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Only Murders In The Building Season 3: Why Joy Looks So Familiar

Contains Spoilers for "Only Murders in the Building" Season 3, Episode 4 — "The White Room"

After being extremely unlucky in love over his lifetime, it looks like "Only Murders in the Building" stalwart Charles Haden-Savage (Steve Martin) has finally found true love with Joy (Andrea Martin). He's known Joy for years, and she'd been his go-to makeup lady on his long-lived detective drama, "Brazzos." While attraction sprouted for them unexpectedly during Season 2, during Season 3, they've remained a steady item and have even moved in together.

Unfortunately, Charles' love for solitude — and the murder investigation surrounding Ben's (Paul Rudd) death — seem poised to pull the couple apart. Charles and his friends discover a tube of lipstick sitting in Ben's dressing room — one used to scrawl the phrase 'f****** pig' on the mirror. Charles heads to the Arconia to ask Joy to move out, but while attempting to get the right words out of his mouth, he finds himself once more in The White Room. A notorious blank space where stage actors tend to go when under great stress, Charles finds himself spinning in bliss — and wakes up on his knees, having proposed to Joy. Even worse, Joy confesses to Charles and his friends that the tube of lipstick is hers, putting her at the crime scene and making her a possible murderer.

Andrea Martin is no stranger to playing a killer — or a fairy godmother, singer, lovable aunt, or pushy mother. The veteran actress is well-seasoned enough to have played dozens of different roles, and her skills have made her familiar to millions.

Martin broke through with Black Christmas

While Andrea Martin has mainly gained fame for her comedic acting, she made her big screen debut in as sexploitation film called "Foxy Lady." She then appeared in two slashers, 1973's "Cannibal Girls," where she co-starred with her future SCTV colleague Eugene Levy (who also appears in "Foxy Lady"), and the original version of "Black Christmas." Martin appears in the latter as the jocular and foul-mouthed sorority sister Phyllis "Phyl" Carlson. The strong-minded girl nearly makes it to the end of the film before meeting an offscreen fate at the hands of the film's unseen killer.

It turns out that the very early appearance taught Martin the ropes in a lot of ways. "It was really early in my career, as I say, so I still hadn't done a lot of film work, but I was working with four veteran film actors, so I watched and learned," she told the A.V. Club in 2014. She also confessed that shooting in the old Canadian house where the movie was filmed left her with an eerie feeling. 

"Black Christmas" has gone on to become a cult classic, and Martin is still so well associated with her horror past that she was brought back for the 2006 remake of "Black Christmas" as den mother Barbara 'Ms. Mac' MacHenry. Ms. Mac has one of the remake's most memorable deaths when she's impaled through the forehead by a falling icicle. 

Andrea Martin made a name for herself on SCTV

If you remember Andrea Martin from anything other than "Only Murders in the Building," then you're likely familiar with her work on "Second City TV" or "SCTV," a well-known Canadian sketch comedy series that aired for six seasons across multiple networks.

A contemporary of "Saturday Night Live," the sketch comedy series launched the careers of Martin, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, and Harold Ramis. In the series, Martin played various original characters for the show. She also played several real-life celebrities, from Bernadette Peters to Barbra Streisand. But Martin was best known for essaying the role of Edith Prickley. 

Prickley was, within the "SCTV" universe, the manager of the station in "control" of SCTV, broadcasting out of Melonville in an unknown province. The lively and loquacious Mrs. Prickley was quite the showboating entertainer herself and "performed" in local singing engagements "advertised" on the program. "I loved playing Edith Prickley because, as sad or second-guessing as I could be as a person, or maybe if I looked at something negatively or was hurt by criticism, just doing her would make me feel more alive and more optimistic and kind of fearless. That's why I loved playing her," Martin told the AV Club.

Martin has said that she's rather nostalgic about those years. "I always think of that Joni Mitchell song: 'Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.' I don't think you ever realize how special something is while you're doing it," she told Playbill in 1997. She also confessed to the AV Club that her favorite celebrity impression to do on the program was Sophia Loren.

She became a godmother for Sesame Street

While most celebrities appear once on "Sesame Street" and then never make a return appearance, Andrea Martin may be the most prolific actor ever to pop up on the venerable series. She appeared 33 times on the children's program from 1987 to 2011, and not only has she played herself, she's recurred as some pretty unique characters.

That's Martin as Wanda Falbo, the word fairy (which was also an SCTV that hosted "Wanda's Tiny Town"). On "Sesame Street," Wanda teaches children the meaning behind certain words. She's also popped up as Edith the saleswoman, a fairy godmother, and the Lecture Lady. Martin has also appeared on the show as Edith Prickley for the Canadian edition of "Sesame Street," where she has also played numerous other unique characters. But while she has a large number of physical acting roles down on the program, she told Long Island Weekly in 2019 that her favorite "Sesame Street" parts have been voice acting roles. "What I really love were all the voices that I did for 'Sesame Street' for Elmo's World. I did that for years."

She became the mother of all aunts in My Big Fat Greek Wedding Series

That's also Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, one of the many ebullient relatives Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) must cope with while preparing to marry a non-Greek man in the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" series of films and television show. Aunt Voula is the queen of TMI, and tells Toula's groom's parents about an unfortunate parasitic twin she had removed at the couple's engagement party.

In 2014, Martin told the A.V. Club that slipping into Voula's skin was easy for her, due to her own roots. "I'm Armenian, so doing a Greek accent came easily to me, and being around those people felt like my own extended Armenian family." She admitted she was surprised by the runaway success of the first film in the series — and so was everyone else involved. "The movie—we thought four people were going to see it, but then it went on to make more money as an independent romantic comedy than any other movie in the history of the world."

She has gone on to play Aunt Voula in every single sequel for the film, including the short-lived CBS sitcom "My Big Fat Greek Life," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" and the soon-to-be-released "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3."

She played a prude in Hairspray Live!

Andrea Martin has a vast Broadway resume, so it's not surprising that NBC picked her to play the bigoted mom of Penny Pingleton (Ariana Grande) for their 2016 rendition of "Hairspray Live!" While Prudy and Penny struggle to reconcile due to Prudy's overbearing parenting and Penny's choice to become a "checkerboard chick" by dating Seaweed Stubbs (Ephraim Sykes), Martin enjoyed bringing her character to life, discussing Prudy's bigoted views and overall journey in a 2016 interview with Broadway

This definitely isn't the only time Martin made herself the center of attention on a Broadway stage; her credits include "My Favorite Year," for which she won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," "Young Frankenstein," "Act One," and "Pippin."  Martin is also no stranger to the joys of queer-positive media; she has a supporting role in the film version of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."

She stands against Evil

While playing Joy, the ever-busy Andrea Martin has also been essaying a role on a streaming drama — that of Sister Andrea in the Paramount+ original "Evil." First appearing in Season 2, the veteran actor portrays the wisecracking, tough, and forthwith nun. Standing as the ultimate embodiment of goodness, she advises David Acosta (Mike Colter), a former journalist and current priest, who uses all his skills to investigate miracles and acts of demonic possession. She often finds herself at loggerheads with Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), who, in turn, embodies pure evil. The show has been renewed for a fourth season, which has not yet aired as of press time.

In 2022, Martin told TV Guide that playing the funny but principled nun was an immense joy. "She can joke, she can talk about sex, she can talk about her own relationship, she can do all that. But her mission is to completely abolish evil from the world. And when your feet are grounded like that, you can't go too far anyway."