After hamming it up as twitchy neurotic Kimmy on Ally McBeal and showing her dramatic chops as ailing comedienne Gilda Radner in Gilda: It's Always Something, Jami Gertz needed a break! But unlike some of us, her idea of chilling out was re-entering the sitcom fray with CBS's upcoming King of Queens clone Still Standing.

"I was away for seven weeks with Gilda in Toronto," explains the Los Angeles resident, who plays the wife of a toilet-bowl salesman (The Full Monty's Mark Addy) and mother of three. "As a mom, I needed to be here... And so when I happened upon [Still Standing], I kind of forced my way in."

This is a brave move for the 36-year-old Square Pegs alum, who still appears to be nursing wounds from her last foray into TV comedy, 1991's short-lived Sibs. "It really never worked from the beginning," she laments of the late ABC laffer. "And it was kept [on the air] for some reason. I think professionally for me it was not a great experience. Ultimately, it wasn't funny."

Now, with an Emmy nomination under her belt (for her stint on Ally), she's hoping to draw on her own experience as a child at heart and a real-life mother of three to make the potentially cookie-cutter Still Standing (premiering Sept. 23) stand out. "What I love about these characters and what I think about myself — which I'm not proud of — is that [we're] still 21 in our mind," she confesses. "You still want to [think you can] go to the Cheap Trick concert."