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Throughout her career, Tricia O’Kelley has appeared in a variety of television shows and movies from Gilmore Girls, Weather Girl, and The New Adventures of Old Christine to her recent role on ABC Family’s Secret Life of the American Teenager, where she portrayed Leo Boykewich’s former assistant and third wife- which included acting as a stepmother to troubled teenager Ben Boykewich.
Now, O’Kelley, has joined seasoned actors Jason Antoon, Mary Birdsong, Greg Cromer, and Romy Rosemont to create a spontaneous, laugh-out-loud, raunchy web series titled Bitter Party of Five. Ten episodes are featured on their YouTube channel to date, each averaging about ten minutes in length.
Tricia shared with us why she’s so passionate about her latest comedic venture and hinted at what viewers can look forward to in future episodes.
TheCelebrityCafe: You’re now starring in a web series called Bitter Party of Five. For anyone who has not heard of it, can you describe the plot?
Tricia O’Kelley: It’s centered on five nearly successful actors who are interviewing their much more famous friends, and they are not happy about it. This is the only interview show where it’s more about the hosts than it is the guests.
TCC: How did the idea for this web series develop?
TO: The five of us all met on an NBC pilot last spring starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman that we all assumed would get picked up. When it didn’t, we were devastated. We are all around the same age and in the same place in our careers. We have all worked a ton and are just waiting for that one break. In the months that we were getting to know each other, we became good friends in a short period of time. We started brainstorming what we could do together and realized that among the five of us, we have worked with so many people that we kind of knew everyone collectively. We came up with the idea of asking our successful friends to come sit down with us at a round table. We’re all a little bitter that we’re not the ones being interviewed.
TCC: What is the dynamic like working with Jason, Romy, Greg, and Mary?
TO: We have an unhealthy attachment. We’re kind of madly in love with each other, and that’s why we were adamant about finding something to do together once our show wasn’t picked up. We have great chemistry. We have great timing. We’re like this weird dysfunctional family. We aren’t making money doing this web series. We’re doing it because we have so much fun together.
TCC: What type of audience is the show geared toward?
TO: Anybody who likes to watch celebrity interviews or comedy. Each show is completely improvised. The guests don’t know what kind of questions are going to be asked, and we don’t know what kind of answers are going to be given. All we know is that it’s going to be fun, and anything goes.
TCC: How long does it take to film an average episode?
TO: It’s really hard not to laugh, and I’m the worst at it. We have a ton of outtakes because we can’t keep it together. Eventually, once we edit them, we’re going to start posting outtakes on our YouTube channel as well. They’re almost as funny as the episodes. Also the endless talking in between. We usually shoot three or four episodes during one very long day. From start to finish each interview usually takes about two hours. It’s hard to edit the piece because we end up having so much good material that it’s hard to decide what to cut out.
TCC: What are the advantages of having a web series as opposed to a show on TV?
TO: Well, you know, it’s really hard to get a show on TV now. It’s not enough to be good. Everyone is looking for someone famous, young, or really exciting. For people like us who have been working for a really long time and have built up our resumes and made the connections, it’s just not enough anymore. It’s getting harder to find a steady job. What’s great about the Internet is now you can make your own stuff. You can do it yourself. It’s like in the Kaitlin Olson episode, “If nobody else will hire you, just make it yourself.” There’s a lot of crap on the Internet, but there’s also a lot of really great stuff that people are creating on their own. It’s changing the way people watch programming. A lot more people are watching TV on their computer because there’s starting to be some really great content out there.
TCC: Of the ten episodes available so far on YouTube, have there been any stand-out moments to shoot so far?
TO: Oh good lord, yes, there’s been so many. When Allison Janney started making out with Greg, it was really hard for all of us not to scream. We did the second the cameras cut. It was a breakthrough episode for us because it was the first time it showed us away from the round table. The viewers got a glimpse behind the scenes and people really responded to it. And also her commitment in the Harry Met Sally cold read was genius. Also, when I kissed Rachael Harris. I don’t even know how that happened. One second we did one take with Greg trying to hug her and then we cut. Then, I think Adam the director said that Tricia should try to kiss her. She’d be totally open to that. I thought to myself, “What?!” And the next thing I knew we were kissing. There are bits and pieces of each of them that I love, but I’d say Allison Janney’s as a whole was my favorite to film.
TCC: I’ve seen viewers comment about wanting a particular person on the show. If it was entirely up to you, who would you like to feature?
TO: I’m trying to get Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the show. She has seen the show and wants to do it, but she’s very busy. I think that would be really fun to have her and play up the fact we worked together on another series.
TCC: What can we expect from future episodes?
TO: Mayhem. Debauchery. [laughs] No, but you are going to see a lot more behind the scenes. Every interview that we’ve shot that has yet to air has some segment that we are going to put on the beginning or the end of the episode that shows a bit away from the table.