To state the obvious, Rob Corddry is hilarious! From his early Daily Show days of hiding a camera in the crotch of a yoga unitard, to his present day playing the creepy looking clown/doctor, Blake Downs, on his show Childrens Hospital, Rob has displayed that special talent for totally making you LOL all the time…I mean, he’s even funny over email!
MC: When did you first realize that you wanted to act? When did you realize that you were way funnier than the average person?
RC: You’re very nice. “Way funnier than the average person” is very subjective and I know a lot of “average” people who would argue that point. But to your point, I was in a “Crazy Hat Contest” in the 6th grade. It was obvious that most of the kids’ parents had made their hats and mine was something close to a garbage can lid with yarn hanging off of it. So, to gain an edge I started posing like a pin-up girl. I didn’t win but I got the most laughs. That wasn’t the moment I decided I wanted to be an actor, that happened in college when a teacher I respected told me that I could probably do it with some success if I wanted, but it was the moment I realized that laughter was my fuel.
If I can add anything, it’s that it takes a lot to embarrass me, which is important. Performing well requires it.
What training did UMass provide you with to help set you up for a successful career?
The above-mentioned teacher, Ed Golden, was my guru. His honesty and practicality demystified the whole thing for me. Especially when, after a kid in my class told Ed that he just couldn’t do a particular exercise, Ed responded, “Then you don’t get the job.”
Did you have any odd jobs while trying to break into “the biz?”
There isn’t enough sheets of email in the world to cover it all. I did EVERY job.
Do you think working with the National Shakespeare Company helped you in your work at the Upright Citizens Brigade?
All work helps subsequent work but not directly, no. Two very different things.
How did your job at The Daily Show come about?
I auditioned. It was right around the time the UCB Theater was being recognized by casting directors as a viable place to find talent. And I could do the news voice. You’d be surprised how many people can’t.
Do you have a favorite bit that you did on the show?
Rob Corddry’s Boston.
When did you come up with the idea for Childrens Hospital?
Driving home from Children’s Hospital in LA with a hurt two year old. Brutal.
Why did you choose to make the show around 10 minutes long? Would you like to try to do longer episodes?
I could take almost every episode of every show on TV and cut it down to 11 minutes and 15 seconds and not miss a beat or a laugh. That said, our finale this coming season is 22 minutes and 30 seconds. But it’s like two normally packed Childrens Hospital episodes that happen to be related.
How does being the creator and driving force behind the show help your work on screen?
It distracts me from my work on screen in Childrens Hospital. I HATE acting on that show, I’m too busy doing other things. But, if anything, it has given me more confidence when working on other projects. And Childrens Hospital is like swinging three bats in the batter’s box and then stepping up to the plate for another project with one.
You have two movies coming out very soon, Pain & Gain and Rapture-Palooza! What drew you to those two projects?
I love money.
Do you want to do more dramatic work or even Shakespeare again?
My only criteria when choosing a project is, Only do cool stuff with people who aren’t jerks. So yes. The risk it that my credits are a little unfocused and that might cost me more jobs in the long run than it gets me. But it’s certainly more interesting than only playing the sarcastic best friend my whole life (which, by the way, I’d be totally fine doing. I like working. And money.)
Who do you find funny?
Besides the usual suspects? Howard Stern, everyone from The State, my wife, Kumail Nanjani, Brian Huskey, my daughters, Rebel Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Nick Kroll, Andy Richter, Ian Roberts, Tig Notaro, The Sklar Brothers, Dana Gould, Dave Foley, Paul F. Tompkins, Amy Schumer, Nick Thune, Jon Glaser, Key and Peele….
What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
Act. All the time. And get good at auditioning BY auditioning. All the time.
What’s something valuable you learned early on in your career that you still live by today?
Success is relative. Manage your expectations and you’ll always be surprised by the next step. ♦