“Any time you do something out of your comfort zone, you think, ‘Oh, will I do a good enough job?’ I didn’t want to screw it up for kids!” the Oscar nominee, 49, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s cover story about revamping NBC’s hit show, which she and husband Ben Falcone also co-executive produced this season.
But the opportunity to shine a light on “remarkable” kids who are changing the world was one she couldn’t turn down, and the star — who’s mom to daughters, Vivian, 12, and Georgette, 10 — says the experience has been life-changing for her.
“I can honestly say at the end of each show, I heard so many people in the audience and crew saying, ‘I have to do better!’ These kids are so impressive,” says McCarthy, “and it just reminds you that there’s really good stuff in the world.”
- For all the details on how Melissa McCarthy is raising kind, strong daughters, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. And to see her answer even more questions from her adorable young fans, watch the video above.
What chore do you hate the most? —Madison, 3
“There are 7,000 ever-growing pairs of shoes around my house. As I walk around, they dissolve off of my kids’ and my husband’s feet. I do think I spend a good chunk of my day picking up shoes,” says McCarthy. “As I go through the house, I’ll pick them all up, and [when I] get back to the starting point, there’s just shoes again! It’s like they’ve all gone on, put on 50 shoes and then dropped them throughout the house.”
What’s your favorite animal? Mine’s a dog. —Goldie, 5
“I would have to say dogs, too. I have a Betty and I have a Harper, and they’re both slightly crazy. Betty is really little. She just stopped growing at some point,” says McCarthy. “They’re nuts, but I’m very sweet on them!”
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? —Margot, 8
“My pants fell down once publicly, and I didn’t know that they had fallen down, which I know that sounds like, ‘Are you crazy?’ But I had four bags and was running down the stairs,” says McCarthy. “I was having a fence built, so I was telling the guys — because it was starting to sprinkle — ‘You don’t have to be here today.’ They all very strangely just kept going, and I thought maybe they were mad at me. Nobody would look at me. I just kept talking and stayed there longer and longer.”
“As I went down the stairs, [my] baggy pants literally just fell off my bottom. I didn’t know it, and then I looked down. I just saw bare knees, and then I saw pants around my angle,” continues McCarthy. “All I could do was bend over, pull my pants up, and I said, ‘Great fence, guys. Terrific fence.’ And I just walked away. It was horrifying, but now I find it very funny. I don’t know if those gentlemen have ever gotten over it!”
Little Big Shots airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.