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10 Things We Learned From Melissa McCarthy

10 Things We Learned From Melissa McCarthy


The star of Tammy opens up about dressing in drag, playing butch and her biggest girl crush

Photo: Getty

An Oscar nominee for her bawdy breakout role in Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy is returning to theaters this holiday weekend with her female-driven comedy Tammy, co-starring Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh. The road-trip comedy--in theaters July 2--marks her third summer blockbuster. The Emmy-winning star of Mike & Molly opens up in a new interview with The Advocate about her own journey to the stardom, which has found a special place among gay fans.

On the greatest night of her life:
All of my friends were gay. In high school we started going to downtown Chicago clubs like Berlin, one of the best gay bars ever. I remember being undressed and then redressed by two drag queens up on a pillar, and at the end I looked like Bea Arthur. At 43, it's still one of the greatest nights of my life.

How McCarthy doesn't have to talk to her kids about acceptance:
Well, I actually love that I don't really have to talk about it either. Our friends at the table are gay couples, and my kids have friends with same-sex parents. It's just a part of this next generation, so there's no need to explain it. It's a fantastic reality without lines or rights and wrongs. I love that my girls see no difference between those same-sex couples and the male-female couples that we hang out with. I'm more proud of that than anything.

On what gay support means to her:
Well, my best gay friends -- most of the attendants at my wedding -- are also my funniest friends. It's a loyal group that stays current, so it's a tough crowd. If I can please them, I feel really proud.

On the criticism Mike & Molly received for using the slur "shemale":
Had I known it was such a sensitive topic, I would've had them change that. So many people get blasted on the show, and I feel like everyone should get equal slaps, but I'm never for comedy that turns mean-spirited.

How all her Thelma & Louise fantasies came true on the set of Tammy:
I kept asking [co-star Susan Sarandon], "Should we go off a cliff? Is that too on-the-nose?" She is one of the coolest women I've ever met, by a landslide. She's so interesting, so intelligent, and such a great humanitarian. The fact that I got to spend time with her -- and now consider her a friend -- is pretty surreal. I was having a delightful breakdown during filming.

On the kiss she shared with Sarandon on Mike & Molly:
She's a good kisser, by the way. I loved that Molly actually considers it for a moment when Susan's character propositions her. Molly's like, Hmm ... should I? Nope, I'm married. But the joke on set was that I don't know if I'd really be able to say no! I mean, come on, it's Susan Sarandon.

On the inspiration behind Tammy's lesbian couple played by Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh:
They're based on some of my couple friends. They're the goal. As Tammy and her grandmother spiral downward, we wanted them to see this lovely, adjusted couple and realize that, if they made an effort, they could have that, too. Kathy and Sandra played it beautifully. Sandra and Kathy had known each other from before, so they had this fantastic ease together. I totally bought them as a dreamy couple. They just looked so in love, like they'd been together forever. They didn't even need to speak; Kathy would give Sandra these looks and I'd think, Aww, that's the good stuff. They were magical together.

On the inspiration behind Megan's butch character in Bridesmaids:
I love a woman who's solid in her shoes. Megan was partially based on two girlfriends of mine, a couple, at Southern Illinois University. They were so at ease with each other and with everything: "We're together, we're great, what's all the fuss about?" I've always been attracted to that confidence, so that's what I channeled for Megan.

On questioning her own sexual identity:
I don't buy it if anyone says they haven't. I think everyone does at some point. Growing up with so many gay friends, I was always in the minority as a straight girl, so there was definitely a time when I was like, "Boy, everywhere we go, I'm not meeting any fun guys ... Am I looking in the wrong place?" But then I met Ben and [sighs] I liked him. It's all just part of growing up and finding yourself.

On who's her girl crush:
The more I watch Girls the more I realize I'm crazy about Lena Dunham. She's my girl crush. She's smart, funny, confident, and she isn't afraid to look awkward. She's exactly who she is, take it or leave it. Nothing's more charming than someone who doesn't take herself too seriously.

Read her complete interview on

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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