'Maisel' Actor Alex Borstein
From whyy in Philadelphia. I'm terry gross with fresh air. Today after Alex Burstein she's won two Emmys for her performance on the Marvelous Mrs Mazel Easel. It's about in one thousand nine hundred housewife who becomes a standup comic. Boston plays her manager and brutally honest confidante season three is streaming now. I got her start on mad. TV and became a writer and voice actor on family guy. She said her voice for the mom. Lois Griffin was based on a sketch. Comedy character. She she did whose son told her. He was quitting his stockbroker job to become a magician and she said Oh. Okay well that's fine and wonderful. By what what about the stockbroker job. No I'm not I'm leaving that I wanna be a magician. Aoki good but you're still going to be a stockbroker right. That's coming up on fresh share the third season of the Marvelous Mrs Mazel just started streaming on Amazon. And this morning the show is nominated for a Golden Golden Globe for best comedy series. Our guest Alex Burstein won back to back emmys for her performance as Mrs maizels manager. She also won an Emmy for her performance. Formation's in the Fox Animated Series Family Guy as the mother Lois on the HBO series getting on she played a nurse. She got her start on the sketch. Comedy Series Mad. TV Alex Burstein spoke with fresh. Air's Dave Davies and they began with a clip from the marvelous. Mrs Mazel. It set in the Nineteen Fifties Midge Mazel as an affluent young Jewish housewife on. New York's upper west side after helping her husband a businessman who's an aspiring comic. She takes takes the MIC one. Night likes it and soon discovers. She's a better comic than he is. Alex Bornstein's character is the tough streetwise. Suzy Meyerson who recognizes Midge maizels talent and becomes her manager in this scene from the second season Midge maizels career has gotten some traction and she's meeting Susie busy at a diner midge. Mazel is played by Rachel Brosnahan. The scene begins with Boersting as susie. Remarking that midget success means her. Phone calls are now being returned. He's club owners. Call me back in a flash sometime. You'll take a message when the hearings me on the phone call. That's respect for me. I I mean look at me. They're respecting me. I'm working alone. I have a tune with you on some month. Truce since he they respect you. Because you're you Great Britain. Do half of them respect me may be the other half. WanNa get in your pants stock. It's going to happen. I mean look at you like a dollar of Whitby. Grew ahead undercut yourself. That's all I'm saying. So you call this launch. What he wants to talk about just wanted to touch base before I go to the Cancer Relief Tomorrow Karski so nice down break pastures been tough? Gigs might tougher tossed into S. That's why it's so Saturday. On Day you went to college. You can figure it out these role in the next two weeks. So I'm going to catskills. Yeah you say so so I can't do these. I'm going to the catskills Angela. Week after next. But I'm going to the catskill your record skipping missy get to the point going to the catskills for two months. She's almost. That was a bit. Take going to catch those two months. Such a million times I was going to the catskills so but I figured it was five days tops. Awesome two months the guy in back of me to whatever you're doing for two months lots of things but look at tree you go to bed you get up. You look at a tree even just two straight months. It's going on their activities. We'd go boating. We sunbathe over the summer I stayed here and I sweat and I smell like a bum. I'm miserable and I want to kill people I do until it gets cold. And that's I guess Alex bursting with Rachel Brosnahan in the marvelous. Mrs Mazel the third season and is now available for streaming on Amazon. Prime Alex Burstein welcome to fresh air. It's great to have you tell us about susie this manager You know I'm sure. Are you spent a Lotta time in comedy clubs. Is there somebody that you kind of drew on for this character. You know not directly. This character just feels very familiar. You're regardless of what profession and what world. She's she's working in. It's it's you know she's my grandmother She's my mother. She's people like Amy Sherman Palladino in my life. There have been you know various club owners that you know you know throughout the years but there's no one person I know amy in bringing this alive she did pull from a kind of a character to and the women that have have risen to the top and especially during during that time were pretty few and far between and very recognizable. This series has really high production values in the costumes especially for the women are like wow down to the hat and the gloves you look pretty different. Yeah most of the women have have extravagant costumes. I I'm the lucky one. I think I get flat shoes. No girdle I'm not forced to wear period underpinnings I am supposed to wear. I do have one vintage Bravo many many times. I actually sneak my own bra under. 'cause it's hidden with a jacket and they can't see and suzy's is not extravagant. Her her bras is very sad. Little will a sad little white old nineteen fifties period piece but Yeah a lot of times out of laziness. I'll keep on my maiden wouldn't farming referring as I understand it you in this was created by Amy Sherman Palladino. Who you've worked with before and you were living in Barcelona right? You'd kind of made a move and then you got the script. She sucked me back in. Yeah I decided to I wanted my kids to do you know school year abroad and wanted to have that experience and had just I had worked on the show called getting on which was the love of my life and that ended and I it broke my heart and I was just hit tried with another project to get it off the ground and then I that looked like it was going to happen and it fell apart. Something with Alan Larkin and and I just kind of gave up. I thought this I'm just done. I want to enjoy my time and not not feel terrible about myself. Let me just go and have this experience. Manson right then Amy's are you still serious about doing this main thing. Because I've written that project to talk to you about and I'd really like for you to read for so I was like well go ahead and send it and then I read it and I was like why did I ever send it. 'cause I loved it and I couldn't not audition for it. So addition for it so what was the additionally I flew into New York I brought some clothing. That felt like what I kind of envisioned for this character like a button-down shirt and some some brown wool don't know if you'd call him. dungarees trousers some flat. Kind of men's men's suits boots shoes and they had me read with Rachel so I met Rachel that day and it was very warm and I threw the outfit on and realized allies right while I was in the waiting room. I forgot deodorant. Just sweat pit circles like really awful awful sweat bits and I think they they actually thought it was kind of charming and very suzy ish. There's a lot of stand up in in the series. I mean in comedy clubs and in other settings and you know it struck me that. That's maybe not the easiest thing to recreate. I mean kind of the feeling of a comedy club and the spontaneity of performance an audience in a scripted drama. Did did you feel that way. It's the hardest thing in the world to do. I think we were almost nervous about that. Almost every show or movie I've ever seen about standup. Just there's something so stiff and so unreal and I think what amy nailed was making mid a type of stand up that you. I have not seen before in that era you know. She's she's she's not a lenny bruce but she's stream of consciousness and she's talking about things she's not supposed to and not doing a character character not so. I think that that made it a little bit easier. That she's presenting herself and performing pieces from her life. That that that may be lends itself itself to reproducing an an easier way. And and Rachel's very very committed to I mean nailing it. She works very very hard hard on that material and asks a lot of questions and amy guides her a lot and she tries different things. And and we're very lucky that the background players who play our audiences and I mean this. They're they're really dedicated and they laugh manny many many times we do so many takes and they're they're able to give us the feeling it's very real and give her the feeling. It's very real that when she succeeding it feels real. She's able to have the right tone to follow up a joke with something. That's just gone over well and if you don't have that from the people responding to you it's hard to. It's hard to pretend. Yeah you don't you. Don't you take for granted those people that are out there in these chairs but it's a long day for them vary lived in in in wool in corsets in. He'll very uncomfortable. Shoes from the fifties and hats. Batson it is a tremendous amount of work for them. Did you do a lot of stand up when you were younger. I have done some stand up. You know Really really I'll just so desperate to perform and wanting desperately to just get up on stage and try to do stuff and please. That stand was great shortcut to do that. You didn't have to wait for a notice for an audition or try to get a group of people together you could just go and do and the first time I did. I was sixteen years old and it was at a a bar that my parents had to come with me. Because they wouldn't let me in the bar otherwise he was in in the valley and California and they they paid me twenty dollars at a place called called Gallagher's it was in the bottom of the Ramada Inn and material was about parents and school and teachers. And and I'm sure may maybe it was a little bit cute. I don't know how how great it was but The six people in the audience were very kind and and it's funny. I Made Twenty Ninety dollars and I think that was maybe the only money I ever made after that every like open mic was. No one ever paid me again really. Do you remember any. Save your jokes. I remember talking about the toilet paper in the in the bathrooms. Junior high bathrooms were in an effort to save save paper and be economical. They looked like teeny tiny squares. That came out as a single piece instead of a a roll of toilet paper and and I was comparing the the size of the paper to the size of my ass and and making jokes about how this from the little math that I understood. This does not seem to work I. I didn't say it was funny. Folks I said I did at sixteen most most of it was family. Most of it was me impersonating my grandmother or talking about my parents serve that that was the bulk of of material. I'm actually come full circle though I'm I'm doing stand up again now or really. Yeah and and what made you want to do that you know. I met two really special people in Barcelona or Falana White and They're musicians is in there. Dear dear friends a Salva and Eric and the three of US started working together performing together now. I started writing material. I remember Suzy Esmond. I think saying on our show once before about that. You stand up is like a really aggressive thing. You've just got to be tough. Do you feel that way I do and I don't think it's necessarily while you're on the stage doing it. It's everything around it. It's getting ready to do it. It's waiting until two in the morning to get a slot to go on its Being heckled it's drunk people. It's fighting noise if people talking. It's it's it's in that way it's even before you're up there performing. It's very hard. It's an uphill push. You grew up in the suburbs and Illinois and then move to the L. A. Area for high school. Were you always cut up. Were you making jokes as a kid. I was always the comic relief in the family. I think you you know you. Do you get a role at a very early age. And that's kind of what you're stuck with and that that was my role we we We were always kind of a funny family but but specifically I would kind of try to ease tensions a lot of time. You were the youngest of three right and your brother is a HAEMOPHILIAC Yes you were not you. You carry the gene but not but you don't have the disorders at right. Yeah you know. It's interesting when when I grew up a women even if you had a low level of clotting factor which yeah I do they just called US low level symptomatic carriers your carrier. But now I have a daughter who has the same you know. factor level is as me and. Now she's actually in the category. They call her mild haemophiliacs. So yeah but growing up I was always just called a symptomatic carrier And really never had any issues. I never had to be treated for it but my brother my brother you know lived the life of a HAEMOPHILIAC. My uncle as well and so that was that was something that I think I provided a lot of Comic Relief. You know making him laugh you know when he had to be hospitalized for long periods of time or if he was in a wheelchair or we would have wheelchair races in the hospital corridors. We at one point he had was in a wheelchair and we tied a rope to the back of his wheelchair and to the Garage door handle and thought that would be hilarious to open the garage and close the garage and have it pull him up and down the driveway. Which of course ended up does it was not a good idea folks? I'm going to go ahead and say don't don't do this. Don't try this at home. So what happened that it's spilling out of the chair. Of course he spilled out of its share it it you know when when the when the thing went up you know it was disastrous. He rolled down and then it yanked back when it went higher and he poured out onto the cement driveway. Hey and we are in a lot of trouble but I think he I think he laughed his ass off so it was worth. It was worth the injury. Do you think seeing the the difficulties difficulties your brothers faced and spending as much time as you did in in medical settings in hospitals. I'm wondering how that affected you that your sense of I. I don't know security. I don't know I mean definitely seeing the fragility of life definitely seeing that one mutation of one gene can can completely change the course of your health or a person's destiny or I think that was always something that that stayed with me and and I've as as a result I've been very very active in the hemophilia community when I was pregnant with my first child I knew that it was a boy and I was terrified. Graphite that he was going to be hemophilia I was terrified and What that would mean what I be able to handle it and I've since since stayed very active I reached out to the community at that point and talk to a lot of MOMS of hemophiliacs to try to figure out what kind of life what is this going to mean for me now because I knew what it was like for my brother growing up but it's changed treatment is very different now My brother lost so many friends into HIV because the product was tainted the disabled blood derivative and a lot of it was contaminated and still distributed within the you you mean hemophiliacs who were treated with blood treatments that were contaminated that's right. The factor eight treatment required for haemophilia. Haemophilia a was was tainted. There is a lot of hepatitis and HIV and so many people died so many people were lost and and we lived with that fear We were very lucky for some reason my rather was spared and did not contract HIV. But it was very tenuous and very scary that that was always kind of a wait. We're speaking with Alex Burstein. She Co Stars in the series. The Marvelous Mrs Mazel as Susie Meyerson the third season is now available for streaming streaming on Amazon prime. Your Grandmother Was Hungarian. Right Holocaust survivors. A Kid And you went to Hebrew school to write We had a lot of sounds in your head. Did you develop characters out of all that. Yeah I think I think You know I worked on a show called mad. TV and one of the other actors actor will Sasso. He grew up with a second language in his house. And I think having that lends itself to IMPERSONATIONS voices character development. I I think it's something that has a hand pointing you in that direction. So yeah I having different languages ways to shape your mouth I think it it absolutely helped push me in that direction. Do you have a character from your childhood that you remember we can share with us. I mean my my grandmother it was you know someone that that I impersonated. All my life she then became. You know a character. I ended up doing on. That was doing in live theater before that was i. I called the other Gabor and then she became Miss Swann. And so that was You know You you value. It's it's so much candy. Have again the he he thickened I make for you make for you cake. Why you eat cake you would fit to fit? There's a lot of that there is a lot of I mean I watched a lot of you know Lakha on taxi was was major for me to watch something like like that and Jonathan Winters There are a lot of things that became little voice in my head so I went to college college and San Francisco and got involved in a lot of comedy and sketch comedy groups and in Nineteen ninety-seven joined mad TV which would have been like twenty only six years old right. I mean yeah I was. I was a young and I think I mean now I feel like that's not young like you see these fetuses starting in television at the time I felt like I was young. Are there were just some great performance. or I mean my kids and I just loved love that show will Sasso you. Mentioned Debra Wilson Nicole L. Sullivan Phil Lamar and other people went on upgrade careers Yeah it was it was a pretty. It was a pretty intense experience. It was a really amazing bootcam- I'm kind of experience. I guess it was out of that that you got the role on family guy. The animated series which has been a huge hit in his on. What like eighteen seasons? Now Commits Seth Macfarlane on mad. TV is at right and then he came up with. Yeah you know mad. TV was a late Night Fox program and at the time a woman named Leslie Collins. Small was in charge of development for late night. And she was working with Seth trying to develop this brilliant animated piece that he had done as a thesis project and and at first they were going to do it as interstitial on mad. TV kind of like the simpsons was born out of the Tracey Ullman. Show and thankfully seth was so wise is to not give up the rights and do that I think they want him to sign everything over and he didn't and they ended up. You know making a pilot and she one of our were Press events she said. Hey you know Leslie said to me do you. Do you do voices right and I was like I'll do anything you want. What do you what do you got I'm doing this animated thing with this Guy Seth breath and maybe you can help us do this pilot presentation so one Saturday afternoon. I went to a studio in Santa Monica California and we met and I took a look at the drawing and at the same time I was doing a character on stage at the Acme Comedy Theatre where most of my characters were born I was doing a a a sketch called magic man. Written by Jeff Lewis and I played this mother with red hair coincidentally and her son had come home to say he doesn't want to be a stockbroker anymore and he wants to be a magician and she said Oh okay well that's fine and wonderful but by what about the stockbroker job but no. Oh Mama I'm not. I'm leaving that. I WANNA be a magician. Okay good bye. Yeah but you're still gonNA be a stockbroker right and you know I did that. Voice as for Seth and he's like I like that he's like maybe it's a little too slow. Maybe you could speed it up and and that voice is actually also based on a Hungarian relative on my cousin who lives lives in Long Island So so yeah that was kind of born out of everything just ripped off of my family. Basically I just emma thief. We're listening to the interview. Alex Burstein recorded with fresh. Air's Dave Davies. Burstein Co Stars in the series. The Marvelous Mrs Mazel the third season just started streaming on Amazon after a break. We'll talk about finding the voices for characters on the Animated Series Family Guy About why she thinks her looks prevented her from getting an agent earlier in her career and why the cancellation of HBO series. Getting on let her to leave the country. I'm Terry Gross and this is fresh air. This message comes from. NPR's sponsor vanguard vanguard was founded on a simple but radical idea that an investment company can succeed because it puts investors. I vanguards client owned you own. Their funds and the Fund's own vanguard which means vanguard is built to ensure that your interests will be the priority together vanguards thirty million investors are changing the way the world invests visit vanguard dot com or talk to your financial advisor to learn more. Let's get it back to the interview. Fresh Air's Davies recorded with actor and comedian. Alex Burstein when they left off she was talking about doing voice. Work for the animated series. Family Guy let's clip here that this is This is from season two when Lois your character and Peter her husband run against against each other for the school board because of something stupid. Peter got angry about and This is at their debate. And we'll hear you As Lois but first of all here Peter Played by Seth McFarland speaking about why people should not vote for his wife. Serve a school board. President doesn't leave their feminine treatments in the Fridge. Next at a much worse I have a closet. She snores like a world peace. Thank you move on the second blow dry. I'm not done yet. She freely haunting she nailed down a right. And that's enough. Each baby in this election is about our children's future so ask yourself. What kind of future will it be if you elect a man who has never taught a a student even bender a PTA meeting? This is a man who believes the plural of goose is she. I'm the right person for the job Bob. Vote for me and that's our guest. AL exporting thanks to her cousin in Long Island of doing the voice it's it's you know it's amazing is animation and this is true of almost every show that's ever been made the voices get higher and faster as the years go on and it's so true I listen onto that and it's it sounds so much slower and such. It's such a lower pitch. Does that happen. I don't know seth is the one who said that. That's that's the truth and I started noticing it even with the flintstones and the jetsons you can really hear the change from the first year the last you did lois and a lot of other voices. Sa's do do you have a favorite more obscure voice that you can share with us. There's this librarian that's always been really fun to do that. she is just I very. She thinks she's very clever and she tell some jokes the jokes she's so she's so taken by them and they can't get of just you know it's it's a different process than stand up and you've done sketch and then this I gather you spend a lot of time in the studio by yourself writer without the other actors. They're right. Oh yeah a lot of it. In the beginning. We tried to do stuff. Jeff together. Seth and I would do a lot together But then as everyone's schedules changed became almost impossible. So you know everyone started working more and more moving in our lives changing so we do a lot of stuff solo but will sometimes be on the line where we can do some stuff off of each other with someone long distance But a lot of its solitary. And you're involved in writing the series to over the years right so I guess there's some collaboration there yeah actually You know that's how how I came into the Palladino fold was through Family Guy One of our writers is Dan Palladino and then he rose in the ranks and started running the show he was running the writer's room and he was my boss as a writer and he was. He was the person that came to me. And said you know you should. You should read the script by my wife wrote. It's called the Gilmore Girls Kind of how I met the Palladino ride and Amy Sherman. Palladino was the creator of the marvelous. Mrs Mazel and yet I mean you so you landed a role on the Gilmore. Girls right you were Sukey right. Yeah the addition for Sukey and shot the pilot in Canada. And and then I couldn't do it because of my contract with Mad TV. It's odd that they would have let you shoot pilot without you know without getting the go-ahead to to appear grams shared. Well you know every year the way it works you don't know if it shows gonNA come back for quite a while it's it's things are always on the bubble mad TV every year. We were waiting to here. And while you're waiting you want to cover your own but so you go out and you audition for things. In second position they call it so a a lot of things will take you in second position because they're banking on the other thing folding They're just willing to take that chance and and they thought they were going to try to work it out. They thought were. I think we're going to be able to do this. We'll we'll have you work on Sundays and Mondays on Gilmore. And you'll do mad TV the rest of the week And then it just became. I think it was kind of a tiny any war between warner brothers and Fox. It didn't WANNA share anybody. Well Nice to be appreciated anyway. So did you have to figure all this out. Do you have an agent in who really knows the business your own Susie Meyerson who could guide you through this stuff now. I didn't have an agent at the time really. Wow Yeah took me. I was on mad TV. Maybe for five years and I was not able to get an agent until until I left not able no one wanted to represent values correct. That's shocking Aw the different the business was different back then. No I think I just didn't. Everyone just was like what is she going to be able to do. She's this short pudgy. Thing being and how are we going to cast her. No one wants to look at that so I think it was just not I was not seen as a a horse that was gonNA place so I could not get get representation to save my life. Wow so you had to work the phones and negotiate your own contracts. Y- yeah I mean Ma- mad. TV happened. Because I got myself into a comedy festival in Austin Texas where casting people were and they saw me. And that's how I got that audition and then family. I happen because the woman who worked on mad. TV was developing with. Seth knew me personally and brought me in. And then Gilmore girls happened because of Dan working on family guy and really everything has been just one one piece after that. After on Gilmore girls I met a producer. You Sir named Gavin Pallone. Who then was you know? Signed me on to develop a pilot with him as a producer and at that point An agency was a lawyer was like hey will you take her on. Because she's doing this pilot and they took me on that ended up kind of being a disaster because they didn't really want to represent me they were kind of doing it as a favor to this lawyer and and you know you got the paperwork done for me and then that was cow. The last day ever heard from them. We're speaking with Alex Burstein. We will continue our conversation in just a moment. This is fresh air support for this podcast and the following message for parents come from little passports. A monthly subscription service that sparks kids curiosity about the world around them. Each curated package is filled with fun ways to experience the excitement of discovering covering geography world cultures or science with projects designed for their passionate young minds every month brings a new adventure for you and your child to explore together her. Learn more at little passports dot com slash NPR. I'm ship rally and I'm Andrew Beck race we're the host of the NPR. PODCAST white lies a story about guilt and memory and it says as much about America today as it does about the past apple just named white lies the best true crime show here. And if you haven't listened to it you can binge the entire series series now wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks this is fresh air. And we're speaking with Alex Burstein. She Co Stars in the series. The Marvelous Bizet's Mazel Mazel Season three is now available for streaming on Amazon prime. Well I want to talk about getting on the. Hbo Series that you did. I guess for three three seasons. I mean this is just just terrific series and I wreck. I recommend it to listeners. You can it's available on demand Let's let's listen to it to a scene here. This this is set in a geriatric extended care unit of a hospital. It's kind of a struggling hospital and you're a nurse who cares for the elderly women and and the series. It's it's about the work the relationships among you and a doctor who has played brilliantly by Laurie metcalf and the patients in the other staff in here. Here is a scene from the first episode. Where you're sitting with the new nurse who's played by nece- Nash? You're eating a salad and talking about the job in the hospital which it was kind of struggling. Let's listen Dr Evolving. He was a great director of medicine really handsome to hand over the bat infections report and and been interviewing for that position for three months. Everyone says that we're dragging the rest of the medical center now which we're not must be extended cares boring during which it is not totally where the action is. Did you testosterone on this unit. Though I'm telling you that breath so so why did you get in a nursing. And what did you do before long story. I talked to my the man I mean I cried every day on the way home from work for my first two months to let him and I take my job really seriously. You know maybe I care too much. There's nothing more important than me than taking care of these women women here. You know these elderly women who are alone and have no one else in our entrusted to my care and we were just as hard as anyone hospital over there. I mean even ten times as hard. I've almost been fired twice for cleanliness infractions. That's our guest. Alex Bornstein with nece- Nash in the HBO Series Getting on Just talk a little bit about your character and what makes this thing work in such a compelling way that was really really something to listen to. I haven't I haven't heard that in so long and there's so many memories in that project project that this was one of my favorite things I've ever done in my life. The whole experience was just remarkable and it was so dark and the show is about dying women elderly women and how they're just thrown away really. The elderly in our society and and the healthcare system is is just a mess and and yet it was so funny in there is so much comedy to be mined out of this and it was just an amazing using an amazing project that that monologue. That piece was my audition and I had just had a baby. I was in Seattle Washington and and and I was put myself on tape on video to do this audition and I was such a hormonal mess. I was so I mean I looked looked exhausted and was on the verge of two engines. Broke down doing that piece in. It's you know it's really just postpartum. Insanity is what got me that part so so funny to listen to now but yeah Mark Olson and we'll shift or the guys who created that show they re crafted it after after the British series of the same name and they were just remarkable they had gone through losing both of their parents. An were so both of their MOMS in the very recent past at that time and so they were wanting desperately to tell that story and they did it so well less so the scene that we just heard was pretty much the audition script that you really are that was my addition piece. So now you know yeah I mean well what strikes me is that I mean you know we think of you as a comedic actress and you really funny and but this really requires some dramatic addict. Acting Chops did that did that feel comfortable. Did you train for it. No it did not feel comfortable and I think that's why it was exciting. Like the challenge of haven't done anything like this before and had no idea if I could even do it I just loved how desperate aspirin this woman was an and sad and vulnerable and willing to willing to sell herself short for any kind of connection with another human being and you know when she's talking in that piece she's talking about herself and the fear she has of dying alone and who's going to take care of her and it's it it it was just so compelling I couldn't not audition for it you know. The set is popularly. Know they're they're they're the main actors and then the sad is populated with these patients. These elderly the women who add some some real comedy to it with their expressions are watching this. These crazy fights go on among the staff and their expression just hilarious and I assume that these are older actors and I'm wondering what Your interactions with them. ORLA are like and whether it kind of made you think about the passage of time. It's Gosh maybe that's me in thirty years. Oh Yeah we had a lot of people on the set women on the set. who had were this one worked with Sinatra and this one was in Gypsy and this one you know June squibb had been in gypsy? You know the stage version. It's it's it was phenomenal to to meet these women and listen to what they they had to say and and watch them work and and also to see like Oh this is the future like like you know Laurean Nissan. I would all be like this is going to be us like we're we're GONNA be in the beds in the background one day and and and I hope that we are still sharp and his graceful as these ladies is kind of what talk about every day. Yeah the other thing that struck me about. It is that I think all of the scenes take place in the hospital. I mean there are. It's about their lives and there are references that two things that happen elsewhere. Like you know dating and sex and all that stuff but but it's really in the workplace and there's I'm wondering kind of what that added to the performances in the field of at all it was magic. I mean. Think that's probably one of the things I loved about it. It was so contained. There were no lighting changes very rarely. Would they have to adjust anything so we shot. You know we shot for twelve hours a day and it was. It was nonstop. We didn't we never sat. There was no like chairs. Set up with your with a book or knitting needles in the corner because you never stopped you did not rest your occur in every scene. Even if you're not in the forefront in the background and we moved lightning we had we had three and a half days to shoot an episode which is tiny? I think we have twelve on on Mazel. Most shows have five or seven and we had three and a half and it was. We moved so so quickly and I loved it felt real. I think it helped all of our performances to feel like we were nurses on-duty doing a twelve hour shift and I could not rest and you could not get off your feet and you are very happy to be wearing nursing clogs because that's the only way you could get through the day right. Yeah I have two sisters to hospital nurses and yeah it. It is an intense and busy profession. Yeah it's brutal and you're making decisions that are life and death very often so it was I mean I'd been in a lot of hospitals my whole life with my brother and in and out but to see it from the other side is really. It's really something new I and what's interesting about. This is a character that was is really complex. I mean she is committed but she's very vulnerable and confused at times and when it was cancelled. It was a real bummer for you. That's when you move to Barcelona. Is that right. Oh it broke my heart. It was the hardest thing I mean. Really it really Louis was the big heartbreaker my life. yeah I felt like I was just kind of coming into my own. I just found something that felt right and then it was gone and it was was it was hard because it was critically it was received very. Well we we were. We were really doing well and I would hear such positive things from so many people But it was not it was dark and I think a lot of people. Hbo I think it was worried. That wants to watch a show about dying dying women when they had things like entourage and game of thrones that were these big shiny pieces you know so it was just. I think it was a weird time for it but I also feel so grateful to have had three seasons at all in gotten. The experience is celebrity appealing. And Fun. We do you enjoy people approaching approaching you in the airport and on the street I'm not really good at it. I'm I'm I'm not good at. I still have a I I still have a really crap. self image and I think I still live in like a middle school mentality in my head so if anyone's looking got me I assume it's because they are making fun of me if anyone's whispering I assume it's because they're saying terrible things so it's it's I get very paranoid and strange about it and my face will turn red and I get very uncomfortable and I think I come off. Nine Times out of ten is very aloof but I just. I'm uncomfortable with it. It's strange so maybe Barcelona's an advantage in that way. Yeah the thing. I always say what I love most about. Barcelona is I am. I feel very I get to be anonymous there but I feel very visible and and alive and seen and taken in well and whereas When I'm here I I feel very invisible in some ways or if people are looking at me it's probably for the wrong reasons nervous about it and now it makes no sense? But that's why I'm an actor. We're all nuts right now exporting. It's been fun. Thanks so much for speaking with us. Thank you Alex Burstein spoke with fresh air's Davies. She's won two Emmys for her performance in the series. The Marvelous Mrs Maysville and the show was nominated for a Golden Globe for best comedy series. The third season is now streaming on Amazon. I'm Terry Gross and this is fresh air. This message comes from. NPR sponsor capital one with the capital. One Walmart art rewards card you can earn five percent back at Walmart on line two percent at Walmart in store restaurants and travel and one percent everywhere else when you want all that you need the capital capital one walmart rewards card. What's in your wallet? Terms and exclusions apply capital one and a support also comes from imperative entertainment and Texas monthly now available for download. Boomtown is a new ten part podcast series about an oil boom taking place in a rugged corner of West Texas where roughnecks and billionaire Noor wildcatters are contributing to a boom that may reshape America's climate economy and geopolitics. You'll get an inside look at the people cashing in and and those whose lives are turned upside down. Listen for free on apple podcasts. spotify or your favorite podcast player last year. Women artists took seven seven out of ten spots on recruit Kentucky's top ten album list. This year women took over completely filling. All ten slots can says that from rap to rock to singer-songwriter Pop Twenty Nineteen was a bountiful year for all kinds of music. Here's a song from one of the artists on his list. Lizardo who was just nominated cominated for eight grammys in your opinion what they show once upon a time word. Hope not liquor store the little anthem. I'm trying to open up a lead of Mahar Elise so awesome this guy when I started drawing up my two thousand nineteen best list. It was quickly apparent that the first three entries would be in very close competition. I love lizards album because I love you for its soul ballads and hip hop funk. I admire Billie eyelashes when we all fall asleep. Where do we go for? Its artful intimacy and I continue to be nourished by Lana del Rey's Norman effing rockwell for its long language songs about the ways that men intrigue please and disappoint her in the end. Del Rey's cinematic. Compositions pushed her collection. Just slightly ahead of the others to take the number one slot. I'm as Long Beach and you pay a miss dancing with you. Most of all the by UH dances last for Kokomo in those nights. Aw ages inches and other artists. My Best List are adored within their genres but are perhaps perhaps less well known to a wider listenership Megan. The stallions debut album fever collected her witty. Profane thoughts Carly Rae. Jefferson's dedicated gated offered a whole new set of dance pop confections and I was completely won over by the album. Full of tough minded songs written and performed by carseat Blanton on Buck up which I have. No doubt is the most underrated album of this year. Again go on the ground road to read cast was dead and I had The fine print down I Of course men made great music as well frequently in the form of a different measurement of artistic achievement. They hit single does does anyone doubt for example that the song of the year is little nausea XS old town road. It's the song that defined the year for its massive genre crossing popularity and sheer cheer catchiness. And if I had to narrow down to one favorite song in two thousand nineteen it was probably this one. twenty-one savages musical list of trials and tribulations relations called how much how much money how much dash how much money you how much money you got coming product. Last how many people doubted left Iraq a lot. How many aw how many how many times you've got shot? How many? How many times did you coming in than data coming to cheat Salaam? How many times? How many times how many times you craft not? How many chances every day in the end I narrowed it down to these ten albums number one? Lana del Rey's effing rockwell to Liz. Oh 'cause I love you three Billy Irish when we all fall asleep where do we go. Four carseat Blanton's buck up five. Megan the stallion fever lever six carly. Rae Jepsen dedicated seven. Merrin Morris's girl eight beyond say homecoming homecoming the live album. Sharon van Etten remind me tomorrow is number nine and ten is Jenny. Lewis's on the line. It was also a very strong year for women. Writing Music Books. A fine new biography of Janice Joplin by Holly George Warren. Deborah Harry's Eccentric Autobiography Griffey Karen Toxins Critical Study titled Y Karen Carpenter Matters and the best rock memoir. I read all year Amy Rigby girl to city yes. As far as I was concerned it was the year of the woman and it was exhilarating. My best to you for this holiday season awesome. Ken Tucker is fresh. Air's rock critic. You'll find his ten best list as well as book critic Maureen Corrigan. Ten best list on our website fresh air dot. NPR Dot Org. Tomorrow on fresh air my guest will be Peter. Bergen national security analysts for CNN and author of the new book trump and his generals the cost of chaos. We'll talk about how trump went from saying. He loved his generals to later basically going to war with the generals in his administration. Bergen says with the generals gone trump surrounded by. Yes men. Hope you can join us. Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our Technical Director and engineer a near as Audrey Bentham our associate producer of digital media. Is Molly Seavy Nesper. Roberta shorrock directs the show. I'm Terry Gross. Tino's say to those I think I think so both thank you. Please Hutto Tayo so cool so you it. I'm not thank. You did that on the.