Mix of wit and strength

What does North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have in common with Hollywood hunks Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling? They all love watching new American comedy series Mixology.

That is if you believe the Twitter feed belonging to the show's lead actress Ginger Gonzaga (@gingerthejester).

Last week, the 27-year-old posted pictures of public figures along with made-up quotes of them eagerly recommending viewers to catch the show.

The actress tweeting as the North Korean leader said: "Mixology was the first thing that ever made me smile, I force my entire country to watch!"

The joke was "just something fun" that Gonzaga came up with during the broadcast of one of the show's episodes last week, she tells Life! with a laugh over the telephone.

"Usually, when the show is on TV, the whole cast get together and we live- tweet about the entire episode. But sometimes, that's kind of hard to do because it's not always easy to come up with jokes fast enough to match whatever's happening on the screen.

"So I looked through my computer and I had all these pictures and I thought, why not add something fun to them and make it sound like these guys all want to watch Mixology?"

Her Twitter jokes reveal a spontaneous and funny personality. Some media outlets, such as online entertainment portal Red Carpet Report, have named her one of the new It girls in comedy on American television.

In Mixology, which airs on Lifetime (StarHub TV Channel 514) on Tuesdays at 10.10pm, she plays Maya, a caustic attorney looking for love.

The nine-part series, written by Scott Moore and Jon Lucas of The Hangover (2009), revolves around 10 single people in a high-end Manhattan bar over the course of one night.

Gonzaga was immediately attracted to the role of Maya, precisely because of how brutal her character's tongue can be.

"She is this really strong woman, which is very rare to read for in the pilot season. I love comedies and I play dumb characters a lot, and Maya was one of the first characters I read in a comedy who has a backbone and says what is on her mind. She's strong, sincere and yet still funny."

In the first episode, Maya is approached by the sweet but awkward Tom (played by Blake Lee), and within seconds, she disses his shirt and his look.

As much as the actress wishes she were rather similar to her character in real life, she says that the show's producers have all noted that she is anything but that.

With a chuckle, she says: "The producers think I'm the least like my character among the cast. Maybe it's because I'm goofy and physically weird and I like to be animated in person, and Maya's just not like that. But in my fantasy, I would say the things that Maya would say."

Exactly what kind of pick-up lines would work on her or Maya?

She says with a laugh: "The ones that would never work for me are those pre-written ones. Something such as, 'If you were a booger, I'd pick you first'. It's supposed to be funny but, actually, it's just really lame. You have to be more original than that."

Before Mixology, she has had roles in TV series such as Family Guy (2012-2014) and Legit (2013-present), as well as comedy flick Ted (2012).

She got her start performing in various Los Angeles comedy clubs, as well as American military bases in South Korea.

Regarding the three-week military base experience, she has nothing but praise and fond memories.

"That was really amazing. You know, usually when women visit a military base, it's to do a burlesque show. So for a woman to go there and do comedy, that's quite different.

"It's an intimidating audience and you want so badly to make them laugh. But it was great and they were all very nice and sweet and shared with us their stories. They actually really needed to laugh because of what they'd seen."


Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

Mixology airs on Lifetime (StarHub TV Channel 514) on Tuesday at 10.10pm.

This article was published on May 1 in The Straits Times.

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