While at Comic-Con in July, we sat down with Kaitlin Olson from the FX comedy hit, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Fresh out of shooting season 5 (which by the way kicks off September 17th), there was a lot to talk about.
We missed Kaitlin at 2008′s Comic-Con due to a bone breaking experience, so we were glad to see her at Comic-Con this year, and all in one piece.
You can listen to our interview below.
For those without audio, here’s the written version:
Flash Flood Media: So, we’re glad that you’re here this year and that you’re not in a body cast or anything
Kaitlin Olson: Uh uh, I was never in a body cast, let me clear that up but I did break my back. That sucked but yeah, I’m all healed up. I was very careful this 4th of July and everything’s fine.
FFM: What was the story? We’re you doing back flips?
Kaitlin: No, no. I wish it was that cool. My neighbor picked me up horizontally by my butt and shoulders and held me over his head. So I was probably like 10 feet up in the air, 11 feet and he just slipped and dropped me and I landed on the street on my hip. I broke my back.
FFM: Was it known to you at the time that he was going to pick you up or was it a surprise?
Kaitlin: Yeah! Yeah! I like to blame it on him but he had done it once before. He’s like a huge football player and when he was in high school he would pick cheerleaders up and spin them around. He just picked me up and it was fun and it worked the first time and I actually asked him to do it again. The second time it didn’t work so well… 6 beers in.
FFM: It seems like you have to have a thick skin to be on this show sometimes. Do you ever get worried that they dig too much? Or that you guys fight with eachother too much?
Kaitlin: Haha! No, I find that hilarious. I think that the meaner they are to me as the girl, it’s just funnier. It’s way funnier than them being nice to me because I’m a girl.
FFM: Is there ever a scene that you see coming up where you say “I’m just not gonna do that!” Or are you up for anything?
Kaitlin: No because I don’t find any of it insulting. I find it funny. I mean usually on our show our characters are the idiots that end up losing in the end and it’s the rest of society that wins. So it would be mean if we got away with really cool stuff and there were no consequences but our characters are always losing so that’s funny to me.
FFM: Speaking on that vein, do you think that the audience relates more to the characters as underdogs or as the people actually picking on the characters?
Kaitlin: Um. I just, I think that they are more related to as underdogs. The people that like the show realize that that’s why it’s funny. That they are so narcissistic or not aware as to how mean they’re being, they’re just trying to make it and so I think it’s funniest recognizing that they are total losers that they don’t see that they are.
FFM: Can you give us any previews as to what’s coming up in the new season?
Kaitlin: Well, Sweet Dee gets a role in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, which is very exciting and the gang wrestles for the troops. I get a boyfriend, Sweet Dee gets a boyfriend this year.
FFM: Is he retarded?
Kaitlin: Oh, we’ll see. He may or may not be. I’m not sure. He’s VERY nice, so maybe. He’s dating her, so maybe. Um, Rowdy Roddy Piper is on our show this year. That’s pretty amazing.
FFM: Any other cameos?
Kaitlin: We, Dennis and Dee have a cousin who we used to call Gale the Snail, the Garbage Pail cousin. She makes an appearance this year and she’s played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, a very good friend of mine. And she is really really awesome. That’s my favorite guest star appearance. That and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
FFM: Most of the cast has a hand in the writing. Do you ever pitch in with writing?
Kaitlin: Uh uh. No. No, I just take it and make it funnier. Hahaha! I let them do all the hard work and then I get it and think “Well, this is funny.. Hmm, this isn’t so I’m going to say this instead”. Lazy. We play around. It’s very well scripted, I think it’s very funny. But we all like to sort of like to play around and keep it fresh and so when we’re shooting we sort of, I don’t even want to say we improvise because that makes it sound like it’s not scripted, but we play around with the dialogue a little bit and keep it fresh and fun and I think you can kind of tell when we’re doing that.
FFM: Do you find that you get locked into the character? Do you find it easy to break into it and you’re in that mode or do you turn it on and off?
Kaitlin: Oh God! I hope it’s easy to turn that off! I would be a real asshole if I couldn’t turn that off. Um, no I don’t have a hard time getting out of it. It’s just one of those things. I think the writing speaks for itself and we’ve been doing it for so long now. I’m very familiar with the scripts and the scenes and everything but I don’t really start to memorize my lines until we show up to rehearse something and block it out.
FFM: Do you think a lot of Dee’s characteristics are based on your actual life?
Kaitlin: Yeah, totally! Not my “life” but yeah. When I first got the part, the Dee character was very small because it was these three guys and they were writing a show for themselves and they were going to write a girl into it but they hadn’t put a lot of thought into that character yet cause they hadn’t cast anybody. So when I took it, it was with an understanding that the role would be developed and that my character would be just as funny and just as much a part of the group as they guys already were. So they really paid attention to the stuff I liked to do and the style of comedy that I felt that I was good at. Yeah, it definitely grew out of there so I would say that I have certain insecurities and those are all heightened. I think it’s true for all of our characters though. You just kind of figure out something that you hate about yourself and then just sort of make it bigger and it’s funny. It’s just easier to laugh at yourself.
FFM: The dynamic of the show is usually that the whole gang is involved. So there’s never much separate character episodes. Do you ever wish that sometimes there would be an episode where they focus on one character more than another?
Kaitlin: No, and I think there are sometimes. If you look at the title, that kind of gives you a clue as to who’s main story it is but then all characters will take something from that main storyline and make it their own in some way but I think that’s funny. I think that’s what is inherently funny about the show is that the characters are so egotistical and so like “me me me me me” and want to make it about themselves, whatever it is. It’s fun to have it be an ensemble. Um, yeah I dunno, I like the way it is. It’s fun sometimes to have my own thing going on but my favorite scenes are when I’m working with the guys.
FFM: It looks like in a lot of episodes you guys pair off and so you’ll be hanging out with Charlie and it’s funny to see how the different characters interact when they’re not always all with eachother.
Kaitlin: Yeah, my favorite is when we’re teamed up against somebody else that we bring in. Like a guest cast member that we bring up and we team up against them. It’s just funny because Glenn and I recently were high fiving eachother and we were like “we’re never on the same side” we’re usually fighting eachother. So it’s fun to team up together and see that part of their relationship.
FFM: Do you have any favorite episodes or any scenes that you remember that crack you up?
Kaitlin: Sure, I like to do the bigger, uglier stuff. Like the ones where I’m on crack or I’m on drugs or I’m drunk or on steroids. I like that Hundred Dollar Baby episode, that was fun. Just anything that’s like bigger and sillier is just is really fun to do. And the stunts! The stunts are fun for me too. Like when I stole the shoes and went running out of the shoe store and slammed my head into the parked car. That was fun. That was me.
FFM: Do you do all your own stunts?
Kaitlin: Mostly, yeah. This year we do an episode where I do a jack knife into a pool. I didn’t do that. Because I don’t land it well and so we had a stunt double do that because I didn’t want to do a giant belly/face flop into the water.
FFM: Would you say your bones are glass like Dee?
Kaitlin: My bones are definitely made of glass. I think that’s where that whole thing came from. I broke my foot in the 3rd season right in the middle of shooting.
FFM: That wasn’t the football episode was it?
Kaitlin: No! But that was already written and my foot had just healed when we shot that and I was terrified to kick the football that hard. And then I broke my back in the 4th season but this year I made it through, all in tact.
Kaitlin: Yeah, well they were very very gentle with me.
FFM: How has it impacted shooting having a broken-
Kaitlin: Yeah! Yeah, it turns out it sucks! To bring the insurance in. But yeah, when I broke my foot I could wear a walking cast but they had to shoot around it. There are a lot of scenes with me just sort of standing at the bar while everyone is moving around me. But the back break shut down the whole production for just a week or so. I healed really fast then I came back and did scenes where I was just laying down or just sitting or just standing cause I could stand on one foot. But um, yeah I’m a total trouble maker. Everyone’s secretly.. like I swear to God right before the 4th of July weekend I had so many people be like “Be careful this weekend. What are you doing this weekend? Can you be careful?”
FFM: You’ve wrapped everything up for now. So you don’t have to worry.
Kaitlin: We just wrapped last week. I made it! I can hurt myself so much this weekend and no one will even care. It’s perfect.
FFM: How strenuous is the shooting schedule?
Kaitliln: It’s intense. It’s really intense. We shoot like a movie. So we do a single camera and we shoot 7 episodes at a time. So any day we can be shooting scenes from 7 different episodes. So it’s constant wardrobe change, makeup change. Trying to remember where you are in this story and then ok where we are in this story. We do about 12 hour days? We did a 17 and a half hour episode this day this this year. I mean, I’m sorry we did a 17 and a half hour day.
FFM: A 17 and a half hour episode!? That’d be good.
Kaitlin: No. That would be AWESOME though. No, we shot for 17 and a half hours this past season and that was a long one. That was in Philadelphia. But it’s great. You get in and you get out and it’s intense and it’s fun. I have no complaints.
FFM: Do you have anything coming up? Other appearances or anything you’re working on?
Kaitlin: I just did a movie with Amy Adams called Leap Year. And that will be out.. I dunno.
Kaitlin: Yeah, soon. That will be out soon and then I did an independent film that’s out right now called Weather Girl. It’s a limited release.
FFM: Thank you for taking the time!
Kaitlin: Thanks you guys. Nice to meet you!
The side splitting comedy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia was picked up by FX through season 8. So there is a lot to look forward to. Be sure to catch the premiere of season 5 September 17th at 10pm on FX!
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