Catherine O'Hara Reveals What Moira Rose Would Think of Attending the Emmys via Zoom (Exclusive)

Catherine O'Hara
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

'Even though it's us actors getting these nominations, it's like something happy happening for the people of Schitt's Creek.'

The night before the Emmy nominations were announced, Catherine O'Hara realized she didn't have her castmates' numbers, should the next morning warrant a congratulatory text message or two. "I had an old 4S and as soon as I came across the border to Canada, Apple killed my 4S," she says, launching into the story. "It would still work in the U.S., but they did something to render it useless in Canada. The bastards!"

"So, I had to finally buy a new phone -- and I went straight to the 11 -- but I have a different number in Canada" -- she's been riding out the pandemic isolated on a lake in Ontario -- "and just last night I thought, 'Oh, no. If there's any good news tomorrow, nobody's going to call me.'"

It turns out there was reason to call: Schitt's Creek was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, with O'Hara recognized a second consecutive year for her turn as the barmy, bewigged family matriarch, Moira Rose. And the good news kept coming: Co-stars Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy each earned a nod in their respective acting categories, among 15 total nominations for the show.

Luckily for O'Hara, Schitt's Creek's PR person had gotten ahold of her new number. "She texted, 'There's 15! I don't know what they all are, but there are 15 nominations!' So, I was going online trying to find out," she says. "Then I started texting everybody and I started each one with, 'This is Catherine on my new phone.' I thought, 'They're going to think, Who the heck is this?'"

Pop TV

Schitt's Creek finally broke through with the Television Academy in 2019, when O'Hara and the elder Levy were nominated alongside the series. Still, she hadn't expected a repeat. "Of course, I'd love to be nominated. It's better to be nominated than not," she chuckles. It means that much more that the accolades are coming for the show's final season.

"I don't deserve to be so happy," she coos in imitation of A Christmas Carol. "When we started the show, we were all just trying to build characters that we could live with, let alone anybody else might care to see. It's been a delightful shock to me to find out that anyone was entertained or cared about Moira, really. You just try to do it for yourself and make each other laugh. I don't know what it is about the character that has people interested, but I'm grateful."

The series finale aired on Pop TV in April, marked by a joyous wedding celebration and a few teary goodbyes. For now, at least. "You can believe that their lives are actually still going on beyond [the ending]," O'Hara muses. (She'd love to reprise the role in a movie.) "And even though it's us actors getting these nominations, it's like something happy happening for the people of Schitt's Creek and the Rose family."

The entire cast was able to attend last year's Emmys together, but O'Hara "sadly cannot imagine" the ceremony being an in-person event this year, all things considered. The Academy has yet to formally announce a pivot to a virtual alternative, but she's more than happy to digitally attend if so. Furthermore, she thinks Moira would feel the same way.

"Well, Moira has now already been part of a virtual graduation" -- the Schitt's cast appeared in character for YouTube's Dear Class of 2020 special -- "and I think Moira's very proud of the way she recorded herself at home [and] doing her own hair and makeup," O'Hara says. "So, in Moira's defense, I would say she would be totally into it. Although Moira would definitely have a lot of empathy for the stylists of the world."