Sarah Chalke Talks Rick & Morty

WNYC 93.9 FM
| WNYC 93.9 FM


About what a dream career in acting might be. Sarah Chalke has sort of had it. She's been on some of the best love TV shows of all time, Roseanne. Scrubs How I met your mother. Not too shabby, right? But you know things must be slowing down during the pandemic for actors. Well, not for Sarah. Now she's part of the one of the most popular shows during this pandemic, the animated series Rick and Morty, where she does the voice of Beth Sanchez. I had the chance to talk with Sarah Chalke out in Vancouver, British Columbia last year after season four of the show rap. We talk from her home, NBC. Don't worry, I wasn't NBC hears our conversation. Hi, Sarah. How are you? Hey, I'm great. Nice to talk to you. Where are you? I'm in British Columbia and s O feel like you'd be here. You're still able to work right? You're on Rick and Morty. It's animated show. Are you still able to do voices? Yes, I'm I've been recording three cartoons up here, and it's been such an interesting adventure to find like the most acoustically positive sound And really, that's like a dead sense. You have to find somewhere small and s O. I started out in the lower bunk bed surrounded by every do they and pillow that was available to me and then try taking the kids play tent and duct taping seven moving blankets around it. Um and then you know you're in this kind of like dark space. And then I take like make a stack with like a thing of poker chips and Harry Potter books and then bounced the microphone on top and hope for the best. And I also say that like Beth on Rick and Morty Is not like a A super kid friendly cartoon character like No. Are you worried about your kids here in here and what's going on with mom in the room? So what if he like up and you know you're recording off campus in a sound contained sound booth? Um, so yeah, yeah, that's also been part of this figure out a way to not only keep the dogs from barking, um, and hearing birds, but also, uh, the Children not hearing you. So it's an interesting um Dynamic. They get to have some really loud. Screen time, huh? Get they get to watch their iPad as loud as they want so that mom could say rated r things into a microphone in the bunk bed. Totally. I mean, I was already worried about like my daughter who's three going to preschool and like she loves we have all the Rick and Morty like stuffed animals, and plus, she's and so she'll play with them. If you like, mister Q. B Butthole. Yeah, I don't know how that's gonna go over playing that with other Children. It's been really amazing to see how big Rick and Morty has become, like I remember when it was sort of like this little niche. Animated chauffeur for nerds and for You know, for people who like really kind of sophisticated comedy, and then it just becomes this worldwide phenomenon. And it made me think about your character, Beth. So for people who haven't seen the show, can you tell me who Beth was when you started and sort of who she's become, as the serious has gone on. Yes. Oh, so she's the sort of mother of the family. Um, Rick and Morty is the grandfather of the grandson. And you think you're gonna watch this grandfather grandson? Go on these like wild sci fi adventures. But what it ends up going into is like these real kind of rough family dynamics and on day kind of You know, not just this sci fi cartoon but asking these existential questions like if life is meaningless, and there are infinite universes, does anything really matter? So that's rickon Gordy in general, and then the best starting out kind of that, you know, as the Matriarch of the family and playing the mom and then over time, And as the seasons went on, you find out how much she is like her dad and the fact that when she was little, he had to build her a secret world. Because she was making whips to make people like her and mind control hair clips. As a young girl. You find out that she is kind of a lot like her dad, and and then and then, as the seasons go on. She wants to either stay or leave, And we don't know if she's a clone or not a clone, and that's been super fun to play kind of death. And then this alternate best as well. Space that it's funny like it. Z must be a challenge to sort of play your character and also sort of more sinister. We're like, deceptive version of your character. But it's all the same voice like You're not changing too much, you know. Yeah, Totally, totally. It's been. It's been super fun, and obviously we didn't know at any point that that was coming like we just get the scripts as we get them. We have no knowledge of. You know what's happening down the road in the future, so that part's so fun. I mean, to see like a Rick and Morty script in My Inbox is one of my favorite things because the minds of Justin Royal and and Dan Harmon are Unbelievable. There. So the scripture so smart and so funny and so wild. I love them. It's the number to show in all of North America like we were looking at in the US anyway. We were looking at the survey was conducted in the US to see what TV shows were being binge the most during the pandemic. So number one friends. Friends is number one. Right? Yes, I love it. I'm a big friends fan. And then sort of like the anti friends Rick and Morty is is not know that his number two in some states record is number one. What do you make of it? What do you make of it that during the pandemic, it's gotten even more successful. That's really cool. I didn't know that. I think I think people want to laugh and people want to escape into another world. And I think that it's a You know, a time for For a real need for for comedy, and the growth of It has been interesting to watch kind of through the eyes of comic con over the years like we would go to comic con You're one. It hasn't been released yet. So all the questions were to Dan Harmon about community and then the next year, it was like a couple of weeks walking around and then the next It was like a sea of Mr Poopy bottles and bricks and all these different characters was kind of cool. I get to see how it's how it's growing, but I'm glad it's bringing people less. Is it this time? Is it ever a bit intense? Like I know that I know that Even Dan and Justin, the folks behind the show have had to come out and talk to the fans of the show. Because they could be intense. They could be a bit toxic. That could be a bit sort of awful. Now when we're talking about a pretty small Group of fans of the show, but I can't imagine what that's like to be sort of in it to be in in the show, with all that's going on. Yeah, it is. It is wild. The degree to which you know I can't watch all the little pieces and I am you know, I think that That, you know, I don't. I don't actually read a ton of those, uh, those sites and comments, but I think it's It's cool how passionate people are about it. It reminds me because when you started, I think the first way we all knew you was when you were on when you were on Roseanne and you were brought in court famously, is second Becky. Like one of the biggest shows of the nineties, You replaced the original actress who played the daughter Becky, until the original Becky came back again. From what? I understand you were in high school in Canada, and then it got that gig. Yeah, it was crazy. I was 16 when I auditioned and I I was living in Vancouver and working on a couple things that were filming up here, but really haven't done anything under very much. And and, uh, got this audition and put myself on tape. And, um, I think we even like Mailed a VHS tape, You know, down to the states, and they called and said, We're gonna fly you down for an audition on day were seven of us and all the others were like 21 living in L. A actresses and all of us were doing this scene with Glenn Quinn. Who played Mark back his husband and the whole scene was like making out. You're making out with him. And you're like, you know, get job. The gas station, baby. Come and get it down to the gas station, baby. Come here. That was the same like there's this 24 year old, handsome Irish actor. How am I gonna remember one line and they said we'll let you know within a week. And then, a week later, they called back and said, Okay, come back tomorrow and do a scene with Roseanne and was like on the infamous coach on the set, and they were calling out. You know, camera numbers and having a laugh track and seeing if you could kind of adjust to those elements, and then they called and said, You got it. And Remember going to a party that night and telling a couple people and it just sounded so crazy. Sounded crazy. Yeah. Sounded crazy that you were in. You were in high school, and you were telling people having to be on the number one sitcom in the world. They would have been right to be like They're not. You're not like taking over for someone else like they're gonna not have like It just sounded insane. And we already had, like great seven. We already had, like someone like lied about being on the mini pops. Remember the many pox which were so amazing? I don't I don't know. The minibar like a Canadian band was like a Canadian kids. And you would like You know they would sing covers, and they were dressed these cool eighties clothes and they were amazing and someone in our schools that they were going to be in the mini pops. That wasn't true. So all the sudden I felt this feeling of like I'm lying about being in many parts, and then so then I kind of spread it on our school pretty quick. And then they called me back on Monday morning, and they said We're having cold feet about replacing Becky. So we don't know if we're gonna do it. We will do will pick you if we do it, but we're gonna put you on hold for four months. We're going to tell you in September just got this is jumping. You couldn't be a Minnie Bob situation, right? You're gonna have to go back to all of them ago. No, no, they change their mind like all you have Sara? Sure they did Change your mind. And then you then you find out Yeah. And then s O was my great 12 year and, um And I would go back and forth because they would shoot two or three weeks on one week off. So we would shoot Monday to Thursday. I would get on a plane first thing Friday morning and be at school in Canada on Friday afternoon and then and then fly back Sunday night or stay home for a week if we had a week off and kind of commuting back and forth I'm really interested in people like you who have On gun traditional first big gig like I was talking to Linda Cardellini the other day who played Lindsay on Freaks and geeks, Right? And you know, so there you go. She's her big break. Is this show that considered to be the greatest show of all time and then gets canceled after one season and I said, You know, what does that do for you for the rest of your career, and similarly for you your first Big is to replace beloved Actor. In a show that is the number one show on that, and it was it was controversial. When it happened, it was people couldn't believe that it was happening. And then I wonder if that taught you anything in your career going forward, whether it had hardened to you or heart And you do you think it did something to you? I think both of those things I think, you know, I mean, because Yeah, came. She would least he was Becky from seasons 1 to 5. I was six and seven. She came back for the beginning of eight. And then I came back for the rest of eight. And for nine. And so it was definitely, you know. As a kid. Um, it's you know, it's confusing and hard when they brought her back, and then they called this. Okay. Now, will you come back? And and so that piece, I think, um Was the challenging part of it for sure, And the other piece that was challenging was just going from complete obscurity to going on the number one show, and then you're at that age where gynecology just kind of wanna blend of a sudden that piece of it was it was hard, but they incredible part was the obvious, unbelievable gift of working with John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf and Roseanne and Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki and Sandra Bernhardt. And I mean it was It was crazy. It was like stepping into having not really worked out much to working with this top, unbelievably talented comedians and just watching them. Work and what They would do with a script from a Monday morning table read Till Thursday night Tape night. It was such a huge learning experience and so so interesting and obviously You know, open so many doors for me. I mean, I was Like my entire diamonds, girls. My nickname was second package would be like we got second back in the seventies. Really Good. Yeah. Yeah,

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