CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the better part of two decades, keyboard-loving actor and comedian Craig Robinson has been killing it.
In addition to playing Daryl Philban in “The Office”, the funny performer has had memorable appearances in cinema (“Knocked Up”, “This is the End”, “Hot Tub Time Machine”) and on television ( “Eastbound & Down,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Mr. Robot”).
Now, Craig has teamed up with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” executive producers Dan Goor and Luke Del Tredici for new show “Killing It,” which debuts Thursday, April 14, on Peacock.
In a nutshell, the scripted comedy explores class, capitalism, and one man’s quest to achieve the American Dream. However, the latter involves hunting very large snakes in a state-sponsored python hunt.
We recently caught up with Robinson — who appeared in 2018 at the Hilarities 4th Street Theater — to talk about Slyman’s “Killing It” and how he learned to love snakes.
Craig, congratulations on “Killing It.” Before talking about the new series, what memories do you have of your time in Cleveland?
Oh man, I remember dinner with corned beef and pastrami. It was awesome. At Slyman, oh yeah. We had a great time. I’ve also been to a couple of celebrity chef Michael Symon’s restaurants and played Hilarities. A big congratulations to Nick (Kostis). I’ve been going to Cleveland for a long time. I remember when apartments weren’t fancy and charming. So it’s nice to see Cleveland doing their job.
Regarding “Killing It,” how did the show come about?
We had these meetings with Dan Goor and Luke Del Tredici about possibly doing a show together. They came back with this idea which has a dark side. There is also comedy, rooting.
Considering the new show involves the creative team behind “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” are there any comparisons to the long-running comedy?
Other than some of those fun, silly jokes, it’s different. It shows a different side of everyone, but we have some silliness in there. We kept that but didn’t want to go too “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”. It’s hard to compare this show to anything, really.
Your “Killing It” character, which also bears your name, is going through some tough times. Can you relate?
I connect with him in his attempt to succeed. Nothing will stop it. He is focused, he has motivation. Things don’t always work out, but when he falls he knows he’s going to get back up. He is never down for too long.
For those sensitive to snakes, “Killing It” will certainly test those fears. Were there any memorable snake stories during the filming of the series?
No, but it’s funny you say that because I’ve read people on Twitter saying, “I want to watch the show to support Craig, but I can’t do the snake thing.” I’m like, ‘Oh, man. It’s a journey. I understand. I was afraid of snakes before going to an animal shelter in Australia. I ended up touching a snake and I was like, ‘Oh, this snake is amazing.’ I don’t know if it was the energy or the feeling, but I ended up putting one around my neck. I didn’t believe it, I’m no longer afraid of docile snakes. Now, I’m not going to go into a swamp and look for snakes.
Naturally, everyone has loved you since “The Office”. Will you one day escape the shadow of the spectacle?
I love “The Office”. It’s like having friends everywhere you go. And killing him only made him stronger. How about this pun?
Good work. Let’s mix your worlds. What advice would your “Office” character Darryl Philbin give your “Killing It” character?
Darryl looks like what are you doing? Don’t kill the snakes, there’s a better way.
Finally, have you ever killed a snake?
Killed a snake? No. Right in front of the camera.