Edie Falco is a living New York legend. The four-time Emmy winner has remained a constant on our television screens ever since her turn as Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos as well as her roles on Oz, Nurse Jackie, and Tommy. It only makes sense that she would play a part in Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical comedy, Bupkis. In the new Peacock series, Falco plays the comedian’s caring and protective mom.
“He was like a little kid in his excitement about doing the show and describing it to me,” Falco tells the Cut. “I would not have thought he would know who I was necessarily because we travel in different circles.” They may have different social scenes, but there’s one thing Davidson and Falco definitely have in common: their love for the New York Knicks.
You’ve played so many iconic characters throughout your career. Do you think your character in Bupkis would get along with others you’ve played?
I think Amy Davidson, Pete’s mom, is so adaptable. Maybe she’s had to be, but she’s just so easygoing. From when I met her — not a ton of times — she seemed able to get along with anybody. She just seemed comfortable around massively famous people or incredibly nice people on the crew. I have a feeling Amy would get along with anybody; she’d know a way into almost any personality.
After Nurse Jackie, you mostly did dramas, at least on TV. With Bupkis and your upcoming appearance in The Other Two, had you been looking to work more in the comedy genre?
It’s weird. I have a very good friend, Aida Turturro, who was on The Sopranos, and she would come see plays I do where everybody’s crying. It’s just the stuff that I’m attracted to. She’s like, “You got to do some comedies. Keep telling people you want to do comedies.” And I was like, “I don’t know if I want to do comedies.” The next three or four calls I got were about comedies, like movies and plays. Then this came along. It was like, Wow, that’s interesting. She must have put it out into the universe. I wasn’t looking specifically for comedies, but they just popped into my lap.
Let’s get into the “Taste Test” questions — where do you get your best culture recommendations from?
It would be a friend, a text from a friend.
You’re hopping into an UberXL and can bring five celebrities, dead or alive, with you. Who’s coming?
Oh my gosh. Joni Mitchell I’m a big fan of. Tracy Morgan because I sit next to him at Knicks games and he’s hysterically funny. Oh my gosh … Can you imagine Joni Mitchell and Tracy Morgan sitting in a car? I can’t. I’m having an aneurysm. I don’t know, that’s all I got.
Those two would be hilarious.
Oh my God, the laughs!
Since this is “Taste Test,” what was the last meal you cooked for dinner?
The last thing I cooked for dinner must have been quesadillas for my kids. That’s the extent of my cooking abilities. I’m not a cook. I do a lot of ordering in.
I relate. What’s your go-to place to order in from?
The Butcher’s Daughter. I’m vegan, so there are a couple of restaurants I absolutely love. I order from them all the time.
Do you have a pre-filming ritual?
Getting my roots done. That’s about it!
Comedies like Bupkis have a quality that makes you want to revisit them whenever you need a laugh or some comfort. What’s your comfort rewatch?
Downton Abbey. I just loved it. I love that world, that time period, and the costumes. It just seemed like things were so simple.
On the flip side, what is something you will never, ever watch no matter what?
I’m an animal activist and animal person, so there were some TV shows I had a really hard time watching because of what they did. Horses, they don’t ask to be in the shows, you know? Don’t get me started … So the ones with certainly any kind of animal abuse. There was one called Animal Patrol or something on Animal Planet where they go and find animals that have been abused and go, Good-bye, and I just can’t do it.
What music do you listen to when you’re alone?
I listen to Björk, Joni Mitchell, Dave Matthews, Radiohead. I’m trying to think of a particular English band from the ’90s that I like. My brain is gone, but I’m kind of all over the place.
Tell me about a book you couldn’t put down.
Let’s see, Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese writer. Every one of his I started and literally hours go by and I’m missing meals. I had like 15 of his books in a stack. It’s time to maybe start reading them again because at this point I will have forgotten the first one I read. He’s a writer I can’t put down.
What’s the best piece of gossip you’ve ever heard?
Well, it was on a show I was doing. They told me that one of the lead actors was having an affair with a crew member. All of these people will remain nameless. That was the most outrageous piece of gossip. I literally fell off my chair. I couldn’t believe people actually fall off their chair in shock when they hear things. It was the first time! It’s like when people do a spit take, it’s like it actually happens. It was totally not interesting to anybody else, but I was like, “Are you kidding?”
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?
Best advice was from my grandmother, who raised five kids, telling me about raising kids. I said, “What is it I need to know?” She said, “Patience.” That has served me very well. I’m still trying to find some, but that’s the best advice.
The worst advice: There was a teacher in my college, my acting school, who said, “You’ve got to get speech lessons. You have a sibilant S. The way you say S is wrong. You’ll never work in film or television.”
What’s your favorite art that you own?
I own a fair amount of art. There’s an artist in Seattle, his name is Terry Turrell, and he does paintings and some sculptures. I have bought way too much of his stuff. You get it from the Outsider Art Fair that appears in New York once a year; these are people who either aren’t formally trained or maybe are in institutions or have disabilities. This guy Terry Turrell does paintings I cannot take my eyes off, I just love them.
What’s your favorite game to play?
We play a game called Celebrity. It’s a silly game where you put names in a hat — it’s basically charades — and you have to describe the person. I play this with adults for hours on end, and nothing makes me laugh as hard as that game. It’s like the funniest thing to do, second to going to a Knicks game, which I love.
What comedy would you recommend to someone who needs a laugh?
Veep. I just thought they were such a brilliant bunch of actors. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was just masterful.
What would your last meal be?
Pasta of some kind and a giant bowl of popcorn.