The good news: Ratings for the second episode of Party Down jumped 129 percent from the first episode. The bad news: 126,000 people watched the first episode. So, yeah, the fantastic Party Down is still going virtually unwatched, which is a real shame — two episodes in, and we’re right back into the swing of things with the winningly bitter, sad-sack, and delusional aspiring stars that make up Party Down Catering. That includes Casey Klein, the comedian-caterer-waiter (and love interest for Adam Scott’s dumpy hero Henry Pollard) played with dollops of prickly charm by Lizzy Caplan. Ahead of this evening’s episode, “Nick DiCintio’s Orgy Night” — in which Martin Starr helps Thomas Lennon organize his sex party (comedy nerds! This is your show!) — Vulture caught up with Caplan.
You’ve booked a CBS sitcom, True Love. Does that mean you’re out for a third season of Party Down?
Nope. I am only doing a guest star, so I can do a third season.
Oh, wow. That’s great. I was all set to ask you who you’d want to see replace you …
Dame Judi Dench.
Awesome. So what’s the word with the third season?
We are waiting. We were hoping to get an early pickup, so that we could keep the cast members, but they said they won’t pick up until the episodes start airing. So now we are forced to deal with that.
How much is the fact that so many cast members have other gigs affecting the chances for a third season?
We’re hoping [we can do another season]. It’s just so iffy. There’s so many things that we don’t know. But everybody really wants to be able to do the next season. I know that Adam [Scott] is allowed to do at least a few of them. Ryan [Hansen]’s show is a pilot, so that could not be picked up …
Hopefully not, right?
Yeah! I know, it’s terrible to say, especially since he has a brand-new baby. A baby which needs to eat. I guess the baby deserves to eat, but I’d much rather do a third season.
So what can we expect from your character this season?
At the end of the first season, everybody went off to their own version of success: Kyle went off to do that movie, and Ken’s character went to open that Soup R’ Crackers franchise, and I went to do the cruise ship. And obviously things don’t turn out as they hope, because we’re all back catering.
You play a stand-up comedian. Will we ever get to see you do comedy?
Not in the show, but we wanted to make some YouTube videos, or Funny or Die videos, of all of us doing our own things, and mine would be the cruise-ship comedy. In my mind, I always thought she was not a great comedian. But we’re lazy and we’re running out of time.
Do you have a comedian in mind that Casey’s act is similar to?
Not a specific person, but one of my favorite things to do is to see stand-up. I enjoy it as much when it’s bad, because they’ just up there and it’s naked and it’s truly the most embarrassing thing when it’s bad. I like it when the comics get really aggressive and it’s a terrible awful train wreck.
Have you ever done it?
I have not done it. I want to say that it’s something that I will try once, but it truly terrifies me.
Ken Marino told us the cast is pretty close off set. Do you guys ever get together to watch the episodes?
We watched one of the episodes together a few months ago; we were having a dinner party. But usually people are out of town and families and all of that gets in the way. But I’m sure if we don’t have a third season we’ll have a big party and do a marathon of the episodes and hold each other and weep.
Do you feel like there’s a bigger promotional push for the second season? I’ve seen more ads and billboards.
I was very pleased to see the billboards, I’ve been pushing to get those; I think they’re very effective and now we’re doing that and it’s great. The first season people didn’t even know if they had Starz, didn’t know if they could even watch the show. So the second season we’ll hopefully have more viewers. And there are so many ways to watch it! So I’m hoping that the DVDs will sell out completely. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s cool, because the whole vibe on that set is that we’re making something that’s for us.
What can you tell us about True Love?
It’s a multi-camera hybrid, like How I Met Your Mother? It’s about four friends, and two of the friends are the good-looking, optimistic sweethearts, and the girl has a friend, and the guy has a friend, and the friends are just bitter and angry. I think they’ve been comparing it to About Last Night, that Rob Lowe–Demi Moore movie, only if there’s as much attention paid to Jim Belushi’s character.
You’re also in 127 Hours, the Danny Boyle–James Franco movie about the trapped mountain climber who amputated his own arm. Some reports have you playing a hallucination. What’s that look like? Is it a Princess Leia type of thing?
Ha! I’m playing his sister. A lot of the movie is James Franco, in a cave, and so he’s kind of lost in his own thoughts a lot. But there are real people who come in as well, and there are real things.
One last thing: Any career advice for your Mean Girls co-star, Lindsay Lohan?
[Laughs.] Not really.