Not a lot of people get to live their dream. But Emily Spivey is one of them.
She grew up in High Point, graduated from Andrews High School and then went on to UNC-Greensboro, a place for which she has the greatest of affection.
“I met my husband there we had a friend group that was around Latham Park,” remembers Spivey with a smile. “I hung out with friends from High Point, went to The Blind Tiger, that drug store where we would get milkshakes, Tate Street was the place to go – it was very hippy, chic.”
But her big break came when she moved to Los Angeles to get a master’s degree and joined the famed comedy troupe “The Groundlings.”
There, she met people who she still works with today, on the show she created for Fox called “Bless the Harts.” More on that in a minute, but first, how she got there.
Spivey was writing for “Mad TV” and “King of the Hill” on Fox when she found her way to her dream job writing for “Saturday Night Live.”
“When I was at ‘Mad TV,’ I was still performing a little bit and Steve Higgins who was at the time scouting for ‘SNL,’ saw me and Maya Rudolph performing together,” Spivey said. “They knew they wanted Maya (as a cast member) and they knew that I was writing so they wanted me as a writer so that’s how that happened.”
Spivey’s first show for ‘SNL’ was the first one they did post 9/11, on Spivey’s 30th birthday. But she didn’t have that burning desire to join Maya on stage at ‘SNL.’
“I liked performing things I wrote and I loved to improv but I’m not comfortable as an actor. I mean, I’ll do it but it doesn’t feed me in a very positive way,” said Spivey, even though she did have a major part in a movie she wrote that was featured on Netflix, starring her old SNL buddies Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer, called “Wine Country.”
But “Bless the Harts” is her knew passion, premiering Sept. 29 on Fox, right after “The Simpsons” on what happens to be Spivey’s 48th birthday.
Expect to see plenty of her home town on the show since Spivey sees “Bless the Harts” as a continuation of the Andy Griffith tradition of shows that feature characters that are Southern, flawed but lovable, with big hearts.
“I moved away from here so long ago but I’m still the most homesick person on earth. So, everything I always write secretly takes place in the South, even if it says it takes place somewhere else,” she says. “Bless the Harts” will be, “Gentle and humane, like Andy Griffith,” she said.
As for advice to anyone else who may want to follow in her footsteps, Spivey says to, “Think about what scares you the most but know would make you happy and go out and do it, no matter how much it scares you to death. Be brave, that’s what I did.”
See more from Spivey – and clips of “Bless the Harts” – in this edition of the Buckley Report.