Writer and actress Jill Kargman on her new book “Sprinkle Glitter on my Grave,” her popular Bravo series and why her fans could be her friends.
Mention Jill Kargman and her scripted Bravo series “Odd Mom Out” to Washington women ranging in age from their twenties to their sixties, and in professions as varied as lawyers, doctors, business owners and housewives, and the reaction is nearly universal:
“I love her!”
“I’m obsessed with her!”
“We would be such good friends.”
Kargman, whose sixth book, “Sprinkle Glitter on My Grave,” was released September 6, has struck a chord with with mothers especially, as they attempt to grapple with the absurdities of life — getting kids into the right kindergarten, keeping up with impossibly skinny, busty socialites — and trying to maintain healthy relationships with the people that matter.
The writer, actress and goddaughter of Teresa Heintz Kerry, spent the last 24 hours promoting her book and charming her Washington fans. On Wednesday, she was interviewed on News 4 (after which traffic reporter Melissa Mollet tweeted “I want to take her home with me”); indulged in a mani-pedi at Varnish Lane (where co-owners Carrie and Lauren Dunne posted a photo on Instagram with the caption “biggest girl crush moment EVER”); and met me for a blow out and chat at Drybar in Georgetown (she got the Manhattan, I got the Straight-Up) before heading to an invite-only book signing at Pennsylvania 6 restaurant attended by the likes of BlueMercury founder Marla Beck, The Tommy Show co-host Jen Richer and “Crush” author/editor Cathy Alter, whose book Kargman contributed an essay to.
Washington Life: It seems everyone I know wants to be your friend. I mention your name to pals and I get “Oh my God — she’s awesome. I’m obsessed with her.”
Jill Kargman: Oh, that’s so nice!
WL: And it’s not just fellow moms. It’s 20-somethings, too, who really love your show.
JK: I know. We have a lot of viewers who are not parents, which I love because it’s not necessarily about parenting at all, it’s about keeping up. And we have tons of teenage girls and gay men who aren’t dads. I feel like it’s all different kinds of viewers.
WL: What’s it like to have strangers feel as if they are your friends, that they know you?
JK: I love it. I feel like it really it is me on the show. There are a few differences, but if they feel like we’re friends then that’s great because they probably know that we would be. And I feel like our viewers, at least the people I meet are all really cool, normal people. I would probably, in another life and if I had more time, be friends with all these people. I feel it’s a self-selecting group and most of them are very smart. Because you have to get it.
WL: Do you ever get backlash from people who see themselves among the groups your are mocking?
JK: No, that hasn’t happened once. Sometimes people are more scared [about personal interactions.] They’ll say “please don’t put this in your show” or something like that. And I don’t, I wouldn’t. Some people still think it’s roman à clef of some sort, but nothing in the show is meant to be mean-spirited. It’s just a satire. It’s observational comedy, so of course there are elements of life, but usually it’s a send-up of my own life — like my parents shopping for cemeteries. (laughs) People in my life, my close friends, know it’s all just fun, and everyone is super into it.
WL: The book is a collection of personal essays and reflections. How do people close to you feel about that? Did you run it by your family beforehand?
JK: I showed an early copy to my parents to make sure they were OK with it because I talked about them and they loved it. My husband (Harry Kargman) didn’t even read it until it was in hardcover, honestly. He knows not to sensor me or there would be backlash (laughs), but really, he’s just a chill, relaxed guy in general. He’s very laid back. And I sent it to my brother (Will Kopelman) and to Drew (Barrymore, Will’s ex-wife) and to my best friends. It wasn’t really to get their comments, just to give it to them early. My friends all support me. I have a small, devoted group.
WL: Can we talk about the paragraph in the book where you discuss Drew Barrymore? She’s no longer married to your brother, yet you say you are “forever sisters.” It was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes.
JK: She’s the best person in the world. I love her so much. The cool thing about Drew is when I asked her to appear on “Odd Mom Out” she wanted to read the script but said to me, “I’m not doing this as some kind of favor. I’m doing this because I think the script is genius and the show is genius.” That really meant a lot. I didn’t want her to feel pressured. She just loves the show and she’s been so supportive, Tweeting and posting it. She really is our family forever.
That said, divorce is hard. And my brother is my best friend. He’s not just a sibling. I rely on him a lot for advice. And sometimes when I’ve said in the press that Drew is my sister forever some people have wondered, “Oh, is she on the rocks with her brother?” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Willy and I are so close. And he understands. He gets that I love Drew and that I’m a girls’ girl and she’s the mother of my nieces. He’s awesome and he’s been really nice and supportive of that friendship too.
WL: You were diagnosed with melanoma at age 34. It was life threatening. How did that experience change you?
JW: That really, really [insert expletive that begins with the letter F here] with me because I felt like at 34 I was still young. It was really scary. And after I got out of the wheelchair and off the cane, I said, “I am not going to be anywhere I don’t want to be” and I stopped saying yes to things I didn’t want to do or seeing people I was dreading seeing. I just sort of said “life is short.” My parents have been telling me that my whole life. In my thirties, I felt like nothing bad was going to happen to me and this was a shocker, a wake-up call. Now, I just try to really make every day important and not wish time away.
Meet Jill Kargman in person today when she signs books at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase (5555 Wisconsin Avenue) from 1-3pm. On Sunday night, Kargman hosts the Emmy’s Post Show, featuring interviews with all of the winners on Emmys.com.