Many a daytime diva cries foul when she learns her soap is planning to give her a long-lost, adult daughter, not Kate Linder. The spirited actress, spokesperson and Hollywood mover and shaker says she was over the moon when she learned The Young and the Restless—where she has played Kay Chancellor's quirky maid/best friend Esther Valentine since 1982—was going to make Elizabeth Hendrickson's feisty fashionista character Chloe turn out to be Esther's daughter Kate. Suddenly, Esther and Linder went from the back burner to being front and center, contending with a second and third generation of Valentine women, all deliciously intertwined with the boss lady's family, thanks to Little Katie's marriages and/or dalliances with practically every Chancellor or faux-Chancellor male!
Esther's life hasn't been all about her daughter, or her precious new granddaughter Delia in 2009, however. Our favorite housekeeper also found time for a sweet romance of her very own earlier this year with con man Roger (David Leisure), that quickly turned sour, resulting in Kay and Esther finding themselves in mortal danger, once again kidnapped by Roger's partner-in-crime, the dastardly Clint Radison (James Michael Gregary), providing Linder and her costar Jeanne Cooper, their best material in years.
I recently caught up with the ALS Celebrity Spokesperson, flight attendant and Daytime Governor for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS), who tonight at 8 pm PT will be hosting L.A.'s hottest sketch comedy show, ACME Saturday Night, at the ACME Theater, located at 135 N. La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036. (To see it online go to www.acmecomedy.com). Linder shared with Daytime Confidential how the chance to try her hand at sketch comedy came about. She also dished about which strapping buck, Billy (Billy Miller) or Chance (John Driscoll) she believes her onscreen daughter should end up with, and discussed her life's passion, finding a cure for ALS.
Daytime Confidential:Esther is quite the comical character, but is this your first time doing sketch comedy, right?
Kate Linder: Yes, this is my first time doing something like this. I am really excited! It just sort of came about. They called me and it was something I had always wanted to try, so I said, "Why not? Just go for it!" I love comedy. As you mentioned, Esther was originally a comic character when daytime wasn't doing those type of characters, so I have always loved making people laugh. Everyone at ACME is so great, and so talented! I actually worked with ACME before as a celebrity panelist for What's My Line?, but this will be a first.
DC: What's been your process for getting ready to host the show?
KL: Well, there is very little rehearsal time. I went over the other day and met everyone.They pitched me their stories, to see which ones would work for me. We did a cold read, then they rushed off to re-write some of their sketches, then on the day of the show, we will do a rehearsal, a run-through, then we will do it! You say to yourself, "Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?" [Laughs], but it's a lot of fun. I started in theater so it feels like returning to my roots.
DC: The next time I am in L.A. I have got to catch the show! Until then I will definitely keep watching online. The shows are hilarious!Do you thinking doing ACME will whet your whistle for more comedy? Could we see Kate Linder popping up on How I Met Your Mother like your costar Eric Braeden?
KL: Well, you never know! That would be great, I actually started in sitcoms, but comedy in sitcoms is different than sketch comedy. In sitcoms you have to play the comedy for realism. If you're playing it for the laughs it never works.
DC: One thing that definitely worked, was Kay and Esther once again being back on the front burner this past year. What was it like revisting the Kay/Marge doppelganger saga?
KL: Oh it was great! I loved every minute of it!
DC: Poor Esther just can't pick a man can she? Every time she dates someone it ends up bad for her and everyone else! First Tiny the Plumber gets her pregnant and abandons her, then that jerk Norman killed Kay's husband Rex Sterling, now we have Roger, who got her and Mrs. C kidnapped!
KL: She is pretty unlucky in love, isn't she? [Laughs] It's fun to play though!
DC: And now it seems her daughter is following in her footsteps.
KL: I know, like mother, like daughter!
DC: Except in Chloe's case, she's the one usually doing the conning. You and Elizabeth Hendrickson have amazing chemistry onscreen.
KL: Oh yes, we do, off screen as well! I just love her. Recently we were in Canada for a breast cancer event and we were walking down the street, and she said, "Okay, Mom, I'm going in that store over there," and someone said, "Did she just call you Mom?". It was totally natural. I feel like she is my daughter sometimes. She's an absolutely fabulous actress!
DC: Definitely, she is a keeper! So who does Mama want her Katie to end up with, Chance or Billy?
KL: I think all Esther wants is for her daughter to be happy, which is what any mother wants. She also has to worry about Deliah. Esther knows that Chloe really loves Billy, and she doesn't want to see Chance hurt, because he's like family too. Billy Miller and John Driscoll are both amazing young men to work with.
DC: Esther and Chloe's relationship reminds me of the classic, multigenerational relationships that soaps used to do so well, like Ada and Rachel on Another World or Mona and Erica on All My Children. Whoever she chooses, I'm sure you all will keep us entertained! You are also the Celebrity Spokesperson for ALS. Are we any closer to finding a cure?
KL: A cure is definitely out there, we just haven't found it yet. ALS is a terrible, terrible disease. Can you imagine being trapped in your own body and not being able to communicate? That's what it is like for people suffering from ALS. Their minds are perfectly fine, but they are essentially trapped. We are seeing more and more women, and more and more people who have been in the military coming down with ALS. I am going to keep doing whatever I can to keep bringing awareness to this disease, I'm in it for the long haul!
For more information on Kate Linder visit www.katelinder.com. To find out more about ACME Saturday Sight, or to watch the show tonight online, go to www.acmecomedy.com. To find out more information on ALS visit www.alsa.org.