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She's Going For A Few Laughs

Actress JoBeth Williams is costarring with John Larroquette in the new CBS sitcom Payne, and she is quick to admit, "It's not an intellectual show. It's a funny show. It's an old-fashioned farce. It's one-liners. It's classic male-female going at each other."

Payne actually is an Americanized version of the classic British TV farce Fawlty Towers. But Williams says she feels that remaking a classic comedy has its benefits and drawbacks. With all nine episodes already shot, the biggest drawback may be waiting to see if the mid-season replacement will be picked up for next year.

"It's kind of like the baby's out there on its own," explains Williams, 45. "You have to let it go, but you still look at the shows and say, 'Maybe I should have done this or tried that.' We're all just keeping our fingers crossed, and it's sort of nerve-racking, not knowing whether you'll get to do more."

Despite her varied body of work, fans most frequently remember Williams for one role: "More than anything," she says, "it's Poltergeist." She made that movie in 1982, and only a year later she had a role in another landmark film: "The other favorite is The Big Chill, because that had such an impact on people."

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