Melissa McCarthy has been a working actress for the better part of 15 years. And while she amassed a loyal legion of lovers thanks to scene-stealing roles on Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who?, A-list status eluded her. Until this year.
Thanks to the one-two punch of her Emmy nominated Mike & Molly role and that buzzy Bridesmaids turn, Melissa's name is on the tip of everyone's tongue -- from casting directors to internet message board moderators. And it would seem that she's just beginning to pick up steam as her 2011 train will pull into Saturday Night Live's station this September when she hosts the new season's second episode. In addition to that, Melissa is reuniting with her Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow, for his new movie -- a spin-off focusing on Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's Knocked Up characters.
In short, Melissa is poised to be one of the year's biggest entertainers -- a fact she still couldn't seem to wrap her head around when ETonline caught up with her at CBS' Television Critics Association summer press tour party.
ETonline: What is life like for you right now, after the success of Bridesmaids and the recent Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Emmy nomination? Melissa McCarthy: Crazy. It's just so crazy [laughs] and all the things you would never be bold enough to wish for. Ok, maybe you daydream about one of these things, but it's coming in multiples so I just keep looking at my husband and asking, "What the hell is happening?!?!" [laughs]
ET: What was your reaction to the Emmy nomination? McCarthy: I just about fell over. My knees buckled and I thought, "This is a weird time to flub the teleprompter." I was waiting for the producer to come out and say, "Sorry, she's not nominated - our bad!" I legitimately thought it was my turn to talk and I forgot part of the script and I was gonna make it so awkward.
ET: Once you realized the nomination wasn't a mistake, how did you process it? McCarthy: You know, it's so great when the audience likes what you're doing, but it's a totally different thing when your peers say, "Good job!" I mean, to be put in that category with those women is a weird thing because I don't put myself at that table ... but I love that table. I would clear the plates to be near that table, so it's still hard to imagine that I have a seat there. I'm still thinking they'll ask me to bus the table, so to hear "Come on in..." -- it's overwhelming.
ET: And now you're hosting SNL in the fall. McCarthy: Oh man, that is seriously enough to make me pass out. I mean, it's the holy grail. I've watched SNL since I was eight - when my parents didn't know I was watching. Literally, behind a door, through the crack - I've just been so inspired by women like Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin. That show is ingrained in all of us. It's so iconic. Weirdly, I have a lot of friends on it now, so for those worlds to collide, is totally and completely overwhelming.
ET: Bridesmaids is not only the highest-grossing Apatow movie of all-time now, but also the highest-grossing R-rated female comedy ever. That's got to feel good. McCarthy: It's amazing. And another, "Seriously?" moment. But I still maintain that is one of the funniest scripts I have ever read.
ET: And then all the sequel talk started. What are your thoughts on playing Megan again? McCarthy: I'll show up wherever they tell me, but there's no script, no talks. I think a lot of people are excited for it. But none of us are signed on to do a sequel, so I don't know if it'll happen. I know that it would have to be just right because none of those women would make a sequel just to make a sequel. Plus Kristen [Wiig] is booked up for the next 45 years, because she's crazy talented. But if they made a sequel, I'd be there in a second.
ET: In the meantime, you've reunited with Apatow for his next movie, which some people are calling a Knocked Up sequel. How do you see it? McCarthy: The word "sequel" has taken on a negative connotation in recent years, so I prefer to think of this as a continuation of these characters' lives. Especially since Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen aren't in it. This is a whole different topic. It's looking at a couple's marriage. And let me tell you, I saw some footage the other day that is mind-blowing. And then some of it was very upsetting and heartbreaking. I think it's really poignant. But let it be known that I play a horrible woman. A terrible, horrible woman.
ET: Worse than Megan? McCarthy: Oh yeah. Much, much worse. I'm not really redeemable at all. I'm a horrible bitch. And, of course, once again, it's not a glamour role. I didn't let them do my hair. I didn't want to look ruddy but I kinda wanted it to look like I was always in last night's makeup [laughs]. Apparently for Judd, I really just like to look bad.
Related stories on ETonline.com:First Look: Gavin Rossdale On 'Burn'Video: Highlights of the 2011 Teen Choice Awards