Legion of Leia interview actress and comedian Lisa Linke on her career and her experience on Netflix’s LOVE
Lisa Linke is known for her role on Successful People, a comedic web series about a songwriting duo struggling to make it big surrounded by a world full of successful people. She plays Kimberly Hawkes, the past high school classmate of the lead character, who attempts to help him jumpstart his career. The show is streaming now on Amazon Prime. Linke has also lent her talent to a variety of hit television shows including a recurring on Teachers as well as appearances on Black-ish, Shameless, and most recently This Is Us andModern Family. Next up she will appear on the highly-anticipated Netflix series LOVE, which will premiere on March 9th.
Legion of Leia: You were bit by the acting bug through participating in live theater. From there, how did you discover and get into voice acting?
Lisa Linke: It’s a short leap, isn’t it? I always did plays in school growing up, and then I started improv in grad school, and I was hooked. After moving to Chicago and having a consulting job during the day but living as an improviser at night, I quit to perform full-time in the summer of 2001. I performed, wrote, studied, coached, taught, etc. for years until I landed my first costar on Shameless and then I was sold on TV/Film – it’s so fun, and so different from improv or sketch.
Legion of Leia: You’re set to star in the upcoming Netflix series Love. How did you get involved with the project? And what can you tell us about the series?
Lisa Linke: LOVE is created by the brilliant Paul Rust, Lesly Arfin and Judd Apatow. It’s about this couple who falls in love and we watch them stumble through all the ups and downs of relationships. This is the third and final season, and I was so excited to be a part of it! It’s a great show, and there was a lot of improvising because all of Judd Apatow’s shows do that, so I was super excited. My agents let me know that I had an audition, and I was stoked to meet that Casting Director. Then it was a really fun audition, and then I thought that was it! When I booked it, I was overjoyed. I was out getting Korean BBQ with my close friends and it was so fun to celebrate with all that amazing food!
Legion of Leia: You started off your acting career in the improv and sketch comedy scene, but then transitioned into roles on a variety of high-profile shows since then. What would you say were the biggest lessons you’ve learned while working in the sketch comedy scene and high-profile acting projects?
Lisa Linke: Both are very collaborative mediums, though I find film and TV to be even more collaborative than improv. So, learning how to say “yes” and not just say it, but find a way to truly make the idea work is essential. In sketch comedy, you tend to put up new scenes often and quickly, so I picked up the ability to learn lines quickly, which is awesome. Also, it helps you understand the construction of the joke, which is key. I’ve been really blessed to have some choice shows to work on since I’ve been out here – and I just am always happy to be working! Then to have the chance to learn from an entirely new set that works a little bit differently is a great opportunity.
Legion of Leia: You’re also a seasoned improviser. How often do you get to use these skills in your work? Are there usually guidelines you need to follow or do you typically get to let loose to see what happens?
Lisa Linke: Thank you! I’ve been around the block. But for real, I use them every day! Taking notes or redirects in the audition room or in rehearsal or on set requires a bit of improvisation. Also, since I’m great at that, and usually casting directors know this, so I’m happy to improvise a bit if they like. Generally, I don’t improvise unless they tell me to. They didn’t hire me to write dialogue!
Legion of Leia: What would be your dream project to work on? Either in acting, improv, or voice acting?
Lisa Linke: My dream project would be working on a sitcom where we get to improvise a bit. That to me would be incredible. When I shot Dog Moms, my improvised web series, we had the best time and it turned out really well. That was something I would love to do again, or on a larger scale.
Legion of Leia: What advice would you give to anyone interested in acting, improv, or writing? What do areas from each interest you think are most important to focus on developing?
Lisa Linke: To anyone interested in any of these interests, I would say get into a class and improve your craft right away and continuously. I don’t know that there is one area or areas from each that are more important than others – just that you do it. I can’t keep a clean house if I don’t clean. I can’t be an actor if I don’t act. I can’t be a writer if I don’t write. Also, I don’t keep a clean house.
Legion of Leia: What other projects can we expect to see you in?
Lisa Linke: There is a Disney show coming out sometime this spring/summer that I have a fun Guest Star role on, and I can’t wait for that! And if you like improv, you can find me every Sunday for my live Instagram show, #SuggestionSunday, at 12:30 pacific/3:30 eastern. I create characters on the spot based on audience suggestions in the comments, do scenes with guests and then involve the audience as well. It’s super fun!