We sat down with Abby Elliott to talk about how she got into acting, who she looks up to in the industry, and what viewers can expect from her character on Bravo's new show, Odd Mom Out.
Abby Elliott made her mark in the comedy world by skewering impressions of everyone from Christina Aguilera to Angelina Jolie, when she was a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Now, the New Yorker is tackling a scripted television series with her role as privileged housewife Brooke on Bravo’s newest series, Odd Mom Out.
Gotham caught up with Elliot to chat about her performing lineage, how she got started doing improv, and, of course, her character on the show.
How did you first hear about Odd Mom Out? ABBY ELLIOTT: Jill [Kargman] made a pilot presentation—it’s loosely based on her life. She’s an author living on the Upper East Side. She grew up there and always felt like the odd mom out of these Upper East [Side], momzilla types. So, I met her to play Brooke, who is her sister-in-law on the show, and fell in love with her. She’s hysterical, funny, and kooky. We hit it off right away, so I definitely wanted to be involved with it. Coming from New York, I related to that and I was excited to play one of the moms.
What’s Brooke like? AE: Brooke is the quintessential momzilla. Her husband comes into $675 million, so she’s working with that. She has three kids, yet I have no scenes with the kids. I’m pregnant for most of the season and I never show, even up until giving birth. I am flat as a board and [I'm] like, “I’m Chris Christie. I am a whale. I am so heavy!” Brooke is Jill’s sister-in-law, and they have a frenemy relationship because they are bound by family, yet don’t see eye to eye.
So, you grew up in New York. AE: Yeah, I was born on the Upper East Side but my mom is not one of those mothers at all.
And then you moved to Connecticut, which can also be home to that type of mom. AE: Absolutely, we grew up in Fairfield County and I see a lot of Brooke there. My dad [Chris Elliot] is an actor, too, so we were the odd ones out because we’re a family of artists and he wasn’t a finance guy. But, I definitely see parts of Brooke everywhere, whether it’s rural Pennsylvania with soccer moms, or Greenwich, Connecticut ladies, Palm Beach ladies—it’s all sort of the same thing.
Were you always interested in comedy growing up? AE: I was always interested in comedy. I always wanted to do exactly what my dad did. I did plays in school and was president of the drama club in high school. [...] I started falling into the comedy thing after SNL. I love honest acting, and when you are acting honestly, so many funny moments can come from that without necessarily having hard jokes.
Where did you get your improv training? AE: I was 19, living in LA, and that’s when I discovered Groundlings and UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade]. I signed up for classes and met amazing people and, for the first time, I felt really funny and like I could do this. I got on a midnight show for UCB, like an SNL type of show, and they had a celebrity host—and I became their impression girl. I did more impressions and characters when I auditioned for SNL but I really liked doing characters, too.
Was SNL always a big dream of yours? AE: Definitely. In some way, it’s every comedian’s dream to be on that show. But it was a good experience and I am glad that I did it. It was sort of like my college because I was there for four years—[I was] very young, and I learned a lot.
Do you talk to your dad about the craft of acting? AE: Absolutely. We totally get it, and growing up I watched him in different things and learned so much from that. He has been so supportive and the best dad in the world. Watching him be an incredible person, and balance work and family life has been really inspiring.
Odd Mom Out premieres on Bravo on June 8 at 10 p.m.