• Takeaway
  • A Second City vet has a new hit Showtime series

    Abby McEnany is co-creator and star of "Work in Progress," a semiautobiographical comedy in which McEnany plays Abby, a self-identified "fat, queer dyke." We asked her some random questions.

    Robert Ascroft/SHOWTIME.

    79彩票注册网址Abby McEnany

    79彩票注册网址

    Abby McEnany, 52, a longtime member of Chicago's Second City improv touring group, is co-creator and star of Showtime's new comedy series, "Work in Progress." A semiautobiographical series, McEnany plays Abby, a self-identified "fat, queer dyke." McEnany lives in Andersonville.

    What is your goal for the show?

    I want to tell a story about people you generally don't see on TV but not be preachy. I want to make people laugh. Ultimately, I want to show that there is a community out there for everybody.

    How do you identify?

    I am a queer dyke.

    How did you get where you are?

    79彩票注册网址You just hustle, doing soul-sucking corporate gigs and little events for friends. At 40 I started touring with Second City. And I remember once driving to a synagogue on the North Shore on a Friday night, doing short-form improv for an hour for $90. I was 47.

    What is it like to achieve success after 50?

    79彩票注册网址Unexpected. I've been a failure at this career for 25 years. But I'm not afraid of failure, and that gives me a feeling of strength.

    How so?

    I won't compromise on some things. There are details that I won't reveal about myself on the show. I have to save some stuff for my own mental health.

    See more profiles in our Takeaway series.

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    Adrian S. Burrows/SHOWTIME

    Julia Sweeney as herself (left) and Abby McEnany as Abby in Work in Progress.

    79彩票注册网址

    Have you overcome mental health issues?

    At 5 I had my first panic attack, at a Red Sox game. More than 30 years ago I was diagnosed with OCD, and five years ago, clinical depression, which was very validating because I had been struggling. I know I'll have depression the rest of my life, and there will be OK times and shitty times.

    Why did success happen now?

    Partly because I wasn't ready. I was plodding along, taking improv classes to get more comfortable with it. But this show wouldn't have flown 10 years ago, either. There is much more awareness now of different sexual identities.

    Now that you're a star, can you splurge?

    79彩票注册网址I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible, because success can go away pretty fast, too. I live in the same apartment, and I'm just happy to pay off my debts.

    What makes "Work in Progress" so good?

    79彩票注册网址Being as truthful as possible. There is a lot of power and humor in truth. Some of the funniest memories I have are when my mother was dying, and we were laughing about dark shit. That's how I survive.

    TV comedies you love?

    I can watch (Amazon's) "Fleabag" season two over and over. It's brilliantly written, cast and acted. It is hilarious and utterly heartbreaking. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a phenom. I am in complete awe of her. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (NBC) has surprising and laugh-out-loud satirical moments. A perfect ensemble sitcom.

    A favorite comedian?

    79彩票注册网址Steve Martin. His first three albums were mainstays of my youth and created a language for my father and I to communicate. I love them.

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