Talking Emmys, THE SOUL MAN, SCREAM QUEENS, and GETTING ON with Niecy Nash!
Chances are, if you’ve watched a movie or TV at all in the past, oh, 20 years, you’ve seen or heard Niecy Nash (hands down, one of my favorite things about one of my favorite things, RENO 911). She’s been busy for what feels like 5 straight years, and this year, earned her first Primetime Emmy nomination for her role as DiDi on HBO’s GETTING ON. To celebrate her nomination and everything she has going on, I spent some time talking with Niecy about the Emmys, GETTING ON S3, SOUL MAN’s 5th and final season, and SCREAM QUEENS, premiering tonight on FOX at 8/7c! Check it out!
I have to say, congratulations on that well deserved Emmy nomination for GETTING ON!
Oh my goodness, thank you so much!
What has the experience been like for you?
For me, it was very overwhelming. You know, I was actually working, I was shooting GETTING ON, so I wasn’t even watching. I didn’t even know. Stepped off to craft services to get a little cup of coffee, and I came back to someone saying “Congratulations!” And I said, for what? It was like “I don’t know, somebody said you won something on the walkie talkie!” I said, “That I won something? Won what?” Then everybody was coming towards me, and they said, ladies and gentlemen, Miss Niecy Nash was nominated for an Emmy and everybody starts clapping and I start crying like a big old baby [laughs]. I was bawling! I was so shocked and so overwhelmed, you know, because I wasn’t campaigning. I didn’t have a publicist or anything. I was just enjoying this piece of work so much and then, I was filming multiple things and because I was filming different things, I was so busy, I kind of looked up and there was this beautiful gift of this nomination.
As a fan, as someone who is watching the show, it’s always nice to see someone new, not the same old people, get nominated so deservedly. Without PR, without campaigning, truly your work stood for itself.
Oh my goodness and I’m so grateful. I feel like, you know, being a first time nominee, I think there were something like 28 first time nominees this time, so it [made] for a very interesting awards.
What can you tease about GETTING ON season 3??
Well one of the things that I can tell you is that I think the third season is the best so far. The other thing that I can bring up is that some of the ladies who were working on the series on the BBC will be making an appearance with us. So we’ll have our cast from overseas here, from the original BBC version will come and play their original characters in our American version so that will be fun. We also get to meet our families this season. My husband, my brother-in-law and all of the things that he brings.
We’ve heard so much about those characters that we as an audience have earned it!
OH yeah! And I’ll tell you, that season finale is amazing. It’s going to absolutely be amazing. Here’s the thing about the season finale – if by some miracle we get to come back and we keep the show going, it’s left in a way where it can either be the end or it can be revived so I thought it can be really special.
I love the relationship with DiDi and Dawn and DiDi and the docs – how has that been exploring the relationships as they’ve grown over the seasons?
It’s been really, really lovely growing our characters and how they fit with one another. I say all the time that team work makes the dream work, and you know, DiDi would not be as grounded, she would not be the character if it were not for the crazy, the brilliantly played crazy of Laurie Metcalf, Alex Bornstein, and Mel Rodriguez. It’s their antics that allow me to be so grounded in this world.
DiDi does get to be the straight-person to these antics a lot; I love to watch when you also get to have your little moments of “what is going on here?”
Right! WHAT IS GOING ON!
You mention being so busy – you are so busy! How do you find the time to relax with the various shows you’re working on? Do you get downtime?
What is that? [laughs] I have very, very wonderful new husband, and working a lot, we have children and all of these sorts of wonderful things. As long as I’m in the same town my husband is in, I’m going to get a foot rub every night, and I live for that. I live for that moment. We find time. If we have a tiny window, we may be able to cool off for a little. We just celebrated our 4th year wedding anniversary, we went on a trip. That’s going to have to hold us because we probably won’t be able to do anything, quite honestly, until after Christmas! And that’s a maybe because I start back doing SOUL MAN at the end of this year! So I might have to settle for another footrub.
Talking about THE SOUL MAN, coming to an end after this season – what can we expect, or do you know yet, about what the new season brings?
I have no idea! One thing I do know is that I, first of all, have the best TV husband ever. I know that I’m going to be pitching show ideas, that’s what I know for sure, because I need to go out with a bang!! [laughs]
Being on a show for 5 years, I can imagine that there is some back and forth with the writers, throwing in ideas for the character that you have inhabited for so long. Are there things you want to experience before the show leaves?
You know, so many different things! You know what I mean? There are so many different ways we can go with things. One of the things I get to do before SOUL MAN is over is direct. That’s a secret passion. I have such a love for that multi-cam world, and to be able to try my hand at directing, I would love.
You’ve been in the business for a long time now – is that something that was always on the list of “hopes” or is that something that’s been coming up more recently in your wish list?
It hasn’t always been a thru-line but I would probably say over the last two seasons of THE SOUL MAN, I felt like I got bitten by the bug. I do a lot of arm-chair quarterbacking [laughs].
Obviously, you also have SCREAM QUEENS coming – what can you tease about your role there?
I play office Denise Hemphill in that particular show. I like the things that my character does – she’s every woman that’s every yelled at a movie screen. “Get out of the house!!” and “What are you doing!?” and “Why are you over there,” kind of thing. She says what everybody at home will think.
You need the character we can all agree with as we’re all watching going “What is happening right now??”
There is so much for us to play! It’s funny, it’s campy, it’s scary. It’s a little bit of everything. Ryan Murphy had me at hello. He’s brilliant. And that Jamie Lee Curtis was involved.
What is it that you look for in roles – sometimes you know the people, sometimes you love the writing? What is a big thing that these days is calling you to the roles you play?
It’s different things. Sometimes it’s the people who are involved. Sometimes it’s the characters. With DiDi, reading her on the page, I fell in love with her, I wanted to play this character, my audition was to play Dawn. I had to convince them to allow me to read for this character, because they said that they didn’t see me as this character. And I was like, I promise you! I fell in love with her on the page. I love Ryan Murphy, so he had me at hello. With Ava DuVernay, I just loved the idea of finally a bio-pic being made about Martin Luther King, she had me at hello. With SELMA it was conceptual; with Ryan Murphy, it was personal, and with GETTING ON, it was character driven. And when Cedric called me about being his wife, the reason why I said yes to that, was because it was really important, before I said yes, to find out if they loved each other. Because I didn’t want to be a fighting couple on TV. We’ve got enough of that and I wanted to see an example of real love looks like, and because he allowed us to be that kind of couple, I said yes. There are a lot of different reasons for why I say yes!
You’ve gotten to do a lot – hosting, presenting, acting, now you’re exploring directing. Is there something else that you’re really looking to conquer next?
Directing is one thing that I haven’t done yet. In a perfect world, I’ve never played an action star. I feel like I’m the least likely person, you know, to be an action star, you have to run and jump, and fight, and it has to be believable? That kind of performance, it’s that athletic type. One thing I do have to say, I’m proud of the fact that I got to be a part of GETTING ON – even though it’s only a third season. Alex, Laurie, and myself, we are all women of a certain age. We’re strong, we’re funny, we’re connected. To not only do that, but to do that with three other women – we get to actually play off of each other, and I couldn’t be prouder!
GETTING ON S3 will premiere sometime this fall on HBO.
THE SOUL MAN’s final season will premiere in 2016 on TV Land.
SCREAM QUEENS premieres tonight at 8/7c on FOX with new episodes airing Tuesdays at 9/8c.