INTERVIEW

Madeline Wise Calls Crashing the ‘Least Scary First TV Experience’

BY ARIANA BACLE

The actress made her debut this season as Kat, a confident actuary and Pete’s latest love interest.

Madeline Wise was a little scared to join Crashing in its third season. Worried about finding her groove with the cast and crew, she was relieved when she was proven wrong: “It was a total heavenly experience,” the actor said.

For one, they laughed at her jokes — something she didn’t take for granted. “I’ve met so many comedians where you say something funny and they’re like, ‘That’s funny,’ as though it pains them to acknowledge that anyone else in the world could be funny,” she said, explaining the Crashing crew are “the kind of comedy people who are generous to other funny people.”

Secondly, they were kind. Take her time with Ray Romano, who had a cameo in “The Secret.” Wise recalls sitting alone at a table in the Comedy Cellar with Romano between takes and self-consciously checking her phone. “He engaged me in conversation,” Wise glowed. “The reason we all came to love Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond is because he’s a lovely dude. You want to be in a room with him. And he’s funny! It does help that he’s funny.”

As is Kat, who plays the free spirit to the repressed Pete. “Kat is just fundamentally herself and so secure in a way that I envy sometimes,” Wise admitted. “I’m like, god, I wish I could so reliably be one personality. She imparts that it’s a waste of time trying to convince one person that you’re a good Christian comedian and another person that you can do the downtown New York, mainstream comedy scene. You just have to be one person: yourself.”

While Kat clearly opens some new doors for Pete, he’s not the only one benefitting from this new romance. “Kat is a person who’s been with scumbags in the past, or just men who’ve treated her badly,” Wise said. “And so for her, Pete is like a calm, safe, secure, kind, person. He’s a good man, which is something that feels unfamiliar to her, and it’s really exciting.”

Until… it’s not. “The Viewing Party” ends with the two having a blowout after Pete shushes a drunken Kat during a watch party for Ali’s (Jamie Lee) Late Night with Seth Meyers set. After Kat leaves, Pete returns home to find her in his bed. “I’m funnier than that whore,” she groggily tells him. So what’s next?

“They both learn a great deal about themselves,” Wise teased. “Pete figures out what his priorities are, or what he wants his priorities to be, and I think Kat figures out a way to value herself. They both realize what it is they need.”

Seasons 1 and 2 of Crashing are now available on HBO. New episodes of Season 3 premiere Sundays at 10 p.m.