“The Office” Star Comes To Mason

Craig Robinson talks to Mason students about his experiences in Hollywood, confidence, and more


“Out of paper, out of stock, there’s friendly faces around the block,” sang Craig Robinson alongside a crowd of Mason students. ”Call Dunder Mifflin, the people person’s paper people.” The song refers to Robinson’s role on “The Office” where his character creates a song for an advertisement.

Actor Craig Robinson, best known for his roles as Darryl Philbin from “The Office”, Doug Judy in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and roles in high-profile movies such as “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “This is The End” stopped by Mason on Sept. 28.

Robinson stopped by Merten Hall at 1:30 p.m. to speak with Mason students about his experience in Hollywood and give advice to students. The event was arranged by Dr. Mark C. Hopson, Director of African American Studies at Mason.

“Dr. Hopson is my cousin,” Robinson said. “We were talking at the family reunion. [Hopson asked] ‘Well what do you think about coming to George Mason, man?’ Because I was coming down here to do shows at the improv this weekend with my boys Todd Rex and Frankie Quinones … and it came into fruition.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Robinson received his master’s in teaching from Saint Xavier University. He was part of a program called Teachers for Chicago, which allowed him to take classes for his masters degree and teach children at the same time.  

“I was teaching, getting my master’s degree, going to acting class and doing stand-up at night,” Robinson said. “So, it took some work to get here.”

Robinson gave advice to Mason students hoping to go in the industry. He talked about going in to auditions, when it’s the right time to move to bigger cities, and tapping into fear.

“Freight, fear, it’s not going anywhere,” Robinson said. “Do it in spite of your fear.”

“The confidence is not always there,” Robinson said while giving advice. “We’re human. One thing I can say is to keep going. It’s about shaking it off and when that lack of confidence comes – it’s just you and your self-doubt. I saw this [Instagram] post and it was two creatures holding a rock and one guy was holding a rock that said ‘self-doubt’ and the guy said ‘maybe it would be easier if we put this down’…we’re human, we’re not bulletproof.”

Robinson spoke on crazy incidents in his life – like having to fire his manager, playing at comedy night clubs and winning at their game of ‘hecklers heaven’, and starring in an upcoming movie, “Dolemite is my Name!” with Eddie Murphy.

When asked about a “The Office” reboot, Robinson teased the crowd.

“We filmed it and … Nah, I’m just kidding,” Robinson joked.

He said that a reboot with the original cast is not likely, but a reunion episode might be a possibility.

Robinson spoke about improvising lines on “The Office” with Steve Carrell, who played Michael Scott on the show.

“I didn’t even know Steve Carell did an improv and then I watched [an] episode”, Robinson said. “It was Negotiation. I said ‘Make it Hap’n Cap’n’” and [Carrell] said, ‘I will make it happen … sargent.’”

Robinson noted he is still nostalgic when he sees “The Office” on T.V. in public places. Those interested can see him reprise his role as the Pontiac Bandit on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” this season and in upcoming movies, such as “Dolemite is my Name!”