Working two jobs is never easy, but actress Carolyn Hennesy considers herself one of the luckiest women in Hollywood. Best known for her roles as smoldering, mob attorney Diane Miller on the daytime soap opera, General Hospital and saucy, super-cougar Barb Coman on ABC’s Cougar Town, Hennesy keeps audiences entertained all day long. Luckily for TVgasm writer, SlifeGoesOn, she managed to squeeze in a few minutes to dish about cougars, co-stars, and cocktails … oh my!
Carolyn Hennesy, Scene Stealer Extraordinaire
SlifeGoesOn: You are one busy, little bee, lady!
Carolyn: Ha! I know! I literally just got home after a whirlwind day at the studio!
SlifeGoesOn: Oh, REALLY?! What’s been going on in Port Charles lately? Can you share any General Hospital spoilers?
Carolyn: Well, Diane is back with Max. But there is trouble in paradise! I don’t want to give away TOO much, but let’s just say he is SEVERELY distraught over Michael being in prison. To the point that he becomes incapacitated!
Diane is courting disaster with Max!
SlifeGoesOn: You must be suffering from whiplash playing two different roles on television at the same time!
Carolyn: Honestly, I have the best job in Hollywood! I have the privilege of playing two smart, sassy, irreverent, funny women that have a roving eye and eat at life’s banquet … and then I get to come home to my fabulous husband!
SlifeGoesOn: You’re a classically trained actress, but you’ve also studied with the Groundlings and the ACME Comedy Theater. Does your heart lie with comedy or with drama?
Carolyn: Oh, hands down it is comedy! It is my bread and butter! Drama is delicious, too, but I get to do it so rarely.
SlifeGoesOn: Well, your performance on Cougar Town is absolutely hysterical. You’ve managed to turn scenery chewing into an art form.
Carolyn: (laughs) You are too kind!
SlifeGoesOn: In fact, TV Guide named you “Scene Stealer of the Year” in 2009.
Carolyn: They did?! Is that issue still on the newsstand? I gotta go grab it!
SlifeGoesOn: How does one possibly top an accolade like that?
Carolyn: Hmm, that’s a tough one! I dunno. Emmy, maybe?
SlifeGoesOn: Don’t you stand a very good chance at a Daytime Emmy nomination this year?
Carolyn: I am very lucky to have a pre-nom for the third year in a row. That means a lot to me, because that’s from your peers, you know?
Carolyn would like to thank the Academy!
SlifeGoesOn: Looking back at your stellar career (Hennesy’s many film credits include: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and Click) do you have any performances that you regret or make you cringe?
Carolyn: Yes! And you’ll never see them! (laughs)
SlifeGoesOn: Nothing that could be nominated for a Razzie?
Carolyn: Not yet. But I’d be honored to win one! And I hope I have as much class as Sandra Bullock did when she accepted hers.
SlifeGoesOn: Are you surprised by the success of Cougar Town?
Carolyn: Not at all! The show has such an amazing pedigree. [Creator] Bill Lawrence is a genius! He surrounds himself with a stable of the most talented people. And the series actors are all phenomenal!
SlifeGoesOn: Cougar Town and Modern Family are definitely the big comedy breakout hits of the year. Is there any rivalry between the two shows?
Carolyn: Oh, I’d give you all the dirt if I knew it! I don’t think there is. Together the two shows make for such a hilarious hour of television.
SlifeGoesOn: Your character, Barb, has been referred to by the press as both “irascible” and “lascivious.”
Carolyn: I must have missed those articles! (laughs)
SlifeGoesOn: How would you describe Barb?
Carolyn: Well, she is absolutely lascivious! She is voracious. She has no filter. She has no shame. But, she is also fearless. That kind of fearlessness usually comes from tragedy or overcoming an obstacle. I’d love to know more of her backstory!
Hennesy makes this whole acting thing look easy.
SlifeGoesOn: No offense, but aren’t you a little young to be playing a cougar?
Carolyn: (laughs) I love you! No, I’m just well-preserved. It’s from bathing in formaldehyde. And all the Diet Coke I drink!
SlifeGoesOn: I think Coca-Cola just found their new spokesperson!
Carolyn: Ha! I would love that!
SlifeGoesOn: But seriously, you’re like the new Sophia Petrillo! And we all know that Estelle Getty was the youngest one on The Golden Girls!
Carolyn: They do make me up a little older. But technically, Barb does qualify as a cougar. I believe the standard is you have to date men fifteen years younger than you.
SlifeGoesOn: Now, I know there are cougars, and there are super-cougars, like the incomparable Betty White.
Carolyn: Love her!
SlifeGoesOn: LOVE her!
Carolyn: Don’t forget pumas!
SlifeGoesOn: Yes, cougars in training. But I would like to petition that we introduce a new term into the pop culture lexicon. Because you are a minx!
Carolyn: (laughs) Why minx?
SlifeGoesOn: Well, “cougar” just sounds so predatory. And “minx” is more effortlessly seductive. You can’t help yourself. You slink into a room and the guys just come to you.
Carolyn: (laughs) I would love to be president of that group! Or atleast a charter member of the fan club!
SlifeGoesOn: Will we see Barb in the final three episodes of the season?
Carolyn: You most certainly will! It will be a nice, little wrap up!
SlifeGoesOn: What would you like to see happen with Barb next season?
Carolyn: I think it would be hilarious if Barb got fired, and they never explained why. But the assumption would be that it was for some lewd behavior.
Carolyn: And maybe Barb would have to go work for [Courteney Cox’s character] Jules.
SlifeGoesOn: Speaking of Courteney Cox, I need some dirt on the former Dirt star!
Carolyn: I wish I could pull out the cougar claws! Courteney may be the busiest person on the face of the planet, but she is also the nicest! In fact, she is annoyingly lovely. She walks into the makeup room without a stitch of makeup on and we all just fall over. I always say, “God just LOVES you!”
Cox-a-doodle-doo! Carolyn crows about her fab co-star.
SlifeGoesOn: What about your other co-stars?
Carolyn: Christa [Miller] is SO funny! And Busy [Phillips] is a new mom now, so she’s all about baby clothes and stuff.
SlifeGoesOn: What’s been your favorite experience playing Barb?
Carolyn: Certainly my most triumphant moment was when I had to throw my leg up over this guy’s shoulder.
SlifeGoesOn: I had a feeling you were going to say that! I was going to ask if that was really your leg!
Carolyn: It sure as hell was! And no one was more surprised than me that I could do it! They had hired a stunt leg – a dancer. Lovely girl. They fitted her with a Barb wig and everything so they could shoot her from behind. But in rehearsal, I just threw my leg over the guy’s shoulder and everyone dropped their teeth.
Barb has a leg up on her cougar competition.
SlifeGoesOn: What about your most embarrassing moment?
Carolyn: Actually, the “Ask Barb” blog on ABC.com is pretty raunchy! I see some of the stuff they want me to say, and I’m like, guys, please! I write children’s books! I don’t want angry mothers coming after me!
SlifeGoesOn: Do you have big plans for the summer?
Carolyn: I’m working on a play. And I have a book planned for General Hospital; a fictionalized account of the characters that’s due next April. I’m also planning a trip to Rome with my husband to do some research for the sixth book in my Pandora series.
SlifeGoesOn: Wow! Well, if you ever run out of things to do, maybe you can petition for Barb to star in her own spinoff?
Carolyn: Ha! Yes! We’ll call it Minxville!
SlifeGoesOn: You heard it here first!