Jane Lynch Loves Being the ‘Weakest Link’ Host and Not a Contestant

Jane Lynch Loves Being the ‘Weakest Link’ Host and Not a Contestant

Growing up, Jane Lynch used to pretend to be sick so she could stay home from school and watch game shows like “Tattletales,” “Password” and her favorite, “Match Game.”

As an adult, she had the good luck of her guilty pleasure became something of a vocation. For seven years, she was the host of NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night.” And since 2020, she has hosted “Weakest Link,” a remake of the British series overseen, terrifyingly, by Anne Robinson. Season 3 is now streaming on Peacock.

“I love the game, I love trivia, I love that I’m not playing it,” said Lynch, who instilled her own brand of fear as the cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester in “Glee.”

“I could do it forever,” she added in a video interview from Manhattan, where she was filming Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” before talking about the neighborhood rambles, cultural outings and do-it-yourself projects by which she and her spouse, Jennifer Cheyne, try to live magnificently in Montecito, Calif.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.


One of the things that Jennifer and I said when we moved here is we want to be close to Coast Village Road, which is the main drag. It has all the restaurants and cute little shops. I walk up and down the neighborhood streets, and then I stop for a cup of coffee, and then I continue walking and I’m at the ocean, and then I just walk back.


The Montesano Market & Deli has really good, strong Italian coffee. I know all the regulars that come there. It’s a wonderful thing to go where everyone knows your name and you know theirs.


Montecito is part of Santa Barbara, and one of the wonderful things about living here is we have these beautiful theaters that were built in the 1920s and ’30s — the Granada, the Lobero, the Arlington. We have a beautiful symphony. We have a wonderful ballet company. We have professional plays with professional actors. We go to all of them. The last time we were watching a play and saying hello to people, I was like, “Is this a dream that we’re having right now? I don’t want to wake up.”


When I try to do the home improvement stuff myself, I go there, and I buy what I need, and then I ruin the project, and I have to call in a professional. But I always give it the college try. Now Jennifer is actually really handy. She can fix a toilet. She wallpapered the powder room. You see her on the internet: “How do you keep squirrels from getting into your tomatoes?”


I’d never thought I’d want to be in a book club with a bunch of women our age. But it’s got me reading fiction, and I really enjoy it. For the first hour we just gossip and socialize and have a drink. Then we talk about the book, and then it’s time to have soup or something. Our book this month was “Lessons in Chemistry,” which I thought was masterfully told.


When I was growing up, my mom was a stay-home mom, and everybody in the neighborhood was a stay-home mom as well. So the kids all played together, and the women would come over to one of the women’s houses and they’d smoke, drink coffee and give each other perms. I just remembered how lovely that was. I always wanted that version of a life, without the kids.


David Sedaris came and read from his work, and it was packed. Political folk come, which is always very interesting. Some people I don’t even know, but I go to listen to people speak intelligently and ask questions. It’s like being in school in a good way.


YouTube serves me with such great stuff, from the ugly mundane world of politics to these lofty ideas — non-duality, near-death experiences — that send your spirits soaring as you contemplate them. It makes you want to live this life as magnificently as you can because where they say we go is this gorgeous place that makes this look like a bad dream.


I’ve always needed my solitude, and Jennifer does, too. So we have our solitude together. She has her space. I have my space. But we know each other is there.


Sometimes I go to bed too early, at 6 p.m., and I automatically wake up too early, at 4 or 5 a.m. I really don’t like getting up when it’s still dark, so I try to sleep through it. I’m a much happier person if I can wake up when the sun has just come up. I love that time of day when everything is wet with dew and brand-new and sparkling.

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