When I spoke with Craig Robinson on Wednesday afternoon, he was wrapping up his lunch break during final rehearsals for Spamalot. Robinson is playing King Arthur, the role Tim Curry originated in the 2005 Broadway musical, and he and the rest of the cast are about to perform three back-to-back shows at the Hollywood Bowl. In the meantime, he’s promoting his new show, Mr. Robinson, which premieres next Wednesday on NBC.
Before Robinson enrolled in his first acting class at Chicago’s Second City, he worked as an elementary school music teacher in Illinois and Indiana. He also played in a band. Hence the premise for Mr. Robinson, a sitcom based on the comedian’s pre-Hollywood life that he’s been working on ever since he made the trek west. I talked to Robinson about finally bringing the long-gestating show to life, working with television royalty, and getting his band The Nasty Delicious in on the gig.
How’s Spamalot going?
Oh man, it’s so much fun, bro. It’s definitely silly. Eric Idle is here, so he definitely approves of everything. It’s an honor to be in this. I never saw the musical, but I saw the movie, and it’s awesome.
You’ve done live stand-up and musical performances before, but is this the first time you’ve ever given a Broadway musical a shot?
Not too nerve-racking, is it?
Oh man, are you kidding? It’s super nerve-racking! But I’m not as nervous as I thought I’d be, and I was wondering why I wasn’t freaking out because there’s a lot to do. Well, my mother would get us ready for concerts and all that — Handel’s “Messiah,” church music and whatever else — and I thought, “Oh, that’s right! I’m used to preparing, repetition and getting things right.” I’m looking forward to it.