Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair Dish on Their Hilarious New Show 'Playing House'
There’s nothing quite as thrilling as learning the behind-the-scenes scoop about our favorite shows. Do the castmates get along? What’s the creative process like? Who orders the weirdest lunch? It’s all just so fascinating. And recently I got the chance to chat with the hilarious comedy duo (and stars of Playing House – premiering Tuesday, April 29th at 10/9c on USA Network) Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. Playing House centers around childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair), who have shared countless adventures growing up together in the charming town of Pinebrook, CT. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures — raising a baby. Here’s what they shared with us.
1. Your fans will be so happy to see you guys working together again! Going from playing besties on Best Friends Forever to friends who raise a child together on Playing House, is it safe to say that you two are besties in real life too?
JSC: We are. We’ve actually been called “friendsbians” before because we’re so close.
LP: Yeah we spend 15 hours a day together. I know way too much about this one.
JSC: She locks eyes with me and I suddenly find myself revealing all my secrets, my dreams, my hopes. (Lennon looks deeply into Jessica’s eyes)
LP: Did you eat cashews recently?
JSC: Wow. You’re good.
LP: You have hot nut breath.
JSC: See? We know everything about each other.
LP: Also, you have a nut stuck to your lip.
JSC: Ahhh. Thank you, best friend.
2. How did you two first meet?
LP: We met at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York.
JSC: Lennon was onstage in an Express sweater set, saying all kinds of twisted things under the leaky pipes of the Gristedes supermarket above us, and I thought, “There must be something terribly wrong with this girl, just like me.” And then I knew I wanted her to be mine forever.
3. Are you anything like your characters, Emma and Maggie?
LP: Yeah, I think we definitely have some things in common.
JSC: Lennon is the calmer one, like Maggie. She’s very loyal. She would kill a hobo for her friends.
LP: I would.
JSC: She would.
LP: And Jess totally has Emma’s brassiness. She’ll fight for what she believes in and is also incredibly loyal. Plus she wears a lot of blazers.
JSC: It’s true. I like to cinch my waist and show off my natural shoulder pads.
4. Have either of you had similar awkward experiences after returning to your hometowns?
LP: After my first TV show, I was eating with my parents at the local Cajun joint (‘Eagle’s Landing’ now ‘Mamma Mia Italian Ristorante,’ mmm delish!) and the waitress asked me if I lived in a mansion. She was disappointed to learn I was sharing a room in a house above what was likely a crack den and every night I heard, “I need a nurse!!” waft up through the floorboards.
5. Can you tell us one thing about each other that might surprise the fans to know? Secret talents or hobbies?
JSC: Lennon is actually like a mini-Bob Vila. She can really get into it with a toolbox and a set of complicated instructions.
LP: I find fixing a broken garbage disposal incredibly relaxing. So I guess you could say it’s a talent and a hobby.
JSC: And I can handle the sh** out of a curling wand. Make these golden locks sing…
6. Who has been your favorite guest star or supporting actor to work with on the show so far?
LP: Well, we were incredibly lucky to work with so many of our dear friends, so it would be impossible to choose.
JSC: Yeah, we’ve got Andy Daly, Jason Mantzoukas, Bobby Moynihan, Lindsay Sloane, Neil Casey, Ian Roberts.
LP: And Keegan-Michael Key, Zach Woods, and Jane Kaczmarek as supporting cast. I mean, it’s literally a dream team.
JSC: Please don’t have us make a Sophie’s Choice.
LP: We can’t do it.
7. So you’re both creators and executive producers on the show, are you involved in the writing process as well?
LP: We are. We’re in the writers’ room breaking the episodes with our amazing writing staff. Then once we have a solid outline to work off of, we go into our office to improvise.
JSC: We play all the characters. Lennon plays all the men. And we make our writers come in and watch.
LP: They love it.
JSC: — and then we transcribe it and that becomes the first draft of the script.
LP: It can get weird.
JSC: Sometimes we almost kiss.
LP: One time…
JSC: We’ve said enough, Len. We’ve said enough.
8. Can you tell us about the craziest scene you’ve filmed so far? Just a little spoiler?
JSC: Well, when we’re writing and we get stuck, we like to cue up Channing Tatum’s routine from Magic Mike to Ginuwine’s ‘Pony.’ Get those creative juices flowing.
LP: We’re a little obsessed.
JSC: About 30 seconds into it, I always say the same thing.
LP: Yeah. That “he deserves to be famous. He’s like the Cary Grant of our day. A triple threat – he can dance, act” –
JSC: And just like his body, you know?
LP: So we got inspired to write an episode where the local cops put on a Magic Mike-style strip show. Keegan-Michael Key, Bobby Moynihan, Ian Roberts –
JSC: They all take their clothes off.
LP: And Mandy Moore from So You Think You Can Dance choreographed it. So, it’s kinda our favorite thing ever.
JSC: You’re welcome, America.
Thank you both so much for taking the time to chat with us! We can’t wait to watch!
Playing House premieres Tuesday April 29th at 10/9c on USA Network!