You might know him best as the smooth talking, level-headed, warehouse man-turned-manager Darryl Philbin on The Office, but Craig Robinson is much more than the man he plays on TV. We chatted with Robinson - who was jet setting in Brazil earlier this week - about life, show business and his planned performance at The Neptune on Jan. 12.
So I, and thousands of others, follow you on twitter (@MrCraigRobinson). Think you could explain yourself in 140 characters?
Wow, that’s a hard one! Umm…Just here to party? (laughs)
Talk about your early career? What was it like trying to break into the business in Chicago?
I started as a school teacher. I taught kindergarten through eighth grade music. Coming out of college, I knew I wanted to be a comedian, so I embarked on my journey. I would teach by day, then at night, I would do open mic stuff. To supplement my income, I was also a bouncer at night club. But I was more of the guy who would run and get the other, bigger bouncers and say, "Hey, get that guy."
Chicago was great for coming up in comedy because you could perform in a different venue everynight of the week, from that hole in the wall to the A-list spots.
I remember Bernie Mac had a show one there at the time. His was one of the biggest and best in the city. It was packed every night of the week. He liked to pull together local comedians to perform on his show sometimes, and I got the opportunity to perform once. It was a blessing.
You’re coming to Seattle in about a week. Did Rainn Wilson give you any advice on what to expect?
I had him post on his Twitter page that I was coming out there. We did an appearance for the Mona Foundation in 2010. When I was there, Seattle was rocking. I can’t wait to get back. The people there were just on the edge of their seats and exploded with laughter.
I can guarantee you Seattle is a lot colder than Rio right now. Are you ready for that?
Well, I promise I won’t parade around Seattle in my thong. But, I’ll be thinking about it (laughs).
On the Office, Darryl is a pretty laid back and level headed guy. Are you anything like your character in real life?
People always tell me I’m cool and chill, but I think, ‘I’m just sitting here?’ I have my moments when I get a little fun and crazy, though. As for Darryl, that guy is pretty much living in my head all the time. He’s like SUPER chill. Craig is JUST chill. The writers (on The Office) always try to stick funny things in there for him, but I say, ‘Darryl is way cooler than that.’
I thought I would finish with a quick lightening round of questions. You ready?
Funniest person you’ve ever worked with?
Will Ferrell. When you work with him, he tries to kill you with laughter. He doesn’t care about the take. He’s more focused on trying to destroy you on camera. It’s so much fun.
If you had to choose one thing to give up which would it be- music or acting?
Who would win in a sing off – Darryl Philbin or Andy Barnard?
Ooooo…Darryl, come on?! (Laughs). Andy's got a nice voice, but Darryl has soul.
What’s on your current iPod play list?
Stevie wonder, “All I do”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra – “Also sprach Zarathustra, Opus 30 prelude”
Earth, Wind, and Fire – “Be Ever Wonderful”
The last movie you saw?
Dream role and co-star?
I want to carry a gun. I want to be a gun-toting hero of a drama with some comedic moments. My co-star would be Taraji P. Henson.