Megan Mullally may have first come to public consciousness with the popularity of Will & Grace, but she’s been a staple in theatrical performances for quite a bit longer. Similarly, her marriage to Parks & Recreation star Nick Offerman has been going strong for 14 years, but only due to his success in the last four years or so has their relationship become something of a dream comedy love story.
The two will play on that conception in tonight’s show at DAR Constitution Hall for the inaugural performance of their show Summer of 69 (No Apostrophe). Mullally talked to Arts Desk about what audiences could expect from the show and why D.C. gets a rare look at the two together. (Offerman could not participate in this interview because he was shooting a commercial in Scotland for Scotch whiskey. Let that Ron Swanson-esque moment blow your mind a little.
WCP: You mentioned in a recent interview with Seth Meyers that the show tonight is called Summer of 69.
Mullally: That’s right. No apostrophe.
As in no apostrophe before the 69 or do the words “no apostrophe” come after “69” in the title?
I think we might actually say “no apostrophe.” I’m not really sure yet because it’s the first time we’ve done the show and we haven’t really—-it’s all still kind of undecided. But I think we’re maybe planning on putting that in parentheses underneath.
What are some of the things that we can expect to see?
Well, I would not bring small children. It’s pretty adult content.
No. Nobody wants to see us naked. I mean, who knows, there might be some spontaneous nudity. It’s comedy and there’s going to be some original songs that we’ve written. Nick plays guitar and I play ukelele, so there’s that little Von Trapp Family aspect to it. There are also a bunch of other spoken parts of different varieties. Then there’s also going to be a little bit of video.
Is this going to be material that no one has seen you do before?
That’s right. It’s all new. With the exception of a couple of videos that we’re gonna show, it’s new. It’s really new. We’re still writing it. I mean, we’ve basically written it now, but we haven’t memorized it or performed it. This is the inaugural launch of 69.
When people meet the two of you together, do people tend to expect hilarity from conversations with you both?
I don’t know. I guess it depends on the person. Some people are more comedy-oriented and are prepared for anything and some people really don’t know that we’re kidding. Especially Nick, because he’s very dry. He’ll say stuff sometimes that’s pretty outlandish and the interviewer has no idea that he’s kidding. I will almost invariably, nervously point out that he’s kidding because I’m afraid of the repercussions.
Can you talk about the show that you’re about to be in with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane?
It’s a revival of a Terrence McNally play. The play is called It’s Only A Play. It’s set on the opening night of this new play that’s supposed to be the play of the year. Everyone with the production is nervously anticipating the New York Times review. That’s the gist. I’m the producer of the play, Matthew Broderick is the playwright. Nathan Lane is an actor in the play, but he’s on a successful sitcom now. There’s the director of the play, the lead actress of the play, a smarmy critic who no one cares for and a young coat check boy. Those are the characters and it’s very inside baseball-ish. Lots of skewering of all aspects of Broadway and theater in general, but it has a broad appeal even though it’s set in that world.
Do you have any idea how long that might run?
I think that I’m doing it until sometime in January, but it’s going to be ongoing. I may only be in it until sometime in January because I don’t live in New York.
How long have you lived in L.A.?
Since 1985. I moved here a long time ago and I love it. I love California. I love Los Angeles. Nick and I will often take our vacations just somewhere in California. We don’t get out of the state of California, but we love D.C. also. Actually, D.C. is one of my all-time favorite cities.
Yeah? What is it that you love about being in D.C.?
Well, I’ve spent a lot of time there. I just like it. I like the energy of the city. You know how you go to certain cities and you’re like, “Ugh, I could never live here”? I just love being in D.C. for some ephemeral reason that I can’t put my finger on. I’ve done two out-of-town Broadway runs there. Before we moved to Broadway, we did How to Succeed at the Kennedy Center. Before that, I had done Grease before we moved to Broadway. I have a really good friend who lives there. It’s just a city that I really like. I think it’s beautiful and has history. And I’ve been a couple of times with Nancy and Beth, but with Summer of 69, this is the virgin performance. I think it’ll be as much fun for Nick and I as it will be for the audience because it’s all going to be new. There’s some stuff that we’ve written and I’m sure there will be some screwing around and improvising as well. There might be some audience interaction. It’s going to be pretty filthy, so I would not bring my 9-year-old. I don’t have a 9-year-old, but if I did have one, I would not bring them. It’s going to be some blue humor. But our relationship has been made legendary in the press so we’re going to kind of play on that.
In that legend, are there any frequent misconceptions?
Our relationship has literally been mythologized. I don’t know if you saw the New York Magazine article that was written that literally documents our entire relationship from its inception. It’s pretty accurate, I have to say. I was pretty surprised. I don’t know how they even knew about some of it. I’ve even forgotten a bit. That’s a famous example and then there have been a few other articles in a similar timbre.
So it sounds like the press gets your relationship right?
It has been accurate. It’s weird. Nick and I joke that if we ever get into a spat at the grocery store, it’s gonna be on the front page of TMZ. Breaking news on CNN. This is the confusing part—-we do have an exceptionally great relationship. We are exceptionally well suited for one another. That part is definitely true. Occasionally though, we will get into arguments because we’re a married couple. We’ve been married for 14 years. So, have we never argued? Of course not! It’s just funny. We often laugh. If we get into an argument in public, people are going to go crazy. They’re going to have a field day with it. Maybe we should have a huge fight onstage for Summer of 69.
That would be entertaining. I know that Nick has advice the he gives out—-“The Ten Secrets to Life.” Do you have any advice for anybody that’s in a relationship at all, or in a relationship and involved in entertainment in any way?
I thought that I would never talk about my relationship with Nick. I thought that the best way to have a relationship if you’re in any way in the public eye is to not discuss it at all publicly because it’s nobody’s business. The second that Nick started to become well-known and became so popular on Parks & Recreation—-I think a couple times we said, “Let’s not talk about everything,” but we didn’t really stick with that. There’s no game plan and people started interviewing us separately and together.
When we’re being interviewed together, we tend to really get into it. And it seems fine. It doesn’t seem bad. What’s the worst thing that could happen? The upside seems fine. People seem to love our relationship and it gives people hope that there can be a great relationship in between two people that really like each other and crack each other up. Worst case scenario would be some crazy world wherein everything spirals and goes crazily out of control and we split up and then everybody’s minds are just blown. That’s the worst thing that could happen which is not going to happen.
We’re not a glamorous couple. We’re not Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, so nobody follows us around with a camera. We’re boring. We don’t have children. We don’t have any little babies to photograph. We barely ever do anything because we’re so busy working all the time. We never have a reason to leave the house for anything other than work. So, that seems okay. That’s great if people want to be inspired by our relationship. Summer of 69 is kind of taking that idea to the nth degree and capitalizing on it. Taking the idea of this idyllic, perfect love affair to end all love affairs and taking it forward.