Carly Jibson gets candid about her role as the hottie Vivian in 'The Guest Book'
Her character 'the somewhat friendly waitress' is the future and Carly is excited to play the hot-shot waitress, Vivian.
Multi-talented stage and television actress and musician, Carly Jibson, best known for her performance as 'Tracy Turnblad' in the eight-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Hairspray, stars as the scheming bikini bar owner 'Vivian' in season two of TBS' hit Greg Garcia ("My Name is Earl") anthology comedy "The Guest Book"(airing on Tuesday's at 10/9c on TBS). She acts alongside A-List names including, Pete Davidson, Will Arnett, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, and Lisa Rina, to name a few. Season two of "The Guest Book" centers around the small Oceanside community of Mabel Beach, vacationers who stay at the Bare Feet Retreat record their confessions, alibis, and farewells in the cottage's guest book.
Born and raised in Muskegon, Michigan, Carly began her entertainment career in her hometown when she was discovered at 16 in the world premiere of Crash Nation at Cherry County Playhouse. She moved to New York City at the end of her senior year and immediately landed the iconic lead role of 'Tracy Turnblad' in the first National Tour of Hairspray, which she started opposite six-time Emmy winner Bruce Vilanch, and a few months later re-opened the Broadway version in New York City with Emmy winner Peter Scolari and Michael McKean ("Laverne & Shirley").
Carly originated the role of 'Baby Manicotti' in the world premiere of Andrew Lippa's Asphalt Beach in Chicago, the role of 'Pepper Walker' in Cry-Baby on Broadway, and the world premiere of Johnny Baseball directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus in Boston. Carly premiered "Not A Bitch, Not Yet A Woman," an emotional autobiographical show centering on her life and career to a sold-out audience in New York City. If that wasn't enough, Carly released an original album entitled "Best of Me" on iTunes and created, produced and starred in an original concert series titled 'Headliners' opposite Tony Award winner Lena Hall.
When she isn't working on her craft she enjoys working with Hope of the Valley in an effort to assist meeting the needs of every hungry and homeless man, woman and child in the greater Los Angeles area, and empower them with the knowledge, resources, and skills to lead a life of wholeness and self-sufficiency. Carly is also an advocate for mental health and helps to break down the ideologies of beauty giving people the confidence to know they are allowed to love themselves at every stage in life. In an exclusive mail interaction with Meaww Carly talks about how she got the role in 'Guest Book', what attracted her to the script, and her character Vivian.
How did you get involved with 'The Guest Book’?
I got the call from my manager back in the summer of 2016 about the show. When I went in, I was wary. I was still pretty new to the LA scene, and though I had several network tests under my belt, I had zero television credits on my actual resume. I was also going up against some incredibly formidable actresses that I not only adored, but respected, so it was intense. My goal was just to go in and do “my thing.” Sometimes you just have to be like a racehorse and shut it all out, put your blinders on and “run your own race." I try to approach everything with that energy and this was no different. Greg creates such a relaxed environment in an audition room, so I felt pretty comfortable almost immediately (though I was secretly doing my best to keep my heart from jumping out of my ass the entire time.) I went back the next day for a callback, for which I was just grateful to be humored as an option and then I got the call later that day that I would be testing for the role. The screen test is really a blur (because it’s my own personal theory that I lapsed into an anxiety-driven “blackout” during the whole thing,) but somehow I ended up getting a call the very next day, from Greg Garcia himself, saying “she’s all yours,” and my life hasn’t been the same ever since.
What attracted you the most about the script?
When I first read the script for the pilot, I was blown away. Being a huge fan of Greg’s already, I was very excited at the prospect of working with him. I thought the fact that it was a comedic anthology was so unique and fun and I loved the idea of being a part of something that was breaking new ground on an up and coming network like TBS, that was foraying into original content, all led by a twisted genius like Greg Garcia. Plus, it was funny! It was one of the shows that you tell yourself “even if I don’t get this role, I will still watch it.”
You play the hot-shot bar owner, Vivian. Could you tell us about your character? What is she like?
She is a badass! The things I love about her the most is that she is tough, sassy and unapologetic. She doesn’t see boundaries or limitations on her dreams. She doesn’t allow the societal norms to dictate or quantify her worthiness. She doesn’t self-deprecate or internalize insecurity to the point that it keeps her from achieving her goals. She sees herself as an equal with everyone around her, in every way, and I just feel like we don’t see enough characters like this on television.
How similar are you to your character? Or are you both completely different?
I think I relate to her in a lot of ways. Tickles is just like everyone else and ultimately wants the same thing everyone in life does; she wants to be heard, she wants to be understood and she wants to be accepted. The problem lies in her approach to things. Her intentions are good, but her execution is bad, which often times finds her in hot water. I think at her core, she is just a simple girl, looking for love, but she is too impulsive. She doesn’t tend to think about things ALL the way through first and just reacts out of desire and instinct, which I can relate to a lot. I too have a tendency to be more of the school that asks for forgiveness, not permission, within reason of course.
In an age when women are coming to the forefront with their characters, what do you think Vivian can contribute in the battle to gain equality?
I truly think her tenacity and refusal to back down to anyone makes her a strong role model if you can call a black-mailing, ex-stripper a “role model.” She doesn’t conform to anyone else’s view of who she is “supposed to be,” which makes her brave and ruthless. She is brazen and tough and DEFINITELY not someone you would ever want to cross. She may smile to your face, but she’d rough-neck-forty your ass in a heartbeat if she thought you were standing between her and the thing that she wanted.
This is your first TV show. Tell us about the experience, how different do you think it is then acting in a theatre?
I would have to say that theater gave me an incredible amount of discipline. It gave me a work ethic and overall respect for the art, which is truly an education you can’t put a price on. I found the transition quite seamless and I truly owe that to the extensive training I was given and I will always be grateful for my theater beginnings for that. I will say the thing I miss the most about stage performing is the “laughter.” It’s so quiet on the set, as people are trying not to ruin takes, but when you’re doing comedy, it’s hard to gauge if you’re “nailing it” or not because every time you make a joke, it's full-blown crickets. That took a while to get used to. I kept thinking, “Damn, I must be terrible!"
Why did you choose to come to TV?
The thing that I love so much about the format of television is the fast-paced, ever-changing aspect of it all. You take a scene or a piece and you bust your ass and put everything you have into it and then it’s done, you leave it there and you move on. You are continuously given new material so you are constantly being challenged and I love that, it speaks to my sensibilities in every way.
Do you plan on signing up for movies? Which actors would you like to work with if you get a role in a movie?
Is there a sign-up? Can I get in on that? I’m kidding...yes, of course, I think that feels like the next natural move. I am a firm believer in hyper-focusing your energy on your goals, one at a time. To me, it is the best way to ensure the maximum amount of success. I spent the first part of my career focusing on theater, then music, now television and then hopefully writing, producing and film. I want to do it all. I want to touch it all. I have never been someone to sit in one place for too long. I’m inspired by all forms of art and want to check as many boxes as I possibly can before my time is up!
What are you planning for next?
Right now I’m just focusing on the holiday season (my favorite) and spending time with my loved ones. My boyfriend and I are planning a very fun trip to Mexico in January and honestly, right now that’s all I can think of! I have a few things coming out in the spring that I can’t talk about yet, but I am very excited about because it will be showcasing a side of me most people haven’t seen yet. I love the idea of surprising people. It is my greatest fear in life to ever become “predictable,” and I promise you, I will do everything I can to always keep you guessing, so stay tuned!!!
Watch the trailer below: