Of course you know who Melissa McCarthy is! The smart, sweet actress just won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. It’s especially touching since she and Joshua Jackson were the ones to announce the nominations, and we got to see her genuine excitement and terror at being nominated. But we don’t actually know a ton about Melissa despite her nearly 15 years in the biz. Here’s a quick catch-up!
1. Her background is in improv.
Like the Bridesmaids co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Melissa got her start with The Groundlings, an improv comedy troupe based in Los Angeles. She has some of the best outtakes of the bunch, rattling off bachelorette party suggestions and propositioning anything with a penis.
2. She was Sookie before it was cool.
Say it with me now: SOO-KEY. Not SUH-KEY! (exclamation point required). Long before True Blood‘s annoying heroine, Melissa played excitable chef Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls. Though Sookie’s obsessions with food and many pregnancies sometimes threatened to make her character more of a caricature, she was a loyal best friend to Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and a successful businesswoman.
3. That’s her husband in the airplane scene in Bridesmaids.
Melissa met her husband Ben Falcone through the Groundlings; their exchange on the plane to Las Vegas is one of Bridesmaisds‘ best moments. Melissa’s brusque character Megan is convinced that the man sitting next to her is actually an Air Marshall, and tries to get him to give up his secret.
Ben also had a small part in the Gilmore Girls episode “Say Goodnight Gracie”: Ben plays Mr. Brink, the executor of Fran Weston’s will. And considering that Lorelai and Sookie wanted to buy the Dragonfly Inn before Fran died, we know that husband and wife got at least one funny scene together.
4. She designed her Emmys dress.
Melissa studied fashion at Southern Illinois University, so she took it upon herself to make an Emmys dress that she’d look good and feel comfortable in. We’d say she nailed it.
And here’s that video from the Emmys nominations, because it’s just so sweet. (Melissa’s reaction is around 4:10.)
5. Her win was a big fuck-you to Maura Kelly and Marie Claire.
Remember when Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly wrote that she was disgusted by overweight TV characters, specifically citing Melissa and Billy Gardell‘s characters in Mike and Molly? Melissa’s win for the show makes it clear that the Academy has no problems with her appearance or her performance.
We wouldn’t blame Melissa if she called out Maura, but it turns out she’s already addressed the issue in a People interview, and in a very classy way:
“It was so unkind. I thought, ‘Shame on you.’ At a different point in my life, it would’ve crushed me. But it didn’t.”