When Mary Lynn Rajskub was cast on 24 as high-strung techie Chloe O’Brian, she scored more than just a cool TV gig — she landed a swift kick in the bootay. The comic genius — probably best known as Janeane Garofalo’s successor on HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show or Josh’s girlfriend on Veronica’s Closet — says the show’s frenetic pacing has spilled over into her real life.
“I try to act like my life is 24,” she tells TV Guide Online. “I’m like, ‘What’s going on?!’ And in my head I separate things into little boxes. It’s been good for my life because I was very lethargic before. I’m really getting s–t done right now.”
The serial thriller has given her career a shot of adrenaline, too. Despite steady employment, Rajskub (pronounced RAY-skub) has skirted mainstream success with bit parts in such films as Road Trip, Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde 2. Her role as Adam Sandler’s sister in Punch-Drunk Love got the attention of 24 producer Joel Surnow, who promptly introduced her to the masses as CTU’s resident oddball.
“I always think that everything I do is going to [boost my profile],” says the 32-year-old, who just wrapped CBS’s upcoming Charles Manson mini Helter Skelter, in which she plays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. “But I definitely think that  is a big difference because so many people are into the show. It’s pretty exciting and so different for me.”
For her part, Rajskub — who describes Chloe as “driven yet insecure” — can understand why her alter ego is one big ball of angst. “She’s having a bad day and nobody listens to her,” deadpans the actress.
“She’s right and they’re all wrong!” But she predicts the technogeek will have the last laugh. “I don’t want to spoil it for anybody,” she teases, “but I’m pretty sure she’s going to become the next president.” Can a Chloe/Sherry showdown be far behind?