SAN FRANCISCO – Comedian Craig Robinson, who audiences may best remember as Darryl Philbin, the warehouse manager on the long-running hit NBC TV show, “The Office,” is now enjoying even more success on the big screen.
Robinson, 41, most recently starred with Kerry Washington (TV’s “Scandal”) in the family comedy, “Peeples” and in the end of the world horror/flick, “Rapture-Palooza” with Anna Kendrick (“Pitch Perfect”) and Ken Jeong (“The Hangover Part III”).
However, it’s Robinson’s latest apocalyptic, stoner, dramady, “This is The End” that may be his biggest hit yet. In “This is The End,” which opens nationwide June 12, Robinson plays himself alongside a cast of big name celebrities—among them—singer Rihanna–who are all partying at James Franco’s house when the apocalypse strikes.
Sacramento Observer Correspondent Lana K. Wilson-Combs talked with Robinson who was in town at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to promote “This is The End.”
Robinson discussed the banner year he’s having, moving between television and film, reuniting with his buddy Seth Rogen on “This is The End” and the new song he wrote with Snoop Lion (Formerly Snoop Dogg) titled, “Take Yo’ Panties Off” which is featured on the movie soundtrack.
Robinson also shared how much he’ll miss working with the cast and crew from “The Office,” and he mentioned what he would try to save if an apocalypse happened.
Here’s what else Robinson had to say.
Q. Lana K. Wilson-Combs: “This is the End” seems to be the first movie of its kind; a stoner, apocalyptic horror film. How would you describe it?
A. Craig Robinson: Yeah, it’s a crazy fun. That’s the best way to describe it. (He laughs). Seth (Rogen) co-wrote and directed it. He’s always been great at mixing and twisting these sorts of genres together.
Q. LKWC: What is it about you and Seth working together? You guys really seem to complement each other well.
A. CR: He and I both love the funny. And we’ve worked together on the movies, “Pineapple Express” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” We just click together.
Q. LKWC: Now that you have two apocalyptic movies out–“Rapture-Palooza” being the other– do you consider yourself the most prepared person around if and when the big day hits?
A. CR: Absolutely. (He laughs). I know what you need to do in a situation like that, what you need to get and what you need to leave behind in order to try and survive it.
Q. LKWC: If there is one thing that you would have to take with you during an earthquake/apocalypse, what would it be?
A. CR: My two red ear slider turtles Haagen and Dazs. I named them after the ice-cream. They actually belonged to my niece, but I have been taking care of them so now they’re mine. Actually Dazs recently died and I have another one named Priscilla. They would be the first things I would try and save because I love them so much.
Q. LKWC: With this being such a star-studded movie, were there any crazy moments on set that you can share?
A. CR: (Lots of laughter). Yeah and I hope one of them winds up on DVD. We were doing a drugged out scene and playing “Spider-Man.” James (Franco) was the Green Goblin and Seth (Rogen) was messing with him on a skateboard. Danny (McBride) was Spider-Man and I was playing Mary Jane (Spider-Man’s love interest) and wearing red lipstick and a blond wig. It was insane.
Q. LKWC: “Take Yo’ Panties Off” sounds like it has hit written all over it. You wrote this song—which is on the “This Is the End” movie soundtrack–with Snoop Dogg. What was that like and have you always wanted to get into music?
A. CR: Music has always been a passion and my calling card for some years. It’s a silly song that I was just messing around with. But to have Snoop come in with it and do a re-mix was amazing.
Q. LKWC: The song has that same sort of catchy vibe like Eddie Murphy’s surprise hit, “Put Your Mouth on Me” and Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp.” What do you think?
A. CR: Hey, I hope it catches on like those songs because both of them were incredibly popular. I would love it if it has that type of appeal. I’d like a Grammy. You never know.
Q. LKWC: “The Office” ended its impressive run (2005-2013) on NBC May 16. What’s it like not working on the show anymore and what will you miss the most about it?
A. CR: It’s tough. It was a great show to be a part of. Going to work every day was never really work. It was always fun. And as clichéd as it sounds, we were all friends. It’s hard to say goodbye to something that worked so well. Viewers of the show reciprocated their love by watching it and making it so highly rated.
Q. LKWC: You’re currently developing your own television show. What’s it’s about and when will it air?
A. CR: It’s the “Untitled Craig Robinson Project.” I shot a pilot for NBC, but it didn’t get picked up for the fall, so not sure yet where it will end up, but it’s not dead. In the show I play a music teacher at a school and go through all sorts of things with the students.
Q. LKWC: This show must be real close to your heart and an extension of your real life because weren’t you a school music teacher for a few years before making it in comedy?
A. CR: Yeah, I was a music teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School in Chicago and at Henry Eggers Middle School in Hammond, Ind. And I enjoyed it a lot. So the show would incorporate some of my life experiences as a teacher dealing with students.
Q. LKWC: At some point in every comedian’s career, they want to branch out and tackle a dramatic role. Are you there yet? And are there other avenues that you’d like to pursue in addition to doing comedy?
A. CR: Sure, I would try something else other than straight comedy, like a drama or something if it were to come along and interest me. I’m looking to produce, write and direct. I have production credits on the movie “Peeples” and “Rapture-Palooza.” So that’s an avenue I’m also looking forward to pursuing more in the future. But bringing the funny is what I love doing right now. Starring in a movie like “This is The End” with so many other talented actors and comedians is the best.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to catch Craig Robinson in “This is The End” when it openned June 12.
By Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Sacramento Observer Correspondent
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a Sacramento based syndicated movie and entertainment writer. You can catch her music and movie reviews/interviews each week at SacObserver.com and on her Web site at www.N2Entertainment.net. And for the latest movie reviews listen to Lana on the Kitty O’Neal Show every Friday at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM. You can also log on to www.KFBK.com.