Lisa Kudrow On the Triumphant Return of Valerie Cherish and 'The Comeback'
By Denny Directo
Nearly 10 years since The Comeback was canceled after one season, tonight the HBO series makes a comeback of its own.
In 2005, Michael Patrick King (creator of Sex and the City and 2 Broke Girls) and Lisa Kudrow teamed up to create a unique and hilarious series that followed Valerie Cherish, a washed up TV sitcom actress reviving her aging career and documenting each step (and misstep) along the way for reality show cameras.
Though short lived - it was canceled after its initial 13-episode run in 2005 - The Comeback returns to HBO reuniting King, Kudrow and nearly every original cast member, along with some high profile cameos including Seth Rogen, Malin Ackerman and Kellan Lutz (the latter two appeared in the original series).
"We had a really nice time on the first Comeback. Everybody felt it was special," King told ET at the show's Hollywood premiere. "So when you're offered a chance to do it again everybody is really happy and we had more stories to tell."
The series picks up nine years after Valerie's misadventures in season one. Valerie learns that her former hated boss Paulie G (Lance Barber) has pitched a series to HBO based on their time working together on her last show, "Room & Board." As fate would have it, she lands a role on in the new series, "Seeing Red," while also filming a reality show pilot for Bravo's Andy Cohen.
"We always felt like we could put her anywhere and it would be fun to watch her try to spin everything," Kudrow told ET of Valerie's triumphant return. "That's the fun of her."
Marry Me star and Kudrow's longtime producing partner Dan Bucatinsky says this latest reincarnation was something they never thought would actually materialize.
"I feel like in a weird way, the kind of sad and laughable optimism that Valerie Cherish walks around her life with, is the optimism we that we had that brought us back," he explained. "So in a way Valerie wins in a meta way as well."
Besides the efforts of Kudrow and company, the series return is also due in large part to the loyal and fervent audience that found the show years later online.
"I would run into people, especially younger people, who would say, 'Yeah we love Friends a lot but can we talk about The Comeback for a second? What is that? Are there going to be more?'" Kudrow recalls. "They just had no idea. But they also just got it immediately. There was no learning curve for them because yes, reality TV, what's the question?"
"It's the wild wild west in television, anything's possible," King adds. "People are finding your shows nine years later.
"It's very exciting what's happening because television can exist everywhere at once."
If there's one reason to watch The Comeback this go-around it's Kudrow, who once again brilliantly captures Valerie's devastating optimism and charming narcissism.
"Watching what she does now this time around - the layers that she plays, the layers of the characters that she plays both the show within the show and herself and where she has to go emotionally as Valerie this time around- she blew me away," Bucatinsky gushed.
You can watch more of Valerie's triumphs and humiliations on The Comeback, Sunday nights on HBO.
Watch the full video to find out what Kudrow says would happen if her characters Valerie, Web Therapy's Fiona Wallace and Friends' Phoebe Buffay were all in the same room together.