Abby & Chris Elliott
When did you know that Abby had inherited your comedy genes?
CHRIS: I remember taking her to Central Park, and while I was pushing her on the swing, with a completely deadpan face, she'd say, "Who are you? Where's my dad?" I'd have to joke with the moms on either side of me: "Oh, she's a cut-up." You were pretty young when you did that!
ABBY: Like 6 months old.
CHRIS: You couldn't talk yet. You signed it.
When did you realize what your dad did for a living?
ABBY: My first memory of being on a set was [his 1990-1992 TV show] Get A Life. Someone handed me a Ken doll dressed like my dad's character.
CHRIS: Did you think stores had those? It was just a prop!
ABBY: Yeah, but I remember thinking, "I have a Ken doll dressed as my dad." That was different.
Did you always know Abby was destined for showbiz?
CHRIS: In middle school she was in The King and I.
ABBY: Lady Thiang, the King's head wife. Which was very dramatic for 13. (laughs)
CHRIS: She had such a presence, and I remember thinking, "Oh my God. You're going to be a star." But we pushed her. I wanted you to follow in my footsteps. It was all planned before you were born. I just thought you were going to be a boy.
ABBY: And be bald?
CHRIS: What? You still will be, honey. I lost mine at 22. You've got a year.
Abby, did you always want to act?
CHRIS: You wanted to go into medical school.
ABBY: I thought, "I'm gonna drop out of college but go straight into med school."
Did you go to college?
ABBY: I didn't even last a semester. The school part was doable, but the living situation—there were mice crawling up the desk in my dorm room, which was on top of a YMCA.
So you started working with comedy troupes like the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. How did you land SNL?
ABBY: I just kept sending in tapes. "Look, I can play a yoga instructor and stand on my head!" One character, then four. When they called me to audition, I couldn't speak.
CHRIS: Her audition was great.
ABBY: I did five minutes of impressions: Drew Barrymore, Joan Cusack, Katie Holmes.
CHRIS: She's always been a good mimic. Angelina Jolie I think you started doing when you were 12.
ABBY: When she came out with that whole Gothic thing, with Billy Bob [Thornton]. I started doing her face before the voice: the eyes, the moving.
Have you met Angelina yet?
ABBY: No! I've met Drew, but I haven't done her on the show. And the Olsen twins, who I love to do too.
Did your dad give you any advice?
ABBY: Not a lot of advice, but a lot of support—a lot of letting me know that I can do anything that I want. You couldn't ask for a better family.
CHRIS: Well, you could ask, but you're not going to get it. This is as good as it gets.