Casey Wilson is one of the Port Citys most famous exports, and definitely the funniest. (Yes, were aware Donnell Ashy Larry Rawlings of Chappelles Show also represents Alexandria.)
A graduate of T.C. Williams High School, Wilson went from staging plays in her backyard as a kid to staging skits on Saturday Night Live in 2008, where she laid down some memorable impressions of Rachel Ray and created the wholesome character of Dusty Velvet, the paralyzed stripper.
Now 30, Wilson is back on TV, but no longer writing. She plays Penny a hopefully desperate 30-year-old with a must-marry attitude on the new ABC comedy Happy Endings, a show being heralded as an edgier, raunchier Friends. Whats more, it actually looks funny. It debuts Wednesday night, putting Wilson and her hometown back on the map.
Not that shes been slacking since her stint on SNL. Wilson co-wrote Bride Wars and has other side projects, not the least of which is the Kathy Wilson Foundation, named for her mother who died in 2005. Casey founded it with her brother, Fletcher, and father, Paul. Among a scroll of other accomplishments, Kathy directed Abracadabra preschool in Rosemont.
Casey spoke to the Times from Los Angeles Monday about the foundation, whether Alexandria is funny or not and her new stint as an actress-writer rather than a write-actress.
ALEXANDRIA TIMES: Your character on Happy Endings seems pathetic. Accurate?
CASEY WILSON: We wanted her to be single yet hopeful, which I think is a funny character trait. There are so many single, bitter girls out there. But shes single and no guys not an option for her and no red flag is insurmountable.
Would you call her desperate?Im playing her so I would say shes lovably desperate.
Does being from Alexandria inform your comedy?
It does. Its so funny I used to say with some of my girlfriends at T.C., instead of that things were amazing we would say things were um-ah-zing. And thats become my catch phrase in the show So if youre asking if Alexandrians are funny, I will say yes, and I think I represent us and our humor well.
How has the industry received the pilot?
Entertainment Weekly which is notoriously hardcore gave us a B, so well take it. Its like room to improve, but not terrible. All the feedback has been really good. I say this kind of jokingly, but its also true: Basically its in Americas hands now.
So, youre basically on American Idol.
Yeah, kind of. It really depends on the second week. People typically tune in to a new show the first week but its about the rate of how many people come back.
Whats it like going from SNL to a sitcom?
Its a big change from SNL, not writing for the show. Now I just kind of show up and theres a script by some great writers, and we improvise on set. Its really long days like 16-hour days but I think for me its a much better fit. Im more of a comedic actress, I think, so its a really great fit for me to be on a sitcom and get to be really funny in more of a capacity as an actress than as a sketch performer.
How is the Kathy Wilson Foundation going?
Weve had some very generous people in Alexandria and weve been able to get funding every year. Most foundations kind of die out in the first year its still growing and were still able to help children so its exciting.
Happy Endings airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. EST on ABC.