April 7, 2008

RADAR LIVES:

Not-So-Alter Ego of Kenneth the Page, Still Soaking It In (DAVE ITZKOFF, 4/06/08, NY Times)

“The first words out of their mouths would be, ‘Can you lose the accent?’ ” Mr. McBrayer, 34, recalled in a recent interview. “And, unfortunately, I can, but it sounds like I’m making fun of people.”

Yet as Mr. McBrayer honed his skills in the improvisational comedy theaters of Chicago, he realized there was no reason his inflection should impede his career. “We could be anyone and say anything,” he said, and he became more comfortable playing other characters or “just playing a heightened version of myself.”

And what would a heightened version of Mr. McBrayer look like? “Well,” he said, “it’s pretty much Kenneth the Page. ”

Kenneth the Page is, of course, Mr. McBrayer’s character on “30 Rock,” a wide-eyed, blazer-clad naïf who works the most thankless of thankless jobs at the sitcom’s fictional incarnation of NBC yet remains in rapt awe of colleagues like the self-important executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) and the harried producer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey).

In that sense Mr. McBrayer really isn’t too different from his inexperienced alter ego. “People in television can get a little jaded a little quickly,” he said. “Fortunately, I have done so little of it that I have not had the opportunity to grow weary of it.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2008 7:09 AM
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