Interview with Kyla Kenedy and Vella Lovell of “Mr. Mayor” on NBC by Suzanne 3/8/22
This was a fun panel day that we had with the 6 main actors from the show. These two women were paired together. We had a lot of fun, as you can see in the video. It was great to ask them about the show, which is very funny and returns 3/15 on NBC.
Kyla: Hello! How is everyone?
Ross: Doing well And thank you. Thank you for joining us and doing this. And, let me begin with Kyla, you’ve got an interesting role, and first step out, you’re at the DMV.
Ross: First of all, was that the real DMV, a phony DMV? What’d you guys do there?
Kyla: It was actually an old police station, but it felt just like a real DMV. I had just gotten my license pretty close to where we shot that, and I felt like I was going back in time a little bit. I mean, down to the lines you, ’cause you know, you do so much waiting around on set that I truly, around hour five, was like, “I am in a real DMV right now.”
Ross: And for both of you, what is new for you this season? Different direction, different way you were approaching the role? Vella?
Vella: Well, my character gets a love interest this season. So that was a totally new dynamic, to get to work with someone new, Yedoye Travis, who’s amazing, and to kind of see that different side of your character. You know, you audition for these shows, and you have two scenes, and you can’t possibly get to every color of a character in that audition. So it’s really fun to, you know, two years in, discover new colors. And how does Mikayla fall in love, and how does Mikayla ask someone out? And all of those different things.
Vella: Yeah, I think this season Orly gets to spend a lot more time in the office with her dad, which was just really fun – a side of her that we really didn’t dive into that much in season one. And she kind of gets to interact with everyone else in the office more, which leads to some pretty fun storylines and some interesting situations. But that, that was so much funding to do this season.
Ross: Very cool.
Suzanne: Vella, you got to sing a lot in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Will there be any singing on the show this season?
Vella: Well, unfortunately, I think we established that Mikayla is a terrible singer. So…I actually think there is a little bit of singing. I’m not sure if they’ve cut it or not, but it’s not great. I’m going to go ahead and say that,
Kyla: We got blessed a little [laughs].
Vella: Yeah. It’s not, it’s off very off key. So apologies…
Suzanne: I liked the Christmas song that you all did, even though most of you weren’t doing anything but humming or whatever.
Kyla: Yeah, it was hard.
Vella: Yeah. That was fun.
Dano: Dano from The Nocturnal. So I’m a Los Angeles native myself, and a lot of stuff with the show really hits very close to home. So I was wondering what (for both of you)– Kyla, you have the relationship with the very embarrassing father and, Vella, you’re a young professional navigating life in LA… if there’s any moments where like, you’re reading the script and you’re like, “Oh man, this is just way too real.”
Kyla: Yeah, I think that happens all the time. Like, our writing is so, so good that I think there’s a little bit of truth behind every joke, which is what makes the show so special and fun to watch. But, no, I definitely have so many moments, even when we’re filming a scene where I’m like, “This could absolutely happen tomorrow in a Whole Foods.”
Vella: Yeah, I think there was one script that ended up getting… this part, got cut, but McKayla was in a long distance relationship with someone who lived in Venice. And that is a real thing in LA, when you live on the east side and someone lives on the west side, it truly feels long distance. So there’s a lot of things that just creep up and are very… they’re very… they’re so real that they’re hilarious.
Karen: I was going to ask a similar question. There are ways in which the show feels a little bit like “Seinfeld” did about New York city. That if, you know… if you’re from New York, there was this extra layer of humor there. I actually really wanted to ask Kyla, however, in particular, you are the one…maybe you are the youngest, and Orly spends a lot of time, like, schooling her father. “You can’t say that, you can’t do that. That’s not how you use Tik Tok.” And I wonder how much of that you’re drawing from your real life? And I, you know, Ted’s the same age as this character, right? And you’re working with a lot of older people, and is this happening on set?
Kyla: I mean, a little bit. I do think there have been moments, like, Ted and I did a fun little video where I told him like, slang that me and my peers were using, and he would try and guess the meaning of it. But there are definitely so many funny moments, but we’ll do a table reading, and Ted would kind of fidget, [and say], “So, what does this mean exactly?” But I think that, you know, that’s the fun of it, and that’s what makes the show so special because it is like real life. There are times when my mom will call me and go, “What does this mean? Somebody just texted me this and I have no idea how I’m supposed to respond.” But yeah, no, there’s definitely a lot of truth behind it.
Vella: I mean, I have to ask Kyla how she knows what to post on Tik ToK. ‘Cause I don’t, and how to work it, or how you know what to post. And she’s just…
Kyla: Right? I know, we like, just kind of.. right when the season ended, all started talking about potentially next season, maybe making a (???) video together, figuring it out myself if I’m being honest.
Vella: You’re gonna have to spearhead that.
Kyla: Yeah, right? I go in with a lot of false confidence and that’s really how I get through it.
Ross: On camera, you guys have become a very reverent family, and listening to you right now, you’ve got those qualities. Was there a bonding that came very quickly? Did it take awhile, Vella? What was that like for the cast – and Kyla, too – what was that like for you guys?
Vella: Yeah. I mean, we had only shot, I think, a month or two when we got shut down for COVID. So a lot of our bonding, I think, came during COVID in that time. We would just zoom a lot, and check in on each other, and we have our text chain, and I think we kind of skipped a few steps in terms of working together for months and slowly getting to know each other.
We just went straight to “How are you doing? Are you okay? What’s going on? How’s your family?”
Kyla: I think most of the time when you start a new series, you know, you’re kind of interacting with everyone in between breaks on set. And then when you rehearse, you’re doing your lines and whatnot, and then you all go home for the day. So with us being in zoom within the first month, you guys knew what my bedroom looked like, my cat, my family situation… I think we all just kind of had nothing but time. So it was like a hundred lunch breaks, all put into, like, how many months? So we did definitely come back to it, filming, like we were going into season five of our show – relationship-wise, just because we bonded so much.
Suzanne: Kyla, you were on CSI about 10 years ago when Ted Danson was starring in it. Did you have scenes with him then? And did he remember you when you started this show?
Kyla: Okay. So I did do CSI, but to preface it, I was a corpse.
Kyla: So Ted and I did have a scene, but it was me lying in a bed, no longer living. So it wasn’t anything too memorable, but I think it was one of those things where we had talked about it, he kind of remembered…? Yes, no, but I was like eight and I didn’t say anything. I just kind of got to go to craft services, eat a lot of food and sleep for 20 minutes. It was a pretty sweet deal. But I think, I think I definitely do probably remember it a little bit more.
Vella: I did not know that.
Suzanne: So, bow that they’ve brought the show back, Vella, that’s your chance. You’ve got to go play a dead body on the new CSI.
Kyla: Yeah, everybody’s doing it.
Vella: I would love to. It sounds — it sounds very relaxing.
Suzanne: You can’t move, though. That’s the only thing.
Dano: One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials last month was the NBC one with Ted Danson. I was wondering if you guys, you know, how you reacted to that, if you’re roasted a bit for that, or… yeah. What were your thoughts on that?
Vella: I think I just texted, like, “Ted!” or something… It was the one where he’s the king of NBC, right?
Dano: Right, And then every other NBC person’s getting annoyed, you know, that Ted, or Keenan, “why not me?” You know?
Vella: Well, it’s the 40th anniversary of “Cheers,” so, I mean, it’s hard to (???)
Kyla: Right, he earned it.
Vella: He earned it. 40 years on a network. I mean, that’s… that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think we roasted him at all. Maybe we should!
Kyla: We can designate somebody to come through.
Vella: “Hey, man…”
Karen: I wanted to ask you guys: I think all of us have seen the first five episodes and, we’ve seen some really fun guest stars on, mostly with Ted. Do you guys get any like good guest star time this year? Do you want to tease anything about who you got to work with, or are you not allowed to say?
Vella: I don’t know. I know there’s some great people that come through. I don’t think, oh, there’s an amazing person that we got to work with, but yeah. I don’t know if we’re supposed to, I don’t know if we can talk about them, I guess.
Host: Not at this point, but excited for you guys to see all the many surprises coming up for this season.
Vella: Yeah. There’s some really great people– some really great comedy people.
Kyla: I guess we think, everyone, because of who’s behind the show. I feel really lucky. I’ve noticed everyone that comes in – even if they have one line – they are so on point, and are so amazing and really do the best job that they possibly can, which I think makes every scene so special. So I do always look forward to, you know, when we read the script to seeing who’s going to come in and who’s gonna play this crazy role. But we have, we have a lot of funny, funny characters that pop in this season for sure.
Vella: Yeah, definitely.
Season Premiere: March 15
“Mr. Mayor” follows a retired businessman (Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he’s “still got it.” Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America’s second weirdest city.
The series stars Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell, Mike Cabellon, Kyla Kenedy and Bobby Moynihan.
“Mr. Mayor” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian will serve as a co-executive producer.
Orly Bremer, “Mr. Mayor”
Kyla Kenedy stars as mayor Neil Bremer’s (Ted Danson) daughter Orly Bremer on NBC’s new comedy “Mr. Mayor.”
Kenedy has spent nearly a decade building an impressive resume for an actress her age. She has worked steadily in film and television and across multiple genres. She is most recognizable from her roles on the ABC sitcom “Speechless” and for her recurring role on the international hit show “The Walking Dead.”
For the younger set, Kenedy is known for her role as a regular on the Amazon series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” On the big screen, she was last seen opposite Jeremy Sisto in the independent feature “Love Is All You Need?” for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Kenedy began her career at 8 in Charleston, S.C., booking print and local jobs. She moved to Atlanta and quickly expanded to commercials and films, where she landed a small role in the Farrelly brothers feature film “The Three Stooges.” Shortly thereafter, Kenedy was cast in her first lead role as the title character in the award-winning made-for-TV movie “Raising Izzie,” for which she won the Grace Award at the 21st Movieguide Awards, and a Young Artist Award for Best Actress.
Kenedy relocated to Los Angeles and has gone on to appear in a steady stream of dramatic and comedic projects, including heavily recurring roles on “Night Shift” and “The New Normal” “for which she was again nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Actress in a Guest Starring Role.
Kenedy currently lives in Los Angeles, and loves reading, traveling, and all outdoor activities.
Mikaela Shaw, “Mr. Mayor”
Vella Lovell stars as Chief of Staff Mikaela Shaw on the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”
Lovell is best known for her standout series regular role as Heather Davis on all four seasons of CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” She is currently recurring in the new Amazon Prime coming-of-age series “As We See It.” Lovell is also the voice of Mermista in the animated Netflix series “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” (2020 Critics’ Choice Nominee – Best Animated Series).
On the film side, she is best known for her role in the indie hit “The Big Sick” and recently starred in the Comedy Central holiday parody movie “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” which was written and produced by “Saturday Night Live” alums Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer.
A graduate from the Juilliard School, Lovell has a bachelor’s degree from New York University. While at Julliard, she played Anna Mae in Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottages’ “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” and Lady Macbeth in an adaptation of “Macbeth.” She has also performed in “The Bacchae,” directed by JoAnne Akalaitis at Shakespeare in the Park, and “The Great Recession” as well as “Kaspar Hauser” at the Flea Theater.
At Williamstown Theatre Festival, she was seen in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by David Cromer, “When You’re Here” by Samuel Hunter and “Camp Monster.”
Proofread and Edited by Brenda