Allison Munn of Netflix’s The Big Show Show is no stranger to the acting world.

With a career spanning decades, Allison has performed on stage, television and film so is definitely versed to give us her perspective on comedy vs. drama.

Is there really a tug-o-war between comedy and drama?

You may recognize Allison Munn from That 70s Show (with Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Laura Prepon), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, White Oleander and Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, just to name a few.

Alright, let’s get on with the interview!

You’re currently starring as Cassy in Netflix’s multi-camera family comedy The Big Show Show with WWE superstar Paul Wight aka Big Show. Tell us about the very first time you met your TV family Paul Wight, Reylynn Caster, Lily Brooks O’Briant and Juliet Donenfeld.

I love my Big Show Show family! I met them all on the day of my screen test at Netflix. I was a little nervous to meet Big Show because he’s 7 feet tall and 400 lbs — I was testing to play his wife and I didn’t know how that would play. But there was no need for worry — he was immediately charming and he put me at ease right away. Juliet Donenfeld and Reylynn Caster had already been cast (as JJ and Lola) but they were on hand to do a chemistry test with us. Lily Brooks O’Briant was also there auditioning for Mandy. At the end of the session, they put us all together for a final family chemistry test.

What direction were you given to work with to build your character of Cassy?

Well, the pilot gave me a great idea of Cassy’s character so I was able to use that going in. In my first audition, the show’s creators, Josh Bycel and Jason Berger explained more about Cassy’s character arc throughout the show’s first season and that was really helpful. I do love a backstory but I don’t need to know every single detail to feel comfortable playing a character. For example, I don’t need to know what foods Cassy is allergic to unless that becomes a plot point. One of the best parts about being lucky enough to play a character in a show that runs for a long time is the unfolding backstory. You learn new things about your character’s past as the series goes on.

You’ve been in a lot of sitcoms such as That 70s Show and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I’ve always been told comedy is harder for an actor than drama. What’s your take on that statement?

I don’t know that I’d agree that comedy is harder than drama. Comedy does require a very specific skill set and it’s really obvious when an actor doesn’t have those skills. But I’d say they both come with their very own set of challenges.

As an actor, do you have a comfort zone in comedy?

Good question — I haven’t really thought of it that way. I love to laugh so I guess I’m usually drawn toward comedies. I especially love the multi-camera format. There is a rhythm to the dialogue that’s almost musical. I love shooting live in front of an audience — that energy is really exciting and the audience will always let you know if a joke is landing or bombing.

How did you choose your Talent Agent? What type of requirements do you / did you have for building your team? Who is included on your team?

I recently switched from a larger talent agency to a more boutique firm. I’d been with my prior agents ever since I moved to Los Angeles and it was time for a change. I felt like I was getting lost. I love the personalized attention you can get at a smaller agency and feel comfort in the fact that they don’t have a roster full of actresses who are exactly my type. I’ve had the same manager since day one as well.

What’s it like with young performers on The Big Show Show?

I love working with young performers and we’re definitely learning from each other all of the time. I also love the rehearsal process of a multi-camera sitcom. It’s collaborative, creative and so much fun. One thing that I’m always impressed with is how dedicated you have to be as a young professional in this business. I’m always exhausted at the end of a rehearsal day and ready to get home — it blows my mind that the kids THEN have to go to school for three to four hours. Not only are they learning their lines every day, they’re also taking math tests and writing history essays. I’m inspired by their dedication.

You moved to New York right after school and started working Off-Broadway in The Fantasticks. Where’d you actually live when you got to NY? What was your audition like for The Fantastics?

When I was in college, I would work at regional theaters during my summers and save up for my move to New York. I stayed with an acquaintance for a month or two until I was able to find my own sublet. Oh man — I think I lived in like four or five separate places during my first year of living in NY. I would jump from sublet to sublet. I only had a trunk and a suitcase, so when one sublet was up, I’d hop in a cab and head to the next one. I ended up getting incredibly lucky and finding the world’s tiniest apartment on the Upper West Side (71st & Columbus). It was six feet across and fifteen feet long and I LOVED that little place. I lived there for the remainder of my time in the city.

My audition for The Fantasticks took place at the Sullivan Street Theater and I remember it was just with the stage manager (who oversaw the entire production) and the pianist. I was incredibly nervous and was THRILLED when I found out that I had gotten the role. I rehearsed for two weeks with the stage manager and would watch the show at night. I had one put-in rehearsal with the cast and then I had my first show, It was nerve-racking and exhilarating. I did that show for two and a half years — over 500 performances. It was a blast.

Your husband Scott Holroyd is also in show business. With two young children and a 16- year old Yorkshire Terrier, Buster Keaton, how do you manage work vs. home life? Are the kids homeschooled or do they attend public / private school? With Stay at Home orders, what’s it like for you helping your children do distant learning?

My husband is an actor and a producer and he works long hours. When I’m in production, I have to hire someone to help me pick up the kids from their schools and get them home, feed them and help with homework. When I’m on hiatus, I’m doing all of those things. Our kids attend the local public school and we’re thrilled with the community we’ve found there. Now that we’re well into our second month of the Stay At Home order, all of our time is spent homeschooling the kids and trying to keep their days interesting. We’ve done a LOT of puzzles, FaceTimed with family in South Carolina and we set up a tent and camped out in the back yard.

Allison Munn

Let’s talk about your stints on Family Guy! Tell us everything!

I’ve had the pleasure of voicing a few different characters on Family Guy. I love the show so much and was thrilled to be a small part of that world. We record in their offices — I’m in the sound booth alone and I take it line by line. The script is in front of me on a podium and the director is in an adjoining room, separated by glass. Sometimes they’ll have me say the line in a few different ways so they have options. It requires a lot of focus and it goes by quickly.

Headshot by Dana Patrick

What advice do you have for actors looking to take their careers to the next level?

1) Don’t give up. We really are our own worst enemies when it comes to feedback.

2) Remember that the casting directors are your allies and want you to book the role — it makes

their job easier! And…

3) Don’t talk yourself out of an audition. I used to have this horrible habit when I would get an audition — I’d look at the sides, read the character description and then come up with about five solid reasons of why I wouldn’t book the job. Don’t assume you know more than the casting director, who clearly thinks you could be right for the role or they wouldn’t have given you the audition. All that does is mess with your confidence and dims your light.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Well, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this interview. Oh, and please vote. I’m passionate about getting young people to the polls. Our country has one of the lowest rates of youth voter turnout in the world. Rock the Vote helps young voters navigate the voting process and empowers them to use their voices. I love that this organization has been around for over 30 years and that they’re nonpartisan.

You can follow Allison Munn here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allisonmunn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/allisonmunn

 

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