The hit CBS series Mike & Molly is a comedy about a working class Chicago couple, Mike Biggs (Billy Gardell) and Molly Flynn (Melissa McCarthy) who find love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. In Season 4, Molly has put her teaching days behind her and decides to write a crime fiction novel. But, when Molly goes to her sister Victoria’s (Katy Mixon) workplace, a funeral home, to research her novel, things get crazier than either one of them could have imagined.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Katy Mixon talked about where things are at with Victoria this season, doing the hilarious scenes in the funeral home, working with real actors playing the dead bodies, actually having to shoot a scene in a casket, what she’s learned from working with Melissa McCarthy for the last few years, how different things are this season, how grateful she is to be working on a show with such talented people, and how the approach to comedy on Mike & Molly compares to the approach to comedy on Eastbound & Down, where she’s played April Buchanon. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
KATY MIXON: She’s three years older than when we began and I think that she is working it out, like Victoria does. She’s going to school a little bit. We ended Season 3 with Victoria going to junior college and getting a real degree. And we’re back at the mortuary. She does that on the side, to earn a living. She’s just rockin’ and rollin’. She’s just right there for Mike and Molly, whatever they’re going through. She’s having a good old time.
What can you say to tease these next episode, “Sex and Death”?
MIXON: There are some really fun moments. It deals with the funeral home. We deal with some cigarettes. There are some bodies. It’s the adventures you get with Molly and Victoria. It’s a good time. Please tune in!
Have you ever spent any time at a mortuary or with any morticians?
MIXON: No, I haven’t. I really haven’t. The closest I ever got is that my big brother is a radiologist. He was in Birmingham, Alabama and we went to visit him in med school, and I walked into where the bodies were being used for science. That is the only situation that I’ve witnessed, but it was quite creepy. With Victoria, it’s just a way of life for her. For me, it’s of another nature, but for Victoria, she’s rockin’ and rollin’ with it, every day. She just smokes a little doobie, puts on her headphones and she’s in her own world.
When you do the mortuary scenes, are those actual actors that are laying there and not just dummies?
MIXON: They actually were. They were precious. They were so amazing! They came in to rehearsal and were like, “I’m your dead body. It’s so nice to meet you!” And I said, “Welcome!” They were all wonderful. This episode is quite and adventure. This is the first time that Molly and Victoria have been in the mortuary together, so you can imagine the adventure that will be.
How was it to actually film in a casket? Was that a bit freaky?
MIXON: That was really creepy! If I had to close the lid, I would have had to dig deep for that one. When they decided we should get in the casket, I was like, “All right,” and I got in. I was like, “Gracious, it’s so creepy.” It was really crazy, but so much fun.
Was it comfortable?
MIXON: Yes, they were really very plush and very luxurious. It was crazy getting in it, but I can now say that I’ve been in a casket.
MIXON: I tell you what, it is the most incredible gift to be able to do what I love to do, get paid for it, and also just be surrounded by incredible, wonderful people. I am absolutely one of the most blessed girls in the world. Every day is so wonderful, to know that I’m going to do this and play such a character that is so fun and so wacky and so crazy, but she’s got a heart of gold. She means well. She just goes about things in a different way. It’s such a gift. I adore every single day. I’m so blessed to be able to play this role.
What have you learned from working with Melissa McCarthy, these past few years?
MIXON: She has got to be one of the most gracious, most talented, most precious people I’ve ever met, in my life. I consider her my big sister. That’s just the relationship that we have, and it’s so incredible to be right beside her. To watch what has happened to her in the last four years is magical. She’s just been having the time of her life, and it’s so wonderful to be able to lead the cheering squad for her. This is her divine appointment, and it’s so incredible to get to watch her flourish in it. She’s one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, in my life. She’s so wonderful, in every way you can imagine.
MIXON: I don’t now with other shows, but in Season 4, many different things can happen with each character and there are many different storylines. This season, a lot is happening, in regard to taking it out of the house. There are many different adventures that go on. In the first three seasons, it was wonderful because you were getting to know these characters. But now that you’ve gotten to know them, we’re going on trips and taking adventures. We’re able to really live. I think people know who the characters are now. That’s what Season 4 is bringing, which is so special and so amazing. Chuck Lorre has just been doing an incredible job with it, of course.
How does the approach to comedy on Mike & Molly compare to the approach to comedy on Eastbound & Down? Were those experiences similar, at all?
MIXON: Honey, it is day and night! It’s day and night, but not really. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon Conservatory and my entire background is in theater. Doing Mike & Molly is theater-in-the-round. You’ve got a live studio audience. And then, Eastbound is just a whole other amazing situation on its own. It’s single-camera. We film it like a movie. But, comedy is comedy. It is just the biggest blessing to be able to play quite different roles, at the same time. I just finished filming this season of Eastbound this summer. It’s just so crazy to have that on the air, and then have Mike & Molly. They’re quite different, but awesome, in every way.
Is there anything that you won’t do for comedy, if it’s good for the laugh?
MIXON: I’m not gonna go nude! They had to get a boob double for me, in the first season of Eastbound. I’m just not gonna go nude, but you can go get a double. That’s the only thing.
It’s hard to even get a show on the air anymore, let alone have it be successful, especially when you now also have cable to compete with. Are you able to step back and appreciate being on a hit show and working with such funny people, all the time?
MIXON: Every day! Every day, I wake up with a heart of gratitude. It is just a dream. It’s an absolute dream come true to be given the gift and the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was little. To play in the genre of comedy and just be given this wonderful gift, I am absolutely one of the most blessed people in the world. I can’t even put it into words. I have been so blessed, just to be surrounded with Billy Gardell and Swoosie Kurtz and Reno [Wilson] and Nyambi [Nyambi] and Melissa [McCarthy], along with Danny McBride and Jody Hill. I’m just such a blessed girl. Every day, I truly have a heart of gratitude. It’s just awesome! It’s truly a dream come true.
Since Victoria is the type of character who really could go anywhere and do anything, are there things that you’d like to see her get to do, or is there something about her you’d still like to learn?
MIXON: I’m sure! The possibilities are endless, really. She’s just game for anything. I would love to see Victoria do anything. The writers are so wonderful on this show. Chuck Lorre is leading it, and they’re just incredible. So, I have my arms wide open for anything that they have available. She’s bound to do crazy, crazy stuff, and not crazy stuff. You never know. That’s the gift in playing that kind of role.
Mike & Molly airs on Monday nights on CBS.