Have you had an experience like that before?
It’s pretty rare…. Mike goes, “I feel like I threw a party that I couldn’t go to,” because he had to work all the time. So he’d be on his balcony like, “It looks like they’re having fun.” We’d all be out. Jennifer Coolidge would be like, “Toast, toast!” We would give the toasts. And I mean, Connie Britton! Eating, drinking margaritas. It was truly the greatest.
Did you have a favorite order?
The cheeseburger. I would order it every single night. It was so good. And then they make the best margaritas there at the Four Seasons. She makes them with only agave, and that is the secret. Just agave. Isn’t that a good trick? And lime and everything, but it’s just agave, none of the other sweeteners. Isn’t that interesting?
You’re making me wish I were in Maui right now.
[Laughs] It’s just the greatest. This is funny: Jessi Klein, she’s the showrunner on this show that just got picked up for Showtime [that] I’m doing with Vanessa Bayer, and she told me a really funny story…. She befriended this guy who worked at one of these fancy hotels on a tropical island, and asked, “What’s the most outlandish thing a guest has ever requested?” And he said there was a guest, I think it was a couple, that complained that the moon was too bright and could the staff do something about it.
This is real. “The moon is too bright.” Isn’t that funny?
You get to show up in The White Lotus midway through, and your reveal is so big and surprising. Did you want to have fun with it?
Yes. I definitely was like, “Mike, can I wear the sunglasses?” And he’s like, “Yes, wear the sunglasses.” I always want to wear the best outfits in the big scenes…so I loved the pink. And I was drowning in real diamonds that they loaned me from the Four Seasons jewelry store. I mean, I’m talking about $100,000 rings and $200,000 earrings. It just really puts you into the character—the purse, how she walks. And I like to really come around the corner and surprise, even if the camera doesn’t need me to do that.
The nightmarish mother-in-law has been done many, many times, but Kitty feels particularly vivid. How did you approach her?
I never want to make fun of them. I always try to think about their point of view. She just wants her son to be happy, so she needs to go get the daughter-in-law to smell the coffee. Mike White gave me a great note, because when I was first doing it, he was like, “Mol…”—I was doing a little bit of an affected character and he’s like, “You don’t have to act rich. You’re just rich. You’ve never known a different life”…. And my character has a lot to say, so I wanted to be very comfortable with the long speeches and really know it inside and out. Then you can really have fun with the character. But they were long monologues.
Mike has been pretty pivotal in your post-SNL career. Do I have it correct that he really went to bat for you back when you two did Year of the Dog, which was a big movie for you?
Well, Mike and I had done [the 2004 Fox sitcom] Cracking Up together. It was not the greatest experience for him, and Mike and I bonded during that. I don’t know how many episodes aired, maybe just two or so. Mike was like, “I’m going to write you a movie,” because we really got so close after that. I was like, “You are?” And I never wanted to pressure him, but then one day he was like, “I have a script for you. Here you go.” Year of the Dog.