Often times you might think that you and your best friend deserve a T.V. show. Well these best friends not only deserve it, but they actually have one. Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham have been BFFs since they met at the Upright Citizens Brigade where they took Improv classes, and regularly do Improv in present day. They also star in a new USA show, Playing House, which has the two living together as Emma (St. Clair) helps Maggie (Parham) prepare for motherhood. We tested the duo on their real-life BFF-ship to see how good of friends they REALLY are. Spoiler alert: their friendship lives up to the hype.
Lennon says Jessica; Jessica says Jessica.
Jessica St. Clair: Well, I’m gonna out Lennon. Lennon and I both have names for lots of people in our lives —
Lennon Parham: That’s true.
JSC: — that we keep secret.
LP: But in high school it was a different situation.
LP: Jessica was, like, the fourth runner-up to homecoming —
LP: Fifth. And she said she wouldn’t haven’t been best friends with me [back then] because I was in the marching band. I was in drum line.
JSC: That’s not true!
LP: You would have had to keep our friendship a secret.
JSC: I would have had you in my social studies group.
LP: And you would have had more fun with me than anyone!
JSC: Would we have seen each other socially? I don’t know.
JSC: But I will say this: In adulthood we both have nicknames for people, and I’m more likely to blab it in front of them.
LP: That’s true. Or mistake someone for someone else.
Lennon says, “Shoulders McGee”; Jessica says, “Banana Puddin’.”
JSC: Shoulders McGee! I called you Banana Puddin’.
LP: We have a running gag in our show that everyone mistakes Jessica for a man because of her shoulders. She’s always in a blazer.
JSC: I wish it was a gag! In my life I got a haircut junior year of college that was a real wash-‘n-go type of situation. It was short. I had six or seven people say I looked just like Hugh Grant. And I was like, “That’s a man. So…that’s not nice.”
LP: My favorite dessert is banana pudding. It’s also my stripper name.
JSC: Yes it is. “Starring Banana Puddin’.”
LP: “Please welcome to the stage…Banana Puddin’.”
JSC: I was gonna put “Nana Puddin’.”
LP: Either one.
Lennon says, “Drama teacher/midwife”; Jessica says, “Mayor.”
JSC: Drama teacher/midwife? I wrote “Mayor.”
LP: Mayor or weather girl.
JSC: One hundred percent. The other thing I thought of was someone scoopin’ ice cream at, like, 36 Flavors or something.
LP: You’re better than that.
They both say Jessica.
JSC: OK, I’m sounding like a terrible person.
LP: She’s not on Facebook.
JSC: I’m not on Facebook because I can’t open the door to the past.
LP: She will spiral down.
JSC: I’m just too nostalgic.
LP: She’ll go apologize to somebody for some weird thing that she did in the lunchroom.
JSC: Right. When I was moving out of my parents’ house. My parents sold my childhood home and I literally was 35 years old but I cried for like, two and a half weeks. Like, openly wailed. And my mother was like, “Grow up! And also there’s a locked trunk in our attic. I don’t know what it is.” So I opened it up and it was like every breakup letter I had ever received. And I read them all and then convinced myself that I had to call [my exes] all up and apologize. Thank god Lennon and my friend Kristen stopped in and were like, “DO NOT DO THAT.”
LP: Nobody wants an apology letter 14 years later.
JSC: Not everyone has a black trunk! I’m really not coming off well in this [interview].
They both say Lennon.
JSC: Lennon had to sit in a really crowded Chipotle….
LP: I walked a really crowded Chipotle. You know the one in Union Square?
JSC: That was your first mistake.
LP: It’s always crammed.
JSC: And it always makes your butt explode. Let’s get real.
LP: I swung into Chipotle for a hot afternoon work platter or whatever. A burrito bowl. Carnitas. And I got to the [seating] area and there’s, like, four chairs, and I look around and there’s one empty seat. It’s next to literally my first love. I haven’t seen him in years. I said, “Can I sit here?”
JSC: Why did you? See, I would have immediately faked having diarrhea and ran out of there.
LP: Because I didn’t get my bowl to go and I was hungry.
JSC: That’s Lennon, she’ll just sit in it. The awkwardness.
LP: And then we did and it was a good moment for me because I was like, “Oh, I get it. I’ve made the right choices in my life and I’m where I am for a reason.”
JSC: Right. And then you were like, pffft. (Fart noise)
LP: No I wasn’t! I can eat Chipotle all day long for years. Also they’ve got GMO-free meat now so, you’re welcome.
BF: That is really weird because it actually goes along with this next question…
JSC: What? NO!
JSC: What are you talking about!? Wait, is that a real question?
LP: Yeah, me.
JSC: I’m having it right now.
LP: She jokes because she says that I have this “White Trash Constitution” from, like, eating Twinkies and Coke all the time.
JSC: Yeah, Lennon’s Southern..
LP: The thing is, if you follow whatever meal you have with Coke, it eats up the other things. It helps with the digestion of it.
JSC: I’ve been in the emergency room for food poisoning.
LP: And I eat the same things she does and I’m just, like, flying free.
JSC: It doesn’t stop me, by the way, from visiting every taco truck I can find.
LP: And we just went to Godiva, so.
JSC: We also walked into a Subway sandwich shop at 1 a.m. the other day in New York and I was like, “Uhhh…no. I think I’m gonna get salmonella here.”
LP: See? Nostalgia! The reason we went in was that you used to eat Subway subs every day when you used to live here.
BF: On to a question inspired by the Playing House pilot episode…
They both write down “neither.”
LP: We’ve been with our husbands for quite a while.
JSC: They know when we’re out of the house. But I do — just to be safe — give a call, like, “Hey, I’m coming home early!”
LP: Do you really?
JSC: Sometimes, you never know.
Lennon says Jessica; Jessica says Lennon.
JSC: No, you!
LP: Nuh-uh. You don’t have portion control and you know it.
JSC: No, that’s not true. Only for chocolate, not ice cream. So you don’t know me. And you could absolutely! You’d be like, “I deserve it!” —
LP: I do deserve it.
JSC: That’s just your, like, only-child self-confidence coming through.
LP: You don’t know me.
JSC: You don’t know ME.
Lennon says neither; Jessica says Jessica.
JSC: I was going to say neither, but you’re usually a little more… No, I would say neither. That’s wrong.
LP: It’s OK, you can have your answer.
JSC: We don’t. We’re pretty serious.
LP: It takes a lot to break us.
JSC: Oh! Correction: I would say me. Because SHE will break me. If anybody can, it’s her. She dresses like a man in Episode 6 and I have to play her lover on a date. She’s dressed up like a Duck Dynasty man and literally she was so rude to me and said some of the most horrible things to me —
LP: In character.
JSC: Yeah. That broke me up. And also pissed me off.
LP: Wait, who did you call Jimmy Fallon, though? You kept calling everyone Jimmy Fallon because they couldn’t keep their shit together. Remember?
JSC: Oh, right!
LP: If anybody ever busted during a take she would be like, “Get your act together, Jimmy Fallon! We’re professionals.”
Lennon writes, “Who cares?”; Jessica writes, “Neither.”
LP: I wrote, “Who cares.”
JSC: Who cares?
LP: Yeah! Exactly. Who does care?
JSC: No, we don’t care. We really don’t care.
They both say Lennon.
JSC: Lennon! I don’t know the words to any songs.
LP: “With Arms Wide Open”?
JSC: She could sing the whole thing right now.
LP: I know the words to, like, every song. Hoobastank, whatever. And I’ll hear a couple of [musical] notes and tell you what song it is.
Lennon writes, “L/J”; Jessica says Jessica.
JSC: It’s a toss-up these days. … Yeah, both of us. But I was gonna take the hit. We’re new moms, so showers are like going to a spa: They’re for special occasions.
LP: Whenever you can find a moment alone.
Lennon says, “J <3”; Jessica says neither.
JSC: No! What?! When have I EVER done that? OK, but if Lennon is served a salad that has a weird cheese or weird taste, she’ll eat it. She’ll be like, “It’s OK, it’s my luck in life,” and I’ll be like, “No you won’t! Excuse me!” And I will get her the salad that she wants.
LP: But I was a waitress for, like, a thousand years in New York, so if somebody’s, like, a terrible waiter I’m like, “OK, just 20%.”
JSC: Oh no, not me. I’m like, “Work for it.” You better work, bitch.
They both say Lennon.
JSC: Lennon installs of all of my draperies. She wields a drill like nobody’s business, and for fun she reads the Ikea instruction manuals.
LP: I [actually] don’t like the Ikea manuals much, it’s just pictures. I prefer words with my instructions.
JSC: So boring.
LP: And I don’t like that weird man’s sideways face.
JSC: And I don’t compete in games unless there’s money involved. I’m not interested.
Lennon says, “How deep she goes, friendship-wise.”
JSC: I’m pretty much an open book.
LP: I wrote it and then I realized it could sound weird so I clarified.
JSC: HOW DEEP SHE GOES?!?! …Friendship-wise!
LP: She likes to keep it, you know, smiley, but underneath is like a real situation. In a good way.
BF: And Jessica, what about Lennon?
JSC: She will give you the shirt off her back. She’s very, very giving. She’ll give you anything you need.
JSC: Almost to a fault. But not.
LP: Hmm, interesting. It was almost a full compliment.
Lennon says, “She’s a real big girl,” “You’re gonna live!” and “The heather on the hill”; Jessica says, “It should have been me, Shelby!” and “Juice! I spilled my juice!”
JSC: “She’s a real big girl,” from Silence of the Lambs — that’s my least favorite movie in the world.
LP: “You’re gonna live!”
JSC: From Braveheart, which is pretty good.
LP: “The heatherrrrr, on the hill!”
JSC: From Brigadoon. Horrible.
LP: What did you say?
JSC: I said, “It should have been me, Shelby,” it should have been me!
LP: That’s from Steel Magnolias, obviously. Oh, both of them!
JSC: “Juice, I spilled my juice!”
LP: From Steely Mag.
Do you like that movie?
LP: I do, I love it. But I get to the scene where she’s pregnant and I have to turn it off. It gets too dark.
Lennon says, “Tap dance”; Jessica says, “Gift giving.”
LP: Tap dance.
JSC: Oh, yes, I’m a good tap dancer, but I’m also a great gift giver.
LP: Although I did find out that she has been giving the gift she gave to me to other people.
JSC: Ughhh, god. It’s a great gift. It’s a classic. I only gave it to like, two other people.
LP: Wow. Who?
JSC: Lindsay and Danielle. It’s a tea set, it’s a little cute tea set.
LP: It is a beautiful tea set.
JSC: It is, and you’ll treasure it.
Lennon says, “Jackson 5 or NKOTB, ‘Please Don’t Go Girl’ era”; Jessica says, “Jackson 5 or Simon + Garfunkel.”
JSC: Jackson 5! Or I said Simon and Garfunkel!
LP: That “Hello Darkness.”
Lennon says, “Nashville 100%”; Jessica says, “Downton Abbey.”
JSC: UGH. I put Nashville, then I crossed it out! And I said, Downton Abbey. Because to be in those clothes, for the olden days.
LP: I guess, but come on.
JSC: But I’d be like, “You got the wrooong song!”
Lennon says, “RuPaul’s Drag Race or GOT”; Jessica says, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
JSC: RuPaul’s Drag Race! Yes!
LP: Or Game of Thrones, I put Game of Thrones too. I’d love to be a wildling.
JSC: Yes! Yeah, you would.
LP: Or a White Walker. I’d be like, “Ohhh, you took my hand.”
Lennon says, “C Tate’s wife -get it-“; Jessica says, “I <3 Channing Tatum.”
JSC: I’m thinking Clooney, but he’s not with anybody.
LP: Well he might be, he just got engaged, a lawyer. OK, I have it.
JSC: I’m interested. I’m thinking on it. I don’t know why I can’t settle on somebody.
LP: Think about the man that you’d be living with.
JSC: OH! Oh, oh oh. Ohhhhhhh.
LP: I don’t know his wife’s name.
JSC: I don’t either, and I don’t care.
LP: Channing Tatum.
JSC: Yeah. Get it, girl.
JSC: I heard he’s good with diapers.
LP: I bet he is.
JSC: I’ll put a diaper on him.
Lennon says, “Idris Elba’s family”; and Jessica says, “Idris Elba (sp?) from The Wire.”
JSC: Idris Elba!!!
LP: Holy shit!! I never thought you would say that!! I guess I thought my love was a secret.
Playing House airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on USA.
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