought in a push-up bra, but they weren’t big enough. So then, wardrobe brought over a box of chicken cutlets. We went through different sizes and tried them. At least for the first day, I did one scene with one pair, and they said no. And then, I put another pair on. I wonder if anyone notices the fluctuation of my boob size, until we got it right. But, they are substantial. That was hilarious to me, to walk around with these enormous boobs. Her outfits were ridiculous, too. On the first day, I was a little embarrassed. By day three, I was walking around in yoga pants and this bra on, and I was just like, “Eh.” At some point, you just stop caring.
You were working with these incredibly talented female ensemble, yourself included, and there were some pretty outrageous moments on the show. Was it difficult to get through some of the scenes without laughing, or are you good at keeping a straight face?
KINSEY: I am horrible! It was very hard for me on The Office because my character would have never smiled. But at least Crystal has a little bit of a goofy optimism about life, so I could crack a smile and it wasn’t the end of the world. In the reunion episode, we were all on those sofas and it was about 2:30 in the morning, so we were all totally out of our minds loopy. I had Seth Morris sitting behind me. We had to have a catfight, but Seth Morris was saying sidebar comments right behind me that were cracking me up. I was just tired enough that I completely lost it. I was laughing so hard that I was crying. And they told me that when they went back and edited it, it looked like I was crying. There were so many times I started cracking up. When Casey and I were doing yoga, I don’t remember what she said, but I lost it in that scene. It happened multiple times.
Did you guys do a lot of improvisation with this, or was this more scripted than we’d expect it to be?
KINSEY: It was definitely scripted, but we did get to play around a little. I think it was a nice combination fo the two. The girls wrote a great script, but they also had a room full of women who are improvisers. We got to fill in any gaps with improv and we got to play around a little bit, but we had a great story written for us that allowed us to do that.
KINSEY: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think there was any place where we went over the line.
When it comes to comedy, for you personally, is there anything you won’t do for the laugh, if it makes sense with the story that you’re telling?
KINSEY: I don’t know. If it makes sense for the story, I think I’m usually okay going for it. I’m sure we all have our breaking point. I also think that there’s a way to do comedy that’s not cheap or crass comedy. Some people have a way of being funny without insulting people. You can do a social commentary that’s not insulting. Sometimes you can go for the silly, easy joke, but what I like about this group of women and the script is that they’re actually really smart women who are very clever in the way they wrote it. That gave us a foundation of what the comedy was about. My favorite kind of comedy isn’t the cheap, obvious joke.
Few shows last as long and were as popular as The Office was. What does it mean to you to have had that experience, to have been a part of that show, and to have something like that to always remember?
KINSEY: It means so much to me. I’m so proud of it. I felt like I won the lottery when I got it. The people were so amazing, so funny and so smart, but also so kind. They became like a family to me, and they still are. It was such a gift. You just hope that you can give back, in some way, because you have so much appreciation in your heart. I feel like I got so lucky, and that’s a very humbling thing. Also, I think it holds up and I’m proud of that, too. Every once in awhile, I catch an episode that’s running in repeats and I’m proud of it. The fans for The Office that are out there are such die-hard fans and they’re so lovely. When they come up to me and say, “Oh, my gosh, my mom was really sick, and the one thing we did was watch The Office together,” it’s very moving. I just feel incredibly thankful that I got to do it and be a part of it.
The Hotwives of Orlando is available on Hulu.