Photo Credit: Carin Baer/FOX
The first season of Glee is only half over, and already Jane Lynch -- who plays Sue Sylvester, the cutthroat cheerleading coach trying to destroy the glee club -- is going down in history as one of TV's funniest women. Prior to Glee, the actress was known primarily for improvising hilarious supporting roles in comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models and Best in Show. Yesterday Lynch spoke to NPR's Terry Gross about playing Sue, being a gay actress and her humble beginnings in TV commercials. A few new things we learned:
She invented her character's catch phrase. For a first episode promo, Lynch was standing in front of a group of cheerleaders performing a difficult pyramid position. The actress improvised the line "If you think this is hard, try being waterboarded! That's hard." The writers now use variations on the phrase ("You think that's hard? Try having hepatitis, that's hard!") in many of Sue's speeches.
She knew as soon as she read the script that the part was hers. "One of the first things it says about Sue in the script is that she may or may not have posed for Penthouse and she's using horse estrogen. So I was like, oh, my God. I must play this woman."
She really wants to get a song. "I'm humming all the time on the set - auditioning!.. I did get to dance, and I really have no business dancing, so I was a little shocked that that was the first thing they gave me to do. But I'm hoping that I get to sing, and we've got nine more episodes to do, and I'm crossing my fingers."
Growing up, she was obsessed with The Brady Bunch. "I knew it wasn't a great comedy. But it was soothing and it had this wonderful family where if you threw a little temper tantrum and you ran up into your room, you know, a second later, there will be a soft knock on your door. You know, you want to talk?"
She met Christopher Guest (director of Best in Show) while working on a Frosted Flakes commercial he directed. "I was stalking Tony the Tiger... It wasn't a very successful campaign."
Lynch didn't come out as a lesbian to her parents until she was 31."I think it was my own homophobia, my own internalized homophobia. You know, I didn't want to be gay. I wanted to be - I wanted an easy life. And you know what? I am gay and still have an easy life. So, anybody out there who is afraid like I was, just know you can come to Los Angeles or Chicago or New York and people will love you. It's no big deal."
To get all the anecdotes in Jane's unique voice, listen to the full interview here.
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