Even in the strong, six-person ensemble of Happy Endings, Casey Wilson is a standout. Formerly known for her stint on Saturday Night Live, the UCB veteran has found the perfect vehicle in ABC’s sophomore-year comedy, where she plays the aggressively single Penny. (Please take this moment to relive Penny’s overreaction when offered a drink called a Whore’s Bath. Okay, back with us? Good.) With tonight’s episode centered on her character, Wilson took time out to chat with Vulture about Penny’s idiosyncrasies — including all those “abbreves” — and online commenters.
So tonight’s episode is all about Penny’s birthday. What can you tease from it?
In her mind, she’s celebrating her 29th birthday for the second time, even though this year’s 31. They’re all trying to find a restaurant to go to, but the concept of the episode is that her birthday is cursed, which she vehemently denies and is living in delusion about. But then, as the night goes on, the night gets worse and worse — so much so that at one point, her shirt gets pulled off.
Have you had many disastrous birthdays yourself?
I’ve had a few, of course! For my 30th, I thought, I’m gonna blow it out and do the biggest birthday ever, and I was insisting that everybody do two or three tequila shots, which is such a bad idea. People were actively saying, “No, we don’t want to!” because I was peer-pressuring them. And then my girlfriend Whitney Cummings and I had so much tequila that we were randomly pulling our pants down and taking our tops off and dancing. People were like, “Stop, ew, get out of here!” It was really upsetting.
How do you feel about the potential of a relationship between Penny and Dave? It feel like the show is hinting at a possible future there.
The show is definitely hinting at something. I think it’s fun! There’s truth to the idea that with friendships, it can be like you’re the last ones standing and you just lock eyes and go, “I guess we’re going down this road.” But I think it’s interesting how people are reacting to it, and I’m sure the writers are testing the waters a bit. I’m sure Penny will drive whatever semblance of a relationship they have into the ground, so I’m not worried about that. I’m looking forward to seeing how she makes it not work. And besides, Penny and Dave are such dorks …
Well, everyone on the show is dorky in their own way.
Oh my God, it’s six dorks jockeying to become the coolest.
We’re kind of obsessed with Penny’s habit of shortening words, or “abbreves,” as she likes to call it. Do you use them in daily life?
I’m actually a big fan of abbreves, myself – and that’s the perf way to put it. But I abbreviate things to the point where people get annoyed, and it wears on people. It wears on the peeps! I’m simply too lazy to finish words, and the writers ran with that.
I hear in the season finale, you get Brian Austin Green as your love interest, which is not too shabby. Were you a 90210 girl growing up?
Of course I was! I was oddly fixated on Ian Ziering, because I think I was realistic in my head, thinking, You’re not going to get Brandon or Dylan … but you might have a shot with Steve. [Laughs]
Did you tell Brian you were obsessed?
I didn’t. I didn’t get into why they wouldn’t let Donna Martin graduate. I’m sure he had his own set of feelings on the downgrade he was getting from his wife to me. No, kidding! It was awesome having him, and it’s a really funny episode.
You’re known to be obsessed with the Kardashians. Was it you who suggested that Penny and James Wolk’s character should both be reading Kris Jenner’s book in an episode a few weeks ago?
I did not! The writers know all about my love of all thing Kardashian, although I think they’re doing it with more of an eye roll than I’d like. I’m doing it seriously, not ironically!
You’re still 100 percent onboard with the Kardashians, even after the questionable veracity of the Kim/Kris showmance?
Kyle, I’m still behind them. I don’t know what to say. Look, I don’t love it about myself, I’m not proud of it, but I’m there for them.
Back in the day, you made a Funny or Die video in which you read some of the most hateful Internet comments about you –
Well, you know what? Sorry to interrupt, but that sort of ties into it, because I hate seeing people made fun of. Like, I actually do enjoy the Kardashians’ show, and I know that other people do enjoy it, but at the same time, they want to make fun of it. Like, I know that girls are watching that show — I’m just the only one courageous enough to say it. Other people are courageous in acts of war, but I’m courageous in my love for the Kardashians.
Well, the reason I brought up that video is because now that you’re on a show with such ardent fans who love you, do you ever let yourself peek at Internet comments?
Oh, you’re so sweet! But no, I can’t do it. I’ve looked at some of the Twitter comments, and even if they’re 99 percent positive, I’ll latch onto the one weird thing. There was one about how I needed Botox, and I cried! I’ll just take something to heart too much for my own sanity, so if I stay away, I can just imagine it’s all positive.
You’re in this movie with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen that’s now called The Guilt Trip. What can you tell me about your role in that?
I have a small part, I’m this receptionist that Barbra Streisand wants to hook up with her son. And she was just a dream. I was like, shaking. At some point there was this prop on the receptionist’s desk, a gardening magazine I think, and she took an interest in it and said to me, “Can you make sure I get that gardening magazine after filming?” I wrote it on seventeen Post-It notes. “If you don’t get Barbra Streisand that gardening magazine at the end of filming, you are a piece of shit!” [Laughs] Of course I ran over to her with it at the end of the day and she’d totally forgotten about it.