From Hairspray to Melissa & Joey Marissa Jaret Winokur Dishes on Her Career and Hope For a Spinoff
Marissa Jaret Winokur has had a successful career appearing in everything from the Broadway musical, Hairspray to Curb Your Enthusiasm, Just Shoot Me!, Dharma & Greg, Dancing with the Stars, and The Talk. Winokur is a girl that seems to be able to do it all. Most recently, Winokur revealed she would be appearing in ABC Family’s hit show, Melissa & Joey. Winokur said she still can’t believe where her career has taken her.
Q: You are the girl that is in everything. You are hilarious in everything. You do it all.
Winokur: [laughs]. That is what an actress likes to hear. I would like to be in more. If I could be in more, I would be more. People will stop me and say ‘Wait a minute, you are that girl from…’ and I am like if you can’t name one thing I am not going to tell you. [laughs]. Yes, I am in everything. I like that.
Q: You have been in some of the biggest movies of all time, Never Been Kissed, Scary Movie. Television shows like Felicity.
Winokur: I am old! [laughs]. I have been around. I look like I am fifteen, but I am not.
Q: What draws you into the roles you play because everyone is either hilarious are incredibly in-depth and interesting.
Winokur: I wish I could say to you that I read scripts and decide on the role. However, I literally do the jobs that I am offered. I like to work. I am not above anything. There is never a job that doesn’t feel like a right fit for me. I am not a picky actress. I pretty much try to do everything. I don’t take anything too seriously, I like to have a good time. Sometimes it’s a very little part and sometimes it’s a huge part. I am very lucky, I feel like I have been extremely lucky.
Q: What is it about acting that you love? I find it very interesting that you are Marissa and then you walk on set and become someone else…
Winokur: I think the trick, is how am I like this character. How can I bring me into it, rather than try to figure out how they are different then me. I try to figure out how to make the character special besides whats on the page. Then I try to find out what resembles me the most from the character and try to relate that way. I try to keep it as true to me. Sometimes it’s hard. I have lost parts because that’s the way I went with it because it was meant to go a different way, but the parts that felt the most real to me are the ones I have been able to do that. None of them are me, because I think playing me would be the hardest character on the planet to play, but I find it easier to make it true by finding some way making it my own and making it close to me.
Q: So talk to me now about being on Melissa and Joey?
Winokur: My favorite thing about doing Melissa and Joey is my wardrobe and my hair. I wish that I could just be this character in my real life. I wish that I was that girl. I wish I was a Jersey girl. That’s what I always aspire to be, but I am a forty-year-old mother and I am not a Jersey girl. But like I love this character. This character is amazing. I want this to be my spin-off. I want to be that character in everything. It was so much fun, I love doing sitcoms. I feel like I am most at home because it’s live television, like theater. I play Joey Lawrence’s sister. It’s a riot.
Q: I am so excited.
Winokur: My character is hilarious. She is so out there and she is so brassy. This was awesome. I get to be a mom. I loved it all. We didn’t have a lot of backstory for her, but every line I had I was like oh I know this relationship. You can just tell by looking at me and Joey what our relationship is.
Q: You are not just playing a random person… so does that mean you will be back?
Winokur: I have no authority. But I want to come back. I told them a thousand times. I hope I get to come back. We need a spin-off!
Q: What can fans expect in the finale?
Winokur: It’s going to be a hilarious chaos. I am so excited for fans to see it. It’s just going to be funny, heartfelt, and just amazing. I am so excited.
Watch Melissa & Joey on ABC Family and stream the first two seasons now on Netflix.