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Monday, April 5, 2010

Deeper Dish with Elaine Carroll

Even though I never watched the ABC sitcom, Full House (1987-95), I knew who Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were.  The twin actresses began playing the character of Michelle on the show when they were only nine months old, and the two of them quickly became TV stars.  After the series ended, the Olsens started merchandising their image with clothes, fragrances, movies, etc., and in 2007, Forbes ranked them, collectively, as the eleventh-richest women in entertainment, with an estimated net worth of $100 million. Both young ladies have also had to deal with tabloid stories about their personal lives as rumored drug problems, eating disorders, and lots of partying have often overshadowed their acting careers.

So what's all this have to do with actress Elaine Carroll? Well, I'll tell you - last month a Facebook friend was raving about Very Mary-Kate, a new web series that is described as "the unofficial biography of Mary-Kate Olsen" and features Ms. Carroll as a self-absorbed party girl version of the actress.  So I watched an episode of VMK and became an instant fan.  The dark humor of the series is too outrageous to be taken too seriously - and Carroll is wickedly hilarious as both Mary-Kate and Ashley (who makes an occasional appearance).

After watching every episode of Very Mary-Kate, I was intrigued to learn more about the talented Elaine Carroll, so I did a little research and discovered that she:
  • Caught the comedy bug in college when she and four friends started the sketch group, Dutch West.
  • Wrote her first piece of comedy writing in Mrs. Twilley's sixth grade English class, in which she composed the following limerick:

    There once was a man named OJ,
    Who got really angry one day.
    So he got out his knife,
    And killed his ex-wife,
    And left behind some DNA.

    She states on her website bio: "I knew that if I read [the limerick] to the class, I'd get in trouble. But I thought, fuck it, this is gold. So I read it and it killed. I regret nothing."
After reading that - and watching her fabulous impressions of Kate Winslet, Paula Deen, Ann Coulter, and Mad Men's Joan (see the video below) - I knew I had to interview this groovy gal, who graciously agreed to appear here on the Dish to discuss her career and answer a few pop culture questions.

Let's begin with Very Mary-Kate.  What inspired you to create the series?  And were you a Full House fan?
I was a HUGE Full House fan. I remember I started watching the show when I was in kindergarten. I had every single episode on tape, and I cried watching the series finale.

I created Very Mary-Kate because 1) it's an impression that I love doing, 2) I've been making comedy shorts for the web for years now, and I wanted to try my hand at writing a series, and 3) as an homage to Olsen fans.

Since most of my readers are either gay men or straight women, they would probably like to know who the hunky actor is who plays Mary-Kate's bodyguard.
He is the very talented Luke Sholl. His website is

Besides Very Mary-Kate, what has been your favorite web video that you've written and starred in?
I really love Dangerous Wands.  It's Harry Potter meets Dangerous Minds, and I play a grown-up Hermione Granger.

If HBO called you tomorrow and asked you to create and star in your very own show, what is the first idea that pops into your mind?
A comedy about growing up Evangelical in the south. Think they'll go for it?

Since I've read that you're passionate about BBQ, where's the best place to get some?
Dinosaur in NYC has this incredible pulled pork sandwich that, wow, it's literally so good that sometimes I stop what I'm doing and think about how good it is. Also Iron Works in Austin, Texas, has a brisket I kind of want to marry.

What do you think the real Mary-Kate is doing right now?
Probably googling my name to figure out who the hell I am.

In high school I was:
A theatre dweeb

The last good book I read was:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

When I was growing up, I never missed a television episode of:
TGIF [ABC's Friday night schedule of hit comedies, beginning in 1988]

Today I never miss a television episode of:
SNL and So You Think You Can Dance

If I was stranded on a desert island for a year, I would want to listen to:
The Beatles' Abbey Road Simon and Garfunkel Paul Simon's Graceland Martin Sexton Joanna Newsom

If I could star on Broadway in any role in any musical or play, I would be:
Viola in Twelfth Night

Three of my favorite movies are:
The Shawshank Redemption, Wall-E and Beetlejuice

What's next for Elaine Carroll?
More Very Mary-Kate, a few upcoming TV and film roles, and hopefully much, much more.

Thank you, Elaine, for getting Deeper with us here on the Dish.  To learn more about Elaine Carroll, check out her website and blog at, and to watch every hilarious episode of Very Mary-Kate, go to or its YouTube channel. You can also become a Facebook fan or a Twitter follower of the series.

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