Femme on Fire: Laura Bell Bundy

By Vanessa Butler Photography by Jeremy Cowart courtesy of Big Machine Records

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Femme on Fire: Laura Bell Bundy:

You’ve seen this girl before. Definitely. Laura Bell Bundy is a woman of many talents, something that could make any EGOT winner shake in their boots. You may know her as the barely-holding-it-all-together Dr. Jordan Denby on Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management (she’s on this week’s episode). Or maybe you know her from the country music scene as the girl with the fancy footwork from her “Two Step” video. Or could it be from her recurring role as Shelby on the CW’s Hart of Dixie? Or from when she was a leading lady on Broadway? Or when she starred as Robin’s cheery co-anchor on How I Met Your Mother in season six? Wherever you’ve seen Laura Bell, you know she’s the sweetest girl in showbiz. And that’s why she’s our latest Femme on Fire.

Playboy.com: So are you still shooting episodes for Anger Management?

Bundy: We’ve been on hiatus since September 20 but my episode will be airing this Thursday. I’m doing some CMA country music stuff and I’m shooting Hart of Dixie as well, so I’m running around my house trying to get my stuff together! I woke up with a cold today, so it sucks. I haven’t been sick since last March, which is amazing because of all of the traveling I do. But it got to me this time; I’m a little run down. [laughs]

Playboy.com: You seem to be one of those people who’s constantly on the go.

Bundy: I don’t know what it’s like to sit and be bored. I go crazy even thinking about being bored. When I have time off I think, “What should I do? Go for a hike? Ride my bike?” It’s not that I have to have things to do; I want to be doing a lot of things because they inspire me and give me energy. Whether it’s performing or doing TV, I really enjoy what I do, so I want to be doing it all of the time…. But sometimes I forget that I also want to be sleeping and having time for romance!

Playboy.com: You seem to totally envelop yourself in your characters. Are there any genres that you’re dying to work in?

Bundy: I haven’t done a lot of film. I did an independent film about a year and a half ago that hasn’t come out—it’s set to next year. It’s a little bit darker and real, very grounded. It wasn’t a comedy and I enjoyed that. I think I’d like to do more character work. I’m a character actor more than an ingenue even though I get put into ingenue roles. I like stronger characters that are a tad on the crazy side; I love that kind of stuff. But I’ve been very fortunate in my career to be able to do television and film and theater. I’ve been able to truly be a student of all of those forms so I feel pretty well-rounded. But I would like to do more film if I can.

Playboy.com: What initially drew you to Anger Management?

Bundy: My agent calling me and telling me I had an audition for it! I was in Europe at the time touring with Rascal Flatts and my agent was asked if I could put myself on tape. I was thinking, “Uh, I’m drunk, I’m in Stockholm! And then Ireland!” I was up until five A.M. every day! It’s only night in the summer in Stockholm for like three hours, so I was raging. [laughs] I just told them I couldn’t get it together; I had to get it together for the concerts. But when I got back they still hadn’t found anybody so I went in to read the material with creative and met Charlie after that.

I think what draws me to the role on both a work and personal level is that [Jordan] is trying really hard to keep it all together. She’s struggling with her alcoholism and her emotional responsibilities because of that. Her husband just left her for her twin sister… I like to play these kinds of characters who have a lot going on inside and are just about to lose their shit.

*Playboy.com: *You said you were doing some CMA stuff—that must have to do with your music video that’s basically gone viral on YouTube! There are so many people online doing your dance routine. Did you think it was going to spread like wildfire?

Bundy: I think that the interesting thing about “Two Step” is that it’s one of those songs that take a little bit more time to be found. People hear about it, then they hear it played in the clubs and then they start to learn the entire dance routine with friends and then about six months later it’s suddenly a thing. I’ve noticed it’s the video is what has really taken off, as opposed to the song doing well on the radio, because it’s more of a club song. I’ve starting to see that resurgence more than when I put it out, which is cool.

Playboy.com: That must make you really want to continue with it then!

Bundy: I’m going to continue putting out more songs. I have one called “Kentucky Dirty” that came out November 5. It’s a fun, danceable song and of course I have dancing in the video. [laughs] I’m also doing these mixtapes which are almost like country music hip-hop mash-ups. My whole MO is to create country music that people can dance, party and tailgate to, so whatever I’m making has to have a really strong beat and groove. “Two Step” is really the first song that inspired that project, so to see that take off is really exciting for me.

Playboy.com: Are you going back into the studio to do this stuff or are you going to focus more on the mixtape aspect of the project?

Bundy: I am in and out of the studio all the time… And my studio is my computer, basically, so I take it everywhere I go. Even in my trailer at Anger Management or at Dixie I can write music and work on things. The mixtapes are interesting, though. They feature a brand new song that people haven’t heard within the mix. So it requires me to continue to write original music, but then also feature familiar music. That element is more like me deejaying, honestly; it’s something I never thought I’d see myself getting into, but it does work with what I want to do and it fits in with my live set. When I do live shows I’ll have the track “Big Pimpin’” playing and I’ll be singing “Hell on Heels” over it with fiddles, banjos and four-part harmonies. We put the juxtaposition of beats and banjos together so it’s all one big thing. The new music, the mixtapes, the live show; it’s all a very specific brand.

Playboy.com: Yeah, because you have so much time to do things like this! [laughs] I also realized this morning that you’re Shocantelle Brown! What got you into doing sketch comedy like that?

Bundy: Sketch comedy is a massive passion for me. My dream is to be the country music [version of] Carol Burnett. I’m like a one-woman variety show already, so that’s what I want! The ultimate for me is making people laugh and feel good; it’s all about having fun. I’ve done voices and imitated people since I was a kid. My parents just let me go with it instead of putting me on Ritalin and so Cooter County is this little town I created where all of my characters can live, including Shocantelle Brown. It was a place to channel and focus all of the schizophrenia of all of the different characters I did. They could live in this town, be connected with each other, have storylines with each other… Cooter County focused it really well. The group I worked with just started breeding this world that I had created to life through sketch comedy.

Playboy.com: What’s your…

Favorite food: Oh, it’s so hard! The food that I eat the most is Lay’s potato chips, but my favorite food is probably either pasta with meat sauce or fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

*Favorite drink: *Red Bull for sure; sugar-free Red Bull is my favorite nonalcoholic beverage. My favorite alcoholic beverage is bourbon.

Worst pickup line: The worst kinds of pickup lines are when a guy intrudes in an intense conversation you’re having with someone else. It’s like “Oh, hey guys, what are you doing here?”…Uh, we’re drinking and talking, sir, and that’s how we want to keep it.

Most embarrassing moment: It was at the very end of the day on my very first day of shooting Anger Management. Charlie and I had scenes to shoot all day long, and it was a lot of material. I was trying to remember this one particular speech. The line was “We should just start this up in the morning” or something like that, but I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. So I said, “We should just…FUCK!” because I forgot the line. So yes, I said to Charlie Sheen, on my very first day of work, that we should just fuck! In front of a cast and crew that I didn’t know at all. I was so red I immediately started howling. I just had to laugh at myself. It caused quite a laugh and commotion on the show, too. I think it was actually a good icebreaker for all of us. But oh my god, the pure, total embarrassment.

First memory of Playboy: This is amazing, actually. My first real memory of Playboy is of my dad reading it. The magazines were hidden on the side of his La-Z-Boy; there was a drawer he’d tuck them into. But my first situation with the magazine was when I got them out one day to look at them. I remember being on the living room floor, looking through all of them. Don’t get me wrong, I was seven; I couldn’t read them, I was just looking at the boobies! So then my mom came down the stairs and yelled, “Laura, what are you reading!” I was fascinated, like, “Am I going to get those [boobies]?” And it never really worked out for me since I didn’t really get them! But yeah, my first memory is getting caught reading Playboy when I was seven years old. Even at the age of seven I thought that girls were so much prettier than boys. Their bodies are so much prettier! I think that the female form is just the superior form. [laughs]


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