IT'S BEEN A HELL OF A YEAR for Melissa McCarthy. Her sitcom, Mike & Molly, continues to be a hit. She killed it on SNL. (Do yourself a favor and do a Web search for her Mylar balloons skit if you haven't seen it already.) She managed to steal the show in Bridesmaids, nabbing Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice Award and Oscar nods in the process. And oh,yeah—she won an Emmy.
So is she still pinching herself at all her good fortune? "I'm just one big bruise," McCarthy jokes during a recent trip to New York. "I really am still in shock about all of this." She'd better get some ice packs because the success, and the pinching, won't be stopping anytime soon.
Striking while the iron is hot, McCarthy—who grew up in Plainfield, Ill., before studying improv at The Groundlings in Los Angeles—has a gazillion projects on tap, including Tammy, a road- trip feature co-written by her husband and writing partner, Ben Falcone; This Is Forty, Judd Apatow's highly anticipated sequel to Knocked Up; and Identity Theft with Jason Bateman. She's also working on a plus-size clothing line. As for rampant rumors of a Bridesmaids sequel, McCarthy says she is game, although nothing was confirmed at press time.
On Anderson Cooper's show just moments before our chat, McCarthy, 41, was shocked when the host mentioned that he loves Marbles, a cross-eyed, eccentric genius she has played in improv shows online. (Again, do a Web search.) "I was like, ‘You know Marbles? Anderson Cooper, important news guy, loves Marbles?' I got such a kick out of that." Meanwhile, everyone is getting a big kick out of her. One way she stays grounded? Having two daughters (Vivian, 4, and Georgette, 2) who couldn't care less about Mom's fame and fortune. When her face was on a giant billboard in Los Angeles recently, she wanted her daughters to see it. "I said to Viv, ‘Do you want to see something really cool?' And then we got to the billboard, she goes, ‘Huh. OK, now let's go see that thing that's really cool!' " — Alison Prato