THE BIG ASK ALYSON HANNIGANHow I Met Your Mother

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - with DAR­REN DEV­LYN

How do you feel about your show be­ing com­pared to Friends? When we first came out, we def­i­nitely got the Friends com­par­i­son. But I think if you group any five or six peo­ple to­gether you’ll get that com­par­i­son. Ac­tu­ally, my friend said it’s sort of like Friends but it’s with peo­ple you would ac­tu­ally know. There are so many ed­its in­volved and flash­backs and it’s more of a new genre of sit­com. We had 59 scenes in the first episode. Friends maybe had 18 scenes in an ac­tion-packed one. So the for­mat is def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent. How did you choose this script over oth­ers? I knew I wanted to do a half-hour show. I wanted to do com­edy so I read a ton of scripts. There were a lot of re­ally bad com­edy scripts when I was read­ing them and this one stood out. It was miles bet­ter than ev­ery­thing else that I’d been read­ing. And what re­ally touched me is that it had heart. I re­ally cared about the char­ac­ters. Each char­ac­ter had an in­di­vid­ual voice, which I found quite rare with the stuff I was read­ing. And you know I can tell if I have to keep go­ing back in a script and go ‘‘OK, now which char­ac­ter is this? Wait, who is this guy?’’, then I know the char­ac­ters are not very well de­fined. This was not the case. I knew who was talk­ing with­out look­ing at the char­ac­ter’s name. I love the story and the idea and it re­ally touched me as soon as I read it. Why did you want to do a half-hour com­edy if they are so dif­fi­cult to get right? I just felt I’d spent seven years on this won­der­ful one-hour show ( Buffy) and I just couldn’t do it again. And so I wanted to try some­thing new and com­edy I love. I love television and I love go­ing to work ev­ery day and I love hav­ing a job for the ma­jor­ity of the year rather than do­ing one film ev­ery cou­ple of years where you don’t know when you’ll find an­other script you like. And so half-hour was the log­i­cal next step. I never be­lieved that sit­com had died, I felt that as long as you get good writ­ers and a good cast, it’s go­ing to strike a chord be­cause peo­ple love to laugh. Lots of peo­ple were ex­cited about the res­ur­rec­tion of Neil Pa­trick Har­ris. Were you a Doo­gie fan? I was, I was in­deed. I also met him when he was still shoot­ing that show and we be­came friends. I’ve known him for half my life al­most and it was such a thrill to walk into the last au­di­tion and see that we were both up for the same show. Tell us a lit­tle about Lily. I re­ally re­sponded to the Mar­shall-Lily re­la­tion­ship. I love that they had been to­gether for a long time, and be­came en­gaged, but they were sort of kids grow­ing up into this more ma­ture re­la­tion­ship. I love be­ing part of a healthy re­la­tion­ship on television. You don’t see a lot of that, par­tic­u­larly with a lot of re­al­ity shows on. They say com­edy is the hard­est form of act­ing pos­si­ble, but it seems to come quite nat­u­rally to you. Why? Um, I learnt quickly as a child that if I made my mum laugh in­stead of yell at me, it’d be much bet­ter. And I think that prob­a­bly was the defin­ing mo­ment of my life. So that’s prob­a­bly where it stems from. I was just a big trou­ble­maker, and I needed to get out of trou­ble a lot. No, I was a very good kid. I don’t think she re­alised how good I was un­til I was gone. I was an only child so I was al­ways the one who was go­ing to be in trou­ble. You know I didn’t have any sib­lings to blame stuff on.

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