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'Last Man on Earth' star Kristen Schaal owes her career to her stand-up show

Kristen Schaal at the L.A. premiere screening of Fox's
Kristen Schaal at the L.A. premiere screening of Fox's "The Last Man On Earth."
Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

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In the new Fox comedy series, "Last Man on Earth," Will Forte plays Phil Miller, who, at first, believes he’s the only man left on the entire planet. Then he meets Carol, played by actress and comedian Kristen Schaal.

Phil and Carol's personalities don't quite mesh, but the future of the civilization does require that they start re-populating the planet.Schaal has had small roles on "Flight of the Conchords" and as the senior women’s correspondent on "The Daily Show." She also does the voice for Louise on Bob’s Burgers. “Last Man on Earth” is Schaal’s  first starring role on a major network.

A veteran stand up comedian, Schaal co-hosts the Hot Tub comedy show, which she brought to L.A. from New York when she moved here two years ago. She hosts it every Monday night at The Virgil in Silver Lake.

Interview Highlights:

On the impact of her Hot Tub stand-up show on her career: 

I would say that that was what lead me to my career. I was a lil' no-name who would just sit in the back of all my favorite shows, like Eating It and Invite Them Up, and not talk to anybody, until finally I just got the courage to start my own show. ... That was what gave me the courage to finally approach the comedians I admired and invite them to come do my show. Like Michael Showalter, Demetri Martin, Eugene Mirman and David Cross, somehow, was kind enough to want to be involved. Then, all of a sudden, I was getting invited to do their shows. It was a great symbiotic relationship.  

On playing a somewhat unlikable character in "The Last Man on Earth":

If [Will Forte's character] was instantly interested in Carol, it's like where are we going from there? The end. I love the conflict, I love the push-and-pull between the two characters. I think it's just a really fun relationship to watch. It's sort of like a Sam and Diane [of "Cheers"] kind of thing that I think is really going to be fun. 

On casting directors looking for a "Kristen Schaal" type: 

People will send me a copy of a breakdown where they're looking for a Kristen Schaal-type, where I'm not even invited to audition. I was like, "Hey!" I'm assuming it's someone who is not an ingenue, let's be frank; someone who's offbeat and quirky and probably someone who loves cats! That's what I think might be the real general, first-glance take away of it. I'm hoping that a Kristen Schaal-type is someone who is not afraid to do anything, which is something that I try to be mindful of and push myself and encourage myself. No matter what the character's asked to do, I always try to do it at least once. I just try to be fearless in acting characters.

On the voice teacher at Northwestern University who told her she couldn't be in show business:

I was just in her office to sign up, and she turned from her desk, and she's like, "Name?" And I was like, "Kristen Schaal," and she was like, "Ugh, that voice! Oh honey, honey, honey — you are not going to be able to do this business." And I was mortified. It wasn't the first time I was told I probably wouldn't be able to fool around in this world. ... It was really hurtful, because when you're in college, and you haven't even tested out your wares, and someone's telling you that you should just let it go. But that being said, it all worked out for me, I have no hard feelings. My voice has done good by me.

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