As fans of The Mick know, it’s chaos in the Connecticut household run by Kaitlin Olson’s outrageous Mackenzie “Mickey” Murphy, a n’er-do-well aunt-turned-surrogate-mother to her sister’s three kids. But when the cameras stop rolling on the zany sitcom, there’s nothing but chemistry and camaraderie between the comedian and the young stars she shares the screen with. “It doesn’t surprise me that everyone got along right away!” gushes Kaitlin, proud of her professional cohorts, Sofia Black-D’Elia, 25, Thomas Barbusca, 14, and nine-year-old Jack Stanton. “I’m so glad they trust me.”
Kids, though, are familiar territory to the Oregon native, who has two sons of her own with husband Rob McElhenney, who she stars with on her other hit series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The affable actress is juggling a busy schedule, as we learned when we caught up with the star, 42, to talk about her experience on The Mick (now in its second season), her showbiz journey and life as a mom to Axel, 7, and Leo 5.
How do you balance being a mom, wife and executive producer of The Mick?
It’s awesome, but it’s a lot of work, because I have a husband and two kids. The great thing is, I’m not alone. [Creators] John and Dave Chernin are so great and we have very similar senses of humour, so when one of us gets exhausted, that person can take a seat and the other two will pick it up.
What has it been like working with such a young cast?
It’s very different but these kids are so eager to do a good job and it’s a lot of fun! It’s a very brave thing they’re doing – they’re young and it’s a lot of pressure. They take big risks and that can be really hard when you’re self-conscious for whatever reason.
Have you discovered any celebrity fans of your work?
I remember Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express, Hot Tub Time Machine) stopped me in New York and was like, “You’re the best!” and I was like, “Craig Robinson, you’re the best!” [Laughs] That was fun, because I love him. It’s always flattering, whether they’re celebrities or not!
What are some challenges you’ve faced to get where you are today?
Years and years of rejection. For as insecure as I was, I’m not sure how I handled all that. There are plenty of roles I just didn’t get. But for each one that I didn’t get, something better came along or I ended up watching that project and thinking, “I dodged a bullet, that’s not how I anticipated it being.” But I appreciate all those experiences.
What motivated you to push through those hard times?
I promised myself I would never take anything just for the money or just to have a job, no matter how tiny of an apartment I had to live in or how many side jobs I needed to have. It wasn’t worth being miserable. I never, ever set out to be famous. I set out to do this because it’s something I love. And if I’m not loving it, I’m not going to do it. I stopped auditioning for pilots I didn’t want, [then] the Sunny audition came along and I was like, “This is on a network I’ve barely ever heard of, which has never done a comedy before, but I want it because it looks awesome!”