In Bravo’s new scripted comedy Odd Mom Out, Jill Kargman takes a satirical look at the “problems” faced by moms in New York’s tawny Upper East Side.
A couple months back at the Television Critics Association presentation, OHSOGRAY and a couple other journalists talked with Kargman and her onscreen husband, Andy Buckley. Here’s what she had to say about her crazy life.
Odd Mom Out airs Mondays at 10-10:30 ET on Bravo.
How was the transition from writing to acting?
Jill Kargman: It was really easy. I mean it’s not Shakespeare. But I was always in plays in college; I was never not in a play. But I knew I was never going to pursue professionally cause I wanted to make a living. I was already living with my mom and dad….I got a job while I was in college at a magazine. I was living with my mom and dad til I was 24. I moved in with my ex-primate, briefly, and then I came right back to mom and dad.
On the show Jill has Vanessa to unload on. Do you have someone similar in your life?
Jill Kargman: Her name is Vanessa. The diner scene is based on my real best friend Vanessa from Yale, who’s my sister (I never had a sister). I also have my brother in real life. I have somebody to go to, but she really can’t relate to some of my problems because they’re “rich people” problems. She always feels protective of me and wants to just extricate me from this neighborhood. But it’s where I live. I was there first I grew up there in the 70s, so even though the Upper East Side has changed, I haven’t. I’m still rooted there and it’s my home. Central Park is the lung of Manhattan.
How do you keep your kids from getting sucked into this extreme lifestyle?
Jill Kargman: I try to emulate my parents. They’re my closest friends and my role models. We really talk about…as I said, my daughter’s nearly 12 and she already knows that that is outrageous behavior. She will tell me some of the quotables of little kids who…She’s my spy. She should be in the writer’s room. Maybe if we go to season 2, we’ll put her on the background.
Has she asked you for something where you were like, “No”?
Jill Kargman: All the time. Every single day. “I want an iPhone 6. I want this, I want that. So and so has it.” One of her friends, her private jet was in the shop and they took a commercial jet and they were like, “Why are there all these people there?” It’s not even silver [spoons]…it’s not keeping up with the Joneses, it’s keeping up with the Rockefellers. So, I just say, “That’s not what we do. That’s just how it is.” “Why can’t I?” “Because that’s how it is.”
Are others in your social group thinking, “Oh poor Jill, she doesn’t have a jet”?
Jill Kargman: No, I don’t think anyone really…because that’s such an extreme thing. But definitely the kids will say, “Why don’t we?” Because they don’t have perspective yet. They’re so tender in age, but they have friends who are kind of like—wheels up to Aspen! Wheels up to St. Barts! … “Why don’t we have a country house?” Certain things like that. So I’m constantly…every day to answer your question, there is something or other, “Why don’t we have this or that?” I just kind of shut it down. Now they don’t even really ask – they’re almost 12, 8 and 7, so I feel like they kind of get it now.
You’ve finished season 1, so what are you doing with all the new crazy stories? Are you writing them all down?
Jill Kargman: I feel like my Jew-y Jew-stein superstitious side is not allowing me that luxury. But I caved and started a little thing on my iPhone in the Notes section. I’m hopeful and keeping a little stash of those details.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened since you wrapped?
Jill Kargman: My daughter is really into Instagram and she was telling me that this guy had a bar mitzvah that had Ariana Grande perform at. So she’s like, “Can we get Ariana Grande?”
What are the 5 most important things you need to live in this world of privilege on the show?
Jill Kargman: If you want to keep up with Brooke, you would probably need half of the Philippines living in your house. You would need a car and driver, personal chef, personal trainer, a stylist…a lot of people. Your team. As they say in LA, “Thank you to my team.” I’m a New Yorker, I don’t have a team. But some of these people really do. That was a great episode, we’re shooting in Sean and Abby’s townhouse, which the location was breathtaking. It’s actually three NY brownstones all combined. There’s an indoor basketball court. This is not just our set. It’s an actual family. They have four sons and I don’t know about the rest of their life but I was like stalking all the family photos cause I was obsessed with them. But they have just room after room—it goes on and on like Downton Abbey in the middle of the upper east side of New York.
How have you enjoyed playing husband and wife?
Andy Buckley: I got involved in the show—I saw a presentation they did and thought, “This is really funny.” Then I showed my wife and she’s like, “This is funny.” She thought it was supper funny. It was great, we had breakfast, I did my research, I read all about Jill and her books. I started, I got about half way through one of them, “Rockstar” in 3 days…then we had breakfast and we just hit it off instantly. It was supposed to be 45 minutes and it was 2 hours.
Is he like your husband?
Jill Kargman: He’s not. My husband is sort of geeky. He’s a tech guy. Andy’s just a natural comedian. He had the whole crew in stitches every day. They’re both great guys—they like each other.
Andy Buckley: He’s a lovely guy, Harry. He’s solid, smart…
Jill Kargman: He’s smart as hell. Andy went to Stanford, Harry went to Harvard. They’re both brainiacs.
Does your husband ever get embarrassed by the things you write about?
Jill Kargman: No, he knew what he was getting into when he married me. As Andy said….
Andy Buckley: When you meet Jill, she calls ‘em as she sees ‘em. […]
Jill Kargman: We have an episode where we’re trying to get into a cemetery—and it’s a true story. My parents got 18 plots secured through a major application process. You have to 10 letters of recommendation. Their offspring will only leave “tasteful flowers.” They won’t perform “Thriller” choreography. So we first got rejected and then someone wrote a letter for us and we got in. My dad’s like, “We got in! We’re right on the ocean.” And I was like, “Dad, we’re dead.” So we built a whole episode out of that. [I ask] Andy, “If you wind up there before…I wind up first, I want to make sure you’re going to marry somebody good. So we’re brainstorming who can marry if I’m dead. [In the episode], it’s his family that secured it.
Andy Buckley: It’s my family, so Joanna is the one who’s obsessed with getting in. So she’s running through a list of names and I happen upon one that I liked. She got a little….
Jill Kargman: Then I was like, “Well, she’s a little difficult.” He’s like, “Well, then she’s definitely my type.”
Andy, do you have any familiarity with this world of excess?
Andy Buckley: You can liken it to every…I’m sure in Silicon Valley there’s all that with the guys with all the tech dough. Down here your movie star money and your TV star money. In Miami, it’s whatever that world is or Chicago….
Jill Kargman: Or even if it’s Nellie Oleson in some rectangular red state like, “Pa owns the store.” There’s always someone.
Andy Buckley: There’s always somebody who’s got a lot more than you.