Melissa McCarthy Was Asked About Working Despite Her 'Tremendous Size' During Interview

Melissa McCarthy in Tammy

The "celebrity interview" process can be horrible, for various reasons. Journalists are tasked with coming up with questions that talent hasn't heard 1,000 -- often in the same day. Talent has to field left-field attempts by reporters to get a juicy soundbite. But Melissa McCarthy faced a shockingly humiliating situation when she was promoting her breakout hit Bridesmaids, where the interviewer zeroed in on her body type. McCarthy was doing an interview in behalf of her latest dramedy Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and recalled:

I do remember another interview I did for Bridesmaids with somebody who later lost his job for a conversation he had on a bus with someone else. I won't mention names, but just think about it. He kept asking, 'Are you shocked that you actually work in this business at your tremendous size?' ... He was like, 'Oh, your tremendous size, you can actually work?' I just remember all the blood drained out of me. I thought, 'With my tremendous size, I could tackle you so quickly.' There were two cameras on him, and one was on me, and he went back to that question three or four times, and I just kept talking about the script or how fun Paul Feig was. He was looking around like, 'She's crazy.' When we left, their producer was horrified and said, 'We'll never play what he said. I'm so sorry.' But it happens all the time, to the point where it's fascinating because they don't do it to men. Not to be a jerk or single him out, but when John Goodman was heavier, did anybody ever talk about his girth?

Melissa McCarthy was talking to InStyle about the double standard that she has encountered from some members of the press as she is trying to promote her movies. The recollection of the horrific Bridesmaids interview -- which HAS to be a reference to Billy Bush, right? -- was triggered by McCarthy recalling another reporter who questioned why she always looks so sloppy and unkempt in her on-screen roles. Sure, McCarthy sometimes plays messy characters in her comedies, but what kind of a question is that?

Melissa McCarthy brings up a good point in this regard. Certain male comedians -- I think of the late Chris Farley and John Candy right away -- were celebrated because of their size, and the way that they used their physicality to get a laugh. Farley notoriously sang "Fat Guy In A Little Coat" in his cult hit Tommy Boy. How often did a reporter incredulously ask him is his "tremendous size" impeded his ability to find work?

But the comedian gets the last laugh here, does she not? She was nominated for an Oscar for Bridesmaids. She's still headlining major movies, and is doing this interview on behalf of Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is getting all sorts of awards play. She was nominated for Best Actress at the Globes for that movie.

What do you think? Was that topic way out of line? How should Melissa McCarthy have handled it? Are you shocked that she'd even have to address such a question, in any interview format?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.