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If you saw Craig Robinson on the street, you would probably call him Darryl. That's okay with him — people do it almost every day. After all, he's been playing the sarcastic warehouse worker-turned-manager by that name on "The Office" since 2005. Soon, though, Dunder Mifflin will close its doors for good and Robinson will be Darryl no more. Not that he was in the first place: Robinson has had memorable parts in "Knocked Up," "Hot Tub Time Machine," "Pineapple Express" and others. This week, he's back on the big screen with "Escape From Planet Earth." Or at least, his voice is. In the animated feature, Robinson voices Doc, a Furby-like alien talk radio host who has been taken hostage by scheming humans and forced to implement alien technology on Earth. Twitter? Yeah, that's all Doc.
NextMovie sat down with Robinson in New York ahead of the film's release to talk about aliens, "The Office," his hypothetical love advice talk show and more.
So, first and foremost, do you believe in aliens?
You know, just recently I've seen some interesting human beings, that I was like, you know what? There’s got to be alien life among us. Very "Men in Black" type stuff. Up until like really a week ago I was like wait a minute, there’s something going on there.
This could be happening! Was it here in New York?
No, I was watching something on TV. I think it was some athletes or something. I was like, woah, something freaky's going on.
Like what are you? Nice. Of all the technology that you've seen, which piece of technology do you think would most likely be alien tech?
Google, probably. Any of that stuff. There's those of course flying objects that you don't know, and you know it's like a lot of — of course this is I think from the government... oh here we go. I think they're like birds that are not actually birds — you know what I'm saying? Flying around. But you can’t tell.
Bam! Yeah, you know, you just don’t know.
They're out there. So you play Doc, kind of an alien talk therapist, in the movie. What is the best advice you've ever given?
You know I follow a Socratic...
Things are about to get really academic here.
...Therapy kind of thing where someone might pose their problem to me. People do ask me for advice for some reason. And I'll just kind of pose it back to them and let them answer on their own. I never like to give my advice 'cause I don’t want them to come back and "You were wrong! You ruined my life!" so it's more about "Hey, this is what you just told me. What does that sound like to you?"
So people come to you for advice a lot?
It's happened. I don’t know about a lot but, yeah, I guess it is a lot.
What do you think it is about you? They're just like, "You're a friendly dude."
Friendly? Um, maybe part of the success? I don't know but definitely probably more because I listen. I can be quiet and listen sometimes.
You're great at nodding wisely?
Or nodding off.
They're like, "Yeah, he's very present. He's very, very present." I loved the joke that you made up social networking in the movie.
I didn't make it up though!
The aliens invented it.
Is that because you invented Twitter? Did you do that?
Me personally? No, maybe Doc or one of those guys. You know, I’m not even on Twitter that much.
I saw you posting pictures. I looked you up.
I post, I post. I posted today. I'm very convenient. I see something I think is funny or whatever and that’s what happens but it’s like not all the time. Like some people are like, every minute they're on there. I'm like, ugh.
Yeah, it's exhausting.
I have to make an announcement, like, "Today I'm going to be answering and retweeting and whatever."
Otherwise, sorry, you will not see it?
Yeah not even the otherwise, like I tend to read them and catch them but it's so...interesting. Like you don't know who you're responding to, you know what I'm saying? So I try to be careful of that, I just kind of post and go.
Yeah, you don’t want to get yourself into any corners.
Exactly. I could see me in court like, "yeah, but you responded to the twitter! He’s a known murderer! You had to know that!" "I didn’t know your honor, I just was making a joke!" "I'm so sorry!"
"I was retweeting!"
"Her avatar seemed so normal. I don’t know what to do!" If you had your own radio talk show, what would it be called?
The Love Lounge with Craig Robinson.
Oh, nice. Would it be single-topic? Would it be about love?
It would be all about love. It would be all about relationships and the quest: The quest to find love, stay in love, how to deal with love, after love.
And here you are saying you don't give advice.
I'm saying what you said, it was a big if! And then I'll play some soft music and go "Yeah, that was Luther Vandross, back in the Love Lounge."
Who would your first guest be?
Probably Sofia Vergara. We would just talk about love and what it's like to love in Colombia.
I know that a lot of animated movies are kind of like clown cars of awesome people. Did you guys voice things together or were you all alone?
We were all separate.
Well, you know, I don’t know, it sounds like a good idea to at least get one in there but I think with the director with in his vision, it was better to just go in and play, play, play and then cause he can catch what everyone's doing in the end, spin it back.
Was there a premiere or anything? Did you catch up with anyone?
Yeah, not this past weekend but last Saturday before this one there was a premiere. Everybody wasn’t there. I think [Rob] Corddry was there, Jessica Alba, Jane [Lynch] was there. Hugh Jackman was there, apparently. I saw a picture of him.
He’s not in the movie.
I was gonna say, he just showed up? He was like, "I assume I was in this."
So, yeah, it was nice to get with the cast a little bit. I think that was my first or second time meeting Jessica [Alba], so that was cool. But you know, I know Corddry so...
I was gonna ask, are you guys getting to work on “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”? Is there anything happening there?
Looks like it’s gonna be this June. There’s a couple of monkey wrenches trying to be thrown into the program so we’ll see.
Is it just scheduling? Is there a script yet?
There’s a script, it’s kind of going through some changes. But you know there’s so much stuff to deal with actually getting the final product so I don’t think it’s a huge thing, it’s just, you know, a couple of things like okay, we gotta pay attention to this before this happens.
"Hot Tub Time Machine 2: Electric Boogaloo. Return of the Dead Squirrel."
Let’s hope so.
Can you say anything about "This Is the End"? You’re playing yourself, right?
Yeah, we're all playing ourselves. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directing. It was like literally if you were sitting with your friends and like, "Hey, let's make a movie, you know, let's do some crazy stuff!" and just happened to have a movie set and crew and all of that. But yeah, we had so much fun and they had visions of what they wanted as far as us being ourselves.
So are you like an exaggerated version of yourself? What's something you do in the movie that you wouldn't normally do?
Drink my own urine.
You don't usually do that?
I mean, you know. There's the seven or eight times.
So do people call you Darryl often?
Yes. Very often.
Like every day?
If I'm out somewhere in public, I'm probably going to get a Darryl.
People recognize you and they're like "Sup!"
Is that weird? Is it annoying?
No, it's cool, I get it. These are people who love the show or they don't love it but they're familiar with it. Whatever the case, it's very interesting. Sometimes people will talk and they’re not talking to me, they’re talking to someone about me. Now that gets weird.
Like where you can hear? Oh, weird.
Yeah exactly. He's from "The Office," he's from "Pineapple Express." Like do I acknowledge, do I wait for somebody to come over? So it depends on my mood but for the most part I figure you'll address me if you want to.
Do people sneak cell pics?
Oh yeah absolutely. I've looked up more times and saw a camera being flashed. What can you do?
Is there a line that people ask you to quote a lot?
From "Knocked Up" and "From Daddy’s Little Girl." From "Knocked Up" a lot of people are like Come on say, "you can't have no old pregnant bitches" or one of those lines. And meanwhile "Daddy's Little Girl" is the type of period movie I did. People...like the other day, yesterday...what was it Saturday? Saturday I was driving and some people were like... I saw them kind of waiting for me to pull up, I was behind a bus and as I pulled up they start going, "Julia, you know I'll never make a fool of ya," like this ridiculous rap I did in there, so stuff like that happens quite a bit.
Is it weird walking through the world having people know who you are and you're like I don’t know you?
Weirdly, it's not weird. It’s kind of like, you're everybody's friend. I think "The Office" does that and a bunch movies I've done. It's almost not expected but it’s not as weird as you might think. The weird part is wondering if you know a person. 'Cause they're like "Craig how you doing man, what’s going on?" And you’re like "I'm Craig, how are you?" And they’re like "I loved you in such and such." Some people really look at me and I'm like you don't know me it's cool. And then other people are like "Hey, we were in junior high together," or "You helped me paint my apartment."
And you're like oh, hey. Are we gonna see an "Office" reunion down the line?
I keep saying to the crew, "let's do an 'Office' movie." Let's make that happen. Let's get some awkwardness on the big screen. Who knows what happens with that stuff. It would be very interesting to come together with this crew after ten years or whatever it is that you do a reunion show.
It would be like the "Boy Meets World" sequel that they're doing now with Corey and Topanga's daughter. It could be about Jim and Pam’s kids. You guys could all show up.
Interesting, yes. And then Darryl's little daughter comes in.
How do you think you would do in a zombie apocalypse? And do you have a plan?
At this point I'm just trying to figure out where I would hide and where the zombies couldn't smell me. But no, there’s no plan set in motion right now.
So I think I would definitely become a zombie before too long.
You wouldn't fare too well in that?
Not at this moment, no.
Alright, that's fair. What was the first movie you ever made out to?
Made out to? Let me see, I think I was in a drive-thru. What movie was that? It was Susan...oh my god that was years ago. I don't know...what movie did we see in the drive-thru. I wish I could tell you, all I remember was the making out part.
That's the important part. Do you ever Google yourself?
Yeah? What’s the weirdest thing you've found.
Let me see...like an article written on me or something? Weird? I don't know how weird stuff is. Or you might see like comments or whatever and then you immediately un-Google yourself. It's like I don't need to read this.
What do they say?
If I see anything going towards the negative, it's like ahhhh.
See you never!
Yeah or you might see something and then people defend you so that's kind of cool to check out.
What advice would you give your high school senior self?
Stay in shape. Keep working out, cause it just gets harder. And watch your knees.
And what would your porn name be?