Annie Murphy’s Righteous Anger
The Schitt’s Creek star pivots to comedy’s darker side in a new role as a stifled housewife.
The morning after the 2020 Emmy Awards, Annie Murphy woke up with a nasty hangover. She had just won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Alexis Rose on Schitt’s Creek, but she didn’t have time to let it soak in. “I dragged my corpse onto an airplane,” she remembers. “It was pretty nuts.”
The Emmys marked a final celebration of Schitt’s Creek’s unlikely rise from an obscure Canadian sitcom to one of the most beloved shows of the past decade; its sixth and final season took home nine awards.
But Murphy was already working on her next project. She flew to Boston that morning, where she started production on Kevin Can F**k Himself, a new series that debuted June 13th on AMC. Murphy stars as Allison McRoberts, a disenchanted housewife who spends most of her time catering to her lazy, obnoxious husband, Kevin.
The series alternates between a King of Queens- esque comedy, where the wife has no agency and merely serves as a sounding board to her other half ’s lame jokes, and a drama reminiscent of Breaking Bad, where the cheery, working-class neighborhood grows dim and dangerous. All the while, Allison plots to do what any sitcom wife would in real life: Kill her husband.
The part is a stark departure from Alexis, a bubbly Kardashian type whose excessive hand movements and vocal fry became the subject of a million memes. It was an intentional shift for Murphy, 34, who says she was “bummed out” to get “a lot of, shall I say, blonde offers” following her breakout.
Not that she’s complaining. Prior to landing Schitt’s, the Ottawa native, who’d been doing a lot of auditioning but not a lot of working, was down to $3 in her bank account. Days before she was offered the role, she almost quit acting. “I had a big cry in the Pacific Ocean before that email dropped into my [inbox] and changed my life,” she recalls. “It was very formative that things didn’t come easily and I had to develop a thick skin.”
Now, on Kevin, she gets to let it all hang out. In fits of domestic fury, Allison smashes beer bottles, kicks garbage cans, and punches mailboxes — a first for Murphy, who describes herself as a “hopeful” and “optimistic” person. “But it felt so good and therapeutic,” she says. “I’m a human woman in this day and age, and I think we all have a certain amount of rage in us.” She doesn’t see that as a bad thing, either: “If everyone had access to a smash room, the world would be a much happier place.”