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Naomi Grossman: On Her Role as Pepper on American Horror Story, Comedy, and Having Fun with Fashion

You are a former member of the Groundlings Sunday Company. While you play a dark character of AHS, were you able to apply any of your comedic experience to your performance as Pepper?

A ton!
I think the work I did at the Groundlings and on AHS are strangely comparable.
In both cases, it involved doing extreme character-work, but to different effect.
At Groundlings, we were out for the laugh.
At AHS, we’re playing the scene honestly according to the character.
Pepper absolutely belongs at the Groundlings, though she’d be a little more “Name Game,” and a lot less “Orphans.”
That super-subtle, still style just doesn’t read on stage, especially the Groundlings.
So it’s really just a matter of moderating your size– let it rip on stage and contain it more for television.
But ultimately, it’s the same extreme-character work.

What do you love about working on AHS?

What’s not to love?
I love the cast– from the super high-profile stars, to the freaks; they’re across the board inspiring, both as actors and as humans.
I love the work ethic– everyone cares so much, and it shows in the end product.
I love the attention to detail–from the breeze that blows the tent, to the buttons on Pepper’s sweaters.
I love to the the art direction, the sets, the lighting, the camera work, the costumes, the writing.
It’s such an aesthetically-pleasing show, and again, no one’s phoning it in.
It’s thrilling to be a part of something so well done, and can take such tremendous pride in.

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