An interview with Bridget McManus

If you’ve never heard the name Bridget McManus, well, welcome to your first visit to AfterEllen.com! (Enjoy a cup of our delicious organic, free trade Twig Kukicha tea while you peruse the greatest lesbian website in the world!)

Bridget McManus is a stand-up comic, actress and writer, who is most famous around these parts for her vlog, Brunch With Bridget and her Logo variety show, Bridget McManus Presents: That Time of the Month. Well, that and her Grey’s Anatomy recaps. And her Afternoon Delight column. And her ubiquitous presence in every reader-voted-upon poll we ever conduct. Most recently, you voted her onto the AfterEllen.com Les/Bi list and the 2008, 2009 and 2010 AfterEllen.com Hot 100. You love Bridget McManus, is what I am saying, and that means I’ve got some good news for you: She has recently partnered with tellofilms to create her own mockumentary series, McManusLand!

Even though Bridget’s wife, AfterEllen.com editor-in-chief Karman Kregloe, is my boss, and even though Bridget herself has conducted hundreds of interviews (from her bed!), it was nearly impossible for me to pin her down and make her talk about herself. But when I promised to give some press to her McManusLand co-star, Taffy Davenport the dog, she acquiesced. We chatted about her new show, about creating art, and about almost passing over her wife for the role of “her wife” in her mockumentary. 

Photo by: Paul Smith

AfterEllen.com: I just finished watching the first episode of McManusLand. It’s really, really funny. I almost choked when you accosted your cat for not making it to the family meeting. It’s different than your other stuff, being scripted and everything. Why’d you decide to do a mockumentary? 
Bridget McManus: I’m sorry you “almost choked” but what would it take to make you officially choke? You’re proof that lesbians are a tough audience. My two favorite genres are documentary and mockumentary. I am not currently doing anything interesting enough to be documented, but I’m always doing something ridiculous that I’d like to make fun of.

I am a big fan of Christopher Guest‘s movies (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman) because his characters are desperate and real, which I relate to. McManusLand was born out of reality combined with my desire to showcase the US obsession with “fame.” These days people want to be famous and they don’t even know why they want to be famous. I find that to be sad and depressing, which makes me laugh. Hence I created a mockumentary! To me, McManusLand is the lesbian Curb Your Enthusiasm.

AE: What are the major differences between Real Life Bridget and McManusLand Bridget?

BM: McManusLand Bridget is smarter and thinner than Real Life Bridget. Actually, I based McManusLand Bridget on Teri Garr‘s actress character in Tootsie. (Am I dating myself?) McManusLand Bridget is chasing a dream that isn’t obtainable, even if she does obtain it. She has this idea that once she’s famous then all of her problems will be solved. But, as Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo money mo problems!” When McManusland Bridget gets a break, you can be sure that some sort of disaster will follow.

Real Life Bridget is a realist and doesn’t actually go jogging with Taffy. Taffy pulls too hard on her leash and makes numerous pee stops, so Real Life Bridget never breaks a sweat.

AE: You wrote the whole series, right? Is this your first time writing scripted comedy? Would you like to write more scripted comedy?

BM: Yes, McManusLand is my baby, I created and wrote the series but I left some wiggle room for improvisation. When you’re working with comedian Fortune Feimster you should always leave room for the unknown.

McManusLand is my first scripted comedy and I am actually surprised by how much I enjoyed writing the show. I would love to write more episodes and transform the show into something bigger. Could you imagine a network comedy with a lesbian couple as the leads? I would also like to write for a real half-hour sitcom. Is Modern Family hiring staff writers?

AE: How hard was it to rope Karman into playing the role of Karman?

BM: I actually reached out to Milla Jovovich to play the role of “Karman” but she wasn’t available, so I turned to the next best thing, my real wife Karman. Karman is a good sport in all aspects of my life, so she was willing to recreate some of our real-life situations, like our daily emergency family meetings and my incessant nagging that she kiss Taffy. I still can’t believe Karman married me. How lucky am I?

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