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Jenna Elfman on Dharma & Greg, Fear the Walking Dead and Turning 50


When I interviewed Dharma and Greg co-creator Chuck Lorre recently, he talked about wanting to create a character like Dharma who was full of love and unconditional kindness compared to some of the more edgy and hardened characters he had previously written. Tell me about your experience on the show, which is now streaming on Hulu.

He told me that [he had come off some] stimulating experiences [on previous shows] and that it was just fun creating Dharma and working backwards to figure out where it came from. I loved his writing for the show. I loved what he and Dottie Dartland created. It was really fun and all that casting was spectacular. It was truly a blast.

What would the fans say when they met you?

Even today, if I walk into an airport or a grocery store or whatever, people’s faces light up with joy and then they say, “I love Dharma. I wanted to be her. I wanted to know her. be friends with her.” And then they say, “I hope you’re like her because she was really cool.” How amazing is that? That brings me back to how much fun I had doing it. A lot of them now watch it with their daughters or granddaughters and pass it on.

I also received letters that said, “I was going to kill myself, but [thanks to] watching Dharma and Greg I decided not to because I realized it was okay to be different. It’s good to be myself.”

Wow.

I’ve had a lot, frankly. So I feel like on many levels it was a special experience.

Do you think you were or are like Dharma?

Well, I really like people. I like talking with people, hearing people’s stories. I think it’s an innate human inclination to share stories with each other and to make people feel safe to express themselves, to tell you their story. I think that’s probably what I share. I love people and I really love life. actually, I really enjoying my life.

You had such an iconic haircut on the show. Was it for the character or did you have this look before?

No, I got it. My friend Caroline Wiseman was my stylist for a while, and that’s what I did. And then I kept changing it up because I’m kind of obsessed with hair and couldn’t stick to one look.

Did you have to ask for permission at the time? Or could you do what you wanted?

I kind of did what I wanted until I wanted to cut it really short. Then I called and asked if it would be okay. And they said yes. It was kind of a transition for Dharma and it made sense, I guess.

You made a memorable appearance in the 1998 film, I can hardly wait, where you played a stripper angel. Tell me about it.

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