Thursday, September 6, 2007

Two Cents & Five Questions With...

...Andy Daly, Actor

Best known for his stint as a cast member on MADtv, Andy is known in the "Office" Universe as Gordon the Ben Franklin impersonator.

Recently Andy gave some time to TheTwoCents to share his own TwoCents & Five Answers! I laughed very hard with this interview, I hope you do too!


TwoCents: What got you started in show biz in the early goings of your career?
Andy Daly: Comedy, acting and writing are the only things I’ve ever wanted to do and I’ve been doing them since Jr. high when I used to impersonate all of Martin Short’s SNL characters in the school cafeteria – my Ed Grimley got me lots of chicks, as you can imagine. After college, I moved to NY where I did stand-up, sketch and improv all around town. When the Upright Citizens Brigade opened a theater in NY I made it my comedy home, studying with all four UCB members and performing in lots of shows there. Then I booked a few commercials, started appearing in bits on Conan, sold a few sitcom scripts, with a writing partne,r and in 1999 got hired for Mad-TV.

TC: You've done stand-up for years. What about it lured you into that 'gig'?
AD: Actually I only performed real stand-up for a couple of years when I first got to NY. There were many appealing things about it for me. It’s the easiest way to get up in front of an audience and perform – you don’t need any other cast members or costumes, there are lots of venues for stand-up – and when I was doing it, in the mid 90s, show business was hurling large wads of cash at stand-ups in an effort to find the next Seinfeld. But I quit doing it because I wasn’t very good at performing in my own voice or writing for my own voice. I much prefer doing characters. For several years now, I’ve been going up at eclectic (you might say “alternative”) comedy shows, like The Comedy Death Ray show here in LA and doing bits in character. I really enjoy it, though it usually does require some kind of costume. Costumes = pain in the ass. Related fun fact: the fat pad I wore to play Ben Franklin on The Office gave me a heat rash on my stomach! (I guess that fact wasn’t so fun after all. Sorry.)

TC: You've appeared on MADtv, Entourage, Reno 911 and more, what path brought you to play a Ben Franklin impersonator on an episode of "The Office" last season?
AD: Allison Jones, who casts The Office is one of those great casting directors who goes out and sees a lot of live comedy. She’s seen me perform many times and when the Ben Franklin part came up, she thought of me for it. The funny thing is that I almost didn’t go to the audition because I thought “I’m a slender guy in my mid 30s with a full head of hair. What chance do I have of being cast as our portliest and homeliest founding father who is always depicted in middle age?” But I went anyway and was pretty surprised when I got the part. Apparently I over-estimate my youthful good-looks by an extraordinary amount.

TC: What kind of vibe existed on the set of "The Office", being the new face among all the regulars for that shoot?
AD: The vibe on that show is fantastic. The week I was there, everyone was abuzz with excitement about attending the Screen Actors Guild Awards. There was much talk amongst the ladies about haircuts, facials and dresses. And people generally seemed to be having a great time. The cast could not have been more welcoming to me. Everyone was really into departing from the script and improvising a little, which is always great. It helped that I’ve performed onstage with John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, BJ Novak and Kate Flannery before and that I had met Jenna Fischer at the UCB theater only a few weeks before my episode – and I went to college with Dave Rogers, one of the geniuses who edit that show together every week. So I wasn’t a stranger to everyone there.

TC: What new projects are coming up for you or where can the TwoCents readers look for you in the near future?
AD: I have a role in the upcoming Will Ferrell movie Semi-Pro. It’s slated to come out in late February ’08. It is going to be a damn funny movie, lemme tell ya. You can also find me at LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in the fully improvised Asssscat show every Saturday and Sunday night and in a show called America’s Best Comic, where you can see me (along with Matt Besser and lots of other great comedians) doing some of those character bits I described above. Check the UCB theater website for details on that.

TC: If someone were to climb off a desert island and only have time to watch five movies to learn what American cinema is all about, what five movies would you show them?
AD: I don’t really see how the desert island plays into this scenario, but I will answer the question nonetheless. To learn everything you have to know about America and her cinema, watch:
- First Blood
- Rambo: First Blood Part 2
- Rambo 3
- John Rambo
- Raging Bull

Thanks so much to Andy for taking the time to help us continue fleshing out this Office Universe of ours. If you are in the L.A. area and drop in on one of his comedy shows, be sure to tell him you enjoyed his TwoCents here!

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