Interview with 'Shameless' Actress and Comic Mary E. Kennedy

shameless Showtime WilliamHMacy MaryKennedy

Actress and stand up comedian Mary E. Kennedy can be currently seen on Season 7 of SHAMELESS opposite William H. Macy  as the “New Fiona.” The newcomer to the series explains her bizarre role on the Showtime series, and her standup career.

At the end of “Shameless” Season 6, Frank Gallagher (Macy) was exiled by the Gallagher offspring. After coming out of a coma, the dysfunctional dad decides to find himself a new family in the new season. He’s picking some unsavory characters for his new family members to pit against his own children.  

That’s where Kennedy comes in as a retired prostitute who walks around in a bra and boots. Frank has christened her the “New Fiona.”

“She’s not the most classiest lady, but there’s a kinship between Frank and I because we’re both dirty. We say what’s on our mind.”

Luckily for Kennedy, the Chicago weather was warm at the time of the shoot so acting in a bra  and mini-skirt outfit wasn’t an issue. She was also happy she didn’t have to wear the typical shoe wear for a street walker.

“It’s not a typical prostitute outfit. She walks a lot so she’s got comfort going on and a little bit of sexiness. I was so relieved I didn’t have to wear the high heels. I’m not a fan of heels. There was a lot of running on the show.”

Mary E. KennedyThe actress and comedian enjoyed playing the new “Shameless” character calling the role “great fun.”  

Mary Kennedy also had a wonderful experience working with William H. Macy. Macy was “very down-to-earth” from the start when he welcomed her to the set.

“First day on set, he put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘welcome.’ I automatically felt a part of. He really made it like a family environment. That’s not always the case when you’re costarring.”

While she wasn’t able to improvise during the shoot, she did throw in a couple of one-liners during rehearsal she’s proud of.

“They let me run with her. I wasn’t able to change the script, but I have some really great one-liners and for a stand up comic actress to get the one-liners that caused the crew and actors on set to laugh... comically it was such a joy.”

A regular at The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, Kennedy has headlined for David Allen Grier, Joy Behar, Margaret Cho and others, the “Shameless” actress will also be going on the road in Spring as a stand up comic.

The Boston native came up through the comedy ranks with a supportive group of men and women who helped her along the way. Being from Boston, she refers to herself as a “tough girl” so her thick skin helped her navigate through the male-dominated comedy circuit in New York City. Some women weren’t so lucky.

“I sort of went along. Where other girls who weren’t so tough, it was harder for them.”

That’s not to say it was an easy journey for Kennedy.

“I’m not going to say there weren’t times when I was told, ‘Oh, well you’re a female comic. You’re not funny, but I got on stage and booker asked me back for headlining weekends. ‘See I am funny.’”

Kennedy has seen a change in the stand up comedy circuit. More women are headlining shows with multiple female comedians on the bill. In addition, she adds there a more female-driven comedy shows and the mom comics are dominating the field.

Catch Mary E. Kennedy on the comedy circuit this Spring, and her recurring role in “Shameless.”

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