interviews Rachael Harris Hi Rachael. Thank you so much for talking to us today.

Rachael Harris: Thanks for talking to me! So, our users seem to think that you are totally the funniest thing about Notes From the Underbelly. How do you feel about stealing the show?

Rachael Harris: Oh, wow. Well, I'm always happy when people like what I'm doing, you know, and I feel like I'm very lucky because Cooper is a great character. And the writers have just done such a great job writing for her and making a character that could potentially be really unlikable be really likable. I think you scored the best part on the show.

Rachael Harris: All I can say is that I just absolutely love Cooper, and it's such a gift to get to play her. Yes. She's hilarious. I know that your snarkiness has always been an apparent thing in all of your work, but Cooper really takes "cynical" to a new level. Are you anything like her in real life?

Rachael Harris: Yeah, I am. I think I'm like Cooper Lite, I'd have to say. I mean she is fearless. But I do share a lot of the same sensibility with her. Like the "Eskimo whore" look, when Lauren chucks that boot at her and it's that crazy Eskimo boot, those Ugg boots, and Cooper's like, "Ahh, the Eskimo whore look. Why did that go out of style?" That's completely something I would say. So there is a lot about Cooper that I relate to. I am snarky like that, just a little bit lighter. We like that. So, in your own life, have you seen parenthood change people for the worse?

Rachael Harris: Wow, that's a great question. You know what, I have seen it turn them to the worst. But on the other hand, I've seen it turn people--in the very next moment, within a 10-minute period--I can see somebody completely at their worst dealing with parenting and then resolve it and move on and grow up and mature in a way that I wouldn't have expected them to, in the same moment. So I think it brings out the best and the worst in you. I think you're probably right. Have you thought about having kids yourself?

Rachael Harris: Oh, definitely. We're so on the cusp. It's great for us because we really do keep going back and forth. We have two dogs, and we adore them and we humanize them. Cesar Milan would not be happy with us. We treat them like kids, and our friends who have children are disgusted. They're like, "They're not the same, Rachael and Adam. The dogs are not the same."

But you know, for us, we have a great life, we love our dogs and the whole way that we live, and we want to know that we're really ready to have a child. You can't give a baby back, and we want to make sure that we can provide and give the right amount of attention and that we're really ready to give that. What are your general feelings about motherhood, and what kind of mother would you want to be?

Rachael Harris: Well, you know, I would definitely be the mom that would understand. You know, "You may not understand why I'm doing this now but ultimately it's going to be for your good. And you can hate me in this moment right now, but I know it's going to shape you into a highly functioning adult when you get there." I honestly think I would be a pretty strict mom. I live in Los Angeles, so... Yeah, there's a lot to watch out for.

Rachael Harris: Yeah. So I think that I would have very strong boundaries, but at the same time I think I would have a great time and that my kids would have a great sense of humor. I would have a sense of humor about parenting, but I also think I'd veer more towards the edge of being strict. Maybe a little overzealous. I hate to admit it, but I think that's the way I would go. You've had all kinds of experience in film, TV, theater, commercials, pretty much everything. Which of your previous roles do you think prepared you the most for this one?

Rachael Harris: Wow, I don't want to generalize it, but I feel like it's a combination of things. In terms of commercials there was a great T-Mobile spot that I did, playing the fast-talking Ronnie Briskman. Superfun. It was Stacy Wall who directed that. That was a great character, but I think that some of the characters that I did with the Groundlings [comedy troupe] helped prepare me for this kind of all-business, very dry character. And also in Fat Actress, playing Kevyn was great, because Kevyn was able to detach from Kirstie and was rather snarky on that show too. So I'd have to say it would be a combination of Kevyn, the great T-Mobile spot, and the character that I did in the Groundlings. They all culminated into a nice Cooper. So, back to the show itself. Lauren and Cooper are like night and day. What do you think makes them able to be such close friends?

Rachael Harris: Well, I've said this before, but I think it's the fact that they all went to school together. It's one of those things, like I have friends with whom I don't necessarily share the same views, but I love them in a very special way. I think Cooper is the type of gal who really feels like, "I may not agree with your choices about getting pregnant, but if you're going to do it, I'm willing to stay committed to the friendship and I've got your back."

So that's the thing I do like about Cooper. She's very loyal. She may not be able to stand Julie sometimes, but she definitely cares about her. And if Julie called her in the middle of the night and said, "I need you to help me out with something..." Like when Cooper goes to the hospital [with Julie], she doesn't want to do it, but she's not going to let her friends down. So she goes to the hospital and is there for Julie, even though she's bitching the whole time. Deep down, I think Cooper has a big heart, even though she can't really show it. Which is my favorite thing to play. When you're working on a TV series like this, do you generally become close with your costars, or do you prefer to keep things professional?

Rachael Harris: I think it just depends on who you're working with. On Fat Actress I just had the best time with Kirstie and Bryan Callen. I don't see either of them as much as I did when we were working on the show, obviously, but every now and then I'll hear from Kirstie or Bryan. But with this show in particular, we're all great friends. Melanie just came over last night and we watched the episode together. And Michael Weaver and his wife would have come over, but they just had a baby so they couldn't do it. Peter Cambor is like my brother. He calls me every day and he's like, "What's up?" He's like, "What do you think of the ratings? How do you think the show went? How should I do this?" We have the same publicist now, too.

We're a very close group, and we're all very supportive of each other. I'm so grateful that they singled me out, but at the same time I feel like the thing that makes Cooper so great is she has great people to react to. I have nothing but gratitude for that, I'm so grateful, but it takes the whole ensemble to make it all work. That's really good to hear. When I'm watching a TV show I always wonder, "What if these actors really just hate each other? What would that be like?"

Rachael Harris: Well, that can happen! But fortunately for us, everyone genuinely cares for each other and also finds each other hilarious. Melanie Paxson is one of my favorite people on the planet. I don't know what it is, but she just kills me. What do you see happening with the show after Lauren's baby is born?

Rachael Harris: I think that's when the good stuff starts happening! Because they're going to start comparing their baby to other babies and whether she's walking or he's walking--and I don't know the sex of their baby by the way--but I think it's so great because you start comparing what stroller you have, and Lauren's going to have to deal with being a mommy and feeling guilty, like she's a bad mommy. I don't know how many times I've had friends that called me and were like, "Ohh, I did this, I'm a terrible mother!" And you're like, no, you're not, that's just what happens. And also with the guys--men fall in love with their babies like they didn't expect to, or sometimes they feel like they're not seen because their wife is spending so much time with the baby that they feel like they're on the outskirts.

I just think there's a ton of stuff to play that's very funny, yet very earnest and poignant at the same time. For me, it's just life; it's like endless amounts of material. I don't understand when people say, "What's going to happen when they have the baby? Is the show over?" I'm like, "No, it's just getting good!" Like, Cooper will have to hold that baby's hand at some point, do something. There's already funny stuff when Julie and Eric have their baby. Cooper is not the person you want to come over and watch your child. So I think there's all kids of good stuff in there. What's the best or the funniest thing that's happened on the set so far?

Rachael Harris: Oh, I know! At our wrap party, [director] Barry Sonnenfeld went crazy at the craft services cart. This is funny, and it's so not funny. They were all two sheets, you know, Barry enjoys a martini at the wrap parties all the time, so he'd had a few martinis. So he decided to take an entire warehouse-sized box of Cheerios and pour it into Peter Cambor's car. Like, are we fifteen? Are we in college? That's crazy! And this is the best thing because Peter Cambor was like, "YES!" He loved it. He loved that Barry Sonnenfeld threw an entire box of Cheerios into his car. Loved it, and it was just so dumb. I don't know if there's been anything else that's funnier. Well, that's about all the time we have. Thanks a lot for talking to us!

Rachael Harris: Thanks for having me. Have a great day. Good-bye!

Comments (3)
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Jan 25, 2008
Great interview and very funny person
Apr 23, 2007
This was a really funny interview. I gotta say, I do love Rachel Harris--even back during the VH-1 "I Love the 80s" days.

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