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Five Minutes With: Lisa Kudrow

Voicing the mother of Boss Baby in the animated hit currently in theatres, Lisa Kudrow chats to MiNDFOOD about her latest movie, singing with Taylor Swift, and what she’s learned from playing Phoebe on Friends.

Five Minutes With: Lisa Kudrow

It’s serendipitous that this movie is out in this political climate.

Yes and there are so many good jokes. But as far as commenting on politics, that’s not what I do and it’s not what I study and it’s not what I read every day. So I’d rather hear from people who study it a little more carefully. But in private I have opinions.

You have a son – I’m guessing he’s the Boss Baby in your home?

Well, I think a little baby is the boss at home no matter what. Especially that you want your baby to be happy so you’re running around frantic. Actually that’s my favourite, most relatable part in this movie, is when they’re frantically trying to get the baby to stop crying. ‘Get him his bottle!’ That’s kind of how it was for us too.

What kind of bosses have you worked for? Do you usually have a good relationship with them?

I feel like I’ve always had good bosses. I’ve always had good relationships with them either because I’m a pleaser or because I found them to be really reasonable people. And for myself also, if I find myself in the position of being a boss of anyone, sometimes there are mistakes. So you must be patient with people.

Is your son aware of the phenomenon that is Friends? What does he think about it?

He is aware. We don’t talk about it a lot. This is a good thing by the way, he’s not a fan of mine. He’s been thrilled about certain things that I’ve done. But no, I don’t really want him to be a fan. I want him to be my son. (laughs) He should hold me accountable for parental things.

Does he watch it?

He went through a period where he was watching it because everyone at school was watching it and he needed to know what they were talking about. And then he has a joke, because I was pregnant, I won an Emmy that season. So his joke is that it should really be his. (laughs)

Taylor Swift performed in Los Angeles and brought you up on stage to sing. What was that like for you?

It was thrilling. I was nervous. When I was first asked to do that I thought, ‘Oh no, no, no. I don’t do that.’ And I don’t like concerts. See, I just stuttered! I don’t like concerts because it’s too many people getting worked up. But I thought, ‘I should do it, I should just do it anyway.’ And I did. And I was fine. I couldn’t be out in the audience watching. I tried and it was too terrifying. But when I was up there it was fun, that was really fun.

Your husband is French. Do you raise your son in the French or American way?

A little of both. And my husband is extremely French – meaning, dinnertime was not light and fun. It really felt like manners, no slurping. But it’s good. I think it’s a great mix.

You seem very picky about the roles you’ve taken on since Phoebe from Friends. Do people still associate you with that role?

Well I think people will always associate me with Phoebe and that’s fine. I don’t have any complaints about that at all. But also, I do get to play other kinds of people, especially if I write it and produce it by myself. (laughs) I don’t feel like I’m struggling to break away from Phoebe. You know I’m at an age, and it’s going to keep going hopefully, and it’s just not going to be appropriate for long.

At the time was it strange that people might have assumed you were that ditsy in real life?

Oh yeah. It’s been great playing a dumb person (laughs) because people talk more freely assuming you don’t understand. (laughs) It’s like being a mum and you’re driving carpool and they think you’re just the back of a head and they say everything not knowing that you’re listening. So it’s the same when people think you’re dumb. It’s been great. I’ve learned a lot. (laughs)

What was your relationship to animated films when you were growing up?

I didn’t see any. I’m not kidding. My parents were busy. They didn’t take me to the movies. I didn’t go until my brother and sister were old enough and they could take me to the movies they wanted to see. So I saw some movies that were really inappropriate for me. (laughs)

No Bambi or Snow White?

Never saw them. I never, ever saw them. To this day, I’ve never seen them.

What did you learn from motherhood and how did it change you?

Everything. Once I became a mother I just felt like, ‘Oh OK, so nothing else is ever going to be as important as this, I get it.’ That’s what happened. And change? Well the sad thing is, and it’s still kind of hard but a lot of things stopped being funny. There were a lot of movies I couldn’t watch anymore. And a lot of things I just couldn’t see anymore. Like, children getting hurt. Doctor shows, children always ending up in the ER. And I just couldn’t watch them anymore. I had watched Sophie’s Choice, I had seen Schindler’s List and then after I had my son, I couldn’t begin to watch. I couldn’t watch those movies anymore. Sensitivity. That’s what happened.

Who makes you laugh?

Who makes me laugh in real life? A lot of people. Sometimes my son. Sometimes my husband. My family’s very funny. My father makes me laugh.

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