For those of you who Valerie Cherish'd HBO's The Comeback, here something to make you say, "I wanna see that!" The single-season look at a onetime sitcom queen's bid for a return to fame arrives on DVD this week, complete with extras, including an update on the horrific role Val has since been offered and a look at her Dancing with the Stars stint. TVGuide.com spoke with cocreator Lisa Kudrow, Emmy-nominated for playing the hapless actress, about her ongoing Comeback, Valerie's A-list "Angel" of a fan, and Madonna stealing her hair.
TVGuide.com: First of all, congratulations on your Emmy nod!
Lisa Kudrow: Thank you very much.
TVGuide.com: How surprised were you to see The Comeback remembered, with no less than three nominations?
Kudrow: I was pretty surprised. I kept hearing, "You're going to get a nomination," and thought, "Oh, that could be nice." [Chuckles] But we got three nominations, which was super-exciting. We had 13 episodes, went off the air, and then three nominations? Pretty extraordinary.
TVGuide.com: What have you submitted for your Emmy reel?
Kudrow: I submitted the finale. That was a very, very good episode.
TVGuide.com: You and cocreator Michael Patrick King offer DVD commentary. How fun was it to revisit the show like that?
Kudrow: Oh my god, we enjoyed every second of it. The nice thing that HBO did was let us write and shoot two completely original pieces for the DVD. Valerie does commentary on one episode and it's hilarious, if I do say so myself! She's like, "Well, I don't remember feeling that badly." [Laughs] "The camera goes in super-close so it makes it look like it's worse than it is."
TVGuide.com: I love how the DVD continues the whole show-within-a-show-within-a-show thing. For example, the extras' production crew has ostensibly been bankrolled by Valerie and [husband] Mark.
Kudrow: Yeah, it's like looking into a four-way mirror. It just keeps going!
TVGuide.com: I laughed out loud when Val mentions a TV-movie she was offered where she is raped by a whole town, but on top of that it was shooting in Nova Scotia.
Kudrow: "Get raped all day, nowhere to go out for dinner." Michael Patrick King comes up with zingers that are unbelievable. Valerie has no clue about what's appropriate. She thinks everything will come off looking cute. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Was Robert Michael Morris more than happy to reprise his role as Mickey for the extras?
Kudrow: Yeah, he was. I also wanted [Laura Silverman as] Jane and [Dan Bucatinsky as] Billy the publicist, but we couldn't hire that many actors.
TVGuide.com: I was interested to learn that Cameron Diaz is a huge Comeback fan, and that's why she agreed to guest on the Leno episode.
Kudrow: Wasn't that nice of her? And she was uncomfortable at first, because she didn't want to be the reason the "beloved" Valerie doesn't get on Leno! [Laughs] I completely understood [her hesitation], so I said, "No, no, we'll just change it."
TVGuide.com: Have you heard similar affection for the show from others in the biz?
Kudrow: Yes, I have. One of the funny things is people, especially actors, are pretty guarded about their experiences. Everything is "OK," you know what I mean? I go on talk shows and do stuff for the show and I couldn't tell if the people interviewing me ever saw an episode or not. Then afterward they would take me aside and say, "In episode such-and-such? That happened to me!" And they'd tell me their story. But on air, they really distance themselves. Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't know what anyone is afraid of. Retribution? Maybe. But for what? We also got e-mails from a lot of writers and directors for shows that we respect, and we found out that on Monday morning they'd take at least an hour at work to talk about Sunday's episode of The Comeback. It was so flattering! So when we got canceled, we were kind of shocked, but we thought, "All right, but look at who liked it!"
TVGuide.com: Also on the extras is a "behind-the-scenes" at Val doing Dancing with the Stars. Might that have been an episode for Season 2?
Kudrow: Part of one, yeah. We thought it would be fun to say, "Here's what she's up to now." Whether there is a "Room & Bored" [on the air] or not, or "The Comeback" or not, she's still going to probably "go to New York and try for Broadway" or take a class at the Actors Studio.... She would keep going. We don't feel done with Valerie, I know that. We just don't feel done. It's too fun.
TVGuide.com: The cast has been doing well since. Malin Akerman ("Room & Bored" star Juna) was on Entourage, and just booked a Ben Stiller movie. The girl who played your daughter was on Gilmore Girls....
Kudrow: We had really good actors. Laura Silverman, Damian Young (Mark), Lance Barber (Paulie G) and Robert Bagnell (Tom)... all so good. Before we knew if we were getting picked up or not, some people at the networks would casually ask, "Do you know if you're picked up yet? Do you have a contract with Malin...?" They'd be asking who can they steal, basically. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: I always wondered, was Valerie's fixation on her hair in any way a wink at all the fuss made over Jennifer Aniston's "the Rachel" hairdo on Friends?
Kudrow: No-o-o! Oh my god, no. No. Valerie was making a big deal out of her hairstyle, which was done like 15 years ago or more!
TVGuide.com: And then Madonna went on to steal it!
Kudrow: Did you notice that?! That was extraordinary. I figured her hair guy was a big Comeback fan.
TVGuide.com: Perception-wise, is Phoebe a harder character for an actor to put behind them, versus some of the other Friends? Phoebe and Joey were the broader of the bunch.
Kudrow: That depends on who you talk to. I thought the characters were kind of broad, but then I meet people who'd say, "My best friend is exactly like Phoebe!" If I wanted to go back and be on an ensemble, four-camera, live-audience, brightly lit network show, then yeah, getting past me not being Phoebe would be really tricky. [But doing Friends] was nothing but a plus, for obvious reasons. It gave me the opportunity to do smaller independent films that are interesting, and that's why I got 13 episodes of The Comeback in the first place.
TVGuide.com: You and Dan Bucatinsky have a new production deal at NBC. Got anything cooking yet?
Kudrow: Oh, sure, we've got a few things that we're working on, but nothing I can talk about.
TVGuide.com: Anything where we might see you on camera?
Kudrow: No, no. No.
TVGuide.com: How will you make the decision whether to star in one of your projects or not?
Kudrow: The Comeback just lit every fire inside me. It was out of my control. And I haven't encountered anything [else] that felt out of my control yet.
Send your comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.