It’s hard to miss all of the personality Carly Jibson exudes whenever she enters the frame of a shot. Stealing scene after scene in this season’s “One Mississippi” and “The Guest Book,” there’s no denying that Jibson is on her way to become a household name in the world of comedy.
How did you get your start in acting? When did you know you wanted to be an actress?
I think in some way it was an unstoppable force. I was lining up my stuffed animals in the living room, forcing them and anyone within earshot to listen to my new one-woman show (that I had just written 10 minutes before curtain). It was never a matter of if, just when.
I was very fortunate to have one of those unheard of elusive, discovery sorties. I was scouted out of high school while doing a show for my local regional theater Cherry County Playhouse by a New York talent agent. They saw me in the show and were the champions (and ultimately the catalyst) that got me my very first job, which was the first national touring company of “Hairspray” as Tracy Turnblad in 2003. I went on to do the tour for seven months where I was pulled off the road to join the New York company on Broadway. I did my final performance on Broadway in the summer of 2005.
What is your worst audition story?
I think the most memorable one that sticks out for me was the time that I auditioned for Faye Dunaway for the remake of “Master Class.” I was incredibly young, maybe 18 at the time, and they asked us to sing classical song. Not having a book of music to pick from (very unprofessional), I not only decided to sing a cappella, but also chose “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I know, I know. But it gets worse. Because I didn’t have any accompaniment, I started the song way too high and by the third line I was already in the rafters, way above my vocal range. I just stopped. I was mortified. I was staring “Mommie Dearest” herself, in the face, completely frozen. She politely asked me if I would like to start again. I nervously agreed that would be best and then out of complete fear started singing the lowest I possibly could. I finished the song, thanked them for their time and left. No need to check my IMDB, I didn’t get the job.
How did you get your part on “One Mississippi”? What was it like working on this set in comparison to others?
I auditioned for “One Mississippi” about a month before we went into filming. I was very nervous because I wanted the job so very badly. I remember going in and auditioning for Tig and Kate Robin. I felt like I was going to poop my pants, I was so nervous. I LOVE Tig Notaro and she was standing in front of me, in her jeans and t-shirt (in that cool sort of James Dean way that only she can pull off). I just kept thinking, “Don’t mess this up, Jibson. Whatever you do, be funny.” The audition itself was a blur because I completely blacked out. Immediately following my read, in a panic, I hugged Tig and then, as to not seem rude to everyone else, individually hugged every single person in the room including the camera operator. It lasted much too long, but I had committed to it. There was no way out. I walked out thinking. “You had ONE job! Not to fuck this up…ugh…” Needless to say, I DID get this one!
Working on the show was an experience unlike anything I had done before. The cast and crew are among some of the most integral humans I’ve ever encountered. Even though we were touching on some dark subject matters, there was always an air of love, laughter and lightness. It truly felt like a safe environment to just do your thang. One the best times. Truly.
How did you prepare for your character? Do you two share any characteristics?
I was born in Alabama and spent a great deal of time around southern women, so I “knew” who Desiree was. I know those type of women who mean well but truly have no filter or sense of awareness to other peoples’ sensibilities. My intention was to make her redeeming in the way that she comes from a place of love and miseducation and not malice. I truly enjoyed playing that dichotomy.
Did you have a favorite scene to shoot or a favorite one you saw on screen?
I really love the scene where Desiree breaks the bowl. I got to do some physical comedy in that, which is my comfort zone. But I also really liked playing the softer scenes as well, like the one in the final episode where we learn about Tig’s molestation. It was really fun to be able to play all sides of her.
What has been your response to all the praise you and the show have received?
Oh, I’m just happy that people love the show. I, like so many others, was a giant fan of season one. If you would’ve told me that nearly eight months later I’d be on the set of that show I don’t think I would’ve believed you. At the end of the day it’s just about telling the story. Putting material out there that people can relate to, something that’s real. The goal, for me, is to do right by the material and bring the incredible writers’ words to life. I think if you can accomplish that, you have a lot to be proud of.
What do you think makes “One Mississippi” so special and different than other comedies. This season really explored a lot of different issues in very comedic but appropriate ways.
I truly think it’s all in the delivery. If you can find a way to humanize the subject matter it becomes palatable to just about anybody. I think the way that you do that is just simply by telling the truth. If there’s no pretense or hidden message or agenda and you’re just being honest and raw, no one can fault you for that. And if they do they’re assholes. Ha!
What about “The Guest Book”? How do the two experiences differ?
In terms of being different, “Tickles” and “Desiree” could not be more opposite. I had an absolute blast delving into both of these characters.
They’re both comedies but in completely different voices. And that’s what’s so great about comedy, it can truly where many different faces.
I will say the thing that makes them similar is both shows were led by fearless and incredible human beings. From Greg Garcia and Alix Jaffe to Tig Notaro and Kate Robin, these people are the real fucking deal. No egos. No drama. Just fun. After all, we’re making a TV show, not curing cancer!
Do you prefer working on a cable/network show in comparison to a streaming channel?
I just prefer working! Ha! It’s less about the semantics and more about the project. I would just be grateful to continue to work with amazing, groundbreaking creators.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Hopefully a lot! Ha! No, honestly, I’m always waiting for the next thing to find me. I believe very strongly in that. My whole career has been an avalanche of one door leading me to another that I never saw coming. I think that’s my favorite part. It’s terrifying (the unknown), but it also keeps it interesting!
What has been the biggest “pinch me” moment of your career so far?
All of it! Every single bit. I still can’t believe how lucky I am. Every day I get to go to work is the best day of my life. I will NEVER take that for granted.