Melissa Fumero stars as Det. Amy Santiago on the hit FOX comedy, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” While Amy tends to be more of the straitlaced cop in the department, she CAN have a fun and rambunctious side. Prior to joining the sitcom, Fumero had a brief stint on the CW series, “Gossip Girl.” Soap fans may remember her best for playing the role of Adriana Cramer on the former ABC Daytime drama, “One Life to Live.” We had the chance to speak with Fumero about her former soap days, as well as working alongside Andy Samberg and Bill Hader:
Na’Vell J. Lee: Can I even start off by saying that I loved you as Adriana on “One Life to Live”? It was one of the shows I did watch, and still to this day, the scene where Adriana punches Gigi at the wedding still resonates with me.
Melissa Fumero: Aww, that’s so sweet! You know, that scene was on my reel for a while.
NJL: Really?! Wow! I was spoiled online, but I still had to see it. I basically said, “Thank heavens Adriana finally did what I wanted her to do for MONTHS!”
MF: Once in a while, you get those really good soap scenes. This is the reason why people watch them.
NJL: What was it like being a part of this show? You had such a talented cast here, as well. I loved Robin (Strasser), Kassie DePaiva, and John-Paul Lavoisier. It was a fantastic time.
MF: It really was. It was a great group of people. I was super young. It was also my first job. We had a huge cast and crew. It was like jumping on a speeding train at about 21 years of age. It was such a great experience, and I learned so much. I will forever be grateful that it was my first job. It really prepared me for a lot of things afterward.
NJL: You’ve definitely come a long way. You are on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” now, and it’s so great. I was hoping many would tune in and support, as I was worried it wouldn’t make it. I was happy and surprised it did…
MF: Me too! (laughs)
NJL: Of course! How we ended the season was interesting. We saw two people share a…liplock!
MF: I know! So scandalous!
NJL: What is it like working with Andy Samberg?
MF: I love him. I feel like I hit the lottery in terms of a scene partner/boss/castmate/friend/human being. He’s just wonderful, collaborative, supportive, and a genius. The man is a joke machine, and has tons of ideas. He’s also a great actor. Working with him has been a blast. I learned so much from him. I’m really happy and grateful that he is my counterpart on the show. He’s the best. Andy is a wonderful person.
NJL: Going into the kissing scene, was it uncomfortable or nervous? Or, did you just go ahead right into it…?
MF: You know, we’ve been doing this acting thing for a while, so it wasn’t our first time at the rodeo. We went into it like two professional actors would, and each kiss had to be very different. Each one was its own scenario. So, those were the things we talked about. It was fine, actually. I wish I had a more interesting answer (laughs). It was just another day at work.
NJL: I can’t imagine keeping a straight face on the show. I don’t how I would be able to do any scenes, because I feel as if you would be cracking up the most with this cast. Aside from Andy, you work with Terry Crews, who I absolutely adore, and I just couldn’t see myself making it through the entire day.
MF: I often don’t have a straight face. I did think I had gotten better at breaking face and not ruining takes since season one. The other day, one of our cameramen pointed out to me that there’s a little piece of my face that will twitch when I’m trying not to laugh in a scene. I totally can feel it, too. It’s like me trying to swallow the laugh, and not ruining the take. So, he caught all of it on camera. Obviously, I’m not better at it. (laughs)
NJL: See, now you definitely feel it now that you were told about it. You start to feel it happen.
MF: I do. It’s like a spasm in my cheek. It’s really bad!
NJL: THAT should be a thing for Amy now.
MF: (laughs) You never know!
NJL: I heard you love to dance in your spare time. Is that true?
MF: I do, but a lot less now since I moved to Los Angeles. I’m terrified of dance classes here, and I don’t know why. I think I am afraid of the people here. And I come from New York!
NJL: I was gonna say, isn’t it a different beast over here in the east coast than L.A.?
MF: I don’t know what it is. I think people would be mean here! It’s so awful for me to say. (laughs) However, I did grow up as a dancer, and went to classes my whole life. I did dance some in high school and college, and still went to class once or twice a week up until a couple of years ago. That makes me horrible right now! I feel I should go to class! I will bust out a ballet bar in my living room once in a while.
NJL: The season premiere of the show featured Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”). What was that like working opposite him?
MF: I love Bill Hader so, so much! When I found out he was coming, I was telling myself, “Please be a normal person. Please don’t be a nervous wreck. Don’t say anything dumb. Please act somewhat well in your scenes with him!” Bill was so delightful and a ray of sunshine. The first scene we did was of him coming off of the elevator when he called me, “Amy Numbnuts.” He actually threw so many insults at me on different takes, and we haven’t even really met yet. We just got into the scene once we got there. He called me an idiot, a jerk, and so many other things. There were other takes where he would laugh at himself after saying it, because it’s funny to be calling a woman, “numbnuts.” Essentially, he did stop the take and introduced himself to me. Now, we can throw insults at each other more comfortably (laughs). When in doubt, if you are nervous on meeting somebody, have them throw insults at you. You’ll be fine after that!
NJL: Just start off the conversation with, “numbnuts,” and you are set for life!
MF: Absolutely! Bill Hader and I are best friends. People should know that!
NJL: So, if I called you, “numbnuts,” will we be best friends?
MF: Of course!
If you want to follow Melissa Fumero on Twitter, hit up: @melissafumero.
Catch Melissa Fumero on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” every Sunday at 8:30/7:30c on FOX.