'30 Rock': Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer on Crazy Reality Stars, Mickey Rourke and Kenneth's Family (Q&A)
Ahead of their second live episode, two of the show's biggest stars talk about their characters' wild antics.
When 30 Rock broadcasts live on Thursday night, anything could happen. Few of the variables traditionally associated with live television, however, come close to matching the insanity of the scripted lives of Jenna Maroney and Kenneth Parcell.
Played by Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer, respectively, the two characters have backstories that not even the actors can keep straight. Jenna is a raving narcissist Hollywood actress who will do anything for any sort of fame; Kenneth is from a backwater family of inbreeders and religious fanatics. And they're two of the series' funniest characters.
Krakowski and McBrayer spoke with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week at NBC Studio 6H, where the episodes will take place, about Jenna's breakdowns and many sexual partners, and Kenneth's bizarre background.
THR: With Jenna, she's always been a send-up of reality stars, but you've really come close to the ground this year, with the "exhaustion" and rehab and things. Do you pay attention to those type of headlines?
Krakowski: I think she's become a collage of many people and all the exaggerated things that happen to people in the headlines and in the business, especially this season, I think we've created out of the real stories that are going on.
McBrayer: Very thinly veiled.
Krakowski: But I love it. I really feel like they have opened both of our characters a lot this season, and we've gotten to play so many more things than I'd expected and got some delicious story lines this year... That episode that we just did where we did a montage of Jenna going crazy, it was kind of fun because every reference is on YouTube, every person that we were sending up, it was all available on YouTube. People's arrest tapes, mugshots, everything is online.
McBrayer: Crotch shots.
Krakowski: Yeah, I had a crotch remodeled based on the celebrity it was based on.
THR: Anything for art.
McBrayer: Oh, we love money.
Krakowski: Custom merkins. They're coming back, you know.
THR: I really hope so. Do you ever hear from any of the reality stars or actresses you're sending up?
McBrayer: They don't watch 30 Rock. No one watches 30 Rock.
Krakowski: We're just doing it for us and our families [laughing].
THR: I've seen at least a couple episodes.
McBrayer: You were watching Modern Family and you know it.
THR: There are so many insane character flashbacks for each of you, do you ever sit down to chart the crazy backstories of your characters?
Krakowski: It's crazy. Our script supervisor, Claire, has a bible of everything, and sometimes she'll remind us of things. Especially with relationships, because I've mentioned in passing, like in the middle of another sentence, someone that I've had some dalliance with -- she's been with so many people, and a great variety of types -- it's kind of amazing if you ever look back.
McBrayer: It is funny because sometimes she'll have it on set and you'll flip through and be like, I don't know what year I was born in, I don't know all my family members, apparently technically my parents were brothers. There are so many weird things that our writers give us in every single episode that it's incredibly hard to keep track.
Krakowski: The great thing about the way the show is written is that so many facts about our characters' lives come out in passing and you have to kind of really pay attention to get them sometimes.
THR: I've been very curious about Jenna's relationship with Mickey Rourke.
Krakowski: Yes! It sounds intriguing, right. [laughing] I've thought about it a lot, and I'm quite disturbed. I don't know we suddenly pick people. Like the other day there was a whole Dean Cain reference. Like, how random, why Dean Cain? What have we done to Dean Cain, what's happened?... There's been a long period I had with Mickey Rourke, then I just had--
McBrayer: David Blaine.
Krakowski: There was David Blaine but if you go back I had a threesome with Tom and Roseanne Arnold.
McBrayer: Oh you're right!
Krakowski: Dog the Bounty Hunter is the second grossest guy I've slept with, next to Judah [Friedlander].
McBrayer: Oh you're going to get some maaaa-il.
Krakowski: Who else?
MacBrayer: Your gym teacher?
Krakowski: No, he's become the new Mickey Rourke.
McBrayer: I don't remember. I only read my lines.
Email: Jordan.Zakarin@THR.com; Twitter: @JordanZakarin