A Chat with Bethany Joy Lenz

ImageOk, One Tree Hill fans. I know you’ve been wondering when you’d see your favorite Tree Hill faces again. Well, tonight’s the night. Bethany Joy Lenz is returning to TV tonight, but this time, she’ll look a little different. She’s donning a comedic cap and joining a rambunctious cast of characters for one episode of Men at Work, tonight at 10:00 pm EST on TBS.

In the episode, Bethany plays Meg, Tyler’s new girl — the first girl he’s dated who is a mom. Adding to that complexity is Bryan, played by one of Raked’s favorite dramatic actors, Ben McKenzie.

I was able to participate in a conference call with Bethany, where she discusses her return to TV, her interest in comedy, and even her upcoming role in Dexter. Check out the highlights below.


Why Men at Work? After Bethany took some time away from acting, she wanted to get back in the biz. But she didn’t want to jump back into a dramatic role similar to what she had before. She wanted something that was “strategically designed to move my career in a direction that was not in the same way as One Tree Hill.” Enter: comedy!

Bethany had done some comedy when she was younger, but stopped once she got a dramatic role. But now she really wanted to, as she put it, “jump into sitcom work again.”

“Lucky me, I won the job!” she said. “It’s a great set. It’s a great show.” For her, it’s the perfect place to try out her comedy experiment and see how it goes. And she had a great time.

Any challenges? Bethany confessed that the first few days were tough for her. She hadn’t done comedy — especially sitcoms — in a very long time, probably 10 or 11 years. She was also walking onto a new set that “didn’t feel like home.” It took some time to navigate everyone’s energy, their vibe, and how they work in the new set.

That being said, she had no hesitation talking about the fun she had. The guys of Men at Work had their routine with each other and the audience, and she said the funniest moments were when they were filming live.

What about the live, interactive audience? Bethany confessed that one of her weakest points as an artist is comedy improv. She feels that she’s funny when she’s out with her friends, but as for performing, that’s one reason she wanted to do the show: “There’s only one way to get better at something and that’s just to do it.”

Fortunately, with the live audience, she had a little a little help. When she’d get that immediate laugh from the audience, that payoff gave her some relief.


How about working with Ben McKenzie? Ben McKenzie (of Southland fame) is also guesting on tonight’s episode. Bethany said he was “a lovely person” and “very funny,” and she was happy to see another dramatic actor on the show. She did note that he was close friends with one or two guys on the show, so he had a great report.

And Dexter? No, Bethany is not jumping ship from drama entirely. Her upcoming role on Dexter proves that — and from her enthusiasm, being on that show is a no-brainer. For this, they came to her. Simply put, “Will you be on Dexter? Yes, I will.”

And how about her soap-y past? Bethany was a part of Guiding Light back in the day, and she has a fondness for them. She said that makes her kind-of sad that soaps are “dwindling.” Starting with soaps is certainly something that she’d recommend to young actors. She remembers sitting in the hair chair, memorizing 30 pages of dialog in an hour and a half (granted, her photographic memory certainly didn’t hurt!). “I loved being on a soap,” she said.

Don’t forget to watch Bethany Joy Lenz on tonight’s new episode of Men at Work tonight at 10 pm EST on TBS. And catch her in the upcoming season of Dexter!

*images courtesy of Yahoo! TV and TBS


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