Will and Grace Turns 20: Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally and Eric McCormack Get Real About the Show's Legacy

The NBC comedy premiered 20 years ago and is readying its second revival season.

By Chris Harnick Sep 21, 2018 8:10 PMTags
Watch: "Will & Grace" Stars Weigh in on Series' 20-Year Legacy

Oh, honey, can you believe it's been 20 years since Will & Grace premiered on NBC? The comedy debuted on Sept. 21, 1998 and 20 years later it's back on TV—and somehow better than ever, Sean Hayes told us.

"It's been 20 years and it feels like two weeks, but we're all so happy to be back and grateful for the gig. And in my opinion, the writing is actually even better than before," Hayes told E! News' Kristin Dos Santos on the Will & Grace set.

When Will & Grace debuted, it was unlike anything on TV. The series is credited with helping bring gay characters and stories to the mainstream for many people. In fact, Joe Biden has credited the series with helping shift social culture.

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"I think Will & Grace did more to educate the American public more than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that which is different. Now they're beginning to understand," he said when discussing his endorsement of same-sex marriage.

Hayes, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally are all back in their signature roles for a second revival season on NBC.

"As an actor you're grateful for the job, and then the byproduct to me is actually more valuable," Hayes said. "The gift that I get that brings me to tears is about kids all over—adults all over—saying you helped me come out, you helped me realize it was OK to be myself. To have that kind of effect on people is such a reward, and bigger than men, bigger than any of us. I just am so grateful that I am part of this message. It just goes to show what the power of comedy can do."

Messing said they never could've predicted the show would have such an impact, both politically and socially, "but it brought the lives of the LGBTQ community to primetime television and that meant a lot—and still means a lot. I'm proud, I'm proud and I feel lucky to be cast to be a part of it," she said.

Click play on the video above to hear more from the cast, including Mullally on the letters the cast received during the original run. Be sure to watch E! News at 7 and 11 p.m. for more from the Will & Grace cast.

Will & Grace returns Thursday, Oct. 4 on NBC.

(E! And NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)