Comedian, actor and musician Craig Robinson made a name for himself playing Darryl on NBC’s long-running hit sitcom “The Office” and movies like “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “This is the End.”
His latest film, “Morris from America,” was just released on video on demand services, and he’s set to host “Caraoke Showdown” on Spike TV. Robinson will bring his keyboard to Helium Comedy Club for four shows Sept. 28 and 29.
Question: Is this your first time in Buffalo?
Answer: No sir. I actually played a comedy club there called the Funny Bone many, many moons ago. It was the first and only time I was in Buffalo. It was the week that Krispy Kreme opened so it was incredible because there were lines of traffic miles-long because people were excited about Krispy Kreme.
Q: There are hot donuts available, people. We need them now.
A: Amen. That should be a T-shirt, “Hot donuts; we need them now.”
Q: What kind of topics are you tackling in your act nowadays?
A: Everything is one big sex joke in comedy, right? We’ll dance around it and there will be singing and fun, but it’s really up to the moment. We’ll talk about marriage, not being married, things like that.
Q: You used to be a music teacher in Chicago. Is that were you figured out you had a gift for entertaining and holding a crowd’s attention?
A: No, I grew up entertaining, whether it was in church or school. In college when I got the bug to do comedy, it’s where I started to see what I had. There were some open mics on campus I would go to.
When I was teaching, I would sometimes use a classroom as a comedy (room) trying some stuff out, seeing where the kids where and where I was at.
Q: Over the course of your comedy career, is there any night that sticks out to you as your favorite moment of performing?
A: There was a show out here that I hosted at the Hollywood Bowl. The two times I did it, (it had) Public Enemy, Earth Wind and Fire, Gladys Knight, Common, Lalah Hathaway, Babyface, Charlie Wilson … I got to present these acts, and it was a testament to how far I’ve come and being trusted as a host. I’m riding that high now because that shows just happened a couple of weeks ago for the second time.
Q: You’ve worked several times with that funny group of actors, including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and more. What appeals to you about working with those guys again and again?
A: There’s a trust factor. It’s like knowing your teammate and knowing that nobody’s going to let you down. They’re going to catch the ball. It’s always a blast.
When we did “This is the End,” I didn’t have a lot of dialogue, but it was never a worry. I knew we were going to get to it. It’s fun and always a learning experience. It’s always competitive (while) using our improvising gifts. You’ve got to get in where you fit in.
Q: Your latest movie, “Morris from America,” is more of a dramatic movie. What attracted you to that role?
A: I liked the script a lot. I met with (director and writer) Chad Hartigan about different characters, and I was like, ‘I definitely could see myself doing this.’ I thought the layers that the character had to present was a challenge, so I dug that part of it, too. I knew it would be a different look. It’s dramatic but there’s definitely some comedy stuff in there, so all of it played a part. And I also got to visit Germany, so that was cool.
Who: Craig Robinson
When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St.