Busy Philipps Heads Back Into the ’90s—and Low-Rise Jeans—in Her New Comedy

One thing that you’ve been really open about is that you’re very selective about the projects that you work on. You want to work with people who you really enjoy when it’s interesting, when you really feel called to a certain project. So I’m assuming that when Tina Fey knocks on the door, you answer the door. Can you tell me about how this project started? 

Tina Fey and I had done a pilot together years ago that didn’t get picked up for NBC, and then, she was the executive producer on my late-night talk show, RIP… Then, there was the pandemic. Mark, my husband, was looking online, and he’s like, “You know, rents aren’t very inexpensive in New York right now. We could rent a place in New York for a month and just go live there.” It’s the best time of the year. It’s September in New York. Their numbers were low. And then, it was just this crazy confluence of circumstances. Within 48 hours, these people accepted our month rental with the dog, and we packed up for three weeks and flew out here thinking that was what it was going to be. And then, week two, Tina Fey calls me. She follows me on Instagram—she has a Finsta—and she was like, “Listen, I know  this is crazy. Do you know about this TV show? We’re about to start shooting.” I was like, “No, you’re about to start shooting a TV show? It’s a pandemic. What’s happening?” She’s like, “It’s about a ’90s girl group that then tries to stage a comeback in their 40s,” and I, no joke, fell on the floor. I was like, “Why are you telling me a dream that I’ve had? What are you talking about?” And then, she was like, “Meredith Scardino wrote it (who’s an incredible writer who worked with Tina for years and worked with Stephen Colbert for years). Sara Bareilles and Renée Elise Goldsberry are already signed on, and there’s this part of Summer, and we always thought of you for it. You were always what we wanted, but because of the pandemic and you lived in L.A., I wasn’t even going to ask you to make that decision with your kids. But you’re here! What are the chances that you’re here? So do you want to just stay and do this TV show?” I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening.

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