You may know Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly from the cult classic Freaks and Geeks or Audrey Liddell from Dawson’s Creek. Either way, if you were watching TV in the 2000’s, Busy was there, gracing us with her wit, sass, humour, and charm. Self-admittedly, Philipps most recognizable role was in the 2004 comedy White Chicks. She plays Karen, one third of Brittany and Tiffany’s core girl group. She’s definitely someone that you want by your side in either the dressing room or on the dance floor. Armed with enemy intel and enough self respect to walk away from a guy that doesn’t deserve her, she’s the best friend a girl could ask for. Honourable mention goes out to a personal favourite, and the Tarantino-acclaimed Love Inc. Philipps plays Denise, a matchmaker in NYC (pre-Patti Stanger) who can’t seem to get her own love life together. Busy also had a recurring role on ER as Dr. Hope Bobeck, Archie’s ex-girlfriend and some much-needed comic relief in the show. During her six seasons on Cougar Town, she’s the playful assistant to Jules [Courtney Cox] and in the hilarious HBO series Vice Principals, then she returned to the big screen in 2018’s I Feel Pretty alongside Amy Schumer. Philipps portraying Jane, the comfortable-enough-in-her-own-skin-that-she-can-wear-scrubs-to-the-bar-after-work friend.
Philipps’ exceedingly popular Instagram shares a very real inside look into the busy life of a working actress and mother. With her own hit late-night talk show recently premiering on E!, Busy Tonight, we get to see even more of the actress that is so unapologetically herself. Busy Philipps first met actress Gillian Jacobs after Gillian was invited to a taping of her show, Love Inc. and shortly after, they became fast and life-long friends. The pair sit down to talk to each other for Rogue for our Issue #9 to discuss everything from set etiquette, the royal wedding, how they met, to the Super Bowl, new and old acting ventures, and friendship.
Busy: How are you? Are you crazy running around with all the press for the movies?
Gillian: I’m good. Yeah, it’s crazy when you are running around and actually doing it. I’m really excited about the projects and that motivates you with all the insanity of the schedule. It’s all been well, and next I’m going to NY on Saturday.
Busy: What are you doing in NY?
Gillian: We’re doing the premiere for Ibiza at Vulture Fest and doing an event there and then there is other press to do. Speaking of press, when do you start your talk show?
Busy: Well, our showrunner and I just did the upfronts, and a little bit for the advertisers, but we are trying to reveal what the show is going to be like. Getting together budgets and stuff, it’s all a process that I have never been apart of before, but now I obviously have to be, because I’m an executive producer on the show as well. We have to build the show based on the budget and figure out how many writers we can afford, set creators, etc, and we are going to have to start hiring people soon--but the good news is, after 20 years of working in this business, I know so many funny people and so many people that want to help. People have just been offering advice and help, which is really nice too. They want to launch the show in August--we are going to make sure that everyone is really ready and happy, they are giving me thirteen weeks on the air, to see how it goes.
Gillian: How is it producing, being in that role on the show?
Busy: It’s a lot to do, but the good news is, when I directed that episode of Cougar Town, I learned that I am a person who likes to be decisive. I make decisions rather quickly. So those skills have served me well as a mother, a human and as a producer. It [plays] a huge part when you do things like directing and producing a show. It’s just me, I’m the one putting myself entirely out there. I want the show to be the way I want, I want it to look and feel a very certain way, and those are all the decisions that I have to be there for, no one else can make those decisions for me. People can offer advice and I welcome it, but obviously if I want it to be a true reflection of my sensibility, I have to show up for every single moment.
Gillian: What advice would you give me on directing?
Busy: OH Gillian, you’re perfect already! And you have directed documentaries before, so you know...
Gillian: Haha, well give me some advice.
Busy: Well I think what’s amazing about [directing] is when you truly understand the collaborative nature of it, and that people aren’t there to stand in the way of you and your vision. Have people there to help you who have their own expertise and experience behind what they might be suggesting, even if that might not initially be what you’re imagining, just be open to it. I’m not saying don’t have your vision, because you will, but be open to every actor and producer and person coming into the situation to make a piece of film, everyone is coming at it with their best intentions and expertise so be open to that.
Gillian: I feel like I have been keeping, over the years, an imaginary list inside my head of what not to do. Like I’m just trying to remember bad things I have seen on set so I can avoid them. Do you think you have that list too?
Busy: You and I are really similar in a lot of ways, that’s why we are good friends. I am not a fan of bad behavior, no matter what it is. I don’t think anyone’s talent excuses that, I don’t care how f*cking good you are at your job, I can’t stand it when people are assholes or rude or dismissive, and get away with it because they are talented. I mean, so what, we are all f*cking talented. You can be a decent person and be talented. I hate that idea that in order to be a genius you have to be an asshole or impossible to work with. I reject that. It’s stuff like that, that sticks with you.
Busy: I heard about your show ending, are you sad about it [LOVE] being over?
Gillian: Yeah, it’s an adjustment. Right about now I would be going back, and it’s strange, because it gives you such structure in your life when you are on a TV show and now I have to create it for myself.
Busy: It sounds like you are kind of doing that. You have four thousand movies to promote, so that’s good. Do you get... I get this way when I do a lot of press, I start to deeply deeply loathe myself, do you get that?
Gillian: Oh yes. It’s like, you don’t want to give the same answer over and over again and be disingenuous, but you can’t think of a better answer to give! It’s so nice to have talented people do your hair / makeup and dress you up, but also you feel like a little show pony after a while. I would rather be in my pajamas. Well now you are going to part of this big press machine, over on the other side of it, where people will be promoting things on your show.
Busy: I want to create a safe space, for people and for my friends especially, where we can just go out into the world and do something together that doesn’t require-- if the person is down for it--doesn’t require hair, or makeup, or wardrobe. Where it’s just organic--like now, where you and I go together to Larchmont and get coffee and food and talk. It would be super low key and not a huge ordeal, just a small crew, just an intimate setting. I would like to do more of those remote segments and things that can just live on the Internet if they want to.
Gillian: Are you a person who has anxiety about going on talk shows?
Busy: I don’t historically love it, but I just did a [talk show] round for I Feel Pretty and it was okay. I tend to find them nerve-racking. I just had to go through it. I find them to be nerve-racking as hell. I also don’t love the pre-interview bit and the preplanned stories--knowing the questions the person is going to ask you beforehand, that all just feels really old school to me and I hope to do something different for my show. Not rehearsed. So we’ll see.
Gillian: Ferguson was always fun because he truly would just throw the [question] cards up in the air as you walked out and you never knew what he was going to ask.
Busy: Yeah I always loved The Craig Ferguson Show and I worked with him as an actor back in the day.
Gillian: Oh, you did? On what?
Busy: I’m old lady Gillian, I have been doing this for twenty f*cking years [laughter]. I did a TV show, more than twenty years ago... I was on a TV show called Life As We Know It and Kelly Osbourne was an actor on the show, and Ferguson played her father--I played her cool boss for the local newspaper she was interning at. I was in like four or five episodes. I basically lived up in Vancouver because I did White Chicks up there, which took forever to film, and so I was there for that and then rolled right into Life As We Know It.
Gillian: Was this after Dawson’s Creek?
Busy: Yeah, post Dawson’s Creek.
Gillian: But wait, was this before the other show you were on, what was it called?
Busy: Love Inc. Yeah this was pre-Love Inc, when you were out in LA.
Gillian: Yeah, that’s where it all started! I knew some of the writers on Love Inc. and they asked if I wanted to come to a taping of the show and I said, ‘absolutely’. I vividly remember sitting in the audience, watching you in between takes, and then a couple of years later we met and actually became friends, and I was like, this is surreal!
Busy: Wait were you at Julliard at the time?
Gillian: No, it was post Julliard. And I was just so excited because I wasn’t working as an actor yet, so I was just so excited to be where people were actually making a TV show.
Busy: You know who was a guest star on Love Inc...Meghan Markle.
Gillian: NO way!
Busy: Yeah! It was her first job.
Gillian: How are you with the wedding? Do you have a vivid memory of her?
Busy: I was freaking out when I heard about the wedding. I have zero memories of her, not one, but I just know that a lot of people have come up to me over the years saying, ‘hey I was an extra on that show you were on and you were the only one that made me feel like I wasn’t a piece of trash.’ I try to go out of my way on set, because we are all actors, we are all trying, so I don’t care if they were just there for one line, I want to talk to them and hang out. So I am sure she had a good experience on the show, but I don’t remembe rmy experience with her. I looked at pictures after and figured out she had been on the show because I read about it then I looked at the pictures, and I vaguely remember her line and the scene I was involved in. She was very young and it was one of her first jobs. The wedding was so exciting. I am very excited just remembering it haha, it was awesome.
Gillian: I once played touch football with Meghan on Direct TV, in exchange for Super Bowl tickets.
Busy: You are a football fan?!
Gillian: Not really, but my mom is, and she was like, ‘Do you want to go to the Superbowl in two days?’ I said sure, and she was like, ‘Great you have to fly to NY tomorrow and play a game of touch football for Direct TV.’ It was the strangest combination of people I have seen in one room, everyone from Doctor OZ to ex-NFL players. And Meghan Markle and I played touch football.
Busy: Where did it go?
Gillian: It was a soccer field and it was going to be broadcasted live on Direct TV and they gave us jerseys with their name on them.
Busy: Isn’t it weird some of the things you do, especially when you are starting out? You’re thinking, I guess I do this, I guess this is part of my job that I go play football on Direct TV. It’s confusing, no one gives you a road map of things that might embarrass you later.
Gillian: Certainly no one at Julliard is like: beware of touch football game.
Busy: Right?! Ok, now I gotta run and get to the kids!
Gillian: Ok! I love you and will talk to you later, bye.
Photographer: Ekaterina Belinskaya
Stylist: Victor Blanco
Makeup: Kindra Mann @The Wall Group using Tom Ford
Hair: Charles Dujic @The Wall Group using Oribe
Writer: Hannah Rose Prendergast
Location: Good Times at Davey Wayne's