Emmys 2012: Megan Mullally and Lisa Kudrow On the Wonder of Their First Emmy Wins

Megan Mullaly and Lisa Kudrow
Megan Mullaly and Lisa Kudrow
 Mary Rozzi

This story first appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It's a shame, really, that NBC never attempted a crossover episode between two of its most prized Thursday night Must-See TV properties: the New York-set, Emmy-winning series Friends and Will & Grace.

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How cool would it have been to see Megan Mullally's boozy Karen Walker and Lisa Kudrow's flower child Phoebe Buffay chew some comedy scenery together? Aside from the fact that each long has been a superfan of the other -- Mullally calls Kudrow "a genius," while Kudrow says Mullally shows "a total commitment to character" -- they each crafted such an indelibly standout supporting character that without them, their series' powerhouse ensembles simply would have been off-balance.

For Kudrow, 49, whose calendar has been packed of late with creating and starring in Showtime's Emmy-nominated Internet series-turned-hit show Web Therapy and producing the Emmy-nominated NBC genealogy reality series Who Do You Think You Are?, the buzz of her 1998 win for Friends remains a cloudy dream.

"My son was just a few months old, I was really tired, and no one else from Friends was there that night," she says. "It was just me and my husband, and I remember thinking: 'Wow, my son was born, and now this? It's been a good year!' "

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Mullally, 53, scored two supporting wins for Will & Grace and has parlayed her gold into a talk show in 2006 and dozens of comedy-series stints, from roles on Starz's Party Down to NBC's Parks and Recreation (alongside husband Nick Offerman) and ABC's Happy Endings. She shares Kudrow's sense of wonder about her first Emmy victory in 2000, a moment of shock so potent that a certain co-star had to snap her out of it. "Sean Hayes was sitting behind me and grabbed me in a full nelson," says Mullally. "It was cool."

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