Actress and singer Megan Mullally won multiple Emmys for her role as Karen on Will & Grace – which she will reprise in a reboot of the series later this year. Her Guest DJ set includes the song she wants played at her funeral, a few favorites from her youth and a band that is responsible for her marriage to fellow actor Nick Offerman. Megan recently released an album as “Nancy And Beth", with her singing partner Stephanie Hunt. (Hosted by Eric J Lawrence)
For More: Megan Mullally
1. Randy Newman - "Marie"
2. Willie Nelson - "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time"
3. Joni Mitchell - "Blue"
4. Louis Armstrong + The Mills Brothers - "My Walking Stick"
5. Jimi Hendrix - "Red House"
ERIC: Hi I’m Eric J Lawrence and I’m here with actress Megan Mullally, who won multiple Emmys for her role as Karen on Will and Grace, which she will reprise in a reboot of the series later this year. She has also appeared in a number of notable revivals on Broadway, and recently released an album as “Nancy And Beth” with her singing partner Stephanie Hunt.
Today, we are here to talk about five songs that inspired her throughout her life as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Megan, thanks so much for joining us.
MEGAN: Gosh, thanks for having me.
ERIC: So your first track is Randy Newman’s Marie
MEGAN: Randy Newman is my all-time favorite and I think I know every single one of his records and songs, and they are many.
The song came out when I was a freshman in high school. The record came out, Good Old Boys, this was his 5 th record. But when I was about 20 or 21, I saw him perform this song on Saturday Night Live and I was laying on the floor of my apartment, as you do when you’re 20, 21, and I just burst into tears at the end of it because -- without going into too much detail -- it really struck a chord with me. The way it turns, resonated with me in a very powerful way. I have been his slave ever since.
Song: *Randy Newman – Marie*
ERIC: That was Randy Newman with “Marie” from his “Good Old Boys” album from 1974. Well, what’s the next song you got for us?
MEGAN: Alright, next song is our friend Willie Nelson and this is from his record the “Sound in Your Mind”, which was very, very important to me. Iit came out in 1976 and I was a junior in high school. The song is the most upbeat song on the record. I was really attracted to the record. I was very attracted to the more moody songs on the record, but I love this song and it’s sort of irresistible. It’s called “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time.”
ERIC: Is there something about that particular song and the lyrical content that speaks to you in a particular way?
MEGAN: I think I thought it was hilariously witty and funny at the time. It’s got a beat, you can dance to it, as they used to say. It’s not a profound song in any way. We’re getting ready to, well this is a good lead into the next song which is profound in every way. This is just an enjoyable song. As I said, I love the whole record, I just picked that song because it’s festive.
*Song: Willie Nelson – If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time*
ERIC: That was Willie Nelson with “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time.” Lefty Frizzell classic, selected by our guest Megan Mullally.
MEGAN: The next song, not as festive.
ERIC: (laughs) Well, it’s a classic from Joni Mitchell, “Blue”.
MEGAN: From her album “Blue”, 1971. And I was very young when I first heard this, 12 or 13, that tender age. I remember I had a record player, I would put this record on after hours when I was supposed to be sleeping and I would put it on very low. I would lie in my bed and just think, here it comes, here it comes. Then when the song would come on I would go into just a trance state. I’d be teleported away from the cares of pre-pubescence.
This was the first song that really made me have to stop and think about what the hell is she saying? What are these lyrics? I found it all so moving and ephemeral and mysterious and beautiful. I think it was the first song that had a major, major impact on me.
*Song: Joni Mitchell – Blue*
ERIC: When you were a kid listening to this song on your record player, and sort of dreaming of future activities. Did you see yourself as singer primarily? Where did acting fall into that?
MEGAN: I never thought much about acting, I started out singing and I sometimes have said sometimes that I came out of the womb with a top hat and tap shoes. There’s an element of that, but I would say it would be a very sensitive top hat and a delicate pair of tap shoes. I always loved sad songs the most. I would always sing them and work through my emotions by singing them, and I still do that.
ERIC: That was Joni Mitchell with “Blue”, as selected by our guest Megan Mullally. What’s the next song you have for us?
MEGAN: Something that was recorded, 1953 by Louis Armstrong and The Mills Brothers, two of my favorite all rolled into one. Louis Armstrong is really one of my favorite vocalists of all times and all around musician. The Mills Brothers, I can’t get enough of, that’s something that my husband and I share -- it’s probably why we’re married, it’s The Mills Brothers basically.
This track, I think is irresistible. It’s something that my band “Nancy And Beth”, my band partner Stephanie Hunt and I -- I recently choreographed some sassy moves involving a cane called “My Walking Stick”.
*Song: The Mills Brothers + Louis Armstrong – Walking Stick*
ERIC: That was Louis Armstrong and The Mills Brothers with “Walking Stick”. What’s the last track you got for us?
MEGAN: Last track is “Red House” by Jimi Hendrix. It’s from “Are You Experienced”, the great Jimi Hendrix record from 1967. This song didn't come onto my radar until I was in my 30’s and it’s a song that I wasn’t played at my funeral because… I don’t know why I want to have a sexy funeral, apparently I do.
It’s the greatest blue track I’ve ever heard. I’m not sure about his turn at the very end where he says “if you’re not home, I’ll just go to your sister’s house”, but other than, that I really love it. It stirs the emotions, doesn’t it?
ERIC: In your acting roles, do you use music to sort of channel the character in a way?
MEGAN: Yeah I think I’m always thinking of music, I’m always feeling things through music, mostly just privately in my own subconscious, if not my conscious mind. Yeah I would say there’s an element. I’ve always had this theory that people who are really good at comedy are almost always musical to one degree or another. Because in order to feel the rhythm of the jokes and just the musicality of the dialogue, I think you have to have a feeling for music.
OR, I have just noticed that there is a very strange correlation. It seems like an overwhelming number of the people that I know work in comedy and are successful can also sing well, or well enough, or play a musical instrument or both.
ERIC: Well Megan, I want to thank you so much for joining us here at KCRW.com
MEGAN: Very happy to be here, thank you.
ERIC: for a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/guestdjproject and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.