It seemed only right to kickstart the interview series “Girls We Love” with a girl I couldn’t love more if I tried. June Diane Raphael, is an accomplished actress and writer. She’s a real beauty who has a quick mind and an even quicker wit. I sat down with June in Los Angeles at the exotic Casbah Café and got to the bottom of her obsession with Vicki Gunvalson, her desire to squish her husband on set and her feelings on the current state of women in comedy.
Hello, June Diane Raphael.
Let’s get down to biz. You are on the Adult Swim show NTSF:SD:SUV. How would you describe NTSF to someone who hasn’t yet seen it?
I would describe NTSF:SD:SUV as a parody of all the crime procedural shows that are on TV right now the Law & Orders, the CSIs, NCIS… all of those kinds of shows.
You play the very sexy, very bad-ass Piper on NTSF:SD:SUV – in addition to being sexy and badass yourself, do you and Piper share any other qualities?
(giggles) Well one thing I’m liking about Piper is whenever she walks into a scene she strikes a pose. There’s a lot of posing on those procedural shows. When people are listening they are in a stance, bracing or holding on to things. So, I’d like to start doing that.
You’d like to do that or you are currently doing that?
I’d like to. (pause) I’d really like to start doing that.
Add that to your current repertoire of entrances.
Yes, it’s like taking a knee when you have to listen really hard. Full body listening.
You guys pack a full punch of a show into 15 minutes. You must laugh at these shows that need a full hour to tell a story?
(giggles) I think it’s actually a strong part of NTSF that we can get a full story beginning, middle and end, packed into 15 minutes. It’s really less because of commercials. We have 11 minutes of story. To have things come back and unfold. So it is a lot of plot to pack into 11 minutes and get jokes there too. But I certainly wouldn’t say it makes other shows bad. I am pretty impressed with the writing of our show for that reason. Although some logic and story problems are answered with…”Yep, that happened!”
Which is part of what makes the show hilarious.
Now, you are married to Paul Scheer the creator of NTSF:SD:SUV, is that correct?
Correct. That is correct. You attended the wedding.
Correct. How is it working with your husband? Rumor is he’s a tyrant on set? Will you confirm that here on HelloGiggles.com?
(she deadpans) I will tell the HelloGiggles readers that Paul Scheer is extremely difficult to work with. He’s a diva, a total diva. He likes to throws tantrums and wont make eye contact with anyone, that’s just his thing. He also insists on having an iced green tea at all times.
(smiles) No it’s really fun, it’s really, really fun. I feel very lucky to work with him and he’s so good on the show. The only thing that’s hard for me, is when I see him, I want to hug and squeeze him but I feel like I can’t because he’s the boss man. So that’s difficult.
Do you get snugs in anyway?
Yeah, I try to sneak ‘em in.
It’s fun to get to spend that much time with your significant other during the day. Most couples don’t have jobs together. So we’re very lucky….and I really love it.
Awwww, that’s so sweet. I like that. Now, I happen to know that growing up you were an excellent soccer and basketball player. I would love to see some of those skills featured in an episode of NTSF:SD:SUV. Do you think that’s something the fans can look forward to?
I appreciate you putting that out there to the public and hopefully this will start a movement. An online viral movement. I don’t know. It’s hard. I guess I’d have to tell people in the industry, that I’ve had an athletic past. It’s hard for them to see it without organizing a soccer game and inviting them to it. But I think that’s a great idea and I will bring it up.
I can see the message boards lighting up about it already.
You, June Diane, co-wrote the movie Bride Wars, you’ve acted on television shows like New Girl, Happy Endings, Whitney and of course NTSF. You just scored a recurring role on NBC’s Animal Practice. You’ve been in hit movies like: Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Year One, ‘Bride Wars and Zodiac. You star in the web Series Burning Love AND share a podcast with Paul Sheer and Jason Mantzoukas called How Did This Get Made? If Howard Stern is considered the King of All Media…are you the queen?
Ha! I see. Moving on…
As you were reading that list I thought…I gotta write a book.
Good! See, we’re getting a lot done here! It’s hard for regular girls who are going to their regular jobs to buck the pressures of looking good all the time. Do you feel pressure to look good and if so how do you handle it?
I do feel pressure. I just saw myself in a screening last night and started spiraling into a black hole of insecurity. But, at the same time though you gotta say, “F*ck it two tears in a bucket”, there’s only so much you can do. I don’t want to be seventy-five and feel like I wasted all this time and mental energy worrying about aging and being skinnier. There will come a year that I’m old, super old and think, “What was I worried about? Why didn’t I do something else with that energy and time.” So yes, I definitely struggle but I’m trying to get better about it.
It’s a process.
And here’s the thing…it’s only coming for all of us! It’s not going another way. So I just don’t want to be an old lady and angry about. Does that make sense?
Yep. You just want to be happy. As happy with yourself as possible as you move through these life transitions.
Sometimes I want to take a strange stance against the industry and say, “Screw all of this I’m going to go EAT EVERYTHING I CAN FIND!” But that only hurts myself. No one else is affected by that. (laughs) It’s hard, it’s very real. It’s hard to watch yourself, see yourself…but I also think it’s a total waste of time to be hyper concerned about it. Complete waste of time.
Right. What a hard balance. It’s almost an impossible balance to strike.
The other thing is that when you’re acting you can’t be worried about the way you look. I don’t want to be working thinking, “Do I look okay? Do I look okay?” That puts you completely in your head.
You do what you can do….
And then you have to let it go.
What advice do you have to girls who are trying to break into the biz?
I guess my advice would be if you can and you have the inclination… write. Or find another skill in this business that you can hone. Because it’s very difficult to just show up as an actress and get your parts. So if you have another skill like producing or writing it just gives you more agency over a very difficult path. And I’d say expect nothing and be grateful for everything.
That’s great advice. You are hands down one of the funniest people I know. Adam Carolla told The New York Post that dudes were funnier than chicks. Obviously that was a dummy dumb dumb thing to say. Have you had to brush up against that type of sexism in comedy?
Hmmm, I mean in a weird way I’ve been probably served by the lack of women in comedy. Because if you are an actress who does comedy you’re more coveted. I don’t feel like it’s hurt me. Sometimes I read scripts and think ugh, it’s another thankless role. It’s the wife or the girlfriend, and she’s just a shrill, joyless, killer of all fun. But at the same time, as a women writing parts for men, it’s hard. I genuinely have to work really hard to make men sound like they would sound and do things that men would do. My go to is… maybe they would play video games or play basketball?! I don’t think it’s coming from a place of sexism it’s coming from a place of not knowing.
(cont.) In terms of his comment, if we were having this discussion four years ago, it would be different but I think it’s totally changed now. It’s amazing to be working at this time. We have Kristen Wig, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey who are all creating comedy. So, it’s hard to even give that kind of comment it’s due. Look around, Bridesmaids was one of the highest grossing comedies of all time. Which is awesome.
Not only did women come out in droves to see it but so did the fellas.
Yeah, guys were able to not only get on board with these female characters but also the humor. That’s super important. We’ve had to sit through their movies…you know, so I think it’s exciting. A HUGE shift is happening. And whenever you have a shift, there’s backlash, because people get uncomfortable. But I think the train has left the station and it’s only going to get better!
HelloGiggles is a place where girls can be girls in all their girlie glory. It seems like sometimes females who do comedy feel they need to be funny in the same way men are funny. I think you are funny in the way Tina Fey and Kristen Wig are funny – you have a female point of view attached to your comedy. Would you agree and is that something you are aware of in your work?
It is something I’m aware of. I think there are funny women who don’t lean into the side of their femininity. But then again “girlie” stuff is as feminine as non “girlie stuff” too. So I think it’s dangerous to label what is and isn’t “feminine.” That said, I do find female things, female relationships, very funny. I think there’s a lot to be mined in all the girly areas of life that tend to get low place on the comedy totem pole. Like in the Sex and The City movies, the fashion and shopping is no more or less fantasy than light sabers and aliens. It’s a different type of escapism and a different kind of playtime but it’s just as worthy.
Now there is some very exciting news that just recently broke. You and writing partner Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) have just sold a show to ABC called ‘Housewives.’ Tell us everything.
I can’t talk about everything but I can say that it’s a period piece about real housewives set in 1954.
And you are going to be starring in it, yes?
Very excited – could not be more excited, especially for my costumes. And to be in hair and makeup from that period.
This is a little off the beaten path but I must know the answer. I follow you on Twitter at @MsJuneDiane and your avatar is a picture of famous OG of the OC Vicki Gunvalson. For those who are not in the know, Vicki is of Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ fame. Can you explain to us why you’ve chosen her face to represent you? Also, does she mind?
I have Vicki Gunvalson represent me in all things because I’m obsessed with her. I find her to be a fascinating character. I’m obsessed with her relationship with Brianna, her relationship with Brooks. I know she is vilified by people who watch the show but I’m intrigued by her. She’s an onion.
She does tend to make my eyes water.
I did get a tweet from Vicki asking me to stop impersonating her. Spelled impercenating.
This actually happened?
Yes. I didn’t write back but I was upset that she was upset. She doesn’t understand that I am honoring her.
And still currently using her image?
That’s correct. I haven’t stopped using her image. Brooks has also sent some angry tweets my way.
Another biggie for JDR, you’re in the new movie ‘Imogene,’ starring Kristen Wigg. What’s this flick about?
The main character’s, played by Kristen, boyfriend breaks up with her and she fakes her own suicide to get him back. Her life falls apart and she moves back home. It’s really a later-in-life coming of age story. I recently saw a screening in Toronto and loved it. The great Annette Bening is in the movie. I met her at the screening. She gave me a hug and I almost disintegrated into her arms.
No that’s true. The rumors are true there. And that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Photo by: Robyn Von Swank