‘Gilmore Girls’: Melissa McCarthy’s Joke on Set That Scared Visitors So Much She’s ‘Never Done It Since’

Sookie St. James is a beloved character on Gilmore Girls. Her clumsiness and positive attitude endeared her to fans. While Melissa McCarthy brought comedy stylings to the TV show, not all of her jokes landed. 

Melissa McCarthy’s joke on the set of ‘Gilmore Girls’ that went wrong

Melissa McCarthy at the BAFTA Tea Party
Melissa McCarthy at the BAFTA Tea Party | John Sciulli/Getty Images for BAFTA Los Angeles

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Even McCarthy admits not all of her jokes have elicited laughs. 

During a 2019 appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden, the actor and comedian shared an example from her Gilmore Girls days.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCarthy recalled how on her downtime from filming the series, she’d stand around on the Warner Bros. lot doing a bit. It involved her punching her character’s fake baby bump while smoking a cigarette. 

When fans spotted McCarthy doing the gag during a tour of the studio, they didn’t respond well. 

“People were laughing and then I did it again and the second time I did it, everyone’s like, ‘No, that’s not OK,’” she said, noting that had a studio tour had witnessed the joke. 

Melissa McCarthy and Lauren Graham at the 2001 WB Upfront All-Star Party
Melissa McCarthy and Lauren Graham at the 2001 WB Upfront All-Star Party | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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“There’s 45 people standing behind me on tour of Warner Bros. and I was like, ‘It’s not a real belly!'” she said. 

McCarthy told them she wasn’t really pregnant but they didn’t believe her. Those on the tour quickly shared their disapproval of what they thought was a pregnant McCartney smoking a cigarette and punching her baby bump. 

“People were pointing and saying like, ‘No’ and ‘That’s not OK,'” she said.

Three months later, McCarthy tried the gag again. She got the same results. Another group of people touring the studio saw her. Twice was enough for the Bridesmaids actor. McCarthy retired the joke and has “never done it since.” 

Melissa McCarthy wasn’t supposed to play Sookie on ‘Gilmore Girls’

To fans of Gilmore Girls, the Mike and Molly star will always be the talented chef and Lorelai Gilmore’s best friend. But McCarthy wasn’t originally cast as Sookie

Alex Borstein, who nows stars in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, signed on to play Sookie. But because of contractual obligations, the Emmy Award-winning actor had to back out of Gilmore Girls

The show’s casting director started the search for the right actor to play Sookie all over again. In doing so, they found McCarthy. As the saying goes, the rest is history. 

Even though Borstein didn’t play Sookie, she made a few appearances on Gilmore Girls during the show’s original run.

In early episodes, she played Drella, the grouchy harp player at the Independence Inn. And later in the series, she played Miss Celine, Emily Gilmore’s stylist. 

Meanwhile, McCarthy’s become one of Hollywood’s most famous comedic actors. McCarthy’s net worth is estimated to be $70 million. The Kitchen, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Identity Thief are just a few of her movies.

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