As Nancy And Beth, Megan Mullally And Stephanie Hunt Are Musical Misfits The actors playfully cover everybody from George Jones to Gucci Mane on their new album. "We call it punk show-biz," Mullally explains.
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As Nancy And Beth, Megan Mullally And Stephanie Hunt Are Musical Misfits

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As Nancy And Beth, Megan Mullally And Stephanie Hunt Are Musical Misfits

As Nancy And Beth, Megan Mullally And Stephanie Hunt Are Musical Misfits

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PLEASE MR. JAILER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) Please, Mr. Jailer, won't you let my man go free?

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt have been actresses for years. Megan is best known for playing the tipsy socialite Karen Walker in the sitcom "Will & Grace." Stephanie has been in "Friday Night Lights" and other shows. They're 30 years apart in age. And now Megan and Stephanie have created a musical duo called Nancy and Beth. Their style is hard to pin down.

MEGAN MULLALLY: We call it punk show-biz because this show-biz element has crept into our very laid-back approach to music.

SHAPIRO: That's Megan, the more talkative of the two. They're on tour right now with a self-titled album, "Nancy And Beth."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) He said, I'll love you until I die.

SHAPIRO: The music does not stick to any one genre. There's jazz and country, like this cover of the George Jones' song "He Stopped Loving Her Today." It starts out earnestly about a man who pined for a woman until the bitter end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) They placed a wreath upon his door...

SHAPIRO: And then this classic country song takes a broad turn.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: You know, she wanted to see him one last time.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Oh, and we all wondered if she would.

MULLALLY: We originally recorded it where we did the talking section as straight as we could do it, but it really didn't work. And so we decided to go in a different direction.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY")

NANCY AND BETH: He just kept running through my mind. This time, he's over her for good.

MULLALLY: Our take on it is that it is an amazing country song, but it's also one of the most maudlin (laughter), completely self-pitying - you know, I mean (laughter) what he's saying is - it's like, are you serious? And it is. So when you see us in performance, you'll see that we have that take on it throughout.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) He stopped loving her today.

SHAPIRO: Also important to a Nancy and Beth performance - the looks and the moves.

MULLALLY: We have matching outfits, and we have full choreography. We're upside down at one point.

SHAPIRO: Is there a song on the album that reflects this?

STEPHANIE HUNT: "Fine Brown Frame."

SHAPIRO: OK, so here's what I want to do. I want to play "Fine Brown Frame," and I want you to talk me through the choreography.

HUNT: OK.

MULLALLY: All right, yeah.

SHAPIRO: Let's do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF NANCY AND BETH SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

HUNT: Sitting still.

MULLALLY: All right, we're sitting next to each other in two separate chairs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) Oh, you got a fine brown frame.

MULLALLY: We're being a little flirtatious.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) I wonder, what could be your name?

MULLALLY: But we're dudes.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) You look good to me 'cause all I can see...

MULLALLY: And...

HUNT: My legs are spread open for just a second.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) ...Is your fine brown frame.

MULLALLY: We change our crossed legs, and we lean over. And now we're sitting back with our legs apart, gesturing in a manful way...

SHAPIRO: In a manful way?

MULLALLY: ...Toward the person with the fine brown frame. I mean we're being masculine even though we're talking about a dude.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) Oh, you got a fine brown frame.

MULLALLY: And then we're very excited. Everything flies up in the air.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FINE BROWN FRAME")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) Baby, won't you tell me your name? You're silent with me 'cause all I can see is your fine...

MULLALLY: We hold the chair arms, and we go down. Our legs slide out. And then we cross, re-cross, cross and come back up - tippy, tippy toes. And our fingers go out and pose.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: Brava. I wasn't sure whether this was supposed to be a comedy album until I got to your cover of the Gucci Mane song "I Don't Love Her." And if we play part of this, I think we're probably going to have to bleep it.

MULLALLY: Bleep it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I DON'T LOVE HER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Rapping) I love the way she [expletive] me. I love the way she [expletive] me. Ah, [expletive], girl. I love things about her, but I don't love her. I love the way she treat me, but I don't love her.

MULLALLY: I remember this so well. Do you remember this, Stephanie? We were sitting on my bed. And we tried to, like, do the lyrics, and we died. We had to do it.

HUNT: I had my doubts until that moment when we tried to do it because it became something else.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I DON'T LOVE HER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Rapping) Man, I love the way she shake, and I like her 'cause she groovy. Love to see her naked. I love to...

MULLALLY: It's very anti-woman. So to have two women performing, it takes on this whole other timbre.

HUNT: We become, like, we're not victimized by this thing that is so blatantly horrible for women. But because we're saying it in an empowered way, then somehow the victimization goes away. It is...

MULLALLY: But then it becomes funny, is the thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I DON'T LOVE HER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Rapping) She a flipper. I love how she do whatever I tell her.

SHAPIRO: You're 30 years apart in age. Do you think that changes the way the two of you approach the music given that you grew up with different kinds of music, you have different musical histories?

MULLALLY: Well, I think it...

HUNT: I don't know about that 'cause we kind of have the same taste in music. But I feel like one of the images of the band - like, two women who despite 30 years in age are friends and are not competing with each other - is important I think for women to see.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PLEASE MR. JAILER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) Yeah, yeah.

SHAPIRO: Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt, it's been great talking with you. Thank you.

MULLALLY: Thank you so much (laughter).

HUNT: Thank you, Ari.

SHAPIRO: They are the musical duo Nancy and Beth. The self-titled album is out now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PLEASE MR. JAILER")

NANCY AND BETH: (Singing) I love like no other. What will I ever do? Do you know the answer 'cause...

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