What's it like playing a real person in a comedy?

"The Goldbergs," "Orange Is the New Black": What's it like playing a real person in a comedy?

They say art imitates life, or is it life imitates art? All we here at The Envelope know is that life can be pretty funny sometimes, and that can be comedy gold on television.

In anticipation of the Emmys, The Envelope gathered some of comedy's elite (Carrie Brownstein, "Portlandia"; Tony Hale, "Veep"; Wendi McLendon-Covey, "The Goldbergs"; Taylor Schilling, "Orange Is the New Black"; Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family") to talk with Times television writer Greg Braxton about their shows, their characters and the state of television today.

And for Schilling and McLendon-Covey, the conversation turned to what it was like portraying real people on their series.

Schilling made a point of noting that "Orange" takes only its starting point from the real-life story of Piper Kerman. Then it goes its own way. "I felt this tremendous amount of freedom to sort of do whatever I wanted to do," she said. "But that said, I've gotten to know Piper quite well, and she is very open, and she’s really interested in being of service in any way that she can. And that relationship is really a pleasure now, it’s fun."

McLendon-Covey didn't even meet Beverly Goldberg, the real-life mother of series creator Adam Goldberg, until they were 10 episodes or so into production, "so that could have gone to an ugly place, if she didn't like it, she could have made me cry right there on set, you know?" McLendon-Covey said.

But the "Bridesmaids" actress got Goldberg's blessing as well as some clothing. "She saved everything, and she sent boxes and boxes of beautiful sweaters that I wear all the time [on the show]. Yeah, she wants them back too."

See what else they had to say in the video clip above and look for the whole conversation in the related links.

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