When it comes to pushing the limits, Jill Kargman knows no bounds. After using her own experiences as an outsider among New York City’s Upper East Side moms as fodder for her book Momzillas, Kargman created Bravo’s new comedy series Odd Mom Out (Mondays, 10/9c). An executive producer on the show, she also stars as a satirical version of herself named Jill Weber, whose love-hate relationship with her sister-in-law and leader of the "mombots," Brooke (Abby Elliott), results in some of the show's most hilarious moments. But IRL, Kargman's sister-in-law is Drew Barrymore. And she's actually her biggest fan, Kargman revealed when she hopped on the phone with InStyle yesterday to chat about the show.
“Drew continues to be so incredible—and she’s so professional,” said Kargman. “She’s just a great sounding board for everything.” And Barrymore was ready and willing to share her words of wisdom, especially when it came to getting it on onscreen. “Drew gave me advice for doing some of the sex stuff,” said Kargman. “It just felt weird to be making out with a guy now that I’m a mom. So she broke it down and said, ‘Look, there are a ton of people there. It’s so mechanical, and you don’t think about it—everything goes away and it’s just your job.”
But with Odd Mom Out based loosely on reality, we had to know if Barrymore thinks she inspired Kargman’s less-than-lovable onscreen sis-in-law. “No, not at all!” said Kargman. “Drew knows that I worship her, and Brooke is the opposite of Drew. The only thing they have in common is their hair color.” As for their differences, “Brooke just thinks about herself—she has no values and is all about artifice. Drew has such a rich character—she’s so loving and caring and thinks about everyone else.”
And unlike her character, Kargman is pumped to spend time with her sister-in-law. “Next week I’m spending a month on vacation with her and my nieces and my kids,” she said. “We’re both very excited for our vacation—and happy to decompress.” Before heading off for family time, Kargman spilled all the deets about taking on her first TV role. Scroll down to see what she said.
Why did you decide to make the switch from writing to acting?
I was actually a trained actress first—I acted in plays all through college, but I just never thought that it felt like a viable career for me. I’m kind of a workaholic and I didn’t want to be between jobs all the time, so it didn’t even cross my mind to pursue it professionally. And then I started writing right out of school.
Has it been an easy transition so far?
It’s been really smooth. This is my first professional role, and to have a career change at 40 is kind of fun. I didn’t give a s— about turning 40 at all, just because I felt like there were new, fun challenges ahead. It was kind of a reboot on what I was doing, so it didn’t even feel daunting. After a 20-year break, I’ve learned to trust myself and go with my instincts. Also, I learned to breathe and slow down, because I talk so fast.
Has anything surprised you?
16-hour days are tiring. But truly, I think it’s more tiring being a mom. I had 24-hour days when I was just a stay-at-home mom. I shot out three kids in four years, so it was another level of exhaustion beyond 16-hour days on a set. Of course you’re tired when you’re still shooting at four in the morning, but you know there’s an end in sight. So I have to say I was surprised that it felt much easier than motherhood.
Your character is a satirical version of yourself. How are you alike?
My character is more me at 28, when I was a new mom and I was insecure. Now I don’t really give a s—, and I have tons of mom friends. But at the time, I felt like there was this mommy clique and I would take my daughter to classes and there would be five women who signed up together, and it was a very outsider-y time in my life. So it really is me—except that I love Brooklyn, and Jill Weber hates it.
Do you share the same fashion sense?
Half the clothes [on the show] are my real clothes. Our costume designer Staci Greenbaum came over to my place, and we went in my closet with a bottle of wine and went through everything. Bravo had to approve all of the fashion, but it turned out most of my clothes worked. And then Stacy went shopping for the rest and nailed my style. Even my friends can’t tell which pieces are mine or which are Stacy’s picks. It’s so seamless.
And you’re clearly not afraid to strip down, based on your family’s “underwear dance parties” on the show.
The funny thing is, I’m so much more comfortable in my undies than in the red bandage dress [from episode six]. The crew was like, ‘You look so uncomfortable and miserable,’ because I would never wear something like that! But I do always have underwear dance parties with my kids in real life. What does not feel real is an Hervé Léger bandage dress. I was a total weirdo that whole day we were filming.
So those are based on reality. But some of the crazier scenes, like the placenta drinking and the home birth, are those things that have happened to you or people you know?
Yes, it’s all real. My whole thing is live and let live, but I definitely wanted to take down that uber-crunchy thing. I’ve had a lot of experience with people chastising me for not breastfeeding. One woman literally grabbed my boob and said ‘Shame on you,’ on the street. So the placenta drinking thing is from people saying you have to do this, and this is the way it’s done. I just didn’t really think it was any of their business.
What can we expect from the rest of the season?
The rubber band is definitely being stretched with Brooke and the von Webers. We’ll see if it snaps in the other direction. There’s definitely an arc in the relationship with Brooke that is continuing until the very bitter end, and then same with Vanessa. She and Brooke are such opposites, and I’m sort of in a tug of war. But they elicit two different sides of my personality and represent two aspects of my life, and the responsibility to family and in-laws and then to your friends. Sometimes it’s hard to prioritize, and you’re pulled in different directions. But there’s an ebb and flow with every friendship.
Jill and Vanessa are such a strong team. Why do you think their friendship is so special?
It’s the main love story of the show. We all love our husbands in real life and everything, but I don’t think it’s a show about marriage—it’s more about females and their friendships and issues with other women. I think Vanessa’s the great love of my life in the show, in a way. Of course I love Andy and the kids, but she is my sounding board for all of the craziness.