You may recognize her from her years as Larry David’s beleaguered wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm, but now this Groundlings graduate has a sassy new character we’re just crazy about, and her name is Dallas Royce. She’s got a penchant for short skirts, big hair, acrylic nails and spray-on tans, but with Cheryl Hines’ help—in the form of razor-sharp comedic timing and dead-on delivery—Dallas Royce is bringing a heartfelt, sugary sweetness to suburban satire and some true hilarity to ABC’s comedy hit Suburgatory.
I would say Dallas is very different than who I had played on Curb Your Enthusiasm. And different than me, too, although parts of Dallas do come from my mom. Oh, she’s going to kill me! She’s got that Southern accent, that real sweetness and that ‘if you got it, flaunt it’ attitude.” Dallas just wants to look good and feel good and do good. And she’s a good mom. My mom used to come to my softball games as a teenager and she would say to me after the game, “Why did you wear your hair like that to a softball game?” And I’d say, “Because I’m playing softball, Mom. What did you think about the game?” “Oh Cheryl, I couldn’t pay attention to the game. All I could think about was that hair.” Now that’s something Dallas would say! She’s also based on a lot of different people I know or I’ve encountered. One day when I went to my daughter’s school, one of the moms stopped me to say how much she loved our show, but she had to ask me if Dallas was based on her or some of the other moms. I didn’t know what to do at first. So, of course, I had to lie through my teeth and tell her no!
There are two gay characters on Suburgatory—or they’re supposed to be gay—who are married to women on the show…and you’ll meet their wives soon. But they’re over-the-top stereotypes of gay men, way over-the-top, and people just love them! But that might offend somebody somewhere who doesn’t understand we’re a satire. But Suburgatory pokes fun at everybody. And I love that about the show. But I’m also going to talk to the writers, because Dallas should definitely have a gay best friend!
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I have two best friends myself who are gay. They’re together, a couple. One of them I went to high school with in Tallahassee and when I first moved out here to L.A. he was one of the only people I knew, and he took me under his wing. And he and his partner just do everything for me. They dress me for the red carpets, and they are the best. One of them is just…out there, and the other is, let’s say, more conservative. So if you see me on the red carpet in something crazy and over-the-top you know who picked it out for me on that day. We just have so much fun together! I love them dearly.
Trying to figure out what makes someone funny or how someone is funny is like asking: How do you catch a moonbeam in your hand? It’s just something in you. Mike McDonald [fellow Groundlings graduate and MADtv cast member] said to me once that he thought that women were sometimes held back in comedy because they were always afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. And I think there’s some truth to that. I mean, I’m speaking in generalizations, but women are more nurturing and we’re caregivers. We want to make sure everybody is happy and that everything is okay. We don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But in comedy, you really can’t hold back. You just have to go for it. I am just so lucky to have shot this pilot, and then to have it picked up and to work with such a great cast. We’re like a family who just get each other. And we’re lucky. It’s pushed me in ways I’ve never been pushed before. I’ve done things I never expected to do. What am I doing on a stripper pole at my age, at this stage in my career? I mean it’s crazy! But it’s just so much fun. And that stripper pole experience? It’s something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life.
Watch the many talents—comedic and otherwise—of Cheryl Hines Wednesdays on ABC’s crazy-cool hit Suburgatory.