Katie Finneran
(© Tristan Fuge)
Katie Finneran
(© Tristan Fuge)
Katie Finneran is best known to Broadway audiences for her Tony Award-winning work in Noises Off and Promises, Promise, and she's appeared in such films as You've Got Mail and Bewitched. On Wednesday, November 30, she debuts in her new Fox sitcom, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, in which she and co-star Jaime Presley play two single mothers raising their difficult and over-privileged offspring. TheaterMania recently spoke to Finneran about life in Los Angeles, motherhood, the luxury of shooting a sitcom, and fat suits.

THEATERMANIA: Doing the sitcom means you had to transplant your life to L.A. How is that change working out for you?
KATIE FINNERAN: I've lived in Los Angeles for months at a time and have had apartments all over the city. It's so great to have both worlds, because they're the antithesis of each other. New York is my home, but I love L.A. You want to be a person in New York, but you want to be a working actor in L.A. You don't want to be out of work in Los Angeles. There's a different vibe. When you're looking for work in Los Angeles, you're like a fish with tons of other fish swimming upstream thinking, "Where am I gonna get my next job!'" If you come out with work it's really good.

TM: Did you specifically seek out a sitcom?
KF: When I left Promises, Promises and was six months pregnant, I started to think if I'm going to start a family, what would be the best job for me to handle with the fantastic husband [actor Darren Goldstein] and child. And really a sitcom is the way to go. It's the Shangri-la of working actor jobs. My schedule is very predictable -- every three weeks I get a week off. It's heaven! It's like winning the lottery.

TM: In the pilot you have a great pie-eating scene where you devour a whole pie and prove you're an actress with very little ego. Is it enjoyable to do those kinds of scenes or are you self-conscious?
KF: I do not care one single bit! I think I've been blessed with no ego. I was on the set the other day and they wanted to put me in a fat suit and they kept saying 'you're so brave!' I said "I don't know what you're talking about. If it makes people laugh, I don't care!" I made a whole career of that.

Katie Finneran and Jaime Pressly inI Hate My Teenage Daughter
(© FOX Broadcasting Co)
Katie Finneran and Jaime Pressly in
I Hate My Teenage Daughter
(© FOX Broadcasting Co)
TM: What's it like working with Jaime Presley?
KF: She's amazing! She's teaching me all about lighting and TV. I'm terrible at hitting my mark and finding my light. She knows all that camera stuff. I'm good at the staging part. We have different strengths and we help each other all the time. We have a great open, comedic relationship. We can always tell each other the truth and work things out.

TM: The title of the show is a little controversial. How do you feel about it?
KF: The show is about two women who are madly in love with their teenage daughters. But you're not human if you haven't said under your breath 'I can't stand my offspring at this moment.' Everyone's felt that. We're just saying it for you. This show is Laverne and Shirley if they had overindulged teenage daughters.

TM: What were you like in high school?
KF: I always knew I wanted to be an actress. That was my road map. If ever I didn't feel I felt in, I always had theater.

TM: Now you have a steady job in television, how will you fit theater work in your life?
KF: I'll always go back. That's my foundation. I'll be doing it when I'm an old woman. I've been in it for 21 years now. It's where I feel at home. The other jobs add to an eclectic career.