Pauley Perrette trades retirement for laughs in new CBS comedy ‘Broke’
After 15 years in the NCIS lab, Pauley Perrette was ready to laugh. “I wanted to do a comedy. Either that or retire,” says the actress, who played the CBS procedural’s Abby Sciuto until 2018. Thankfully, she chose the former. As Jackie on “Broke” (Thursdays, beginning April 2), she’s a struggling single mom whose idea of a morning time-saver is blowtorching oatmeal for son Sammy (Antonio Corbo). When her estranged sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), and brother-in-law, Javier (Jaime Camil), go from riches to rags, Jackie reluctantly lets them crash, along with Javier’s assistant (Izzy Diaz) and a dog. Here, Perrette invites us in.
What caused the rift between Jackie and her sister?
Pauley Perrette: Their dad’s in prison, and mom died. Elizabeth married a rich guy and disappeared. So Jackie’s pissed — she could have used their help raising a child. When they show up, there’s a lot of history. Not all of it’s good. What’s the major conflict? Mostly it’s cultural. Jackie wouldn’t know a Louis Vuitton suitcase. Elizabeth and Javier are cocktails and caviar. But Javier’s not the arrogant-jerk rich guy. He’s lived in a bubble and is naive. His father’s cut him off. Every character is played a little differently than [you’d expect].
Jackie’s a bartender, and so were you. How else are you alike?
She’s also a mechanic and a tool freak. I’m kind of a tool freak. I’m from Alabama, so they raised us like that — and my dad didn’t have any boys, so me and my sister are like dudes.
Did you really consider retiring?
I was going to drink beer with my three dogs and watch television. [Laughs] My family, friends and pastor didn’t think it was the best idea. I didn’t even want to play a mom, but now Antonio is the center of my universe. He brightens my life!
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