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e-Briefing | Celebrity Setup

This 'Secretary' Loves Her Vaio

February 08, 2001

Unlike her flamboyant TV persona Mimi Bobeck, Kathy Kinney uses her computer as more than a shelf for troll dolls.

Kathy Kinney, who plays the irrepressible and overly made-up secretary Mimi on "The Drew Carey Show," got her start in show business as an actual secretary for WCBS-TV in New York in the 1980s. Her breakthrough role was as an artist in the independent film "Parting Glances," and then she landed a recurring role on "Newhart" playing the town librarian.

On Wednesday's episode of "Drew Carey," Mimi will give birth (her character is married to Carey's brother on the show). AOL subscribers can enter a contest to name the baby boy by going to keywords "Mimi's baby."

DESKTOP: I have a Sony Vaio that's about 3 years old, I won it on "Celebrity Jeopardy." I came in second with $12,000--which went to my charity, Project Angel Food--and then just for being on the show they gave us all this Sony stuff.

Coming from the girl aspect, I really love it because it's slightly lavender. It really fits in my library at home.

LAPTOP: At work, I have a Macintosh G3 laptop in my trailer. Apple has been very good to "The Drew Carey Show"--Mimi has a purple iMac on her desk and Drew has the Cube with the flat screen, so a lot of us bought Apple computers for our trailers.

But I'll tell you, I really miss my old laptop, a Toshiba that I gave away when it got to be old. I'm a software junkie, and I just can't get all the software I want for the Mac. It's a lovely machine and I'm grateful to have it, but a computer is just a computer until you put in the software. And if you can't get what you enjoy, it does you no good.

I want to be on "Celebrity Jeopardy" again so I can get the new Sony Vaio laptop.

Q. What kind of software do you enjoy using?

I have the big Printshop package that I use on my computer at home. If someone is having a baby shower at work, I'm the person who makes the flier. I had a New Year's party, and I made all the invitations. I just love stuff like that.

And I have to admit I play two games. "FreeCell" [available in both Windows and Macintosh versions] is sort of like a chess type of solitaire. And for Christmas my boyfriend gave me a Microsoft game package that included a card game I hadn't played since I was in college in Wisconsin. It's called "Schafkopf," which means "Sheep's Head" in German.

Q. Do you e-mail a lot?

Yes, to friends. Sometimes several times to the same friend in one day, even if I talk to them.

And I use my laptop to keep a journal that I write in and then erase immediately. I don't feel the need to keep it--I used to and then I would look at what I had written and see how shallow and immature I was. And it was only two or three years ago.

Also, I have an intense sense of privacy. If I was using pen and paper I would shred it, but since it's on the computer, I just erase it. I hope no one buys my old computer someday and goes inside it.

Q. Do you find privacy so valuable because of the business you are in?

I think it's partly because I was an only child. But it is true that if you are in the public eye, people print weird things about you that they make up. There was actually one story that I ran over a boy's skateboard but didn't hurt him. Still, I felt so bad that I went out and bought him a new one.

It was a nice story, but there was nothing about it that was true. I haven't even seen anyone skateboarding in my neighborhood.

HAND-HELD: Nope. I keep my schedule in my head. I've always been good about doing that.

BOOKMARKED SITES: I actually shop on the Web, and I buy things on EBay. I love to buy old lamps and rewire them. I bought some today.

And sometimes I buy very inexpensive art--weird little oil paintings for $15--and then I pretend it's real art.

Q. What else do you use the Web for?

Research. When my mother was ill, one of the nurses came up to me and suggested I go to a Web site to learn more about what she had. That was very good of her, and it was very helpful to me.

SCREEN SAVER: I use the travel themes in Windows. Right now I have one of a Paris train station.

FAVORITE TECH TOY: TiVo. I am hooked on the "Biography" show on A&E [Arts and Entertainment cable channel] and I have a friend on "Strip Mall" on Comedy Central. I have a season pass for both those shows on TiVo.

And here is my dirty little secret: I love watching Martha Stewart. It's my guilty pleasure. Actually, I find it comforting that she is taking housewifery to another level. I'm not a stay-at-home mom, but I think women who do make that choice need to be revered more.

I tried to make a meal once from one of her recipes. I had to go out and buy a whole bunch of new pans.

HOME AUDIO SYSTEM: I brought someone in to design a system for my house, and he did an amazing job. I love music, and he put speakers everywhere, even in the shower.

I don't have one of those huge TV sets, but the surround sound is so great you would be happy seeing a movie in my house instead of in a theater.


--As told to DAVID COLKER

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