Like all good theater vets, Kristin Chenoweth knows how to improvise to get a laugh. While accepting the 2009 Emmy for supporting actress in a comedy for “Pushing Daisies,” she tried to make lemonade of the fact that Bryan Fuller’s ABC series had bitten the dust. Since she was unemployed, Chenoweth said she’d like to “be on ‘Mad Men’ and I also like ‘The Office’ and ‘24.’” Sadly, none of those shows came calling. But “Glee” did! And she got two guest actress noms for that Fox musical dramedy.
Did you have a speech prepared?
I remember sitting there when they called my name and thinking, “You have to speak now; you have to talk. You have to make it to the stage.” When I was walking to the stage, I remember seeing Drew Barrymore, whom I’d always wanted to meet, and I just waved at her like a weirdo. And I saw Christina Applegate, whom I have lots of love and respect for, and I waved at her. And I’m crying. I just couldn’t believe it was happening.
I’m not a big planner of those kinds of things. Maybe I’m superstitious, but I really didn’t think I was going to have to talk. I immediately thought I don’t have a job on TV now, so I recalled what I’d like to be on. And then I remembered, “oh, you have to thank people.”
Who was your date?
I had my best friend, Erin Dilly, as my date. The funny part of the speech is I didn’t thank her. I thanked my manager at the time, Danielle Thomas, and they showed Erin. Erin and I have been friends since we did a production of “Babes in Arms” at the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota.
You also said a few times in your speech that the Emmy was heavy.
It takes up my entire torso! I’m not kidding. If you put the bottom of it at my stomach, the top of it comes to my head.
I had it at my home in Los Angeles for a while. But I bubble wrapped the crap out of it when I eventually shipped it to my hometown in Oklahoma. The Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center opened the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre, which is kind of unbelievable to me. In the lobby, we put some of my favorite things that have been in my past … and there sits my Tony [which I won in 1999 for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”] and my Emmy. That’s the right place for those kinds of awards.
All the actresses who were nominated in this category that year made a big show out of putting on silly glasses as the cameras
panned to them.
I think at the Evening Before party, Amy Poehler said we should do something squirrely when they call our names.
Let me explain something to you, my darling, I am a weirdo that has props in the drawer next to me. I always have the glasses from the New Year’s before, I have a red clown nose, I have glasses that are really thick; I’m that person and that’s sort of bizarre. But when Amy Poehler suggested it, I thought, “Well, this will be perfect.” I don’t even have to go out and find anything. And something tells me she’s the same.