Bridesmaids’ Brian Atwood and Melissa McCarthy
Bridesmaids actress Melissa McCarthy is a major star in her own right and an iconic figure in comedy. She’s been nominated for an Academy Award, won a Golden Globe, and starred in multiple commercially successful films – even landing a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live! However, Melissa wasn’t always this glamorous presence we know today.
Brian Atwood, a shoe designer and McCarthy’s gay best friend, was the first person who encouraged her to pursue stand-up comedy. Their friendship has endured for three decades and they remain close since their high school days in Hell’s Kitchen.
At 20 years old and without money to spare, she followed Atwood to New York City where he encouraged her to try stand-up comedy. Eventually she took acting classes and enrolled in The Groundlings improv comedy theatre school with alumni such as Jennifer Coolidge, Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow.
Atwood helped her hone her comedy skills, and while in college he even encouraged her to create an improv sketch show. He was the first person who suggested she should leave her day job and pursue comedy full time.
McCarthy has overcome many obstacles in her career, yet she remains at the top of her game. Her second season of CBS’ hit sitcom “Mike & Molly” is currently airing to ratings that are up to 4.8 in adults 18-to-49 demographic and 13.9 million viewers, plus she recently signed a road-trip comedy pitch to Paramount with writer-director partner Annie Mumolo; additionally, McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone are developing a TV comedy project for CBS.
Her latest film, Tammy, is a dark comedy about a woman whose world appears to be falling apart around her. She escapes her mundane existence but ultimately discovers comfort when her grandmother and she take off on an adventurous road trip to Mount Rushmore together – they realize they’re not alone in their struggles.
McCarthy is renowned for her humorous comedic turns, but she’s never shied away from confronting more challenging topics. An alumna of the Writers Guild America, McCarthy has earned numerous awards for her work in television and feature films.
She serves on the National Board of Directors for Actors Fund, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the arts. Additionally, her charitable activities include raising money for cancer research and providing assistance to families affected by domestic violence.
McCarthy is currently working on a feature film with Tate Taylor, another alumni of The Groundlings. They’re crafting a script about a young woman living with an unfulfilled marriage.
This film is a departure from McCarthy’s usual comedic roles, yet it draws upon her personal experience of having had an abusive marriage for many years.
She has been actively engaged in the LGBT community throughout her career as an actress. She has a close friendship with drag queen Miss Y, and often attends seminal gay events dressed up as her character. Additionally, she’s been an advocate for women’s rights – particularly those who have been sexually abused – by speaking out against sexual misconduct.