REAL BUSY

The lat­est ad­ven­tures of all-rounder Busy Philipps.

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

The thing you have to un­der­stand about Busy Philipps is this: she should be an award-win­ning, name-up-in-lights star. It’s not like she hasn’t put in the work. Over 20 years, she’s au­di­tioned for pretty much ev­ery­thing. She’s nailed a few lead­ing roles, but mostly she’s been the fab­u­lous sup­port act (see: Dawson’s Creek, Freaks And Geeks, Cougar Town). She knows every­one. She cam­paigned for Hil­lary Clin­ton. She’s best friends with Michelle Wil­liams. She’s writ­ten a hit movie (more on this later). She’s not quite the house­hold name she should be. But that’s about to change.

Iron­i­cally, it’s Philipps’ In­sta­gram ac­count, fol­lowed by 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple, that has turned her into the kind of bona fide break­out star she was al­ways meant to be. To her fol­low­ers, Philipps is an ev­ery­day enigma – re­lat­able but glam­orous. In short daily videos, she shares snip­pets of her life – from her work­outs, to sheet mask­ing, to that time she got locked out of her house af­ter at­tend­ing the Golden Globes with Wil­liams. It’s these funny, in­sider-y sto­ries that have landed Philipps both a book deal, for her mem­oir This Will Only Hurt A Bit, and the role of a life­time: host of her very own talk show, Busy Tonight. Af­ter 20 years of hus­tling, Busy Philipps has ar­rived. “Yeah,” she says, laugh­ing. “It’s been a very ex­cit­ing minute.”

The minute, fun­nily enough, has come about be­cause Philipps stopped try­ing to fit in to Hol­ly­wood’s nar­row per­cep­tions of who a star should be, and started be­ing her­self. “I’d spent a long time won­der­ing if I was do­ing some­thing to stop my­self get­ting the roles I wanted, and I just re­alised one day a few years ago that it wasn’t me, it was them,” she says. “So I started be­ing re­ally hon­est.” The book, she ex­plains, is a re­flec­tion of this rel­a­tively new phase. “You get one life and what is the point of any of it if you’re not true to your­self?”

Philipps lays ev­ery­thing bare in the book: her abor­tion at 14, her life­long strug­gles with anx­i­ety, that she thinks James Franco is a dick, her grief af­ter her friend Heath Ledger’s death, be­ing told (nu­mer­ous times) to lose weight by stu­dio ex­ecs, want­ing to leave her hus­band af­ter the birth of their first child. “I knew that the only way was to tell the com­plete story. I tried to own my bull­shit as much as pos­si­ble, while ac­knowl­edg­ing all the other bull­shit that hap­pened.” “The other bull­shit” might well re­fer to the hit Will Fer­rell film

Blades Of Glory, which Philipps co-cre­ated and then co-wrote with an ex and his brother. When it came time to sell the script, the men took Philipps’ name off the script, ex­plain­ing that their story – as brothers writ­ing to­gether – was bet­ter mar­ket­ing. “Women get their names wiped off scripts all the time. I was re­ally lack­ing in con­fi­dence af­ter that. I didn’t write for a long time, I was also bruised as an ac­tress. I would go for au­di­tions and just floun­der. I had the wind knocked out of my sails.”

When her show pre­mieres on Oc­to­ber 28, Philipps will be one of three work­ing fe­male late-night talk-show hosts in the US (along with Sarah Sil­ver­man and Sa­man­tha Bee). Her show, she says, will serve an au­di­ence cur­rently be­ing ne­glected. “Right now there are two types of late-night shows: the type where there’s a stand-up and a house band and a cou­ple of celebri­ties on the couch. Those are usu­ally hosted by a guy called Jimmy,” she says laugh­ing, re­fer­ring to late-night hosts Jimmy Fal­lon and Jimmy Kim­mel. “Then there’s the po­lit­i­cal satire. But I think there’s a whole au­di­ence out there, in­clud­ing me, who want some­thing dif­fer­ent.” When she was dream­ing the show up, she asked her­self: what do I want to see be­fore I go to bed? “It’s peo­ple on the couch, hav­ing a great con­ver­sa­tion. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s pos­i­tive.” As an ac­tress of more than 20 years, Philipps says she’s look­ing for­ward to

speak­ing to guests in a more mean­ing­ful way. “I know I would have ap­pre­ci­ated be­ing in­ter­viewed in a more thought­ful way, hav­ing a great con­ver­sa­tion, rather than just boom-boom­boom, what are you pro­mot­ing?”

The writ­ing team is al­most all women and in­cludes Philipps’ good friend and fel­low mem­oirist/in­sta­gram star Kelly Ox­ford. The lone male in the group comes from the pro­duc­tion com­pany be­hind the show, Lit­tle Stranger, helmed by Tina Fey. Philipps ap­peared in a pi­lot co-pro­duced by Fey,

which failed to make it to se­ries. “It was a great show, it should have been picked up,” says Philipps. “I mean, it’s Tina fuck­ing Fey. Who doesn’t or­der her se­ries?” What­ever the rea­son, Fey and Philipps quickly de­cided to move on to an­other project: the talk show. Fey, says Philipps, is “in­cred­i­bly in­volved” in the show. “I’ve been wait­ing my en­tire life to be val­i­dated in my work the way that she has val­i­dated me. She’s ev­ery­thing.”

Late night, she ac­knowl­edges, is a tough gig. His­tor­i­cally, women have not been ad­mit­ted to the boys’ club that dom­i­nates host­ing du­ties. But Philipps is con­fi­dent. “I know it sounds crazy be­cause, I mean, who am I, re­ally? I’m just a per­son, I’m not a stand-up or what­ever. But I truly be­lieve that I know how to do this. I know I have it in me.” She has no list of “dream guests” be­cause, she says, why wouldn’t peo­ple want to be on her show? “We all know that there should be more women’s voices in late night. Since Chelsea [Han­dler] bowed out, there hasn’t been a tra­di­tional late-night show with a fe­male host. For me, there’s no pie-in-the-sky guest, be­cause I don’t know why any­one would say no.” That said, Philipps would love a chat with Ju­lia Roberts (a fan of Philipps’ In­sta­gram) and Kanye West (“I’d love to chat with him about men­tal health.”)

Af­ter 20 years of pay­ing her dues, Philipps is fi­nally able to col­lect. In­stead of work­ing on projects for other peo­ple – or hav­ing to for­feit those she worked on her­self – Philipps is ready to make her mark. “What do I want peo­ple to think of the show? I mean, some com­mu­nity. Re­lief from these dark times. Fun.” As for the book, Philipps is sim­i­larly hope­ful. “I would hope read­ers of my book re­late, and find some­thing that makes them feel less alone in this world. Is it too am­bi­tious to say that I want them to have a greater un­der­stand­ing of the nu­ances of hu­man­ity? No. Let’s do it, let’s say it. Why fuck­ing not?” Busy Tonight airs from Oc­to­ber 28 on E!; This Will Only Hurt A Lit­tle ($32.99, Ha­chette) is out now

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