The former GLEE star — who moonlights as host of NBC’s CELEBRITY GAME NIGHT — spoke with reporters in Los Angeles Monday about the new role and how she finds happiness by setting aside personal goals.
After GLEE, did you get a lot of offers where people wanted you to be Sue Sylvester again?
I think this script was maybe the third one that I had read and nothing else I had read came even close to this.
Have you ever felt like a guardian angel to anyone?
I do. I have nieces who I adore. They are adults now, but they live in LA. I really try to be of help and of service but in a quiet way. Unless they ask me, I don’t opine. But they know that I am there. So I hope they would say that I am one.
Do you ever give advice while drinking?
You know what? I have been sober for 25 years. It is great. It is wonderful. One of the things about Amy is that she isn’t tortured by her alcoholism. So it isn’t really an ism for her. She just loves getting buzzed.
Everyone from GLEE seems to be enjoying great success right now. Was that just a case of great casting?
I don’t know. There were a lot of cast members on Glee, so we will have to see how many of them land on their feet. But everybody seems to be doing really well. I just saw Matt Morrison on Broadway and I saw Darren Criss in Hedwig and they are both doing great. I thing Glee was kind of a Bootcamp for a lot of those kids. In terms of learning how to act and how to be present and do it on short notice. And with 18 hour days. I think they went through the ringer. Anything else will be cake.
[Sue Sylvester] was a breakout character, but you were part of an ensemble. How does it feel to be the “star” of a show?
I don’t look at it that way. But every once in a while someone will say, ‘Oh, you are the star of that show.” And you realize you are. But I am an ensemble person and I always have been. So I know this is kind of a big deal that I am doing this.
Were you ready to move away from GLEE?
I was. I was ready to move away. I enjoyed every moment of it, but when it was ending it felt right.
Many comics aspire to either host talk shows or have semi-autobiographical comedies made about their family lives…
No. I don’t have goals really. I just let things roll [up to] my feet. Then I go ‘Ok, I will do that now.’
So if someone offered you a talk show…
It depends how it would feel — and if my guardian angel said yes.
Have you attained most of what you wanted, career-wise?
You know what? I haven’t attained a lot of what I wanted. What I have gotten in my life far exceeds anything I had planned for myself. I know that is because I stopped reaching and being anxious and feeling like a victim when I didn’t get what I wanted. I really…. This is something, and I don’t know where it comes from, I have a resilience that I am really grateful for that is just in my DNA.
So when the goals went away, did you feel a difference in your life?
Oh, yes! I can’t tell you the exact moment it happened, but I am a much more peaceful person. I live in my skin in a much better way.
What were those early goals?
I just wanted to make my living as an actor. And you know what? I didn’t get paid for a long time and I still really loved it. I really love doing what I do. I swear to you if I wasn’t doing a television show and it all went away tomorrow, I would still probably be doing GYPSY in Palmdale.
Does that come with age?
It can also go the opposite where you feel like a failure. It can go either way.
What would you like to be able to say to your younger self?
Relax! And act like the world is rigged in your favor.
What does your guardian angel say to you?
Literally I don’t know, but I will say that I know that opening up and surrendering and knowing that the universe is rigged in my favor is the thing that I think keeps me calm and keeps me confident and in my body. Nothing came to me when I finished GLEE. It was months before something [happened] and I didn’t worry about it at all. It is a completely different game now for me.
ANGEL FROM HELL premieres Thursday, November 5 on CBS.
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