Being a Tidy Insider has its perks. The awesome people at Tidy Cats invited me to go behind the scenes to watch the production of the new Tidy Cats Stank Face Public Service Announcement (PSA) starring Angela Kinsey (below). If you’ve seen the hit TV-series, “The Office,” you’ll recognize her as the actress that played crazy office cat lady, Angela Martin.
Angela is extremely witty, fun, approachable and an overall spunky lady that has been a long-time cat lover… and sadly, her beloved cat Otter, passed away only two weeks after our interview in June. RIP Otter! (photo below)
Angela Kinsey: Yes. Otter, very old Otter. She was a rescue. She’s 19 we think – but unsure because she’s a rescue. When I first got her, the vet said he was a boy. And recently I took Otter to the vet and they said Otter is a girl! (laughing) I said “Otter! I’ve been calling you a boy all these years! I’m so sorry!!!!!…has this shaped your personality?” (laughing)
Angela Kinsey: And then I took Otter back to the vet and they said “I don’t know, maybe a boy” and I’m like “What is the problem!!??” (laughing) I’ve had a vet tell me it’s a boy, and a vet say it’s a girl – so I don’t know.
TCT: At least Otter is a unisex name.
Angela Kinsey: I call her ‘the old lady’ now. She’s the old lady of the house.
TCT: Your boyfriend has a cat too, correct?
Angela Kinsey: He has 2 cats! Oreo and Snickers
TCT: I saw Oreo on Instagram, but I didn’t see Snickers…
Angela Kinsey: Snickers has appeared one time on Instagram. She likes to hang both paws off the side of the couch. Snickers is a little more work, she’s a little more high maintenance, whereas Oreo is more laid back. Oreo gets more likes on Instagram… so it’s kind of a joke in our house that Oreo gets more likes… we’re like “Sorry Snickers…Oreo gets more likes than you…” (laughing)
Snickers hanging out on the couch. (Photo courtesy @angelakinsey on Instagram)
TCT: Have they all met? Has Otter met with Snickers and Oreo?
Angela Kinsey: No. We brought his cats over to meet my dogs and I was worried that the cats would be freaked out… but they weren’t. The cats are so much bigger than my dogs. I have two rescue dogs (Biscuit and Buster). They came to my house and just owned the house. Biscuit went in her bed and hid and Buster just walked around the house moaning.
[Angela feigns dog moans] (laughing) The cats just took a nap on the couch. His cats have never seen any other cats – so we are really interested to see their reaction when they see Otter. I’m just very protective of her.
TCT: So… How many cats constitutes a crazy cat lady? Where do you draw the line?
Angela Kinsey: We’re about to all move in together and be The Brady Bunch so we will have 3 kids, 3 cats and 2 dogs. I think that’s where I draw the line. I think 5 pets is where I draw the line. I feel like I’m feeding someone, wiping someone or picking something up all the time. (laughing)
TCT: What was your favorite cat episode on “The Office?”
Angela Kinsey: Probably when I threw the cat into the roof. I had a lot of cat episodes. I’ve crawled on the floor, I’ve licked a cat’s face… The producer said I didn’t have to lick the cat’s face, but I knew I would have to, so we did three takes and I licked the cat’s face three times… and I thought to myself – “This is what I do for a living. I’m getting paid to lick a cat’s face…” (laughing)
Cat face-licking scene
Each time I would do it, the cat would just blink its eyes like “what is happening to me???” My favorite episode though, was when I threw the cat into the roof.
TCT: That was the Bandit episode?
Angela Kinsey: Yes. Bandit! That was a really big cat. On the day, we had to rehearse it, I had to open the file cabinet, the cat was in there and I had to pick it up and then I had to hoist it up (by the way, Angela is t-i-n-y) and the cat was really heavy… and there’s tons of chaos going on. People are yelling… Kevin (played by Brian Baumgartner) was trying to throw the printer out the window…it was mayhem and the cat did great. The handlers were amazing. They really know their cats. They yelled “cut” and then a stuntwoman stepped in for me who then tossed the cat up into the roof who then caught it up there. But I had to make the motion and lift the cat pretty high. And then we put the cat back in the file cabinet. (laughing)
TCT: Tell me about the Sprinkles episode.
Angela Kinsey: One of my favorite monologues that I did on “The Office” was telling Dwight how to care for Sprinkles. “Okay, lift its tail…there’s cream you have to rub on its anus…” (laughing) …there was a whole list that Dwight had to do. That was so much fun for Raine [Wilson] and I.
TCT: And you did it with a straight face!!??
Angela Kinsey: Totally! (laughing) There was a long list of what this cat needed in order to be cared for. And she loved that man, but you know, he froze Sprinkles. She found a shredded pack of frozen peas!! It was horrible! And it took her years to forgive him. And rightfully so.
TCT: How much does your real life mimic that of Angela Martin’s?
Angela Kinsey: In a few ways … I love being organized. I have a ribbon drawer. I have a bow drawer, a ribbon drawer, a tissue drawer.
A photo posted by Angela Kinsey (@angelakinsey) on
TCT: Do you have a whole wrapping room, like Tori Spelling?
Angela Kinsey – No…I make a sensible income but even if I was a gazillionaire, I would think that a whole wrapping room would be a waste of space. I might have a little Martha Stewart island for all my wrapping. (laughing) I just have a lovely IKEA storage thing that I put all my wrapping in. So there’s that part of me that really loves to be organized like that. And I have a drawer in my pantry that has all of my teas. My pasta drawer. And Brian Baumgartner (Kevin), when I used to get asked this question, would say “…and she’s also bossy!” And I don’t think I’m bossy but I do put my two cents in on stuff.
TCT: A little game – how would you answer these questions compared to Office Angela? What’s an acceptable number of cats?
Angela Kinsey: 3. I have a litter box rule. No more than 4 litter boxes. Angela Martin Shrute would say – “There is no limit, and now I have a farm!”
TCT: How much do you like people compared to Angela Martin?
Angela Kinsey: Oh…I love people! And I love to look in your fridge. I used to love it when Oprah would go over to people’s houses and look in their fridge. AndI love anyone’s wedding album because it tells a story. Everyone has an aunt that got a bit too tipsy. Sometimes I talk to people in the grocery store and people stop me to tell me that they enjoy my work and I strike up a conversation about their hair and highlights…and they look at me like “Lady, I just wanted to say ‘I enjoy your work!’” But Angela Martin Shrute does not enjoy people. There’s probably like 3 people that she’ll tolerate. One is Dwight. Maybe on occasion she enjoys Oscar’s company because he appreciates the finer things in life and she loves to hate Phyllis. (laughing)
TCT: What about being a rule follower?
Angela Kinsey: Oh I break out into a sweat if I step outside the rules. I’m a rule-follower. I break into a sweat if I step outside the rules. I haven’t been pulled over in years – I think in my twenties. My dad was such a rule-follower and I think I really take after him on that. A family story – my mom was driving and speeding right outside of town where the speed limit changes and there was a little trap there. My parents were in the car and my mom was driving and got pulled over. And the officer was like “Mrs. Kinsey – did you know you were speeding? Did you know the speed limit is 55?” And my mom said “Oh no, I didn’t know that!” And my dad said “She did too we went right past the sign…I said Bert you better slow down but she didn’t.” And my mom was like “Bill!” (laughing)
Angela Martin Shrute follows rules.
TCT: What about your feelings about wearing the color black?
Angela Kinsey: I wear black but I have roll brushes everywhere. I have roll brushes by the front door, I have one in my bathroom, I have a travel one… because while cats shed, one of my dogs is a light-colored dog and he actually sheds more than the cat.
TCT: ANGELA MARTIN does she wear black?
Angela Kinsey: Are you kidding? She wore gray, shades of gray, charcoal, black – she just swabs herself down before she got out of the car.
TCT: What about cat apparel? Like cat-themed clothes?
Angela Kinsey: (laughing) I have a pair of cat ears on a headband. Everyone should have a pair. My daughter has shirts with kittens on them. I did go as a cat on Halloween. I wore my black cat ears and drew my whiskers and nose and black turtleneck. I made my own tail and it was not impressive. It was pretty sad because I just dragged it behind me (laughing)
TCT: What about Angela Martin?
Angela Kinsey: Are you kidding?! She was a cat for Halloween. The exact same costume, two years in a row. I was pregnant one year and they had to put me in the same cat costume one year when I was pregnant so one of the wardrobe gals had a bit of work to do.
TCT: Cat birthday parties? Are you for it or against it?
Angela Kinsey: I’m for it! My daughter loves to celebrate everything. We celebrate the adoptaversaries of our pets. We say that’s when their birthday is. In the pilot of “The Office” I talk about Sprinkles’ birthday that I’m throwing in the parking lot. That was all improv.
Angela Kinsey: Yes. I made little post-it notes when I was in the background of scenes, I drew a little cat on the post-it note and I said “You’re invited to Sprinkles’ birthday” and I made up this talking head that didn’t make it in where I said that I found Sprinkles in a parking lot. But they liked it so much that it ended up being a line that Jim and Pam say to each other where Pam says “Did you get invited to Sprinkles birthday party?” and I also said that Jim was not invited because he made fun of it but everyone else was. All of that made it in as the series went. And the post-it note that had the cat that I drew with the invite… I gave it to Brian Baumgartner (Kevin) in the pilot and he taped it up to his partition on his desk the first week and had it there all nine years. And when we wrapped, I took it.
TCT: Oh I love that. Did you frame it?
Angela Kinsey: I have it in a place where I keep stuff to be scrapbooked of memorabilia, because you know I made everyone a scrapbook on the show, come on, that’s what I do. But I have that and I took one thing from my desk. I had a little blue cat that’s on its side and it’s curled up to make a bowl and it held all of my paperclips…and it was a prop from the pilot.. and that sits on my desk at home now.
TCT: When you auditioned for that role, and they had Angela Martin’s character – how much did it evolve throughout the years?
Angela Kinsey: Me, Phyllis, Creed and Oscar were all our own names. We were not in the original BBC series. So a lot of it was a creative collaboration – I think the writers took things from us and we then added to it because we would get these great scripts that were totally written but we would have room to improvise every now and then and we informed each other. And because we weren’t main characters that they were coming from the BBC show – those characters really did evolve they kind of became their own thing.
TCT: What are you working on now?
Angela Kinsey: I just got back from Vancouver. I’m working on a new series for Netflix called “Haters Back Off” and I really love the character I play. She’s this sort of mousy mom who works at a grocery store and has kind of lost herself a little bit. And kind of lives through her daughter who she thinks is sort of amazing but is kind of maybe a horrible person. (laughing) It’s a really quirky family comedy and I’m really excited about it. It will be out in the fall.
My deepest condolences goes out to Angela and family on the loss of Otter on July 8, 2016. Sadly, Otter passed away only 2 weeks after our interview. RIP Otter!
Angela Kinsey’s cat, Otter, passed away in July at 19 years of age. RIP Otter.
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