Sheryl Underwood juggles a lot these days. She's one of the new cohosts of The Talk, plus a film producer, standup comic, Sirius radio host and that ultimate political rarity, a conservative Republican who's out there stumping for Obama. And now she's a soap opera star. Underwood guests on The Young and the Restless on Friday, Feb. 10 as the justice of the peace at a surprise wedding — one that's sure to set heads spinning in Genoa City. And it couldn't happen to a crazier fan! TV Guide Magazine spoke with the hilarious Underwood about her passion for soaps and her mad crush on The Mustache.
TV Guide Magazine: My spies tell me you're often seen with soap magazines spilling out of your purse. True?
Underwood: Soap Opera Digest is my bible! I watch all the soaps. I can't believe this little girl from Arkansas got to be on Y&R. It was the bomb! When I was on the set I got to meet my pride and joy, Eric Braeden. He took me in his arms and spoke romantic German to me. I'm, like, is anybody filming this? When he died on the Titanic I was so hurt. Victor Newman would never die on the Titanic! He'd call Newman Enterprises and get a helicopter to pick him up — and then sue the cruise line! He's gangsta.
TV Guide Magazine: So how'd you do in your big suds debut?
Underwood: I was so nervous, I couldn't eat and I couldn't sleep. It takes a lot of mental dexterity to do a soap, but it was just phenomenal. A few days before I did my scenes I was performing in Washington, D.C., at the D.C. Improv and Debbi Morgan [Y&R's Harmony] came to see my show. I told her to tell the people at Y&R that I was not coming in intending to be funny and that I would not be needing a billion takes. I was concerned that maybe they wouldn't think I was taking this seriously because I'm a standup comic. I was dead serious and needed them to know that. I want to do that show again! Who else needs marrying in Genoa City?
TV Guide Magazine: How far back do you go with Y&R?
Underwood: Waaay back, baby. Back to when David Hasselhoff was Snapper and Mrs. Chancellor was the baddest bitch on TV. She was doing fight scenes long before Alexis and Crystal on Dynasty. Oooh! Remember when John fell in love with Mamie, his black housekeeper, but it was too scandalous so she was given a million dollars and sent away on an ocean cruise? Remember when Drucilla was doped up on cough medicine and Malcolm had sex with her? Love! This! Show! I love The Bold and the Beautiful. I love John McCook. I love Susan Flannery. I love everybody on every soap. I love SoapNet. I'm a fanatic!
TV Guide Magazine: Do people think you're crazy to obsess over the soaps so much?
Underwood: If you don't get it, you don't get it. All soap fans know each other, whether we go to the meeting or not. We get each other. The hardest thing for me is staying at a hotel where there's no TiVo or DVR. I gotta use the bathroom, but no! I can't. I don't wanna miss a thing. I may need to order me some lunch but I will starve to find out who's the daddy of that baby!
TV Guide Magazine: It can't be easy being a Republican in La La Land. How's that going for you?
Underwood: Most of the Republicans in Hollywood won't admit they're Republicans. It's been rough for me sometimes. Some positions I've taken have been misunderstood so I've learned to articulate my entire opinion on things. There were times I didn't get work not just because of my political point of view but also because of my feelings about sexual orientation. Now I take great pains to make sure my opinions are clearly stated. It's never my intention to hurt anyone but it is my intention to always be respected for having a brain. I want Obama to win a second term! Are you with me on that?
TV Guide Magazine: Amen, baby! Now let me ask you this: Why were you so instantly comfortable on The Talk, a show that is famous for firing cohosts? You hit the ground running. You showed no nerves. It's kind of remarkable.
Underwood: Because I'm embraced for being me. In fact, these women make me a better me. We can have diverse opinions but we don't argue. We never get mad at each other. And to have two versions of the African-American female experience on this show is such a plus. Aisha Tyler is hood. I'm very conservative. It's like watching Octavia and Viola from The Help. Being on The Talk felt great right from the beginning. When I first met with Julie Chen and Sara Gilbert there was an instant closeness. It was the best first date in the world. Then I met Sharon Osbourne for breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I have a nice suit on. I think things are going good. And then all of a sudden she threw up on me. Seriously! I'm thinking, is she in gastric distress or drinking too early in the morning? But I loved her. [Laughs] And the next thing I knew, I had the job!
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