Jennifer Coolidge dreamed of being a dramatic actor. ‘White Lotus’ was her chance

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Jennifer Coolidge opens up about overcoming cocaine addiction in her 20s, channeling the death of her mother to play the grieving Tanya McQuoid in “The White Lotus” and what she wants from Season 2. Listen and read the transcript below:

MARK OLSEN: Hello! I’m Mark Olsen.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: And I’m Yvonne Villarreal. We’re back with another episode of “The Envelope,” the L.A. Times podcast where we dive deep with your favorite stars from TV and film. And Mark, you already know this from my Slack messages, but I’m very excited about today’s guest. She’s best known for her scene-stealing work in sitcoms and in films. And as I’m sure you know, as of late she’s become a TikTok sensation of sorts for the sheer volume of people imitating the unmistakable way that she can say something like “hi.”

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JENNIFER: Hi, how are you? Hi.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: I’m talking of course about Jennifer Coolidge.

MARK OLSEN: I’m excited for this conversation because I think Jennifer’s one of those performers where we’ve seen her for so many years now and yet she still is revealing new parts of herself. You know, I think of this sort of absurdist energy that she brought to, say, “Promising Young Woman.” And of course, there’s her roles in the Christopher Guest films like “A Mighty Wind” or “Best In Show,” where she played this poodle owner who was married to a much, much older man.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: I love the films that come to mind for you versus the ones that come to mind. For me, I go straight to her role as Fiona, Hilary Duff’s evil stepmother in “A Cinderella Story.” And of course, my personal favorite, Paulette, the lovable manicurist in “Legally Blonde.”

MARK OLSEN: I mean, that may be her signature role.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Well, today Jennifer joins us to talk about her performance as Tanya McQuoid.

MARK OLSEN: McQuoid.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: McQuoid. McQuoid. McQuoid. McQuoid? McQuoid, right?

[Archival clip from ‘The White Lotus’:

Armond: Are you Miss McQuoo-id?

Tanya: Quoid. One syllable.

Armond: McQuoid.

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Tanya: Well, two syllables. But the second is one syllable. Quoid. McQuoid.

Armond: Is it Gaelic?]

YVONNE VILLARREAL: OK. It’s Tanya McQuoid in HBO’s “The White Lotus.” You know, this is a show that’s got this amazing cast. There’s Connie Britton, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell. But so many people are talking about Jennifer’s performance as Tanya. You know, she plays this extremely wealthy woman grieving the recent death of her mother, and she goes to this luxury resort with plans to spread her ashes but ends up on this hilarious and weird and heartbreaking journey.

MARK OLSEN: I mean, she wrenches so much pathos out of just trying to get other people to pronounce her name correctly. It’s one thing that’s so great about Jennifer’s performance in “White Lotus” is that it has everything that we sort of know her for and like her for. But then there’s this emotional aspect to it that we’ve never really seen before.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Yeah, I mean, what’s so interesting is that Jennifer didn’t end up in this role by accident. Her friend Mike White, who’s the creator, writer and director of “The White Lotus,” wrote this role with her in mind. And you know, I would venture to say she delivered. It’s been a revelation to see the level of vulnerability that she brings to a social satire, especially one that’s sort of meant to depict the darker side of wealth.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: “White Lotus,” when I watched it, it was so clear to me how unaware rich people are of other people’s suffering, but that it’s not a conscious thing. ... Their world that isn’t very real. It was the first time where I wasn’t judgmental of them because it’s just their... All their self-centered fear really comes from the cocoon that they build, and it’s all very unconscious.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Tanya: My mom passed away in June.

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Belinda: I’m so sorry.

Tanya: Just dealing with all of the logistics. It was just exhausting. And I’m still dealing with it.]

YVONNE VILLARREAL: You give a really layered and complex performance that is both hilarious and vulnerable, but particularly in scenes opposite Natasha Rothwell, who plays Belinda, the spa manager at the resort.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Belinda: Why do you think you’re so tired?

Tanya: I think it’s ‘cause I’m so close to the floor.]

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Let’s talk about that dynamic between them. What fascinated you about their relationship?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Tanya had been all over the world, and Tanya is incredibly wealthy. Like, has insane money. She’s buying her happiness with at least travel and spas and massages. And I feel like Tanya, out of all the characters in certain ways, had more empathy than any of them.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Tanya: I can’t get rid of this really empty feeling. I want… I want someone to figure it out for me.]

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: But I felt like she really did like Belinda a lot and wanted to help her and really thought she was a genius because she had been all over the world and had fancy treatments from everybody and this woman had really figured something out. And wanted to reward her for that and sort of set her up. She had really strong feelings for her, for Belinda. And was unable to fulfill all the incredibly generous ideas that she so wanted to make happen.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Right.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: And just got caught up.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Belinda: I will drop the story.

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Tanya: I will drop the story.

Belinda: And feel the newness of each moment.

Tanya: And feel the newness of each moment.]

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Both you and Natasha are known for these outlandish, larger-than-life performances in your comedy. But both of you in this show are going deeper in your performances. What was it like doing that with someone like Natasha? How did she help you navigate those scenes and vice versa?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I don’t know if she and I discussed it that much. ... You know, certainly for me, the isolation of COVID made it so much easier. And I don’t know if I’ve ever had that advantage in my life where I was doing a job, where all I had to do was the job. You know what I mean? I didn’t have to juggle a bunch of other things. I mean the world really sort of came to a halt. It was like nine months of isolation at my house and then leading up to just, you know, being in Hawaii, put in this bubble where you couldn’t go outside the gates and you were just sort of forced to be your character.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Tanya: So now you see, that’s the core of the onion. This is it. This is the core of the onion. I want you to get out of here and save yourself because (crying) I’m just like a … I’m a dead end, you know. And I want you to get out.]

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Somehow it was the most pure environment I’ve ever been able to have on an acting job. Just for me, it was just a huge advantage. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that again.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: I really struggled at the beginning of the pandemic, like it was really hard for me. I thought everyone I loved was about to die. I didn’t know what to make of it. And it was just like anxiety all the time. How were the early days of the pandemic for you? And then to go back, like you said, into a different kind of isolation. But one that was not as gloom and doom.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Being locked up during COVID was sort of like an acid trip or something. … I felt like I had taken some really weird drug because all of these scenes in my life were being played out. And I wasn’t taking any drugs, I was just eating a lot.

I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I just … I felt like each day was sort of like I was hallucinating because my mother’s death came up [in] all of these things. And I think it was just because, you know, I didn’t really think we were going to survive the COVID thing. I mean, I really didn’t. I thought it was just a matter of time before it got all of us. And I felt like the moment was just lingering outside.

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I think that’s what it is. I got so in touch with what it would be like to exit the world and hopefully all the people I’d see again if I did, you know, pass away. So it was all those thoughts. For a character that’s sort of never recovered from someone’s death, it was this perfect recipe for creating something.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Well, you were just talking about grief, and there’s a scene where you’re giving a very uncomfortable yet painfully vulnerable eulogy for your dead mother during a boat ride with, you know, a bunch of strangers.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Tanya: She was a nymphomaniac. I’d walk into her room and find all kinds of strange men in her bed. She had borderline personality disorder. She took her money and she manipulated people with it. And she was cruel. Yeah, she was very, very cruel. She was so, so cruel. And … I … I just … Oh mother, mother, mother, mother.]

YVONNE VILLARREAL: It felt so real and spur of the moment, and I know the boat ride itself was a challenge for you. I think you got seasick. What was it like for you playing that scene and like, did you do any improv during it?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: The actual eulogy was 100% written by Mike White. But the other parts on the boat, like, you know, all the throwing the ashes and things like the stuff I added while throwing the ashes … that was improv’d.

[Archival clip from “The White Lotus”:

Tanya: Goodbye, mother!]

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: And I think people sort of saw how maybe that I was vulnerable and the reason why I was vulnerable was not actually my acting. It was because the people on the boat were very close to me. The boat was very small and all the actors were around me. They had nowhere to go and I was throwing up into a bucket like, you know, two inches away from everybody. And there was nothing I could do because I was so seasick. And what happened was it felt like I was having a gynecological exam in front of all the actors. I mean, it was just so ...

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YVONNE VILLARREAL: Wow.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I’ve never felt more vulnerable because there was nothing I could do, but I couldn’t hide the, you know, vomiting. And so I guess it sort of worked when I had to give the eulogy. It was just the same moment. I had to like throw up and then give the eulogy and then throw up again. And by that point, I guess I was like, “Well, you guys have seen it all. You guys have just seen everything.” That was a really rough day.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: It sounds really rough. I mean, a huge part of why it resonated, your depiction of grief, it just felt so raw. And you touched on this earlier, but tell me more about what you were drawing from when playing Tanya.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I think maybe COVID felt like round two of something that I experienced in my early 30s, which was the passing of my mother. It was very unexpected. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in like August or September and then was dead by November. … That was sort of beyond what my little brain could handle. I think it was just devastating, and I think what was most devastating about it was just, you know, you’re so ... I felt like I was so self-centered in my teenage years and my 20s, and then you’re just starting to like, become a person in your 30s where you notice other people and you realize how cool your parents are. And then my mother’s life was just cut short and ... it was very traumatic. I don’t think I ever, you know, could really recover from it.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: You know, I lost my father almost five years ago. And I definitely went through a hard time. Much like Tanya, I had a complicated relationship with him. But it was interesting because, you know, I went through the hard time, but it did resurface during COVID in ways I didn’t see coming. And that’s why I think I connected with the Tanya character, because I would just like cry out of nowhere for no reason in particular. But it was in, like, thinking about my dad during COVID. ... It was like I was processing it again because I was thinking, “Who can I lose next?” Did you find that that was sort of going through your head in a way?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Yes. For some reason, the COVID thing made it all feel very fresh. But, you know ... I’m really sorry to hear that about your dad.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: No, I mean, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. It’s like that thing of … I thought it would happen a lot later in life. You’re never prepared. But it’s life, I guess. You know what I mean?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Yeah. And I think it’s also like, because you feel like they’re going to be around forever, I think what makes you the saddest is just the regrets that you’re like, “Oh my God, I didn’t fly back to Massachusetts for that Thanksgiving that I missed with…” You think you have like, 30 more Thanksgivings with someone. Or 30 more, you know, summer vacations to have with your parents or whatever. Then all of a sudden [it]'s very clear that that’s not going to happen, and then it makes you angry at yourself and wishing you had been able to see the future, you know?

YVONNE VILLARREAL: As you mentioned before, your mother died right before you landed your big gig on “Seinfeld” and I know you’ve said the last thing she said to you was, “I can’t believe it.” And I’m sort of curious, what do you think she meant by that? And what do you think she’d have to say about the journey you’ve been on and the success that has happened since then?

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JENNIFER COOLIDGE: You know, my mother was lucky in love and had this amazing, amazing love affair with my father and was madly in love with him, and he was in love with her and it was this great thing. But I think my mother’s worry was that she wouldn’t have any dreams outside of love, you know, because women back then didn’t really, you know — it wasn’t so career-oriented. And I think my mother’s fear was projecting onto me. In other words, I think my mother was like, “Oh, my God.” When she says, “I can’t believe it,” I think she was thinking, “You’ll get to have the experience I won’t be able to have.”

[Archival clip from “Shine”: (piano from the film’s closing piano scene)]

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Geoffrey Rush at the end of “Shine,” where he’s the pianist? I remember at the very end of the movie, he was sobbing, and I remember I was watching that when I was younger and I remember thinking, like, “How did he do that? How would you possibly be able to do that?” And then what happens is ... COVID happens and you’re in Hawaii, reliving your mother’s death. And it all seems to be very easy. You know what I mean? It wasn’t. ... It was a time where we all had to feel our feelings and you can either completely block them out or you really have to feel them.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: And it can be like a slippery slope of how not to stay in that state of mind. Like how to pull yourself out of it.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Right, right.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Not easy.

Actor Jennifer Coolidge
Actor Jennifer Coolidge joins “The Envelope” podcast.
(Mario Perez / HBO)

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Well, we don’t know much about you outside of the characters you usually play, and I’ve always been curious. Can you tell me about the younger Jennifer Coolidge? About your childhood? What were you like?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I was kind of out to lunch, to be honest. And I’m not exaggerating that. That’s not my observation that I was out to lunch. My parents were extremely worried about who I was because I wasn’t really present. I was always sort of, like, off in my head and staring out the window or not listening to what anyone was saying. I was sort of inside my own mind, and so my parents every year would, since the age of like 4 or 5, they would drive into Boston and have me tested.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Huh.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: My bedroom was not far from the kitchen. And I could hear my parents talking about me and they were just like, “Oh my God, what are we going to do?” You know? “What’s going to become of her?” I’m sad they’re not alive, because then they could see that I’ve been able to support myself. I mean, my father actually got to witness it.

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YVONNE VILLARREAL: I’ve read in other interviews, you know, that before you made it in the arts, you described yourself in your 20s as being a mess. You were working at a restaurant in New York, but you hardly worked your shifts.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Yeah.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Tell me more about that time in your life.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Well, those were the years that I was living in New York City and I was telling people I was an actress, but I was really a waitress. I got very few jobs in my 20s and you know, I did little shows around town at little tiny theaters and stuff. But, yeah, it was a mess. I was sort of, you know, going out every night and drinking and drugging in my 20s. And when I got to be 27, I ended up going into a drug rehab and then after that sort of got my act together.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: How do you make sense of that time in your 20s, you know, looking back on it? How did you pull yourself out of that? Like, what was your rock bottom?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Well, I think, you know, if you’re drinking, I don’t know if you like, figure out you’re an alcoholic ’til later.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Mm-hmm.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: In other words, drugs are in some weird way a gift because your addiction is sped up so quickly that like … you know you hit your bottom. I hit my bottom at 27. ... Thank God for cocaine, it all came to a head at 27. And I sort of went to rehab, and then I actually was able to refocus my life. And in some ways my life became so simple.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: What sort of reflection happened in your time in rehab? Like, did you set some goals for yourself while doing work on yourself in rehab?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: In rehab they told me I couldn’t go out to clubs and I couldn’t go out to bars anymore and all that stuff. And so, there was like six or eight hours I added to my life every day. You know what I mean? Because that’s what I was doing with all my time and you then have to fill — and then you sort of do it with something constructive. I mean, what a concept. I know a lot of people that that’s how they live their life, but I didn’t get that part. … This is the weirdest thing. Like, you have these agents that don’t give up on you. I felt bad for these agents I had because no matter how much I failed, they’d just keep submitting me for stuff. And they really should have just fired me.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Was there a time you doubted whether you’d make it in the industry?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I don’t know. I think when you’re an actress, you have to play all these tricks on yourself and ... I really didn’t want to accept that thought of it not working out. I just think I really went into a very strong state of denial. … I have these amazing friends, really smart friends, and they’re just so good at everything. They’re good at acting, but they’re good at a million other things they can do. They can play the piano like nobody’s business and they’re really smart. And they can like take beautiful photographs. ... I mean, they just must be so confused all day, like which talent to pick from? And I think if you were going to say, “Jennifer Coolidge, what is the greatest gift that you have going for you?” I would say it’s just that my limited abilities help me choose what I’m doing, because I just didn’t have options. I wasn’t really good at other stuff. And, you know, I felt like the acting thing was my only real option.

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YVONNE VILLARREAL: You’ve said publicly before that you wanted to be a dramatic actress like Meryl Streep. How did you find your way into comedy?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I was in this acting class by this brilliant acting teacher named Julie Bovasso. She was a great theater actress in New York City and played the mother in “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta. She was a brilliant character actress. And I was in her class and there was this very cool group of people in her class. And we were all trying to be these dramatic actors, and there was this one really beautiful girl in the class. And she would always cry in her scenes. No matter what was going on, she would cry. And she was the most beautiful crier I’ve ever seen. Like it was just very heartfelt and she would sob and blow us all away in the class and everything. And then I started to really resent her. And then after class, we’d all go out to dinner and then I started doing imitations of people doing their scenes and trying to make everybody laugh. And then one day, my friend — this guy, John Williams was his name — he said to me, “You know, I think you’re in the wrong class, Jennifer.” And he said, “I want to take you somewhere on Saturday. I think it’s where you belong, and I just want you to be willing to just take my advice.” And he showed up and picked me up at my apartment and took me to the New York City version of the Groundlings, the Gotham City Improv. And he made me audition and I got in. And then that just started a whole other thing. And he was right, I should have been doing that. I just didn’t know that existed. And that sort of was life-changing because it was comedy. It didn’t even occur to me to do comedy, ever.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Did it feel more natural for you?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Yes, and I thought I had a shot. And look, I mean, 30-something years later, you know, you talk about me sobbing and “White Lotus.” But at that point, when I was at that class — in Julie Bovasso’s class — I don’t think I could have shown any emotion, cried or anything. I think I was unable to tap into my emotions, and so comedy was sort of a great option for me.

I had so many bad work experiences working in restaurants and stuff that I got to write all of my horrible experiences in a comedic way and perform them onstage. And all these horrible bosses that I had that abused me, I was able to play them and it was just incredibly therapeutic and that was so healthy. I mean, if someone was, like, really rotten to me — like, you know, sometimes I babysat for people that weren’t nice to me or whatever. There’s nothing better than just to write the weird things that they say to you. And then I’d love to go to the vintage stores and put together an outfit that looked just like what they were wearing when they were talking to me. And then you perform it and then you don’t have a resentment because you’ve somehow gotten it all … you know, it’s sort of therapeutic release. You get over it.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: In your comedic roles, you’ve played some incredibly iconic characters who have stolen the show. Obviously, “American Pie” comes to mind for your role as Stifler’s mom. How did you learn to distinguish yourself in those types of supporting roles?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I think the way Stifler’s mom was written had a lot to do with the success of that character just because, you know, people talked about her throughout the movie and you don’t really see her to the end, but it was — there was a build-up. I feel like I could have looked like Fred Flintstone and people would be like, “I love Stifler’s mom” because the build-up was good.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Knowing how talented you are and your abilities to play these really rich, complex characters, I’m wondering for you, having played supporting character after supporting character … like, how did that shape what you felt you were capable of? Were you itching to be at the center?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: At the time we filmed “Legally Blonde,” I didn’t ever wish that I was Elle. I felt like Reese [Witherspoon] was this very petite girl. And when I showed up for “Legally Blonde,” it was just so clear Reese knew the film business better than most people. She was this very old precocious person. And so, of course, she should have been Elle and the lead and running the show. She was really young and knew camera angles and how things should be shot and how things should be handled. And so I didn’t want to be that. I liked that I was just, like, the best friend.

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But I do have to say, you know, after doing “White Lotus,” I feel like … I got a really cool part and it didn’t seem impossible to do that. And it was a pretty meaty part ... But yeah, I don’t have any regrets. My only regret was just how long I entertained not doing that job.

I almost blew it. I almost didn’t take that job. And how bummed I would have been if I had stuck to my stupid way of thinking. But I really didn’t want to do the job because I had eaten so many vegan pizzas over COVID.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Was it hard sort of getting out of your head about that?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I was just so naive when that phone call came in. Mike was like, “Remember I told you about that script I was writing about the rich people on vacation?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Well, HBO wants to do it.” And then I was like, “Oh, cool, cool.” But I was just like, “Yeah, I’m not doing that.” I mean, I didn’t tell him. I was just like, “Yeah, I’m not doing it, I’m not doing that.”

YVONNE VILLARREAL: You were going to find a way out.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: It was just, it was very clear not to do it. It wasn’t like I was debating to do it or anything. I was like, “I’m not doing that. I’m not going to Hawaii. I’m not going like this.” You know, I’m out of shape and not mentally in shape for a job.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Well, since we’re talking about “White Lotus,” it was recently announced that you’ll be returning as Tanya for Season 2. I’m wondering about your personal attachment to the character. How do you hope she continues to evolve next season?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Well, I hope she’s less sad. I hope she has some love and sex and stuff. I hope she gets all kinds of, you know, male attention.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Me too. Do you think she reconnects with Belinda?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I was very sad when I read that scene with Belinda and I really hope I get to make it up to her in some way. You know, Mike White, I remember saying like, “Do you have to do that, Mike? Do you really have to do that?” And Mike said, “Jennifer, I’m not writing a fairy tale, I’m writing reality.”

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YVONNE VILLARREAL: Starting out in Hollywood or even later in your career, have you had somebody that, you know, where it was empty promises?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: I don’t think there’s many women in this world that haven’t had empty promises. I think I’m kind of gullible … or [prone to] wishful thinking. I think sometimes, like, maybe I’m more delusional. And so I believe people more than I should. But you know, I think if you grow up in a small town and there’s not a lot to obsess about in your childhood, I guess you have unrealistic dreams about romance. And I think my views of romance are unrealistic. I think a lot of stuff doesn’t work out in this lifetime. ... Look, I love it when you run into a couple and they’re just madly in love and you find out they’ve been together for a really long time, and I love those stories and I love to witness them firsthand. But there’s a lot of other stories out there that aren’t so good and if you gave me the choice of either one, I prefer the one that works out. But I don’t know how you control that. … I don’t think you can. I think it’s just sort of a luck of the draw. But I’m a hopeless romantic, and so I do hope that it is out there.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: I’m sure it is. And now more than ever I want like 10 romantic comedies starring Jennifer Coolidge. So maybe we could get Mike White to write that, please. But has the success of “White Lotus” got you thinking about how you can continue broadening your horizons either professionally or personally? Like, has it just unlocked something in you?

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: Has it? I don’t know if it’s unlocked something in me. I mean, I feel like I’m the same person. But what I do like is that doors that have been closed forever have opened. And actors that would never give me the time of day have reached out. And you know, I don’t want to get into the name-dropping.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Give me the names, Jennifer.

JENNIFER COOLIDGE: When it’s someone you really admire and they come up to you and say, “I’d like to work together,” it’s so fun. … Like I said, this “White Lotus” thing wasn’t supposed to be anything, really. I mean, look, I think Mike White is a genius, but I didn’t think it was going to be this incredibly ... this wave you can ride and get these opportunities that just keep showing up. Just, my mind is blown.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: That’s it from us here at “The Envelope”! I’m your host, Yvonne Villarreal.

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MARK OLSEN: And I’m your other host, Mark Olsen. If you haven’t already, make sure to follow “The Envelope” wherever you get your podcasts! Leave us a review, and recommend “The Envelope” to a friend. We’ll be back next week with a brand-new episode featuring “Don’t Look Up” director Adam McKay.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: This episode was produced by Asal Ehsanipour. It was edited by Heba Elorbany and our new executive producer, Jazmín Aguilera. Our engineer and composer is Mike Heflin. Special thanks to Shani Hilton, Clint Schaff, Richard Hernandez, Gabby Fernandez, Geoff Berkshire, Elena Howe and Matt Brennan.

MARK OLSEN: Thanks for listening! We’ll see you next week.

The Team

The Envelope podcast is hosted by Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal; produced by Heba Elorbany and Asal Ehsanipour; edited by Heba Elorbany and Jazmín Aguilera; engineering and theme music by Mike Heflin; audience strategy by Samantha Melbourneweaver, Amy Wong, Gabby Fernandez and Christina Schoellkopf; marketing by Richard Hernandez, Tova Weinstock, Patricia Gardiner, Brandon Sides and Dylan Harris. Special thanks to Shani Hilton, Clint Schaff, Matt Brennan, Geoff Berkshire, Elena Howe, Glenn Whipp and Daniel Gaines.