In The Jeannie Tate Show, a new online series from writer-director Maggie Carey and writer-star Liz Cackowski, suburban mom Jeannie Tate cruises the burbs and interviews celebs. At the wheel of an ever-changing minivan (that’s what happens when you rent), Tate chats up the comics, such as Rashida Jones and Bill Hader, cramming her guests in the back seat, between the dry-cleaning and soccer-playing kids. The two comics hooked up at SNL (Cackowski wrote for the show, and Carey’s husband is cast member Bill Hader) and have since been developing projects at Comedy Central and ABC Family. Half a million views on YouTube later, Cackowski and Carey are premiering six more Tate Webisodes on November 12.
Where did this character come from?
Liz Cackowski: We’re both from the suburbs, so it was all TJ Maxx and Marshalls! Applebee’s! Ruby Tuesdays! Jeannie is Maggie’s mom’s name and Tate is my mom’s maiden name, so we just put them together. It came together last Halloween. I went to Kmart and bought some mom jeans and a fall-inspired vest with a wig.
Maggie Carey: It’s my mom’s haircut! It’s just such a classic mom hair. And that popped collar …
So what do your moms think?
MC: My mom gets the name wrong, which is funny because Jeannie is always renaming things, like calling Saturday Night Live "Friday Night Lights." It’s such a classic mom move, so I love it when she’s like, "How’s the Jenny Tate going?"
LC: Some people think she’s for real. People said that Jeannie’s a MILF, so we went out on the street and she was asking people what a MILF was. No moms knew the answers but guessed like, "Most Intelligent Lovely Female." At first, we thought it was a little surreal that she’s doing a talk show out of her minivan, but now, with MySpace, the next thing really is that moms will start doing their own shows.
How did you rope in comedians like Rashida Jones, Bill Hader, and Rob Riggle?
LC: Well, Bill’s her husband, so that was easy. We’ve just been asking friends so far, because it has to be someone we’re comfortable enough with to be like, "Hey, we’re going to take you out to Ridgewood at six in the morning and shoot all day. Cool?"
MC: And on their one day off. Like, I don’t think Rob had had a day off in like three months, he had just gotten off the red-eye, but said, "Surrrrre!"
So what’s the plan? TV?
LC: We’re working on six new Webisodes, so seven total. Part of the deal was to also write the pilot script. We just turned that in before the strike. On TV, it’d be story lines of her real life, but when you’re back in the van, it has that look like our show. Outside the van, it looks more like Curbed.
MC: It’s almost like, Jeannie Tate does her Web show but it gets sidetracked by her real life. It’s chaos, but she’s still doing her show.
Who would you really want to get on the show?
MC: At some point, it’d be awesome to get a legitimate soap star.
LC: Sonny from General Hospital! I love him. I think he’s even done the circuit, because he’s manic-depressive—not funny—because he’s a spokesman for living and working with … manic-depression. I just fucking love his character!
MC: Oh, Brian Williams! I love him. Jeannie and all her book-club friends and the ladies at Curves would just melt.
Mom-crush, for sure.
MC: He’s a me-crush! Have you seen him in jeans and the nice sweater?
LC: Oooh, those dad jeans.
MC: He wears loafers!
LC: He’d be great to have at a roast.
MC: Or as president.