From improv to scripted comedy, Wendi McLendon-Covey certainly has a passion for comedic roles. In her latest project, “Bridesmaids,” which comes out this May, Wendi goes from her feisty character, Deputy Sergeant Clementine Johnson on “Reno 911,” to being gloomy Rita. Which one of the bridesmaids that is a self-disastrous housewife who hates her own marriage and whose kids loathe her.
The movie “Bridesmaids” was inspired by Kristen Wiig and writer Annie Mumulo’s real-life wedding experiences. It focuses on the best thing (okay, second best) a girl could ever be asked – to be someone’s maid of honor.
When Annie (played by Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig) is asked to be the maid of honor at her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding, she inevitably agrees but Annie has no idea what she is about to endeavor. As Wendi described in a recent interview with the INFERNO it was at, “the worst possible place in her life!” for the character.
This comedy is not your average “girly-girl-chick-flick,” but rather a blend of realistic screw-ups of everyday life and even some girl competition, so ladies (and gentlemen), prepare to jump off your seats from laughter.
As “Bridesmaids” may be one of McLendon-Covey’s major roles, like many, it took many years of hard work and determination to hit the big screen. Only eight years in the entertainment industry, McLendon-Covey has accomplished many professional and personal life experiences that she will cherish for the rest of her life.
A graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a B.A. in Liberal Studies/Creative Writing, she was discovered at The Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles as an improv and sketch comedian. McLendon-Covey’s career took off in 2003, with her first major role as on “Reno 911.” She was a series regular for five consecutive seasons before her departure in 2008.
McLendon-Covey has since then guest-starred on shows such as “Lovespring International,” “The Office,” “Greek,” and most notably on “Rules of Engagement.” She has also had small roles in films such as “Bewitched” and “Over Her Dead Body,” making her resume certainly impressive. She confesses that it was not always easy. She had to mentally prepare herself before every audition and remain hopeful when she failed. “People who normal just do movies are trying to get themselves into television now so it’s like becoming sort of crowded,” she adds, “and literally everyday you’ll have two to three auditions and that’s a lot of preparation!”
She attributes her optimism to be what kept her going and it has paid off. “It’s tough and it’s a little disappointing but you just keep going. It’s all good, it all works out because I managed to keep working.” McLendon-Covey has worked hard over the years, even in her free time. She has managed to make sure other people had a smile on their faces as well and in the past few years Wendi has traveled overseas to both Kuwait and Iraq, to pay homage to our brave troops by putting on a show for them. Her favorite part from that journey was meeting the troops that never get any entertainment. They are so happy to see celebrities like her and she could not help but have a great show. She describes the experience as fun and very heartbreaking at times, but mostly just fun.
The first time she was asked to go, she was scared of what she was going to encounter there but by the time she arrived, everything was secure and never felt like she was in danger. The experience was educational for her as well, because not only was she performing for them, but she also got to see things people would see on TV, and some things people never see on TV.
“Every time I go, something else has happened, there’s more progress made over there. To go there and give them a little something, I figured, if they have to be there, I can show up for a few days and try to be funny,” she says.
McLendon-Covey is an actor by day, but when it is all over, she is just like the rest of us.”I woke up this morning and I thought I was going to go do some training somewhere. I found out I’m going to New York in a couple of weeks right now, I never know,” she laughs.
Her life is completely unpredictable at this point, so much so that she does not know what is planned for her the very next day. “Do I need to keep my passport out?” she says. “What do I have to do? Do I need to keep a backpack all the time?” she jokes.
She is content though with the way things are, claiming everything is exciting especially with her family by her side. As for now she is preparing for the release of her latest comedy “Bridesmaids,” which will hit theaters May 13. Despite her frantic schedule and a killer list of projects under her belt, she never takes anything for granted. “I’m very blessed, knock-on-wood. I’m very, very blessed,” she said.