Kristen Wiig is trying to deal with the fact that she’s always expected to be ‘on.’ The comic actress and “Saturday Night Live” vet has made a name for herself with outlandish characters and hilarious writing, but she’s actually quite shy and reserved when she’s not on the clock. Unfortunately, when promoting a massive animated film like “Despicable Me 2,” that’s not very often.
“I mean, in an interview situation I am aware that I’m being recorded and written about, so there’s a kind of a persona you have to bring out a little bit,” she admits. “I find that people who interview me expect probably more of a comedic personality than in real life.”
Wrestling with those perceptions has perhaps gotten easier now that she’s left “SNL,” where she became a standout over seven seasons with crazy characters like the Target Lady. She even enjoyed a touching kind of send-off — with each cast member and creator Lorne Michaels dancing with her during a final sketch — most other retiring “SNL” actors don’t enjoy.
With a year’s time now between Wiig and her tearful farewell from “SNL,” she admits she’s finally getting used to not being on the sketch comedy mainstay. “I do miss it,” she admits. “It’s getting easier now because they’re on [summer] hiatus. I don’t imagine what they’re doing — not in a creepy way, but just … . It was such a big part of my life for seven years and it was a transition to leave, but it’s getting better.”
For her new addition to the “Despicable Me” world, Wiig was given some touchstones from a one of her famous predecessors to work with: She plays Lucy, a brassy, clumsy redhead — who reminds viewers more than a little of Lucille Ball — tasked with roping retired super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) into a mission. “That’s all they gave me. ‘Her name is Lucy, she has red hair, go!'” Wiig says with a laugh. “I had never played a character like that before that was so enthusiastic, I guess. She’s very excited.”
Lucy is also fairly fearless, a trait Wiig humbly declines to apply to herself. “Um… no,” she laughs. “I don’t know, in some ways, I guess. But I don’t think anyone is 100 percent fearless.”
What makes Kristen funny?
Through her time on “Saturday Night Live” and her jump to film with projects like “Bridesmaids,” Kristen Wiig has earned a legion of fans for her unique brand of humor. But just what is it that makes her so entertaining? “Despicable Me 2” co-star Steve Carell breaks it down for us.
“Kristen to me is funny, and not to deconstruct Kristen’s comedy, but she to me is really funny because you never see her trying to be funny,” he says. “I think we’re very similar in a sense that at a party or social situations we’re not necessarily the funniest people in the room. It’s just the two of us huddled in the corner whispering, ‘How’s it going?'”