Welcome to an exclusive interview with comedian Elaine Carroll and her alter ego, Mary-Kate Olsen. It was after auditioning for SNL impersonating the Full House (and, most importantly, New York Minute) actress that Carroll decided to stick with the character and start her own web series. Some forty-five episodes and a successful partnership with CollegeHumor later, the Virginia native meets up with the most famous twin in the world to answer some questions about career and advice for young women.
First and foremost, it is an honor to have you both in the same room. Since you look so much alike, how could our viewers tell you apart if they saw you on the street?
Both: I’m the pretty one. [Elaine and Mary-Kate stare at each other.]
I’m interested to hear about your respective childhoods. You both wanted to be actresses from a very early age, correct?
Elaine: I decided I wanted to be an actress when I was seven. This decision was based on how badly I wanted to be on the show, Full House.
MK: I also decided I wanted to be an actress around the time I was seven. My decision was based on the fact that I’d been an actress for seven years.
Elaine, you studied acting at Marymount Manhattan College and are now a successful actress. Do you think acting, and comedy in particular, is a skill that can be taught?
Elaine: Acting and comedy can definitely be taught. There are techniques and systems and tricks of the trade.
MK: Yup, I bought a hard copy of Stanislovski’s An Actor Prepares on the internet and I use it as a paperweight to keep the hundred dollar bills from blowing off my desk. I learned that trick of the trade from John Stamos.
Elaine, how has the experience of creating a character who already exists been different from creating a fictional one?
Elaine: In a lot of ways, it’s easier because you’re starting with a familiar archetype so the audience can immediately jump on board with you. Also, mannerisms and gestures are already in place so you’re not starting from scratch when you start fleshing out the character.
Do you feel like viewers can enjoy the web series without any existing knowledge of the Olsen twins?
Elaine: I think Very Mary-Kate would be confusing to someone who didn’t know who the Olsen twins are. You don’t have to know a lot about them, but at least know who they are. Mainly because it proves that you’re a normal person with access to knowledge and interest in the world around them.
Elaine, which episode(s) of Very Mary-Kate are you the proudest of?
My favzies are “Cheating,” “Photoshoot,” and “Naked.”
Since you’re both New Yorkers, I’m curious to know what counts as a “night out on the town” for both of you.
Elaine: A night on the town for me is watching a movie at home with my cat and ordering Thai food. I know I’m not technically going out on the town in this scenario, but I can definitely “go to town” on some Tom Yum.
MK: A night on the town? Hitting up Clutch and Vexin, then maybe stopping in on Taos and Unify. Those are the names of my favorite clubs and my favorite people in no order.
To both of you: what particular advice would you give to young girls trying to break into the entertainment industry?
Elaine: Keep at it, work hard, find what you’re good at, work with people you like.
MK: Dear young girls, stop being younger than me.
When the hell will you be joining the cast of SNL?
MK: I require ten million dollars an episode. I’ll join SNL when Lorne Michaels can afford me.