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Interview With Cast of "Will & Grace"

Aired January 31, 2003 - 21:00   ET


ERIC MCCORMACK, ACTOR: You know very well the minute one of us judges the other person's new person, it's over. It's a sick fact, but it's true!

DEBRA MESSING, ACTRESS: I don't like it!

MEGAN MULLALY, ACTRESS: You think I like it? I have to shower with three other people, and it's not even the '70s!

MCCORMACK: You sprang a leak.

MESSING: What are you talking about?


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the funniest foursome on TV, the cast in the Emmy-winning, envelope-pushing comedy smash "Will & Grace." They'll reveal the secrets to their success, and we'll get in-depth and personal with the real Will, Grace, Jack and Karen. Joining me tonight, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullaly. They're here for the hour, and they'll take your phone calls too, and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

They love my opening, right? I knew this was trouble. I knew when we booked them, this was trouble tonight. I said, why are we booking them? I knew this was trouble.

MCCORMACK: Is that tie really gay, or is that just me? No, I appreciate it...


KING: How do you stay in character so well?

MCCORMACK: It's not that far a road for me, unfortunately. It's not that far.

KING: Let's get -- first, congratulations. Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. You won in this category 2001, nominated again. Screen Actors Guild. Debra Messing is on the front cover of "Vogue." Major story about you in "Vogue."

MESSING: Much better than the back cover. KING: Woody Allen is quoted as saying, "she's brilliant, sexy and one of the strongest comedians I've ever worked with. I'm lucky I've had the pleasure to work with her."

What did you work with him on?

MESSING: On two films, on "Celebrity," and then last year, "Hollywood Ending" came out. So that was my second film with him.

KING: OK, let's run down. How did you get this part? And by the way, you were brilliant Jerry Lewis, brilliant.

SEAN HAYES, ACTOR: Thank you. Do not point at me again. I don't speak to people who point at me.


HAYES: No, that's very sweet of you. Thank you, Larry. How did I get the part on "Will & Grace?"

KING: No, on "Tarzan and the Apes." OK.

HAYES: OK. So I got it -- how did I -- I had a film at Sundance. And a casting executive at NBC saw it and said, would I please come in and read for the part.

KING: Did you like it right away?

HAYES: They all know the really long version. That's the short version.

KING: Did you like it right away?

HAYES: Yes, it was the best -- it was the most talked about pilot amongst actors, you know.

KING: Really? They knew -- there was buzz about this show?

HAYES: Yes, there was buzz.

KING: How did you get the part, Debra?

MESSING: I actually had just wrapped a drama after six months, and I was out looking for a show. And the script was sent over, and I was told that they needed a Grace, and I read it and I thought, wow, this is really amazing. And I met with executive producers, and I was told that they had already cast Will. And I said, I can't sign on until I meet him, because this a show about, you know, friendship, and soul mates, and you can't fake that.

KING: That's mostly what it's about.

MESSING: Yes, and I was like, you can't fake it. And so, I really, you know...

KING: You had to like him? MESSING: Well, no, I didn't have to like him, there just had to -- the chemistry. You know, it's something you can't force and you can't plan. And so they flew Eric down from Canada. And we met at Jim Burrows' house. And after two seconds, I thought he was the funniest, most charming man alive, and I was like, sign me up.

KING: How did you get it?

MCCORMACK: Well, I'm the funniest, most charming man alive.

KING: I knew that.

MCCORMACK: So it was really a slam dunk. I actually -- I auditioned very early, for pilot seasons, like in December. And after a series of auditions, got the part, although the girl I auditioned with did not. So I was Will without a Grace for about a month.

KING: By the way, Debra, back to you, did you think this would be a hit?

MESSING: I thought -- I didn't know if it was going to go past two episodes, just because of the nature of the show.

KING: What about you, Eric, did you think it would be a hit?

MCCORMACK: I really did, despite the nature of it. I thought, if they just tackle it properly, if they don't go too far, too fast, it was a real chance for something that felt very must-see TV, but was fresh enough and had a new idea, that it could really...

KING: How did you come aboard, Megan?

MULLALY: Well, I...

KING: They tested your voice.

MULLALY: Pardon me?

KING: They tested that voice.

MULLALY: They tested my voice. I auditioned for Grace. And there was just a big flat line. And then they called me back in for Karen, but they didn't remember that they'd seen me as Grace. That's how amazingly captivating I was.

KING: Or how amazingly alert they were.

MULLALY: Yes, exactly. They were drunk. And so then I went in for Karen. And you know, the rest is history. Yes.

KING: Did you get it right there on the spot? Did they say, you're it!

MULLALY: I -- kind of in a way, kind of, because they'd already seen like 48,000 people for the part. I was one of the last people to audition. So when I went to the network, I was the only one. KING: By the way, we'll be taking lots of phone calls tonight for the "Will & Grace" crew. We know that you adore them. We're going to show you some scenes too in each of the segments. In this flashback scene, we're going to show you where the college student Will meets Jack in a very ironic location. Watch.



MCCORMACK: What are you doing in the closet?

HAYES: I could ask the same of you.

MCCORMACK: What? Who are you?

HAYES: Oh, how quickly they forget. We met at Matt Stokes' party. My card.

MCCORMACK: Jack McFarland, since 1969. What are you even doing here? Aren't you in high school?

HAYES: Well, I prefer the college parties, because the fellows tend to be less uptight about their homosexuality.

MCCORMACK: Oh, yes, now I remember you. You were the one going around telling everybody you were in Duran Duran.

HAYES: That's right, that's right.


KING: That's funny stuff.

HAYES: They got my hair perfect.

KING: Is it tough to play openly gay? Is that tough, to be swashbuckling?

HAYES: I don't know, Larry, you tell me.

MULLALY: It's swish buckling.

KING: Score one for Megan.


HAYES: No, it's a blast, you know.

KING: Easy?

HAYES: It's almost like anything's possible with my character.

KING: Because you can go out...

HAYES: Yes. And it started out that way. So, you know, I didn't -- it was kind of a back and forth tennis match with the writers and each one of our characters. And at the beginning, you don't really know what you have. So you kind of -- I think my character is this way, and then they bounce ideas and bounce ideas back.

KING: Do you like Jack?

HAYES: Yes. I couldn't probably spend time with him over -- yes, probably couldn't spend a long time with him, but yes, he's...

KING: You couldn't?


KING: Pal around with him, but you like him for the series?

HAYES: Yes. He'd drive me crazy. Doesn't he drive you crazy?

KING: Do you like Grace, Debra?

MESSING: I do. I do like her.

KING: Why?

MESSING: Because she's not -- she's not a classic everywoman. She's not perfect. She's quirky. And she's got her own business. And she has had troubled relationships.

KING: She lives in unusual (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MESSING: She lives -- and also, I like her because she is a loyal friend. And I really think that they reflect a very real relationship very accurately. And the relationship between Will and Grace.

KING: Do you like Will?

MCCORMACK: I do, actually. When we started...

KING: You don't have to like him.

MCCORMACK: I do. But I love him now. I think when we started, he was sort of too perfect. They forgot to give him flaws. He was everybody's friend, everybody's host. And over time they realized that he'll be a lot more interesting if he's -- are you hot?

HAYES: I'm a little warm, sorry. Do you mind?


KING: I tell you, that is so...

HAYES: The bit didn't work, because I'm stuck in my...

MCCORMACK: It would have been nice, though.


MCCORMACK: This is our tribute.

KING: I am honored.

KING: Yes. People tuning in now think "Will & Grace" has become real, and we are all in this together.

OK. Do you like Karen?

MULLALY: Yes, I do like Karen. She has a lot of fun, she's very happy. She laughs all the time. And, you know, she's just -- she thinks she's helping. So yes.

KING: The script so is funny. Do you find yourself laughing while reading them?

MULLALY: Absolutely. It's so great to have a job where the writing is so amazing consistently. Week after week. And I'll get the script and I'll read it, you know, the night before the next, you know, table read, the big table read the next day. And I laugh out loud every time.

KING: It's funny stuff. We're going to take a break, we'll come right back, we'll go to your calls in a while. The cast of "Will & Grace," they are just the best. Don't go away.


MCCORMACK: I can't imagine my life without you.

MESSING: You know, you never have to worry about that.

MCCORMACK: Yes, well, actually, I -- I'm getting a little light- headed. See, there's this one teensy little complication. Actually, not so teensy. I -- I'm gay.

MESSING: Are you hungry?



MESSING: Are you hungry?




MESSING: Are you...

MCCORMACK: I'm -- I'm gay.


KING: We're back with the cast of "Will & Grace." A theme for all of you to discuss, and we can have fun, but getting serious for awhile -- Sean,, why do you think this show plays well in a country that still has trouble accepting the concept?

HAYES: That's a very good question. Eric?

MCCORMACK: Thank you very much.

KING: You have no opinion on it?

HAYES: No, I do. Why do I think it plays so well? Because it's funny. I mean, It's not trying to teach anybody anything, it's just, you know, it's a half hour of people trying -- it's not shoving anything down anybody's throat, it's -- these people are -- these people are just as normal as anybody else.

And you know, it's -- if it's an introduction to homosexuality for the country, then so be it. But I don't think it's trying to, you know, scream out or teach anything.

MCCORMACK: The writers have been very, very clever in not doing too much too soon. We took our time, the characters were introduced, these two are definitely gay, these two definitely straight. And -- but over time, we've pushed a little, pushed a little. We didn't come out with the envelop and shove it off the table.

KING: So you think the country went along with you?

MCCORMACK: Well, initially, we didn't have the kind of numbers we have now, initially. But I think they told two friends, they told two friends. And maybe some one was -- you know what I get all the time is I get guys saying, a few years ago, it was "My girlfriend loves your show." now it's, "My girlfriend introduced me to your show and I love it." And so that -- it just takes time and thank God we have it.

If we'd been off the air in half a year, it wouldn't have had the chance.

KING: So it's been five years now, right?

HAYES: I always say I hope -- I'm sorry, sorry, I hope it's "The Jeffersons" of our time. When "The Jeffersons" -- only white.


KING: Debra, why do you....

MESSING: Just to follow up on what he said, I think that really, everyone's -- everyone's focus from the very beginning was just being funny. And, you know, our job is to entertain and not to be political and not to try and make social statements, you know. If there is a byproduct of people sort of rethinking their value systems, or considering things in a new way, then that's a blessing. And we know that we have been a part of something that had that effect on people, just from the encounters that we've had, the letters we've gotten, you know.

And that is -- it's extraordinary. But I also think that they have written relationships, friendships, that are universal. So that heterosexual friendships see themselves in it, married couples see themselves in it, the way we respond as domestic partners are very universal.


KING: And Megan, one of the keys, of course, is it's got to be funny, right?

MULLALLY: Well, I think that's one of the reasons why people did accept it; is that it's just funny. And also, the gay bashing is built in. So, in case you're so inclined, it's already -- the work is already done for you.

KING: I mean, are you saying a gay basher would enjoy this show?

MULLALLY: The characters gay bash each other.

MCCORMACK: Yes, I man, Jack and Will, for instance, as two gay men will say things that if a straight man said to it a gay character on television, you know, we'd be up in arms. But we can get away with it in a way that, you know, people of the same race can.

KING: Do you have input into the script, Megan?

MULLALLY: You know, I think at the beginning, we were all a little more, you know...

KING: Do what they say?

MULLALLY: Well, no, were more kind of wanting to put in our two cents worth. But the writing is so good. It's so clean that we never -- we hardly ever say anything.

MCCORMACK: No, we'll pitch an idea for it, but not an idea for a joke, more like, what if the scene went down this road?

KING: When did this guest star -- Madonna is going to be in an upcoming up. You've had others come on. When did that -- was that from the get-go?

MCCORMACK: No, I think it's normal for any show.

MULLALLY: I remember when Doogie Howser was on, I thought, Oh my God. Wow. I was like nervous.

MCCORMACK: That built and that was really -- it was people who either they loved the show or their kids love the show and was like, "Dad, do the show." And the next you know, we've had tremendous actors. Michael Douglas, Matt Damon...

KING: Are you any of you very surprised at its success?

MCCORMACK: I'm not really -- no. I just -- from moment one, it just sort of felt -- when Warren Littlefield was running NBC, he came to the pilot taping and we all went out that night, and he was only half jokingly talking about time slots. I mean, he was already so confident that we had a show that was going to last.

KING: One more clip we're going to show you of Will trying to break the news to his girlfriend, Grace. It's obvious, but watch.


MESSING: His art is amazing. Look at that.

MCCORMACK: Oh, my God.

MESSING: Will, what are you doing?

MCCORMACK: I think you've sprung a leak.

MESSING: What are you talking about? Ah!

MCCORMACK: I haven't been with a woman in some time, but I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to do that.

MESSING: Oh, my God.

MULLALLY: Good lord, why don't you two get a room?


KING: It's good to be an actor.

I introduced the wrong clip, but so what?

HAYES: You could have been breaking the news that her water bra was leaking.

KING: That's right.


KING: Hello!

KING: We'll be right back with Larry, Larry, Deborah and Megan.

Don't go away.

MCCORMACK: We're the King brothers.


HAYES: I don't know if you're aware, but on this week's episode of "Along Came You" there was supposed to be a kiss and there wasn't. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, Jack, sometimes a kiss is just not a kiss.

We have an anniversary...

HAYES: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back to Jack. We went to complain and this closet case upstairs, cute in an offbeat way, got his number, totally gave us the brush-off and I just want to know how long I'm going to have to wait until I can see two gay men kiss on network television.

MCCORMACK: Not as long as you'd think.




MULLALLY: Hey, what the hell did you two Mork and Mindy looking sons of bitches do to my cousin (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? You're supposed to help him be gay but you didn't finish. The poor kid's so confused he's sitting at home on couch watching football in a Spandex onsie.

MCCORMACK: We just got started. This is a guy who 24 hours ago thought that Batman and Robin just fought crime together.


KING: We're going to go to calls early because I know a lot of people want to talk to the cast. But, Sean, how do you explain your relationship with Megan on the show?

HAYES: Personally? Or the characters?

KING: The characters.

HANES: Because I'd rather not talk about it personally.

KING: Megan, you too? You want to stay away from it personally? OK, we will. I don't want to get -- I quill not invade privacy. That's not the kind of show I do. I don't do that kind of show.


HAYES: I keep three (ph) people away from her at all times. No, when we first met, we just kind of clicked on a personal level, which I'm sure helped the characters. And we just kind of have the same wild, crazy sense of humor. We all do.

KING: The two of you, it really works.

HAYES: yes.

KING: Let's go to calls. Polin (ph), Washington, hello. CALLER: My question is actually for Debra. I love the show. I started watching it as soon as Harry Connick Jr. joined the cast. Debra, what is it like to play his wife?

MESSING: It's wonderful. He is a Southern gentleman through and through. And he is surprisingly goofy. He's very funny. And he just came in and embraced all four of us like family.

KING: Did the cast accept him right away? Harry Connick is a borderline genius musically.

MESSING: I would say he as musical genius.

KING: Calgary, Alberta, hello.

CALLER: I want to say, the four of you guys are absolutely amazing. I absolutely love the show. And I just want to ask you if you're this funny in your personal life everyday?

KING: Eric, are you funny?

MCCORMACK: That's the first question that Max and David asked me after the audition. They said, are you funny in life? Like they didn't want to work with someone that was going to be a pain in the ass. And I said, Yes, my friends...

KING: By the way, a comedic actor doesn't have to be -- you don't play funny. You have to play it serious.

MCCORMACK: I play as funny as I can, Larry.

KING: Comedy as serious business.

MCCORMACK: I like to think that I am funny. Help me here, guys. Am I funny?


MCCORMACK: My wife and I met in Calgary, Alberta. How about that?

KING: That's the Western stampede country of Canada. Baton Rouge, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I was wondering, I'm a big Megan Mullally fan. I was wonder going she plans to make her third CD anytime soon.

MULLALLY: Oh, thank you. That's so nice, absolutely. I'm already going through tons and tons of music trying to find new material. We found a few things already. So yes, we're going to do something probably within the next year. Thanks for asking.

KING: Are you going to do other things? Like Jerry Lewis?

HANES: Yes. You know. No, that's it. Cut off. No, whatever -- I did a a little film called "Pieces of April" which did very well at Sundance. I haven't seen it yet. It stars Katie Holmes and it was written and directed by Peter Hedges who did "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "About A Boy."


KING: Do you do other things?

MCCORMACK: I just wrote and directed my first short film that I put into contention in various festivals. I hope so.

KING: And you?

MESSING: I'm currently filming a movie with Ben Stiller and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jennifer Aniston and Alec Baldwin and having a great time.

KING: Comedy?

MESSING: Comedy.

KING: How do you work it to shoot the show and do a movie?

MESSING: They have just been unbelievable, both the film and "Will & Grace" have worked it out. We have hiatus. Working on a sitcom is the most humane way to be an actor. We have one week off a month. And we only work, like, seven months a year or so.

KING: Staten Island, New York, hello.

CALLER: I want to say you guys are therapy for me. I love you. You crack me up. What I'd like to know is how often do you crack each other up on the set and have to do retakes?

KING: I want do ask the caller something before they answer the question. Caller, does the gay issue at all have any offense to you at all or anything?

CALLER: Not at all.

KING: OK. Do you crack each other up?

HANES: Wait until you get a call from Iowa or something. No, we...

KING: Is it a happy set?

MCCORMACK: Our favorite thing at the end of the year is the gag reel that our Editor Peter Shakos (ph) puts together because we just -- we scream throughout the evening. It's hysterical.

MULLALLY: We laugh all day during rehearsals too. We have a lot of fun. We're very lucky.

KING: When a script that is funny, how do you -- what prevents you from laughing, playing it? MULLALLY: There have been certain scenes or certain parts of scenes that we couldn't get through all week during rehearsal and had a hard time during the show. You just kind of have to...


HAYES: ... had to do the little rock, paper, scissors thing. And every single day, we laugh for about an hour. Then we had the director saying, I'll give you a hundred bucks if you can get through it because we just couldn't get through it.

MESSING: And we still couldn't get through it.

MCCORMACK: For a hundred bucks? Wow.


KING: You see the script how far before you do it? (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MULLALLY: The night before, right after our taping, we usually get done around 10, 10:30. When we're signing out they hand us the script for the next day.

KING: You tape Tuesday night. So Wednesday, you start reading your script. When do you gather together again?

MULLALLY: We read it hopefully the night before or the morning -- that night after the show. Or the morning before the table reading. The next morning at 11:00 we get together with all the writers...

KING: And you sit around and don't act it out? Just read it?

MESSING: But generally it's really only three days of rehearsal.

KING: They mentioned outtakes. As we go to break, some outtakes from "Will & Grace," watch.


HAYES: What, you couldn't get a real person to hang out with, so you've got to hang out with Karen?




HAYES: But me, I like the ladies, right, bitch?






HAYES: That actually happened to me.

MCCORMACK: Have to get another napkin. Oh. See? it's a really strong napkin.

HAYES: 97. Let's try again.


HAYES: Thank you.


KING: Let's reintroduce our panel of guests, the stars of "Will & Grace" are Debra Messing, she plays Grace Adler, three-time Emmy nominee for outstanding actress in a comedy series; Eric McCormack plays Will Truman on "Will & Grace." He won the 2001 Emmy for outstanding lead actor in comedy series. Also played Harold Hill on Broadway in one of the -- that's one of the great shows of all time. The music man is forever and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Megan Mullally is the Karen Walker character on "Will & Grace." She won the 2000 Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. And Sean Hayes plays Jack McFarland on "Will & Grace." He won a 2000 Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.

And we go Savannah, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I absolutely love all of you guys. But my question is for Megan Mullally.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Megan, I was wondering if or when are you coming to the East Coast to either sing or perform? You have a wonderful stage presence.

MULLALLY: Oh, thank you. Well, we might in May. The band, Supreme Music Program, we might do a little tour. We might go to a couple of cities in the East. But it would be a short tour. So sometime later we'll do a longer one and then eventually I'd love to go back and do another show in New York at some point but...

KING: West Haven, Connecticut, hello.



CALLER: I just wanted to say that "Will & Grace" is the funniest foursome show that I have ever watched in a long time. My question is for Will and Grace. Do you relate or compare your characters to in any shape and form of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Jr.?

MCCORMACK: I know that's sort of a model that a lot of critics bring up. It's not a...

KING: It is?

MCCORMACK: Yes. They often say because of the foursome, and the two and the two, and the wacky neighbors and such.

KING: He's like Fred Mertz?


MCCORMACK: Well, Deborah particularly gets a lot of comparison to Lucille Ball.

KING: Red hair....

MCCORMACK: It wasn't a big model for me as a child. Sitcoms for me were more "Get Smart" and "All in the Family." But I think she was a bigger influence for you.

KING: Did she influence you?

MESSING: Well, I mean, yes. I mean, I grew up watching her...

KING: Great comedienne.

MESSING: ... and Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore and Tracy Ullman. I mean, she's just one of the greats. But I don't think either one of us ever had them in mind when we were creating or ever playing Will and Grace.

KING: Toronto, Canada, hello.

CALLER: Hi there.


CALLER: First of all, I want to thank all of you for making Thursday one of the best days of the week. And my question for each one of you is, Before you became superstars, what careers did you have?

KING: Sean, what were you doing before this role?

HAYES: What was I doing? I was trying to get this role.

KING: OK. You were struggling.

HAYES: Struggling actor. I ran food. I wasn't a waiter, I was a runner.

KING: Really?

HAYES: Yes. It's a step down from a waiter.

KING: What does a runner do?

HAYES: The runner runs the food out, Larry.

KING: Oh those guys running the food?

HAYES: Yes. I couldn't get a job as a waiter. And what else did I do?

HAYES: I played piano for like a private voice lessons and stuff like that.

KING: Really? Eric, what were you doing?

MCCORMACK: Before the show, I was -- I was -- a lot of television guest spots. A lot of theater. But my first job ever was in Toronto, because that's where I'm from was Baskin Robins.

KING: You worked behind the counter...

MCCORMACK: Yes, when I was 15, granted but...

KING: When you got this part, Debra, what were you doing?

MESSING: I was doing another TV show prior to this...

KING: Which one?

MESSING: It was called "Prey," P-R-E-Y on ABC. And before that, I had a sitcom for two years on Fox called "Ned and Stacy." And I went to grad school prior to that in New York.

KING: So you were working?


MULLALLY: You know, I was actually a prostitute. So this was really great for me.

KING: Actually, you are in fact losing money doing this.

MULLALLY: I have improved my lot in life. But I can say that when I was trying to get a job after grad school, I signed up to work for a catering company. And I was so bad that they put me into the coat check room at Sotheby's and I lasted one night. I lost all the tickets. And I could not find anybody's coats. Anybody. I mean, they were like, you know, Sotheby's, New York. It's like, you know.

KING: Very austere.

MULLALLY: And I was fired. So I basically worked one day in a catering company. I was really bad.

KING: Huntington Beach, California.

CALLER: Hi, I have a question for Megan. But my -- I just want to tell you guys, you guys are so much fun to be around. You guys are so awesome. I was actually there for the Kevin Bacon episode. Sean, you're great.

HAYES: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: And -- yes. Megan, I was wondering, when are you going to have a new movie coming out, because "The Pact" was great.

MULLALLY: Oh, thank you. That's nice. I had a really good time doing it because I haven't had a lot of chance to do dramatic things, sot was a great experience.

I'm taking the whole summer of because we've been working for five years straight and I tend to just work until I fall into a puddle on the ground. So I'm taking the whole summer off and then hopefully, you know, maybe next hiatus I'll get something.

KING: Who produces "Will & Grace?" What's the production company? Paramount? Or it's an NBC production?

HAYES: Comet.

MCCORMACK: Yes, it's NBC productions.

KING: What I mean is, Are you all going to do one of the "Friends" bits and hold everybody up for a ton of money?

MULLALLY: Yes, clearly.



MESSING: I love that they came on the same beat, yes.

MCCORMACK: That's how you do it.

KING: No, I mean, are you going to put their backs to the wall?

MULLALLY: This is where the hard driving journalism comes in.

HAYES: We're a gay show/ We're going to put their chests to the wall.


KING: All right. Frampton, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: You're totally awesome. Really, really love the show. We watched it from the get-go. What I like most especially, because of Eric McCormack fellow...

KING: One of your boys.

MCCORMACK: Thank you very much.

CALLER: Anyways, I wanted to know if Gregory Hines or Rosie O'Donnell will be back on the show anytime soon.

MCCORMACK: Coming back as lovers, I think, aren't they?

KING: Gregory Hines -- there's a pair.

MESSING: Gregory Hines is a lovely, lovely man. He was my boyfriend the first season. Wonderful talent.

MULLALLY: There's no reason why, you know, either one of them shouldn't come back. They were both awesome and both of their roles were integral.

HAYES: On the Gene Wilder episode we established that Greg's character has left the firm, so we're not sure.


KING: Isn't Gene wonderful?

HAYES: Gene's wonderful.


KING: What a prince. Windsor, Ontario.

CALLER: Hi. I was just -- my question is for Eric McCormack but I love you guys all and I was just wondering what it takes to be, like, a Canadian to make it big in America as an actress.

KING: Is it harder for a Canadian?

MCCORMACK: As an actress?

KING: Well, you had it right.

MCCORMACK: I thought it was tough as an actress because I have to shave every day.

It's hard to come down here with nothing. I came down with a lot of credits that I had had in Canada, things I shot in Toronto that were American. So, I mean, I don't know how anybody from Canada or the U.S. shows up in L.A. with nothing and just tries to start here. It's a very hard town.

But I didn't find it that hard when I got here because I was 30. I had sort of earned my stripes so...

KING: All of you chose the toughest business of all. Most of the people in your union are not working. (CROSSTALK)

KING: SAG is the most out of work union of all unions.

HAYES: We're very, very lucky and we're very fortunate. I think about that every single day.

KING: And you appreciate that?

HAYES: A million times over.

KING: We're going to take a break. We'll be back with more phone calls.

By the way, next week we have a super week. What a way for this one to lead into it. Super week of guests coming up. Can't tell you a lot of it. They're going to announce some on Sunday and some on Monday.

But Monday night, Elizabeth Taylor will be here taking your phone calls. That's just the start of an incredible week next week. The announcements will begin Sunday on CNN about the other guests. And Monday too.

We'll be right back.


HAYES: I'm really scared I'm going to lose my job. So Santa, if you help me, I promise I'll never ask for anything ever, ever, ever again, ever. Amen. Love, Jack.

P.S., I know I just said the thing about never asking for anything ever again. But if you're feeling generous, I would like some leather pants, hair extensions and the ability to fly.




HAYES: Come on, let's go! Push! Remember, no pecs, no sex!

MCCORMACK: This all seems so superficial. Are gay guys only about bodies and faces?

HAYES: Absolutely not. They're only about bodies. Faces you can cover up with a cute hat or a leather hood.


KING: That's funny stuff. We're back with Debra, Eric, Megan and Sean, the cast for "Will & Grace." They're all nominated for another SAG this year as best ensemble.

Back to the calls. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hello.


KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Thank you.

KING: Ola.

MCCORMACK: It just flows out of her mouth, amazing.

CALLER: OK. I think the four of you are brilliant and beautiful.

HAYES: Oh, wow, thank you.

CALLER: Mrs. Messing, I admire your gorgeous hair and eclectic hairstyles. Is your hair naturally curly, and do you have any hair secrets?

MESSING: Oh my goodness.

KING: A hair secret for Puerto Rico.

MESSING: Puerto Rico. Gracias. My hair is indeed naturally curly.

KING: So why is it straight?

MESSING: Just for you, to, like, confuse you.

KING: Thank you. I'm honored.

MESSING: Well, she said I had eclectic, eccentric, you know, different hairstyles. That's one of them.

KING: Is that your color?



MESSING: And secrets? Once I guess -- I wear my hair in a pony tail all the time because I don't really have secrets or tricks of the trade. So I'm sorry.


MULLALY: I cut my own hair.

MESSING: She does.

MULLALY: I do. I cut my own hair.

MESSING: And she does it pretty.

MCCORMACK: Do you really?



KING: Remarkable. How do you do the back? Bristol, New Hampshire, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Great show. And Debra, keep up the good work, you're gorgeous. I just want to know each of you, what's your favorite episode or just scene?

KING: OK. Do you have a favorite, Sean?

HAYES: You know, a lot of people comment on the Cher episode. And you know, there's so many, I can't even remember them all. But that stands out.

KING: Eric?

MCCORMACK: For me, it would be the scene we played this year, the very serious scene between Debra and I when she backs out of having my child, and it was kind of a shocking, not funny, very angry scene.

KING: You were going to do it like artificial, right?

MCCORMACK: Yes. And it was just -- everyone was sort of thought that's where the show was going, and this just scene totally flipped it.

MESSING: No, that, I was going to say the same thing. And I guess another one that stood out for me was -- that was fun to play, because, again, it was different, it was serious, was the episode where I'm in bed the entire time, and the episode was just the four of us, which was really neat.

KING: In fact, before we get Megan's favorite, let's watch that clip. Watch.


MCCORMACK: Do you want to have this baby with me or not?

MESSING: You said I could have more time.

MCCORMACK: That was before I found out you were sneaking around behind my back. If you want to back out of this, then I want you to back out of it now, because I don't want to have this conversation again in a month, like we did with the cabinets. I like the nickel pulls. No, I like the brass pulls. Oh, no, I like the nickel pulls again. Make up your freaking mind!

MESSING: So what you're saying is if I don't do it tomorrow, you don't want to do it at all?

MCCORMACK: That's right, Grace. It's now or never.

MESSING: Well, if that's the case, I guess I have to go with -- never.


KING: You have a favorite scene, Megan?

MULLALY: Well, I have too many fun memories, favorite memories, but there was an episode early on where I thought, this character's getting really interesting, where Grace unearths some fetish films that Karen had starred in. And I thought, oh, this is getting good.

KING: That you had starred in? Fetish films? Like the foot fetish?


KING: You answered that really quickly, foot fetish.


KING: Stratford, Connecticut, hello. Stratford, are you there?

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: I'm a big fan of the show. This question is for Eric. How do you feel your time at the Stratford festival helped you grow as an actor?

MCCORMACK: I was -- I spent time not in Stratford, Connecticut but in Stratford, Canada five years with the Shakespeare Festival. And it was -- it is my formative years. I mean, they are my formative years, it's the time in my life when I think I changed, not just from an OK actor to a better actor, but from a boy to a man. I mean, I grew up there. And whenever anybody asks, what would you recommend as an actor? I'd say be in the theater for as long as you can afford it. Because that's where you get your training.

KING: Have you done theater, Sean?

HAYES: Yes, very little, in Chicago.

KING: Wish you'd do more?

HAYES: Yes, I really enjoy it. I did a play like a year ago. It's fun. I like it.

MCCORMACK: You'll do Broadway eventually.

KING: Debra?

MESSING: Yes, I started in theater and did theater in New York. I'm chomping at the bit to get back. KING: Megan?

MULLALY: That was really where I learned. I never studied acting. That's where I learned everything was doing plays in Chicago.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back with our remaining moments. Get to some more phone calls with what we hope to be the first of many visits with the cast of "Will & Grace." Don't go away.


MESSING: I'm not ready, it's not time.

MCCORMACK: It's for your own good.

HAYES: I just saw Grace's boob.

MESSING: You don't understand, he dumped me and found someone new in four days.

MCCORMACK: Karen, take her pants off.

MULLALY: You know, after what happened earlier, I think I'll just wash her feet.

MESSING: I am not taking my clothes off.

MCCORMACK: Fine, leave them on. Jack, get the water.

MESSING: Oh! I don't like this!

MULLALY: You think I like it? I'm in a shower with three other people, and it's not even the '70s!




MESSING: Hi. What are you doing here? I thought you were elbow deep in someone's colon.

HARRY CONNICK JR., ACTOR: Yes, but then the office party ended. Listen, I've got some bad news. I don't think we can do that house warming thing this weekend.

MESSING: No, I told you, when people complained about having to give another gift, you say the first one never arrived.


KING: To Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I wanted to say that I love your show. And Debra, my mom totally loves you. And I was wondering if you were going to do a "Will & Grace" musical?

MESSING: We've joked about doing a musical episode.


MCCORMACK: We all do sings, so it's tempting.

KING: Why not?


KING: How about an hour special Sunday night on NBC?

MESSING: I think it would be more fun to pull off just as our characters.

KING: It's been discussed?


MCCORMACK: I think it's a lot of work, though.

KING: Orient, Iowa, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. I just wanted to thank you for the tip on going into the business. My question is, if you guys weren't doing "Will & Grace", what would you be doing?

KING: They'd be looking for work.


MESSING: I thought she meant if you weren't actors. I'd be a lawyer.

MULLALLY: I'd go back to hooking. It's hard to get out of the life.

KING: Eric? What would you be if you weren't in this business?

MCCORMACK: I think I'd be a cartoonist.


KING: And Sean Hayes?

HAYES: Music, Larry. Something with music.

MCCORMACK: He's brilliant.

KING: Singing?

HAYES: No, playing or writing.

KING: You like the piano?

HAYES: I like the piano.

KING: Hagerstown, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I love you guys, love your show. This is for Debra. I think you have a great style. I was wondering, I saw a picture of you on a coat that was said to be lined in mink, and I'm wondering if you really wear the real fur of small, tortured animals. Or if you perhaps were...

KING: Do you? That's a fair question. Why did we cut it? Do you wear furs?

MESSING: We cut it?

KING: Someone cut it. I don't know why they cut it. It's fair question.

MESSING: It was a gift sent to me from a designer. And I have worn it. And I've...

KING: You don't have qualms about it? Some do, some don't.

MESSING: I've never purchased a coat or anything made of fur. This was a gift.

MULLALLY: This has nothing to do with fur or not fur, but one factor also that might be interesting to know is Debra has a lot of allergies, she's allergic to wool.

MESSING: I can't wear any wool, any cashmere, anything, so I'm cold all the time.

KING: You can't wear cashmere?

MESSING: No cashmere, wool, goat, shearling, anything. I'm allergic to it all. Everytime we work it's 90 degrees outside in L.A. and I'm literally in fleece, I'm just layered up in fleece all the time.

MCCORMACK: Luckily I wan slaughter goats and wear them.


KING: Laurel Fork, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I wanted to tell everybody I love the show, I think you're great. Debra, I love your hair. What do you all think of reality TV?

KING: Sean.

HAYES: Oh, God. We talked about this the other day. You know, I'll admit it, I enjoy some of it. But I think it's becoming, you know -- it's getting out of hand. And I think it's probably going to be -- end up being like the game show phase. "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," "Weakest Link." Maybe it's a phase but maybe it just a longer phase. I don't know, it's too soon to tell. Every other show now is a reality show.

MULLALLY: We love reality TV.

KING: What are you doing?

MESSING: It's a guilty pleasure. We do watch.

MULLALLY: I like watching people, people's behavior. It's a great acting lesson too. I love watching the people.

HAYES: The only thing now is the people on those shows are aware that they're on the show.


MESSING: ... I just think about what it's like now being a young kid, growing up, because we grew up with all these great TV shows that were not reality based at all. And there's something fantastical about losing yourself.


MESSING: It's sort of a more innocent -- you get to enjoy your innocence longer when you don't have to see the conniving and everything.

KING: We get in one more call, Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Congratulations on the show, it's fantastic. Congratulations, Eric. I was wondering how long the comedy will go on, what kind of a run you think you're going to have?

KING: Good question. Five years, how many you going to go? How many are you signed for?

MCCORMACK: At this point, we have at least one more that is definite. Probably seven. It's sort of hard to say after that. I mean, I think it depends on if -- we've been blessed by having the same writers stick with us, our director's directed every episode. Nothing's changed. As long as that continues and it's happy and high quality, I think we'll want to stick around.

KING: Do you want to keep doing it? Do you envision ten years?


HAYES: I agree with Eric, as long as it stays great and it is right now, and as long as it's fun for us, I'll do it for as long as it stays fresh and fun for us.

KING: You too?

MESSING: Yes. The writers are still just incredible. And we still are laughing all the time and still enjoying each other. And Jim Burrows is showing up every day saying, hey, come on, let's go.


KING: Do you ever miss your old job? We only got 30 seconds.

MULLALLY: Yes. Yes, I do.

KING: Those were the times?


MESSING: She moonlights on the hiatuses.

MCCORMACK: You didn't go by the name "Heidi," did you?

MULLALLY: Hey, now. I knew I'd seen you somewhere before!


KING: Thank you all very much. We started this way, we end this way, with Debra, Eric, Megan, Sean, of "Will & Grace".

I'll be back in a minute to tell you about the weekend and Monday.


KING: Watch "LARRY KING WEEKEND" over the weekend. Lot of great guest Saturday and Sunday. And Monday night Elizabeth Taylor is with live taking your phone calls. The start of a great week. You'll be more about it Sunday and Monday, the lineup of guests.


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