Craig Robinson: ‘You Cannot Try; You Have To Just Be’

If Hot Tub Time Machine had your sides aching from laughter, you’re in luck: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 comes out this Friday.

The 2010 original was certainly funny, Doug Gottlieb said, but come on: was there really a need for a sequel?

“Is there a need for anything when you think about it, Doug?” actor Craig Robinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show.

Gottlieb, of course, was just kidding, as Robinson is one of the best comics in the business. The 41-year-old Chicago native is best known, perhaps, for his role as Darryl Philbin on The Office, as well as Matheson in Pineapple Express.

Gottlieb opined that comedies might be the most difficult movies to film. After all, how do you really know if you’re being funny without immediate feedback from the audience?

“Well, we were making each other laugh, so that’s all you really got is that moment,” Robinson said. “It would be really, really weird to come out after making each other laugh and then nobody get it. But there’s always a risk. And the stuff that we do, you tend to crack each other up. That’s what you’re really going for.”

Robinson, who is well-versed in stand-up, said the key to being funny is trying not to be funny.

“You cannot try; you have to just be,” he said. “You just have to be you and let the truth come out.”

Robinson is confident that Hot Tub Time Machine 2 will resonate with viewers.

“It’s a lot of in-the-moment stuff,” he said. “There’s something in there for many people. I won’t say everybody, but the only way to find that out is to go see it. But there’s some stuff in there that might gross people out, and there’s some stuff that is just downright going to surprise you and be funny. And then some stuff in there is a little more light-hearted.”

Asked if he watched Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special, Robinson said he did not. Instead, he was partying in New Orleans.

“I enjoyed SNL for many years, but I was at Mardi Gras,” he said. “I was riding a float in the Bacchus parade, the biggest parade during Mardi Gras, and it was quite exhilarating. I threw beads, I saw boobs, and then I threw a bag of beads and I hit somebody in the face. So yeah, it was crazy.”

Wait, what do you do after you hit somebody in the face with a bag of beads?

“The float must go on,” Robinson said. “It was the perfect crime, really. I’m not proud of it, but it happened. I apologized to the person on TV last night. But the float must go on. There’s nothing I can do.”

Robinson also discussed improv – specifically, the amount of his work that is scripted versus ad-libbed. Robinson said there was a lot of improv in The Office, especially in the first few seasons, but that there’s always a script to follow. That was also the case for Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

“They’re all scripted. Let’s get that straight,” said Robinson, who added that David Alan Grier is the funniest person he’s ever worked with. “They’re all scripted. However, this one I think you (could) improv every scene in this one. There’s room for that. There’s always some room to make it a little bit bigger, a little bit more present, a little bit more truthful.”

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