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‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Mark Proksch On Why Colin Robinson Is Definitely A Conspiracy Theorist

What does a mid-life crisis look like when you’re an energy-draining, immortal vampire? If you’re Mark Proksch, it’s lots of scat jokes and some on-screen pyro-technics.

What We Do In The Shadows returns for its third season on Sept. 2nd, Proksch’s monotoned undead party-pooper is gearing up for a celebration of his own. Colin Robinson is turning 100 and he’s suddenly very curious about where he comes from. That curiosity coincides with his new appointment to the Vampiric Council and, as the season goes on, Colin Robinson forms a surprising bond with one of his fellow immortal roommates as he goes on a quest to find others of his kind.

Proksch has spent the last two seasons of Shadows delivering snooze-worthy tangents and playing them for the most laughs but this season, his character serves as more than just the not-so-human equivalent of a bottle of Quaaludes. Plot twists, trips to Atlantic City, a failed tenure as a DIY mechanic — Colin Robinson has a part in all of it this time around, much to Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo’s (Matt Berry) eternal frustration.

We chatted with Proksch over Zoom about season three’s major storylines, Colin Robinson’s birthday plans, and how the character really feels about conspiracy theorists.

Colin Robinson’s got a big birthday coming up. How does he feel about that? What’s on his mind this season?

I think he’s in a bit of an existential crisis. I think he is curious as to where he came from and where he’s going. He has the same big questions that we all have rattling around in our minds. He doesn’t know how he became an energy vampire. He doesn’t know if his parents were energy vampires. He doesn’t know if he’s immortal. I think he’s struggling with that and trying to find answers to that as his hundredth birthday is coming up.

So we’re going to learn more about his past and where his kind come from then?

You learn bits and pieces along the way. Really not enough to subside his crisis. I will say there’s a huge twist at the very end of the season, involving Colin. And I think that season four will definitely be dealing with that fallout.

One thing I was surprised to learn was that he has a weird obsession with Guillermo. Particularly, Guillermo’s bowel movements. There are lots of scat jokes at the beginning of this season. What’s up with that?

[Laughs] That was 100% in the script. That’s not an area of comedy that… I mean I found it very funny. It’s very peculiar to the character. I may have thrown in a couple of things, for sure. But that’s all the writers. I loved it because anytime you can inform the audience about the character in any way, it benefits the stories and it benefits the show. So having Colin have that sort of off-center fascination — I don’t want to say fetish — is great and it made me laugh a lot.

His poop obsession gave off some real conspiracy theorist vibes…

Oh, I think he delves into that world quite a bit. I think he was very happy to see the birth of some of these conspiracy cults. Who better than a conspiracy theorist for an energy vampire to hide as?

Now, be honest, was Colin Robinson behind QAnon?

I’m not going to say he is or isn’t, but we may learn about that.

There’s a really interesting friendship that develops this season between Laszlo and Colin. What makes that relationship so interesting to watch?

I think Matt would agree, we never thought our characters would cross paths in that way. Laszlo is a very no-nonsense, brusque horn hound and Colin is kind of the opposite. We had never been paired up really in season one or two the way we are in season three. That said, there is a reason for it that isn’t known to the audience. And again, it’ll reveal itself at the end of the season.

So it’s not just about fixing old cars and setting each other on fire?

[laughs] I think they’re genuinely enjoying their time together, but there is a reason they’re spending that much time together.

Showrunner Paul Simms said that out of everyone’s improv ability, yours is the most interesting. So those tangents that Colin Robinson goes on when he drains people, how much is the script and how much is you?

That’s me. They will usually give me a line if it’s something integral to the script or the story. Otherwise, they’ll say “Colin talks about boxing,” or “Colin talks about this.” If I don’t know that much about that subject, I will change it to a subject I do know about. It needs to feel natural. So it needs to be off the top of my head and be me talking about these subjects that I love or have just gone down a rabbit hole about in the past. So I would say as far as his tangents go, that’s 90% me just rambling. It’s a babbling brook of bullshit. But I have to be right, because if I say a wrong thing, then I’ll be shown as the fraud that I am.

Are there any topics you were surprised you snuck in?

I’m more surprised by what they don’t put in because I’m a big wine fan. I love wine. I talk about wine a lot on the show because it’s such a traditionally boring, pedantic, snooty, snobbish subject. I think that’s changing now amongst younger people, but in the past, it’s always been spoken of by snobs. I’m surprised they haven’t put it in more. I’ve gone on a couple of wine tangents and those haven’t gotten in. Now, I will say that, in the past, when I would go on a tangent, if Jemaine [Clement] didn’t know about what I was talking about, he would cut it with the right assumption that, well, the viewers aren’t going to know about this so it’s just going to be boring. And wine is the subject he doesn’t know anything about and doesn’t give a shit about. That may have been the reason why wine hasn’t made it into the show yet.

Since Colin Robinson is on this journey of self-discovery this season, is he going to discover other kinds of alternative vamps?

Yeah, I’ve wondered that too. We won’t this season, as far as the energy-type vampires. But I think that’s an area that the writers are aware of and if it makes sense, they’ll utilize it.

‘What We Do In The Shadows’ returns to FX on Sept. 2.

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