What’s What With … The Office’s Craig Robinson

Actor/stand-up comedian Craig Robinson — known to most as Darryl on The Office (and the guy who was arrested over the summer for possession of meth and ecstasy and being under the influence of coke, weed, and amphetamines) — pays a visit to Helium this week. Our own Zack Falk caught up with Robinson to discuss house music, fried chicken, and recovery.

Zacharias! Can I call you that? Or Zachary? Or Z-Man?

All good … So what will you be doing this week when you’re not at Helium?
I love Philly, but this is my first time performing. I’m trying to find some good house music. I’m from Chicago [the birthplace of house music], and one time, when I was in Philly, I found a place with great Chicago house music. We did a lot of dancing. I’m excited. Some of my buddies in L.A. are from Philly. Kate Flannery [Meredith on The Office] is from Philly. Her parents own a bar [TA Flannery’s]. I’ll usually take an extra day to hang out when I’m in Philly.

To do what?
I find a Crown’s Chicken or head to Pat’s or Geno’s, and I go bananas.

Since most people know you from The Office and not your standup, what can they expect at Helium?
It’s very musical. And there’s lots of audience participation. I gotta see what the crowd will be like. But they’ll be in for a fun night with big bad Darryl.

How the hell do you keep a straight face in a scene with Steve Carell? Is every take we see the fifth or sixth try?
There are definitely times when you cannot keep it together. Steve has a power about him to just bust you up if he wants to. You just have to fight that power.

How does acting differ from standup?
Standup is immediate gratification. You immediately know if you’re winning them or losing them.

Since everyone wants to know, I’ve gotta ask: What’s the status of your drug case?
So many people have supported me through this trying time. If I just finish this counseling I’m in, then the charges will be dismissed. I’m well and doing well, and it’s a beautiful morning.

One last question: Do you ever make “that’s what she said” jokes with your friends the way I do, or is that what separates me and my buds from a professional comedian like yourself?
Are you kidding?!?! This girl said something last night like "I’ll try to keep it up," and I said, “That’s what she said.” Man, even before The Office I’d say that phrase all the time. When it came up on our show, it just resonated with me. That’s my kind of humor, and I knew I was in the right place.

Through November 22nd at Helium Comedy Club. Tickets $15 to $30.