Anna Faris is one of Hollywood's busiest funny ladies, the star of movies like House Bunny and What's Your Name and of the new sitcom Mom (9:30 p.m. Monday on CBS3).
Which is a little bizarre because all she really ever wanted to be was a drama queen.
"Nobody thought of me as a funny person," she says of her early years as an actress growing up in Edmonds, WA., north of Seattle. "I had always had a dramatic intention. I desperately wanted to be taken seriously."
Then fate did a spit take.
Somebody apparently noticed an audition reel she had mailed to Los Angeles, and she was invited to fly down - on her own dime - to try out for the 2000 horror spoof, Scary Movie.
"My mom gave me some miles from her frequent flyer's account," Faris recalls. "I crashed on a friend's couch. It was a huge shock when I got the job. I kept bracing myself to be fired because I had no idea what I was doing. Totally clueless."
Now of course, she's at the top of her profession, playing the lead in a Chuck Lorre comedy (the creator of shows like The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men). In Mom, Faris, 36, plays Christy, a struggling single mom working as a waitress, attending AA meetings and trying to make up to her kids for years of neglect.
"This is the best job I've ever had. I love playing a flawed character who's not always likeable and makes very questionable choices," she says, cracking up.
Working on TV began to look more attractive after she gave birth last year to her son Jack, with her husband Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation.
"The schedule does allow you to have a life," she says.
Voice work is also a flexible gig. She reprises her role as weathergirl Sam Sparks in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the animated kiddie film that opens this weekend.
But there's a dark side to Faris, too. Her macabre taste has led to hobbies like creating scale dioramas of famous murder scenes. And she has decorated her house with Pratt to look like the set of a Vincent Price film.
"Both Chris and I have a fascination with biology and there are a lot of odd things around the house," she says.
"All actors love to play with the perception of themselves. I'm this silly, super-bleached blonde, so I get a kick - I know it's childish - but I get a kick out of surprising people."
She's enjoying her elevated status as a network VIP. "Every time I get to drive on the Warner Bros. lot, my heart skips a beat," she says. "Ten years ago, I was not allowed on that lot."
With all she has going on, Faris admits it's hard to maintain balance.
"My husband's gone, in London," she says. Pratt is filming the superhero blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy. "And having a little baby, I want to sleep all day long. I try to eat well, but I end up eating a lot of donuts on the set. By season two, Christy will probably be in Overeaters Anonymous."
(9:30 p.m. Monday on CBS3