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Kate Walsh on the end of 'Grey's Anatomy,' and why it's so hard to tell a joke in modern culture

Actress and animal lover Kate Walsh talked to Fox News Digital about her time on "Grey's Anatomy," and revealed if she'd do a reboot of "Private Practice." She also discussed comedy in today's world of cancel culture.

Kate Walsh was introduced as Dr. Addison Montgomery to "Grey's Anatomy" viewers in May 2005, and has since captivated fans with sporadic visits back to the show.

She originally returned last season, as she was told the long-running ABC medical drama was coming to an end after 18 seasons.

"I went back last season because they were like, ‘This is the last season,’" she told Fox News Digital. "I was like, 'Call me when it's the last season and I'll come back. I want it to be really special.'"

"It's not lo and behold - it's still going, but the writing is better than ever. The storylines are incredible. This year it's a really powerful storyline for my character - I'm really into it, and I'm loving going back and forth," she said.


In terms of when the show will actually call it quits? That, Walsh is unsure of. "This is a beloved show...Ellen's gonna be sort of exiting, and then she'll probably pop in and out I would imagine," she said of the recent departure of Ellen Pompeo, who has been the show's lead actress since the beginning. 

"It's an incredible platform to talk about social issues...I just think it keeps going because fans love it and it's an infrastructure that works."

This season, Walsh's fictional character, an OB/GYN with a specialty in neonatal surgery, is passionate about the real-life overturn of Roe v. Wade, and how women's reproductive rights have been affected as a result.

"When we were talking about me coming in this season, we discussed this whole storyline, and I was really into it," Walsh said of returning again, for season 19.

"Part of the magic of art - whether it's great literature or television, or film, or painting - it connects us. That storytelling is more powerful than a lot of things you can do in the private sector...It's a connector," she said.

Speaking of her arch this season, Walsh says, "It's really important, I know for the show, to tell all sides to any story. And to really look at it from all different angles. And have empathy and connection….I'm thrilled and happy to be participating."

"It's a crazy time in the world and lots of change in the culture, and civil rights being taken away from people and I think it's incredible to have a platform to explore it theatrically, you know?"

From 2007 to 2013, Walsh had her own spinoff show, "Private Practice," which surrounded Dr. Montgomery's departure from Seattle and new life in Los Angeles.

In a recent interview with "Good Morning America," creator of "Grey's" and "Private Practice," Shonda Rhimes, alluded to having an interest in rebooting the latter show.

"I actually feel like we didn't finish telling our stories on ‘Private Practice,’" she said. "We had so much more to say with those characters."

While Walsh clarified she had not spoken with Rhimes on the topic, she quickly added, "The cast - we all still have a very active WhatsApp chain. We're very close. It's something that, I - we'd also love to do...I bet people would want to come back and do it."

Something that Walsh has not done in quite some time is exercise her funny-bone, by way of doing live comedy.

When she was younger and living in New York, Walsh now 55, was a member of the comedy troupe Burn Manhattan. 

Speaking on comedy now, Walsh explains that she thinks times have changed. 

"It's impossible basically to do that," she says of performing a live show. "You'd have to have people put their phones in a basket - you'd have to have it super locked up."

Walsh, who now lives in Australia, says she knows that during COVID, fellow actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen performed with these restrictions. 

"I think it's a really tricky time to be funny. Because part of humor is - well it's definitely self deprecation, but it is, you know, making light of really difficult things," she shared. 

"That's part of the catharsis and the release of it and the connectivity, and that's how, you know, I grew up."

She went on to say that television of her era would likely not thrive in today's modern world. "I mean yah, the shows that I grew up watching, I mean "All in the Family"…"M.A.S.H." - all these things that you'd be like, ‘Wait…you probably wouldn't get that show on television today.'"


Walsh shared her take on why it is so difficult to tell a joke in today's society.

"It's unfortunate…because you start censoring," she said. She says "to get one good joke, you have to find like nine terrible jokes," and that "you have to be able to fail and be exposed, and to make mistakes." 

With that being said, Walsh clarified that doesn't mean you can "be abusive or any of that" in your comedy.

"It's just that you've got to be able to be fallible in order to be really creative. And if you get in a culture where it's too locked up, I think that's really tricky and unfortunate."

In terms of what she considers off-limits in the comedy zone, Walsh admits, "I just don't even think like that."

Instead, Walsh thinks primarily about her two beloved animals: her dog Rosie, 15 and cat Pablo, 18.

With her new partnership with Purina's Tidy Cats, Walsh is happy to set the record straight on what a cat-woman looks like.

"I wanted to re-brand the 'Cat Lady' for a long time - come on, we're really pretty cool," she noted. 

Walsh was excited to partner with Tidy Cats and their Lightweight Litter, which their press release says is a 99.9% dust-free option for felines that gives continuous odor control to a space.

"Just this idea that you can have a gorgeous home for the holidays...humans and pets can coexist during a festive and hectic time," she shared.

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