Eliza does her bit

Eliza can do comic roles with ease

Eliza can do comic roles with ease  


Eliza Coupe says she has a man’s sense of humour, with a feminine twist

I didn’t expect an interview on the telephone to be like a face-to-face conversation. Yet, that is exactly how I felt talking to Eliza Coupe. The actor, who has won acclaim for her role as Jane Kerkovich-Williams in Happy Endings and as Denise in Scrubs, is reflective and humorous. She spoke of Benched where she plays Nina Whitley, an ambitious corporate attorney, who gets passed over for a promotion, and has a nervous breakdown. She ultimately works as a public defender. “I liked that Nina is not perfect. She’s trying to hold things together, after her life has fallen apart.”

Is comedy difficult to perform? “It’s very easy for me,” says Eliza. “My father used to ask me similar questions, when I did comic roles in theatre. I didn’t understand how it was hard. Even as I have grown as an actor, I find I can do any comic role with ease.”

Eliza was born and raised in New Hampshire. “Growing up in New England is very traditional. There’s a lot of pride growing up there. I was very athletic and I played ice hockey.”

But humour, in popular culture, has often been considered the domain of men. “I was always very frustrated that women weren’t thought to be funny. I was raised as a boy. I ended up having a male sense of humour. I thought, ‘how can I be funny like a man and like a woman?’ I decided to have a male sense of humour, but with a female twist.”

Eliza says it is encouraging to see women playing central roles in TV shows and film. “Women aren’t just playing the housewives. They’re also playing the lawyer, an FBI agent.”

Where does she think humour comes from, melancholy or anger? “I think it comes from observation. I have observational humour. It is about commenting on something you see in a different way. In Seinfeld, the humour is observational.”

Is it time to look beyond sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld? Eliza agrees. “Like everything else, comedy has evolved too. People should look elsewhere. There’s some really good humour out there,” says Eliza, and adds that Benched is worth watching because, “It is very funny and unique.”

Benched is aired every Friday 8:30 pm on Star world Premiere HD

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 3:46:49 AM |

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