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Illustration: Dan Park

The Hot Seat: Lisa Kudrow

The Friends and Web Therapy star is also an astute psychotherapist.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of Hot Seat interviews

Web Therapy is different from a lot of Web series: It's well paced and grounded in characters. Were you surprised by its success online?
Yeah. To be honest, it was a creative experiment. It felt like the old independent film system; it doesn't cost a lot, so if it doesn't work out it's okay—no one will see it. [Laughs] I just thought, Everyone is doing all kinds of things online, wouldn't it be funny if people are so busy they got therapy at work? Just knock it out in three minutes.

Can you clue our readers into your character?
Fiona Wallice calls herself a therapist. She is self-serving with little patience, very judgmental. She's ambitious but misguided.

Is she based on anyone?
There is a person I have in mind for how Fiona thinks she is coming off: a woman who is very poised, smart, sexy, elegant. Then it gets filtered through me and you see all the cracks.

You've brought in a star-studded cast. Was the cast pretty receptive to doing an improvised Internet project?
Yeah, it doesn't take long to shoot, and they think it's fun. Courteney [Cox] wanted to do it, but was a little nervous because she was like, "I don't improvise." But you're an actor; you know how to listen and respond. She was fantastic. For our first season, we had Jane Lynch, Bob Balaban, Tim Bagley, Drew Sherman and Patty Guggenheim—they were involved in Groundlings.

I wanted to ask about your involvement in that L.A. sketch-and-improv troupe.
I think that was really important training, especially the sketch-writing.

Do you have a favorite sketch?
I did "Your Favorite Actress on a Talk Show," which is what I based The Comeback character Valerie Cherish on: someone so phony that you can see right through her. And that type of actor was every reason I tried to fight becoming an actress.

You worked out your fears then.
You do it your own way.

As you can probably see, I dabble in psycho-analysis, but I was wondering if you would care to analyze me?
I would never pretend to be able to do that.

Do you think television has a future or will everything eventually be broadcast on the Internet?
I think it is all going to merge. The bottom line is always: Is it compelling to watch?

That's certainly the case with Web Therapy.
Thank you. Well, in that case, I can analyze you. I think you are a genius, very discerning, excellent taste, handsome, thin.

Web Therapy's season premieres Tue 19.

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