The cast of Party Down at an event

INTERVIEW: Ken Marino on Returning to the Chaos of ‘Party Down’

Party Down has been one of my favorite shows for a long time. As a self-appointed expert of Adam Scott’s career, it’s really no surprise that I love this series and all the characters within. So now that we’re back with the crew at Party Down catering, we’re getting to reunite with some of our favorite characters. Like Ron Donald (Ken Marino) and Constance Carmell (Jane Lynch).

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In preparation for the show’s return, I got to join in a virtual roundtable with Lynch and Marino about heading back to the series and asked about the show! For Marino, I asked about his ability to play these absolutely absurd characters who we end up loving even though they’re doing things we might not necessarily agree with.

“The real answer is that I always am drawn to and I enjoy playing bigger, more extreme characters,” he said. “But my approach to those characters is always, you know, what is really going on with that person. And can I try to challenge myself to tap into some sort of real truth to that person’s wants and needs and to try to kind of balance the two. And sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. But that always sort of the goal, which is to somehow ground these extreme characters and then try to push them as extreme as you can without it being overly ridiculous.”

The joy of Ron Donald

A series like Party Down isn’t easy. And especially with a character like Ron Donald. He’s not exactly a stunning display of what to be as a human. He is, in a lot of ways, horrific in what he decides to say or how far he’ll take his people pleasing ways and while this new Ron in season 3 is a bit more confident than the Ron from previous seasons, he still seeks that validation.

Knowing that Marino comes from a place of grounding these characters and making them as real as possible is why he’s so good at what he does. Party Down airs on STARZ now and it feel so great having this show back.

(Featured image: STARZ)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.