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Exclusive Interview with Kate Flannery from The Office

Kate Flannery is known for her role as Meredith Palmer on NBC’s hit sitcom The Office. After getting hit by cars, footballs, and real-life bats she quickly became a fan favorite.

After 20 years of plugging away at acting, she finally got her big break when she was cast as Meredith. She chatted with How to be a Redhead about the show, her career and her life as a redhead.

H2BAR: We heard that you didn’t quit your waitressing job until NBC picked up season 2 of The Office. Why was that?

KF: All actors, well, most actors do the dance between their “A” and “B” jobs. I had been lucky enough to work at a pretty good “B” gig at a restaurant in Beverly Hills and I didn’t know if The Office was going to fly, so I covered my shifts during the week and I worked Sunday brunch during the first season. When I finally quit right before Season 2, my boss said, “We were going to get you a cake, but you’ll be back.” It sounds mean, but that was the reality I was in. A lot of people made it out and I was one of the lucky ones. I am the poster child for the actor/waiter sterotype. At forty-one I finally got to quit.

H2BAR: What was your greatest experience while on The Office?

KF: The Office was the greatest job in the world so it’s hard to pick one. The scene where Michael drives Meredith to rehab and he chases her through the parking lot is one of my favorites. Paul Feig directed that episode (he also directed “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat”). Steve and I got to improvise the whole chase scene. I can’t tell you what fun it was. Steve is the greatest. There were two stunt people dressed just like us by the camera incase one of us got hurt, but I would have finished the scene with two broken legs!

H2BAR: What did you love about being Meredith on the show?

KF: Everything! I loved playing the wild card. All the physical comedy I got to do was such a blast! I didn’t get a lot of makeup, so I didn’t have to sit through a million touch ups. I loved my comfy goofy clothes–one size fits all denim skirts, caridgan sweaters, turtlenecks and jumpers, tights and crunchy granola earth shoes. It’s fun to be the drunk. It’s fun to be a part of an ensemble. It’s great to have amazing writers putting great words in your mouth.

H2BAR: Can you tell us a bit about how you would get into character and play Meredith?

KF: I would let all the positive drain out and let everything I’m thinking show on my face.

H2ABR: What is your all-time favorite episode?

KF: “Michael’s Last Dundies” where Steve Carell (Michael Scott) and Will Farrell (Diego Vickors) come to Meredith’s house, but as they knock she’s just getting in from the night before doing the “walk of shame”. In that same episode we got to sing to a song from RENT. Michael’s performance was incredible. He cried in every take. It was hard not to cry, too.

H2BAR: What was one of the craziest things Meredith had to do on set?

KF: Its hard to pick one, between getting hit by the car, the bat on my head, “Casual Friday”, wearing a pelvis cast and several topless scenes. Planking in the mens room when Dwight comes in and blasts the fire extinguisher to knock me down.


H2BAR: Who is your favorite actor/actress to work with?

KF: Besides Steve Carell, I would say Will Farrell. He is such a sweet guy and he is so good at what he does! The understatement of the century. But, I loved Amy Ryan, Dave Koechnar, Rainn Wilson, Craig Robinson, Joan Cusack, Ed Bagely Jr.

H2BAR: After nine seasons, how did you feel about it ending this year?

KF: I am so proud of the ending of The Office. I felt that everything was wrapped up so nicely. It was sad and funny and thoughtful and everything you want in a finale. The process of shooting the end was so terrific. We shot at Big Sky Ranch for the wedding scenes – an epic, beautiful space that felt like a dream. My boyfriend, Chris Haston, got to dance with me on screen at the wedding. Chris is an NBC photographer and he worked on the show pretty often. We actually met on the show! He also played the photographer at the documentary warehouse scene. I am so grateful that we shared the end of the show together. I am so sad, but I am so proud. It’s a great feeling to be a part of such a respected and honored project. A very rare thing in life.

H2BAR: Other than The Office, what was your favorite tv show to appear in?

KF: The Tonight Show. That was a dream come true.

H2BAR: We’ve heard amazing things about your comedy lounge act, ‘The Lampshades!’ Can you tell us about it? What inspired you to start it?

KF: The Lampshades is my cult comedy lounge act… “a male/ female duo fresh from the cruise ship circuit, spinning pop and rock into comedy gold as they work out the kinks in their amusingly tortured relationship.” I studied musical theater and voice for two years and I love to make fun of singers who take themselves too seriously. My comedy partner, Scot Robinson, and I got the idea when we worked at the Annoyance Theater. There is a club in Chicago called The Green Mill and we watched these singing acts that were a little sad so we created these sad characters.

“The Lampshades” Kate Flannery & Scot Robinson

H2BAR: We read that you have a twin sister! Is she also a redhead?

KF: Yes, my sister is a classic redhead. I was born brunette with red highlights, but thanks to the bottle I am a redhead (hair color bottle—not booze bottle)!

H2BAR: Does red hair run in your family?

KF: My dad is natural born redhead. My mom was brunette, but Irish. Three of my sisters are classic redheads. My other two sisters were born brunette and my brother is a brunette with a red mustache!

H2BAR: Favorite redhead joke?

KF: What’s the difference between a redhead and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.

H2BAR: IF we may ask, who styles your hair? It’s a gorgeous color!

KF: Chris Bailey at The Cottage in Beverly Hills does my color. He is the greatest.

H2BAR: What is your favorite go-to makeup company/brand?

KF: I like Benefit, Shiseido and DuWop.

H2BAR: Have you recently had a beauty splurge?

KF: I had my 13th facelift. Kidding! I just scheduled a body scrub. My skin feels so soft and smooth after.

H2BAR: What do you have planned for 2014?

KF: I plan on going to Sundance and booking another TV show. That’s my plan, but who knows what the ‘showbiz gods’ have planned.