INTERVIEW: Craig Robinson

Published on, Jun 2016

Why Craig Robinson Is “Loveable, Son”

It was one song that kickstarted the career of US comedic actor Craig Robinson, and with a similar artillery in place for his Australian tour, the baby-faced assassin tells Daniel Cribb about a crazy and strange new project on the horizon.

“That’s the first time I’ve heard that description of my characters, the ‘loveable villain’ – I love it,” chuckles Robinson. “This one guy actually called me the baby-faced assassin.”

It’s a fair assessment of the roles he often takes on when teaming up with longtime pals and collaborators Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, James Franco and more, as evident from Pineapple Express and other comedy hits.

“I’m lovable, son,” he quickly adds, jumping into the character of Matheson from the 2008 stoner success story.

Throughout a lot of those roles — most prominently as Darryl Philbin in the US version The Office — he’s delivered a musical edge. “Even if there’s no music in a scene, I’m still doing it to rhythm. When I learn my lines, I’m learning to rhythm, so it’s always there,” he explains. Perhaps a solo record of reinterpreted scripts would be a good debut record. “That sound tedious, but lucrative,” Robinson laughs.

Growing up in a “rehearsal space” with a musical family, the term musician-turned-actor is a good descriptor for the formative years of his career. “I was in college and thinking about becoming a comedian and I remember writing [Can I Have Some Booty] and singing it to a girl on the phone,” he recalls.

“I was talking to her nice and softly and said, ‘Can I have some booty?’ And I remember listening to the sound of silence, but it was because she was laughing, so I ended up taking it to a couple of stages at college and that became my calling card my first five, six years of comedy. For me, it just comes naturally.”

It’s that brand of comedy that Robinson and his band, The Nasty Delicious, will bring to Australia. “I think you should expect to lower your expectations and expect yourself to entertain us as we entertain you…it’s all about that connection.”

It’s surprising he has time to visit our shores, as a stack of impressive credits continue to accrue for the star, including an announcement he’ll join the cast of Mr. Robot for a reoccurring role. “I can tell you absolute zero about Mr. Robot — you’re not tricking me,” he jokes.

On the film front, he’s been busy with the same Rogen crew and gearing up for the release of animated masterpieceSausage Party — think an R-rated Toy Story that involves food instead of toys, written by the same guys who producedThis Is The End. Robinson plays a supermarket food elder by the name of Mr Gritz. “You can get away with more in a cartoon, so they took full advantage of that,” he tells. “It’s strange, it’s crazy and so much fun. The worst thing about this movie is people having to tell their kids that they can’t watch it, because they’ll want to see it, but it’s strictly for the adults, my friend.”