Wendi McClendon-Covey has tickled our funny bones since we first saw her on Reno 911! But, it was her turn uttering some of those unforgettable Bridesmaids quotes that put her on the world’s pop culture map. McClendon-Covey is still being funny, but is also expressing those dramatic muscles in Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club.
We caught up with McClendon-Covey and asked her about what life has been like since Bridesmaids, what it means to her to appear in a Tyler Perry movie and with her hit show The Goldbergs chugging along, how working steadily in both film and TV has enriched her creatively.
Movie Fanatic: How has the world changed for you since we first met on the set of Bridesmaids?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: I got some better representation [laughs]. And that’s made all the difference.
Movie Fanatic: When you got asked to be in a Tyler Perry movie, what did that mean to you? He’s such an institution.
Wendi McLendon-Covey: I was surprised that he even knew who I was, which was great. He just wanted to make sure I could do something dramatic. So, I filmed something with my phone and sent it in. Then, it was off to the races. It was a short amount of time between me getting the call and us shooting. It was intense. But, what made me really want to do it was I really love ensemble comedies, but the other girls in the cast. I wanted to work with them anyway, so getting them all in one place… what’s not to love.
Movie Fanatic: Tyler’s prolific as a writer clearly. But, as an actress, what’s he like as a director?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: He’s also an actor, so he’s sensitive. He’ll coax you down the rabbit hole in the rabbit parts. We all had breakdown/breakthrough moments [laughs] in this movie in different scenes. I was happy about that. He does work fast. For someone who writes, he’s not someone who won’t listen to other ideas. He even put the set decorators in touch with us. So they wanted to know what I wanted my office to look like. You couldn’t give me a better present! I loved it.
Movie Fanatic: You mentioned the ensemble, from Bridesmaids to Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club, what it is about acting in ensembles that is so joyous?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: I like the team aspect of it. I like feeling the other actors' energy and encouragement. I like having people to go on the journey with. Everything is better as a team.
Movie Fanatic: There are so many aspects to this film because there are so many diverse stories in it. What most touched you?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: The underlying feeling that there’s a stigma attached to single moms that’s so aggravating to me to watch and to play. You feel that. Why are we so judgmental as a society? We all come from somewhere. Some people choose to be single parents and some people don’t. It’s nobody’s business. We’re all just trying to get by. I look at my single mom friends and I feel like it’s such an uphill battle that they can’t win. There’s always guilt or someone in the wings saying, “That wouldn’t have happened if you were around more.” That’s just not possible. I liked that part of everybody’s story. I was glad to be part of film that told all those stories without man-bashing.
Movie Fanatic: How you do think your training in comedy helped you dramatically?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: I think it helps because I know when to just sit still. I learned that in improv. There’s a time when you can say more by saying nothing, especially in film. You can sway more by having the truth, just in your head. It all comes out.
Movie Fanatic: Being able to do film, from Bridesmaids to Single Moms Club, and television, with your hit The Goldbergs, what does that mean to you and what does each provide you creatively?
Wendi McLendon-Covey: I’m thrilled! I’ve been working my butt off for the last couple of years and I’ve got three or four more movies coming out this year. I’m really excited [laughs]. My work on The Goldbergs started one day after I finished the last movie I did. It’s worked out.
Want more of McLendon-Covey? Watch Bridesmaids online!