Casey Wilson, Penny on ABC's "Happy Endings," isn't sure but thinks she probably always was funny.
Her first memory of working an audience was cracking up her parents. Her aunt left the room and she did a spot-on impersonation.
"I don't even change my material," Wilson says. "I still do the same impression of her."
Her dad used to take her to see Second City, the Chicago improv group, twice a year, and she wound up working on "Saturday Night Live" and writing comedies.
Yet, Wilson thought she "would do very serious dramas, and I was always the girl in the Sam Shepard play," she says. "In college, I did darker stuff. I went to the Yale summer drama program, and the teacher there (said), 'You should do comedy.' And I had never thought about it. All of my favorite actresses are comedians at heart: Shirley MacLaine and Madeline Kahn, Diane Keaton and Debra Winger. And they are all amazing dramatic actresses, but everything they do is funny."
A high-school star -- she was class president and played field hockey -- Wilson went to NYU, but when she arrived in Greenwich Village, was taken aback.
"I remember feeling I wouldn't have wanted to go to NYU if I weren't doing acting," Wilson says. "All of my friends were going to mixers and ice cream socials. I never met the people who lived down the hall from me. I was startled by the lack of community spirit. There was no campus spirit. You're just thrown into Washington Square Park. As college went on, I felt lucky and independent to be in New York."
Like her favorite actresses, she made a pretty funny choice there. Wilson joined a sorority at a university that has precious few, and a Jewish one, even though she is a gentile.
Favorite movies: " 'Terms of Endearment' and 'Annie Hall,' and I love 'Being There.' "
Favorite books: " 'The Stone Diaries' by Carol Shields, and I love 'The Great Gatsby' and anything by Anne Tyler."
Favorite music: "I love old country. I just went and saw Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson. I hadn't really gotten my head into him, but he is so cute. I love Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Adele."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times