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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Cast of "Will & Grace"

Aired February 16, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC MCCORMACK, "WILL TRUMAN": Are you wearing your wedding dress?

SEAN HAYES, "JACK MCFARLAND": You hear that? Disgusts me!

MCCORMACK: I am gay!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the cast of "Will & Grace," the funniest foursome on television together for the hour to tell all about their on-screen and off-screen selves. Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally, the real Will and Grace and Jack and Karen together for the hour with your phone calls! I'm excited! Why?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Next on LARRY KING LIVE. Felt like a rocket ship was going to go through the building.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: The last time they were on was over two years ago. Do you believe that? "Will & Grace" is now in its seventh season on NBC, seen Thursday nights at 8:30 Eastern. The show has earned 12 Emmys, one for Outstanding Comedy Series. To date, it's been nominated 49 Emmys, 24 Golden Globes, 14 SAGs, 6 People's Choice Awards. And it's also...

MCCORMACK (singing): And a partridge in a pear tree!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you'll never be back.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: OK, enough with the credits. How do you -- what -- Debra, how do you -- why -- how do you think it lasted seven years? What is it about this show?

DEBRA MESSING, "GRACE ADLER": Oh, gosh. You know, the first thing is just the writing. I mean, from the very beginning, we -- we just knew that there was something special. And the four of us, when we read the pilot, it just popped off the page, and we made each other laugh. And I think that a lot of it is -- is chemistry and luck, and then there's just the hard work that everybody puts into it, the writers and producers and actors and everyone.

KING: Would you call it, Sean, ground-breaking?

HAYES: No, not at all.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: I feel it's boring. I feel...

KING: I knew you didn't like it.

HAYES: Nobody makes me laugh. No. Ground-breaking? You know, a friend of mine once said, you know, he believed that our show was doing for gay people what "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times" did for the African-American community way back then. And I'd like to believe that's true, you know, kind of showing gay people in this kind of light and -- where it's not about that, it's just about the characters for the first time, like those shows were. And I think that -- that's probably why it works.

KING: Megan, Tony Randall tried it with "Sidney," the first gay character ever on television. Didn't make it.

MEGAN MULLALLY, "KAREN WALKER": Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Swoosie Kurtz, right?

KING: Yes. Was it ahead of its time?

MULLALLY: I think so, and it -- funnily enough, I think that the "Ellen" show was our -- without the "Ellen" show paving the way for us, I don't know if we would have been able to squeak by because when we first started the show, there was a lot of -- they were expecting a lot of controversy and a lot of flak and crazy protests, and we were all kind of coached with what to say if somebody confronted us with hard questions. And it just never happened. And I think because Ellen had -- very soon before that had done that show, where her character was a straight woman who comes out, helped us. And also, the problem with that show was that then that issue became politicized, whereas with our show, it never was because it's just two guys that part of who they are is that they're homosexual.

KING: Was it difficult for you, Eric, to take this role?

MCCORMACK: No. It just -- this show -- because it wasn't politicized, because it wasn't about, you know, hairdressers or something stereotypical, it was about, you know, a lawyer and -- I don't know, you...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: A lawyer and a...

HAYES: And a kooky next-door neighbor.

MCCORMACK: Yes. It didn't -- somehow, we managed to wear our gayness on our sleeve and yet not, at the same time. It's -- we are -- it's a happily, funny gay show which is not about the issue of being gay.

KING: We're going to show some clips. One of our favorite episodes featured a special guest star, Cher. Take a look at this scene with Jack and his idol. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I do a better Cher than you.

CHER, ACTRESS: You think so?

HAYES: Actually, it's, You think so? Ho!

CHER: Are you kidding me with this?

HAYES: OK. The hand is perfect, but it's more, Are you kidding me with this? Ho!

CHER: Get a life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: And stop. That was a scene from "Will & Grace," and...

KING: Did you like doing that?

HAYES: Yes, that was fun. That was very high energy that night. I remember I was kind of -- I hope I'm not -- I hope this is correct -- kind of the biggest first -- first biggest guest star we had on the show was -- of that kind of iconic, you know, size. So the energy was really high. It was really fun.

KING: Was she good to work with?

HAYES: She's great. She's a really cool...

KING: Do you like having guest stars?

MESSING: Oh, I -- first of all, I mean, we've been blessed with amazing guest stars. I mean, we get to work with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas and Glenn Close and -- I mean, the...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Sharon Stone working with you this week.

(CROSSTALK)

MESSING: We're very, very lucky. We have some really, really talented people come and play with us.

KING: Before we talk about some of the changes and things that've happened to the characters, is this show booked beyond seven years, Megan?

MULLALLY: Well, I -- we love doing the show, and so, you know, we're hoping that we can come back and do more seasons because we have such a good time. And we're lucky because we still have the great writing, which is amazing after all this time. We still have a lot of our original writers, which is kind of unheard of.

KING: When do you find out?

MCCORMACK: This is -- this is that time of year, where, you know, you work it out with the network. So we're hoping...

MULLALLY: Maybe you could make a call for us.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And have they talked to you? Is anything in the wind? Do they say...

MCCORMACK: We're in discussions, and we -- we're just really hopeful.

MULLALLY: Yes. Because we love it. We love doing the show.

KING: You all do other projects. In the last segment, we'll talk about individual -- you went and did Jerry Lewis, right?

HAYES: Yes.

KING: You had fun doing that?

HAYES: Yes. That was fun.

KING: Now, you look...

HAYES: That was a little while ago.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he was so great!

HAYES: Oh, come on!

KING: Do all of you look beyond "Will & Grace"?

MCCORMACK: I think now -- yes. I mean, we've all of us -- we all of us came into this with other things and will go out of it with even more. We -- we're starting production companies and starting families and starring in films. And there's -- luckily, none of us are kind of waiting for that -- for D-Day to sort of go, Oh, I guess I have to be something other than, you know, this character. KING: A lot's happened in the last two years to the characters, the break-up of Grace's marriage to Leo, playing hurt for humor. Leo was Harry Connick, Jr., a good guy. Was that hard?

MESSING: Having that break-up?

KING: To play it for laughs.

MESSING: You know, I just -- it was -- it was a really great thing to be able to explore, to have -- you know, I was the perennial single girl, and to actually have Grace, you know, get married was -- was fun, and scary creatively because we're, like, Oh, is this going to work? And so, you know, I love when the show explores real sort of emotional milestones and try to glean the funny out of that.

KING: And now she's dating Ed Burns.

MESSING: Uh-huh. I know. Grace is...

KING: And he's a regular on the show?

MESSING: ... lucky girl!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Is he a regular?

MESSING: Well, these are the regulars here. You know, he's -- he's been on a couple of times, and we love having him, and we hear that he's interested in...

KING: He's terrific.

MESSING: Yes.

MULLALLY: Another nice guy.

MESSING: Really.

MULLALLY: Harry Connick and Ed Burns both very nice...

KING: We'll be right back with more of the cast of "Will & Grace." We'll be including your phone calls, so keep them -- keep those cards and letters coming. Don't go away.

(VIDEO CLIP FROM "WILL & GRACE")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Can't stay for lunch. I'm just going to grab some money out of your wallet so I can grab a sandwich and a new sweater later.

MCCORMACK: What's the big rush? HAYES: Karen's got a peeping Tom. She says she wants me over there right away. I assume to adjust the lighting or smear Vaseline on the windows to make them look lovelier.

MESSING: Never had a peeping Tom. All I've ever had is some guy in college yelling, Pull down the blinds, boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That episode hasn't aired yet. It airs tomorrow night. But we've just learned from the cast itself tomorrow's edition of the "Enquirer"...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, God!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're actually hoping (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: "The New York Times" of tabloidism will report that there's friction in the crew.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCORMACK: Debra and I aren't speaking.

MESSING: We don't speak.

MULLALLY: No, and they only speak through their publicist.

HAYES: And we act as their publicists, so...

KING: And who was it quoted, "a friend said"...

MCCORMACK: Sources close to a source...

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: Their mole.

KING: How do you feel when you read stuff like that?

MULLALLY: I think it's really...

MCCORMACK: I love it.

MULLALLY: I think it's amazing that, you know, it's a huge, you know, money-making concern without one shred of -- I mean, at least in this particular...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCORMACK: It would bother me if it was real.

MULLALLY: ... not one syllable that's true.

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: Everything's wrong. Even the number of seasons are wrong.

MESSING: They even said we're in our fifth season!

MULLALLY: Fifth season!

MESSING: So they got that wrong. I mean, literally, everything -- everything.

MULLALLY: It kills me, floors me!

MCCORMACK: Now they're going to be after us.

MESSING: Oh, no!

HAYES: Now.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: Seems like that's all they do.

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: ... gone and done it now.

KING: We're going to ask Will about boyfriends. And earlier this season, he got a new one. Let's take a look at what happens when Will has dinner with his new beau's family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCORMACK: All I wanted was for you to like me because I love Vince, and Vince loves you. Do you have any idea how much trouble I've gone through today to try to make it perfect for you? Your 16- year-old nephew made out with a woman twice his age, and then another woman 10 times his age! You're soon-to-be-married daughter is a lesbian! But did you hear about any of that? No! Not until just now, when I accidentally blurted it out!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's funny. Do viewers want you to have a relationship? I mean, are they -- do they get involved? They're, How's Will doing?

MCCORMACK: Yes, I think by now -- maybe in the early days, it was -- it was a new show and a new thing. But people do come up and say, When are you going to get a boyfriend? It's not just gay people. I mean -- and so -- and we got this great actor, Bobby Canavale (ph), who we lost for a while because he's so in demand. But that was a real nice mix, and we'll -- and we've -- and Will's earned it. I mean, the show has earned it to have Will have a steady boyfriend.

MULLALLY: It sounded like you said he's so "into men."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Into men. I know.

MULLALLY: But he said he's so in demand! (LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MCCORMACK: We were originally going to have Bobby a lot, but he's so into men!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Does anybody want you to go straight?

MCCORMACK: If they do, they're probably not paying attention to the details of the show.

KING: What kind of mail do you get?

MCCORMACK: You know what? We really -- unless somebody's keeping something from us, we don't get anything bad.

KING: Have you had complaints from people like the Family Council or like Reverend Dobson -- or Dr. -- no, he's not a -- James Dobson. Has he...

MESSING: No.

KING: No?

MULLALLY: Well, that was the weird thing, is that we seem to sort of skirt past all of that stuff...

KING: Jerry Falwell...

MULLALLY: ... miraculously.

KING: ... doesn't complain?

HAYES: I got one letter at the very beginning, like, in the first season, saying -- from a woman who was very religious, very Christian, saying how wrong she thought the show was, but she thinks it's the funniest show on television.

MULLALLY: We have had a preponderance of mail and personal comments from fans that we've met, younger gay or lesbian people who've said that the show helped them come out to their parents and they watch the show, but -- you know, that -- which is kind of gratifying.

MCCORMACK: Interesting that Reverend Dobson actually -- actually did send a letter to me, but it was just to ask me out to dinner.

MULLALLY: Oh!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Well, it's a round-about way to get his...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Jack now has a job as an executive at a gay TV network.

HAYES: Right. It's kind of art imitating life because there's a gay network going to be launched by MTV...

KING: Right, in June, I think.

HAYES: ... called Logo (ph)? Is that right?

MCCORMACK: I don't remember.

HAYES: I don't remember what it's called.

MESSING: Is that true?

MULLALLY: That sounds right.

MESSING: I didn't know that.

HAYES: I think that might be it. But anyway, that's where they, I think, got the idea to put my character...

KING: Do they...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Do they ask you, like, What do you think of this? Or do the writers just write it and you say it?

HAYES: Yes. I mean, for the most part, they'll -- they'll pitch us an idea at the beginning of the season to where our characters will go, and we have our say, you know, maybe, I like that idea, maybe add to it or maybe, I don't like that idea. They're very, very open to collaborating.

KING: Can you change a line?

HAYES: Yes, if it's funny. If it's not funny, then we don't say it.

KING: Now, Karen is the gun -- she's the gin-guzzling socialite, right?

MULLALLY: Yes.

KING: And although she always has admirers, one admirer this season, a former nemesis, Scott Woolley, played by Jeff Goldblum. You get some pretty heavy-hitting actors to come on, right?

MULLALLY: He's -- he was very fun to work with.

MESSING: Really.

KING: Do you like Karen?

MULLALLY: Yes, I love Karen. I always have a good time playing the character because she's -- it's so well written and so outrageous. She's just -- she carries a gun. I mean, it's just so -- she's so politically incorrect that it's just completely off the charts, and it's very fun to play. But I think she's somehow lovable, which is the funny thing, the trick in the writing and the playing...

HAYES: Because you don't know how much of it is true...

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: It's all just modeled on me, pretty much!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Type casting. Is the hardest thing, Debra, to keep it fresh? Seven years.

MESSING: Oh, yes. Sure. I mean, I think about it sometimes, that this is -- you know -- I mean, it's a half hour per episode, and we've been doing it how many -- I mean, over 100 -- 100 episodes now. I mean, it's just -- it's amazing to have these characters living and growing, and it really is a testament to the writers that they've been able to keep us as excited and us as interested and -- and, you know, funny, and -- but certainly, that's the challenge.

KING: It'll play forever in syndication, right? "Will & Grace"...

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Oh, yes. It's on at, like, 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 right now, I think.

KING: So it's always going to be with us.

HAYES: Well, it's going to be with you. Yes.

MESSING: We hope so!

MCCORMACK: Your lips to God's ear.

KING: And the residuals will be good for you, right?

HAYES: Yes, that...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You don't have a "Friends" walk-off, do you? Like, you don't have a -- We want this per episode?

MULLALLY: No.

MULLALLY: We're not smart enough to pull that off!

(LAUGHTER)

MULLALLY: You ought to negotiate for us, though, Larry. That might...

KING: I couldn't do that.

MULLALLY: ... come in very handy.

KING: You mean you've never...

MULLALLY: We'll get Larry on our side.

KING: ... made demands, with the success of the show?

MULLALLY: Do you know that the second season of this show, when the first time we had to renegotiate, I begged my agents not to ask for more than -- I think I was making -- you know, let's say a number that's fake, like, say I was making $200 a week. I said, Please don't ask for more than $300. And they wanted to ask for $800, you know? And I begged them not to. I said, Please! I'm not that kind of person. That embarrasses me. I mean, it was really sad. They said, We have never, ever had a client ask for less money.

(LAUGHTER)

MESSING: Everyone in Hollywood is going to work with you.

(LAUGHTER)

MULLALLY: Yes! I just got hired.

HAYES: We can get her! She's cheap!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll take a break, and we'll be back with more. We're going to include your phone calls. The cast of "Will & Grace." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I am so sorry about your peeping Tom! The thought that someone would degrade you by viewing you simply as a piece of meat disgusts me! You hear that? Disgusts me!

MULLALLY: I know, Jackie. I'm at my wit's end. Oh, Jackie! He's still out there, that sick bastard!

HAYES: Oh!

MULLALLY: Is this what you want? Huh! Huh! He's relentless! Jackie, help me out of this skirt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MESSING: You know what? You may be right. I think I'm making things worse.

MCCORMACK: Oh, sweetie. I hear rustling. Are you wearing your wedding dress?

MESSING: No, just the veil.

MCCORMACK: For God's sake, Grace, take that off and put it back in my closet! Look, I got to go, but just -- just remember, that jerk cheated on you, and you are better off alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The cast of "Will & Grace." We're going to start including your phone calls. A lot of people want to talk to these very talented people. Modesto, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, guys.

MULLALLY: Hi!

HAYES: Hi!

MCCORMACK: Hello!

CALLER: I love you! You can't leave! You're not allowed!

(LAUGHTER)

CALLER: But my question is, why would the writers feel they had to break up Grace and her husband? Harry Connick, Jr., seemed to fit so well with all four of you. Was it his choice, or did they just think it wasn't going the right direction?

KING: Debra?

MESSING: Thank you. I love you!

KING: What was the -- thank you. What was the decision...

MESSING: We love you! You know, I'm not -- I think -- I think it was both. I think -- you know, I mean, he obviously -- he obviously has a very full life. He's going to start (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and he had a lot of work to do with his album and promoting and traveling. So we were so grateful to have him as long as we did. And I think that, you know, we knew that we couldn't have him forever, so...

KING: So it worked.

MESSING: ... so the -- you know, we tried to get everything we could out of it. MCCORMACK: But part of the show, too, is that -- is that Will and Grace need each other, and we all, as friends, need each other. So it was always intended that the marriage would eventually end, even from the beginning, no matter who played him.

KING: Orem, Utah. Hello.

CALLER: Hi.

KING: Hi.

MCCORMACK: Hi.

CALLER: I'd like to say I just love the show.

HAYES: Thank you.

CALLER: And my question is, is, have you ever considered having Tom Selleck as a boyfriend selection for maybe Karen?

MCCORMACK: Oh!

MULLALLY: That sounds like a good idea to me!

KING: An idea!

MULLALLY: I'm on board with that idea! Yes, absolutely. Thanks for the suggestion.

HAYES: Mustache or no mustache for you?

MULLALLY: Really, probably doesn't make any difference.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: At this point, it don't matter!

HAYES: I think she'd look good in a mustache!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Peoria, Illinois. Hello.

HAYES: Peoria!

CALLER: Hi.

KING: Will they get it in Peoria? Yes. Go ahead.

CALLER: Oh, absolutely. I just wanted to tell these guys they are by far the most talented cast on television.

HAYES: Oh, thank you very much.

CALLER: And I'd like to ask them if -- how do they feel about actors today almost being vilified for stating their political views or inclinations? Thank you.

MULLALLY: Wow. What a great question.

HAYES: Yes, that is a good question. I feel -- not all actors, but some actors become a little too politically active and emotionally involved a day late or a week late or a month late, where people like -- a lot of people blew up about the results of the election, and it's, like, Well, what did you do about it beforehand? I'm not taking that stance, you know, right now. I'm just saying if you're going to have a voice, you know, and be one side or the other, what did you do the year or two years -- instead of coming out a month before the election and...

MULLALLY: I think it's been really -- oh, I'm sorry.

HAYES: No, that's -- I'm done.

MULLALLY: I think that's a really interesting...

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: No, I think it's an interesting point. We never really talked about this. But I always think about that because I have seen people who are considered celebrities, actors, musicians, sports figures, who are extremely intelligent, who have opinions, and it seems like you're kind of not allowed to have one if -- if you are in that position.

KING: Why?

MULLALLY: Well, I don't know. Some of -- a lot of the things I've seen, people are just sort of systematically taken apart if they want to voice an opinion. And then on the other side of the coin, but it is OK for their privacy to be completely invaded at -- 24/7.

KING: A conservative group has a billboard here, thanking Hollywood for electing George Bush.

MCCORMACK: Yes, I just saw that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw that today.

KING: And it shows pictures of Hollywood celebrities who support him.

MCCORMACK: It's freedom of speech. They can do that, and we can, you know, spout off about what we believe. I mean, everyone has got the right. We just -- we happen to have a vessel at the moment, but...

KING: Do you think you influence voters?

MCCORMACK: ... that's the resentment.

MESSING: You know, I -- I think so. I think so. I think it's a huge responsibility to -- to be -- to be a celebrity and to speak out politically. I mean, we -- obviously, we're human beings. We have opinions. We -- you know, we fancy ourselves as -- as being articulate and intelligent, and we want to be able to express our views when asked. But I think because we're celebrities, people -- there's just a -- there's consequences with -- with sharing those views.

MULLALLY: I'm afraid -- I feel like I'd rather just not say anything because I don't want to attract any kind of attention like that because I would hate to be a target for, you know, tabloid type of press or anything like that.

KING: And you're only $800 a week.

(LAUGHTER)

MULLALLY: Right. I work cheap, baby!

KING: Another classic "Will & Grace" moment is Will and Jack teaching Karen's cousin how to be gay. Take a look at the now famous dance lesson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Tighter! Tighter! Pull it in!

MCCORMACK: OK. OK. Look, this move, unless you're one of the Brady kids, should be (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

HAYES: OK, Barry, now, come on. Sit here, sweetheart. Watch and learn, all right? And note, these moves can also be performed on roller skates, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Oh! I have no friends and family anymore, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: Nobody likes me.

KING: We'll be back with more and more of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE with the cast of "Will & Grace." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing? I'm stuck in there, listening to him talk about how he's learning to love his mulatto bastard grandchild.

MCCORMACK: I'm sorry. I had to talk to Grace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Because we're having lunch from 1:00 to 2:00, which only leaves you 23 hours to catch up on her problems? What about me, Will? You know, this is a relation-ship. When one of the crew goes overboard, the ship sinks. MCCORMACK: No, it doesn't! That's a terrible metaphor!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a terrible metaphor.

MCCORMACK: That's a comeback?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a comeback!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MCCORMACK: That ice stings, and it tastes a lot like gin.

MESSING: I got it from my assistant's freezer.

MCCORMACK: Is your assistant Courtney Love?

MESSING: Not as together. I am really, really sorry.

MCCORMACK: You didn't mean it, did you? I mean, you're not homicidal, are you? Because it looks like you've been doing some psychotic gardening.

MESSING: Oh, this isn't psychotic. This is.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

KING: Eric McCormack plays Will Truman on "Will & Grace," Emmy winner for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series. He's starring in the upcoming film "The Sisters." We'll talk about that in a little while.

Debra Messing plays Grace Adler. She's the Emmy winner for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, stars in the current released film "The Wedding Date."

Sean Hayes plays Jack McFarland, Emmy winner for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, star and co-executive producer of "Situation Comedy," a new document reality series we'll talk about in a while.

MESSING: And a class act all the way.

KING: And a class act.

And Megan Mullally, who plays Karen Walker on "Will & Grace," also an Emmy winner for outstanding supporting actress. Does concert work with her band, Supreme Music Program. Recently performed at the Lincoln Center, will be at the Kennedy Center, but will not be at the Republican or Democratic Party get-together.

(LAUGHTER)

Let's go back to your calls.

Hagerstown, Maryland, hello. Hagerstown, hello?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Hagerstown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Hello. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: OK. If that's it, goodbye.

Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Hi.

KING: Hi. Go ahead.

CALLER: I was wondering, is there anyone that you guys haven't worked with that you would just about do anything to work with?

KING: Good question. They might all be different.

Eric, who would you like to work with?

MCCORMACK: Well, she's had the opportunity. Woody Allen would be my answer. I want to do -- Woody, hello? I want to do a Woody before...

KING: Debra?

MESSING: Was the question to be a guest star on the show or...

KING: Either one. Who would you like to work with or be a guest star on the show? Answer it either way.

MESSING: Meryl Streep.

KING: She might do the show.

MESSING: Really?

KING: You don't think she would do "Will & Grace?"

MESSING: Oh, I think she...

KING: She's a hoot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I thought you knew something.

MESSING: I thought you were breaking news here. And I'm like, "Really?"

KING: No, no. I'll bet Meryl Streep would say yes.

MESSING: You know what? I think she is hilarious.

KING: She's funny. Get Sharon Stone and Get Meryl Streep.

MESSING: Yes.

KING: Who would you want?

HAYES: Jesus Christ.

KING: He's out of town.

HAYES: He's hard to book. No...

MCCORMACK: He's doing "Passion of the Christ 2" at the moment, so...

HAYES: Probably Steve Martin. Probably Steve Martin.

KING: Yes. He might do it.

HAYES: Maybe.

MULLALLY: I'm on that same Meryl Streep bandwagon, not to be boring. Yes.

KING: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes. I have a question for Megan. I love you, Megan, by the way.

MULLALLY: Thank you. Thank you.

CALLER: I was just wondering, I love your first two CDs. Are you going to make another one anytime soon?

MULLALLY: Oh, that's so nice of you. Thank you.

Yes, we're planning to. We've had a lot of big, glamorous bookings lately, the band. So we've been kind of busy just getting those, preparing those, and traveling and having fun, playing live. And we've been collecting a lot of new songs, so we'll definitely be making a record soon.

But that's so nice of you. Thank you

KING: San Jacinto, California, hello. CALLER: Hi. How are you doing?

KING: Hi. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.

CALLER: Hey, Paula Zahn earlier had a question.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: And they want to know how much of the show is improvised.

KING: All right. There was a Paula Zahn question. I made a note of it. I was going to -- how much are you allowed to just wing it?

MCCORMACK: No. I mean, we -- we're actors, so we're supposed to make it look like we're winging it. But, no, it's a written script.

MULLALLY: It's a compliment to the writers, because a lot of people ask me. They say, "You improvise a lot of it, don't you?" No, none of it is improvised, really. I mean, essentially, there's teeny little things that are, but that's how good the writers are.

KING: So you are on script?

MESSING: Oh, absolutely.

KING: The show has had some fun doing flashback episodes. Let's take a look back at when Will and Jack first meet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MCCORMACK: Oh, and you think everybody's gay?

HAYES: No, not everybody. Just me and you and a dog named Boo.

MCCORMACK: Hey, hey, I'm not gay.

HAYES: Well, this well-worn copy of the "Dream Girls" soundtrack begs to differ.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCORMACK: How would you like it if I kicked your ass?

HAYES: That depends on the spirit in which it's delivered.

MCCORMACK: Hey, hey, hey.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

HAYES: That was actually how my hair was growing up.

KING: South Hampton, Ontario, hello. CALLER: Hi. My question is for Eric.

MCCORMACK: Hi.

CALLER: As a comedian who wants to get into the film industry, like I'm going to school (UNINTELLIGIBLE), me making it, what advice do you have?

MCCORMACK: Try to do as much as you can in Canada before you ever attempt to come down here. Do theater, do as much Canadian television. Don't just jump the gun.

I mean, it works for some people. Keanu Reeves came down here and had some success, I understand. But I would -- I would say, you know, do it home-grown first. And when I came here I had done a lot up there.

KING: You're an actor who does comedic acting, right?

MCCORMACK: Yes.

KING: You're not a comedian.

MCCORMACK: No.

KING: What are you, Sean?

HAYES: I would say the same. I tried do stand-up and I was horrible. And I'll never do it again.

KING: Really?

HAYES: So, yes, I consider myself an actor who is funny.

KING: Are you more comfortable in comedy?

HAYES: Oh, definitely. It hides the pain, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Pagliacci.

HAYES: That's right.

KING: The show must go on.

HAYES: Right.

KING: Why?

Are you more comfortable in comedy, Debra?

MESSING: I love comedy, but I think I'm happiest when I switch back and forth. I think I feel, you know, most -- most revitalized when I get to switch off.

KING: Megan?

MULLALLY: Gosh, I kind of like everything. And I also enjoy singing a lot. So people ask me, do I like to sing or act better. And I don't know which.

But I just -- I think it's just nice to have a forum to express yourself creatively. We're very lucky to have that.

KING: Milton Berle told me once comics make good actors because they're acting all the time. Stand-up comics are acting every night.

HAYES: Yes. That's right.

KING: They're going out. They maybe feel terrible -- you can feel terrible and play Hamlet.

HAYES: Right.

KING: Feel terrible and be funny for an hour...

HAYES: Oh, yes. That's true.

MULLALLY: Yes.

KING: California, hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi. I'm sorry.

I just want to say that I like everybody on the cast. You guys make us laugh so hard. And I was wondering if the chemistry that you guys have on your show, if it continues when you guys are off air?

KING: Not according to "The Enquirer."

(LAUGHTER)

MULLALLY: We have so much fun together that it's criminal that we're getting -- well, back to the money again. I'm lowering my salary by the moment. But it is criminal that we get paid to do what we do. We have so much fun.

KING: Do you socialize?

HAYES: Yes.

MESSING: Yes.

HAYES: We usually have a powwow right before we go back to work, like a little -- you know, we either have dinner or whatever, something.

MCCORMACK: Yes, we used -- we used to do it more. But I think it's because people get so busy in their lives. We both had children. It's just...

MESSING: And also, now, luckily, we have places that we need to be as a cast that are social events, where we get to enjoy each other. You know?

HAYES: So it really is like brothers and sisters. And actually, the days we get off are so fewer than the days we see each other. So it's nice to get rid of these people.

KING: How did they -- how did they deal with your pregnancy on the show?

MULLALLY: She said she was fat and eating a lot.

MESSING: Yes. They just called me -- the called me fat. And, you know, other than that, it was easy. It was so easy.

(CROSSTALK)

MULLALLY: Because she was upset about splitting up with Harry Connick's character, so she was just eating her way out of her misery.

MESSING: Yes. So they just made fat jokes the whole time. And we tried very badly to hide behind potted plants.

HAYES: Right.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be back with more, more calls, more cut-ins, and more about their other projects. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MCCORMACK: Do you want to have this baby with me or not?

MESSING: You said I could have more time.

MCCORMACK: That was before I found out you were sneaking around behind my back. If you want to back out of this, then I want you to back out of it now. Because I don't want to have this conversation again in a month, like we did with the cabinets.

"I like the nickel pulls. No, I like the brass pulls. Oh, no, I like the nickel pulls again." Make up your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mind.

MESSING: So what you're saying is, if I don't want to do it tomorrow, you don't want to do it at all?

MCCORMACK: That's right, Grace. It's now or never.

MESSING: Well, if that's the case, I guess I have to go with never.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MULLALLY: OK, come on. Who do you think you're talking to? Quit trying to pretend like you're best friends with Jennifer Lopez.

JENNIFER LOPEZ, SINGER: Good morning. I slept like a baby. I forgot how comfortable towels on a kitchen floor are.

MULLALLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

LOPEZ: But I had the weirdest dream. I was in bed and you and some guy named Toby were dancing around doing scenes from "Selina."

HAYES: That's crazy. We were good, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

KING: Temecula, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Debra.

MESSING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi. I just wanted to know if you think you will ever play in a movie as the character of Lucille Ball?

MESSING: Oh, gosh. I never say never, but I can't imagine having the courage to...

KING: Play her?

MESSING: Yes. I think -- you know, she's really the reason why I do what I do. I grew up with her.

KING: It would be good casting, though. She's your idol?

MESSING: She's my idol, yeah.

KING: To, let's see, Kitchener, Ontario. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. It's Jonathan. I just want to say hi to Eric and everybody.

My question relates to your story last week with Elton John. Just want to know how he was to work with on your show. Thanks. And, by the way, Candle (ph) loves you all.

KING: On this show, you mean? Or...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCORMACK: No, I guess it was...

KING: He was on this show last week, too.

MCCORMACK: Elton is -- Elton is actually a friend through -- through another Canadian, my friend, David Furnish, who was his lover and we went to high school together. So...

KING: They've been together 11, 12 years. MCCORMACK: Yes, they have. It's fantastic.

And I just -- when I got to meet Elton through Dave, around the second season of the show, I just said, "You've got to come on this show." And I think initially they wanted him to play someone other than him for the kick of it. But -- and he ended up playing -- it was the week that Mike Ovitz had announced that the gay Mafia was running all of Hollywood. And so Elton became the head of the gay Mafia, which...

KING: I'd like to go on and play someone else, play someone else.

MESSING: You're on.

KING: The only time I've ever played someone else was in "Shrek 2." I'm Doris, the ugly step sister.

MESSING: What do you want to play?

KING: I'll play anybody.

MESSING: Do you want to play a woman?

KING: I'll play a gay guy. I'll play anything.

MESSING: Oh my god!

MULLALLY: You heard it hear.

HAYES: OK, good.

MCCORMACK: You'd probably have to lose the suspenders for the gay guy, though, just to make that work.

HAYES: And that -- for that week that you work on our show, I'll sit in that chair right there.

MCCORMACK: Nice.

KING: Wow.

MULLALLY: What an offer.

HAYES: Take it or leave it, Larry.

KING: Yes, I'll leave it -- I'll take it.

HAYES: OK. Great.

KING: The episode with Madonna is special to LARRY KING LIVE. Our own Wendy Walker Whitworth was an extra. And she's our senior executive producer.

Karen was looking for a roommate and found an apparent soul-mate in a peculiar and high maintenance office worker played by Madonna. In this bar scene with Megan and Madonna, you can see our own Wendy Walker Whitworth. She's the blonde in the background.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MADONNA, SINGER: Mind if I join you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm kind of dancing with her.

MADONNA: Or would you rather be dancing with an office manager? You know, I was here. And now you're gone.

Hey, Curt, check this out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Curt, look at me!

MADONNA: Curt, Curt!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Curt! Yeah, here I am. I'm your lady, Curt!

MADONNA: Whoa!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yeah!

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

KING: That was just a walk-in actor?

HAYES: Well, I'm sure -- yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: But he's working with Madonna now?

MCCORMACK: Yes, he probably didn't know that going in.

MULLALLY: Madonna rubbing her body all over him for a week.

KING: Yes. And he came home that night and said, you're not going to believe this.

HAYES: And now he studies Kabbalah.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Sacramento, hello.

CALLER: Hi, guys. My twin sister and I just love the show and have been watching for years.

A particular emotional time in our life, when Stan was killed off in the show, we had also just lost our dad in a car accident we were involved with around the same time. So, first of all, real quick, my sister and I really want to thank you guys for that season because that was a time of our lives when we lost our dad and we had almost died. My question is, why did you guys decide to kill off Stan?

MULLALLY: You know, that's another really good question. I -- that's so -- I'm sorry for your loss, and that's -- and we never think that there would -- we're just doing a show, we're having fun. And when we hear about parallels like that, it's kind of touching, I think. So thank you for saying that.

KING: Writers decided, though, right?

MULLALLY: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

The writers decided that Stan would be killed off. And it's still to this day, for me and some of us, I mean, I think it's fine. But I miss Stan. I think Karen the character -- Karen really loved him. And...

KING: So you get emotionally involved for Karen?

MULLALLY: I guess. I'm not very smart apparently, am I? Because I don't want any money and I really believe it's happening. But we did...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Mental health week on LARRY KING LIVE.

MULLALLY: Yes. Yes. Thank you for helping me, Larry.

But we still refer to Stan quite often, and he is still very much in Karen's heart. So thank you.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments, get a couple more phone calls in and ask about other projects.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MESSING: You want to hear something funny about him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

MESSING: You will never have him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?

MESSING: You will never have him. He's gay, you're straight, he will never change no matter how many boyfriends you scare off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I know what's going on here. You're just mad because I said I hate your dippy little fancy chicken friend! Deal with it!

MESSING: You will never have him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop saying that.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MULLALLY: Tada!

HAYES: Oh, my god. You caught the bird!

HAYES: It was easy. I just fed him some mint Milanos (ph). And some brandy to wash it down.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

KING: Oh, you hadn't seen it yet?

MULLALLY: No.

KING: All right. Let's -- a couple of things individually.

Debra's current film is "The Wedding Day," a romantic comedy directed by Clare Kilmer.

MULLALLY: Yeah.

KING: You play (UNINTELLIGIBLE), an insecure single who pays a male escort played by Dermot Mulroney $6,000 to be her date for a family wedding in England. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE WEDDING DAY")

MESSING: I'm not a knuckler (ph). I fly all the time. The reason I can't feel my legs is that any second my date is going to sit down in 3B and I need to look really, really, really, really good today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello 3B.

MESSING: Hey.

DERMOT MULRONEY, ACTOR: Kat, let's sit.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "THE WEDDING DAY")

MULLALLY: Yeah! Go see Debra's movie. It's so good.

KING: Eric is co-starring in the soon to debut independent film "The Sisters," based on Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters." It stars Mary Stuart Masterson, Maria Bello (ph) and Erica Christianson (ph). We'll take a look at Eric's scene with Chris O'Donnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SISTERS")

MCCORMACK: How did you get here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David found her in her apartment lobby and called the paramedics.

MCCORMACK: What was David doing in her apartment lobby? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I walked her home.

MCCORMACK: She left the party by herself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I followed her to make sure she was all right.

MCCORMACK: What do you have some sixth sense about potential drug overdoses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking after someone must be an incomprehensible idea to you.

MCCORMACK: Don't dignify your perversions to me, you creep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey. Please!

END VIDEO CLIP, "THE SISTERS")

MULLALLY: Right on!

KING: It doesn't look like you.

MCCORMACK: I know. It's in competition (ph) of Tribeca. In April.

KING: And Sean Hayes is doing a search for the next big sitcom. He's doing a show about it. And here's a clip of Sean's upcoming series on Bravo called "Situation Comedy."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SITUATION COMEDY")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we're going to do right now is you're going to have to pitch to us because you're going to have to pitch to the network.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a fish out of water comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a fish out of water. Fish out of water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any idea where you see the series going after the pilot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, not off the top of my head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "7th Heaven" meets "A Men."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Tyler Moore, Chinese and single.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gospel meets hip-hop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Who's the Boss" meets funny.

END VIDEO CLIP, "SITUATION COMEDY") KING: That's funny.

HAYES: Yes. It's really great.

KING: When does that start?

HAYES: July on Bravo.

MULLALLY: I don't have a clip, but I could take off my top.

KING: However, we show off your musical talent. We don't have it, but you're in an M&M commercial?

MULLALLY: Yes.

KING: What are you singing?

MULLALLY: I'm singing to M&Ms. Here we go.

KING: I thought we didn't have a clip.

MULLALLY: Oh, I guess we do. How about that?

KING: Oh, look at that!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

MULLALLY: Wait. Nothing rhymes with orange.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still get paid, right?

MULLALLY: Chocolate is better than color.

END VIDEO CLIP, "WILL & GRACE")

MULLALLY: I guess they did have a clip.

KING: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is to the entire cast of "Will & Grace." Who was the most in influential person in all of your lives?

KING: Eric.

MCCORMACK: Oh, don't start with me.

KING: All right. Debra.

MESSING: As?

KING: In your life.

MESSING: Oh. Oh. My parents.

KING: Both of them?

MESSING: Yes.

KING: Sean?

HAYES: My mom in real life and on TV and film probably Martin Short and Steve Martin and John Ritter and a bunch.

KING: All those greats.

HAYES: Yes.

KING: Megan?

MULLALLY: I would say -- I would say my parents. And I was obsessed with "The Carol Burnett Show" when I was a kid and had to deal with my mom.

I'd go to bed an hour earlier on Mondays so I could get up at 9:00 and watch her show. And also my husband has been very influential.

KING: Eric, you've had time to think about it.

MCCORMACK: I have. No, I mean, it definitely is my parents, but particularly the things my father would show me. I would stay up late with him and watch "M.A.S.H." and watch "All in the Family" and watch "Monty Python." And so I think a lot of my comedic stuff was through...

KING: Last call, Sunrise Beach, Missouri. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.

CALLER: How is everybody doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great, thank you.

CALLER: Good, thank you. I just wanted to first of all say thank you for all the thousands and thousands of laughs you guys have provided over the years. You've just been all awesome. I have kind of a two-part question. The first is for Karen.

How did you develop your voice?

KING: It's Megan.

MULLALLY: Oh, that's OK.

CALLER: Megan, I'm sorry. KING: What's your second question quickly, because we have a time problem here?

MULLALLY: Well...

KING: Hold on. What's your second question? We'll get them both in. Sir?

CALLER: OK. Just wanted to know how she developed her voice and then if they would ever consider doing a sequel, any of them.

KING: OK.

MULLALLY: I just felt that the voice would be sort of more amusing if this really rich woman who could have everything she wants would have this voice that's so incredibly annoying. And it also gives it more of an energy because my own voice is kind of laconic. It was more of an instinctual thing.

KING: Is it hard to stay in character?

MULLALLY: No, it's easy to do. People think I'm like hurting my throat or something, but it's actually...

KING: How do you do it?

MULLALLY: Oh, honey, I don't want to do the voice.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: But like the pilot, the first two episodes, she didn't sound anything like the character does now.

KING: And you guys want to do a sequel already? You ain't off the air yet.

MCCORMACK: I know. It's so come to be a show about these four people. I can't imagine like a spin-off. Or I can't imagine -- I don't know. I don't know what form that would even take.

KING: Well, let's hope it lasts and lasts and lasts.

MCCORMACK: Thanks, Larry.

KING: You all deserve it. It's hysterical.

MCCORMACK: Thank you.

KING: And I'm not kidding. I'd have a lot of fun doing it.

MCCORMACK: All right.

MESSING: Well, you're on.

MULLALLY: It's as good as done.

KING: You can book it?

MESSING: Yes, we can.

HAYES: Yes, we are the bookers.

MESSING: Larry King is coming on the show.

KING: OK.

Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally, they are the cast of "Will & Grace." It airs Thursday nights on NBC at 8:30. And it's won 12 Emmys.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: "TIME" magazine recently did a story on the 25 most important evangelicals in the United States. One of the few women was Joyce Meyer, and she's our guest tomorrow night.

Aaron Brown is standing by. He will host "NEWSNIGHT." He was telling me -- the whole cast of "Will & Grace" here has been listening to him describe his sushi lunch today for $300, right?

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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