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From 1998 to 2004, Mo Collins made audiences laugh on the sketch comedy show Mad TV, playing characters including the high-waist jeans-wearing Lorraine Swanson and Doreen Larkin, mother to Michael McDonald's Stuart. Read on to find out what the comedian and actor has been up to since her Mad TV days and to hear about Lorraine's surprising pandemic return.
She's taken on more serious roles.
During and after Mad TV, Collins continued to work regularly, acting in a few TV pilots and playing recurring roles on popular series including Just Shoot Me, Ally McBeal, Modern Family, and Arrested Development. She also memorably played Pawnee Today host Joan Callamezzo on Parks and Recreation. On the big screen, Collins had minor roles in the Judd Apatow films Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, as well as the Robert De Niro film Dirty Grandpa.
It her role as Steve Carrell's character's speed date Gina in The 40-Year-Old Virgin that Fear the Walking Dead producers remembered when looking to cast ex-Marine trucker Sarah Rabinowitz in that show's fourth season. The gig marked a turn for Collins, who usually plays comedic roles, but she said she felt prepared.
"[Playing in a drama] has been more challenging, just because, I mean, I have decades of comedy," she told SciFi Vision. "So, this was just a new playground. That being said, however, it's like, comedy is drama. If you're doing good comedy, it means at the heart of it, at its base, there's probably some drama."
Collins has also done a lot of work as a voiceover actor, playing characters on King of the Hill, Phineas and Ferb, F Is for Family, and American Dad, among many others.
She is in remission from a rare form of cancer.
Life took a turn for Collins in 2011 when she noticed a small lump in her abdomen. Her then-fiancé Alex Skuby convinced her to get it checked out, and she was eventually diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, or GIST, a rare cancer of the stomach and small intestines. The actor took medication to shrink the tumor before undergoing a successful operation to remove it. She now works to increase awareness of the disease and to raise money for GIST research.
She's a prolific painter.
Fans of Collins's comedy may be surprised to learn that she is also a talented artist who paints in oils and acrylics. "I started doing art when I was a little girl," she said in a 2014 interview with Sharing the Details. "I grew up wanting to be an artist."
Collins returned to her childhood passion as a way of getting through her cancer diagnosis. She went on to post dozens of colorful paintings on her own (now-defunct) art website.
"My painting became therapy to me after my 'stint' with a real son-of-a-bitch known as cancer," she wrote. "One beautiful thing about painting (and there are OH so many) is that when I work (or play, rather) I cannot think about anything in the world other than what is transpiring between me and the canvas."
She's married to King of Queens actor Alex Skuby.
In June 2013, Collins married her second husband, actor Alex Skuby, perhaps best known for playing Carrie's (Leah Remini) law firm boss on King of Queens. On the podcast At Home with Linda&Drew Scott, Collins explained the two met on the dating section of Nerve.com. They later starred in the 2018 play Damaged Furniture together, and they currently reside in California with a dog named Charlotte and two cats. In addition to being stepmom to Skuby's two adult children, Collins is mother to 27-year-old son Cullen from her first marriage to actor Jimi Englund, which ended in divorce in 2009.
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She revived Lorraine on YouTube during lockdown.
Fans of Collins's Mad TV character Lorraine enjoyed her brief reprisal on the CW's 20th-anniversary revival of the sketch comedy series in 2016. But it took a pandemic to give audiences even more of the beloved character. Collins and Skuby posted a series of five videos to the YouTube channel Lorraine in March and April 2020. In the videos, Skuby plays a new homeowner vlogging through the experience of discovering Lorraine has been living in his garage for the last 10 years. He invites Lorraine to stay with him during the pandemic, and things only get more awkward from there.