Andy Richter is one of the most beloved comedic actors of our time. From his days as the sidekick on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, to his current role on Fox’s hit show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Richter always brings a unique energy to any role he takes on.
With a career that spans over two decades, Richter has plenty of stories and experiences to share. In this exclusive interview, Richter takes us on a journey through his life and career, discussing his early days in the comedy world, his transition to the television industry, and his latest projects.
Join us as we take a look into the life of one of the most beloved comedic actors in the world.
How did you get into comedy in the first place? I had done a lot of theater in high school and college. When I graduated, I did a couple of plays, and then I got an offer to do theater in Tokyo, Japan. I was like, “I’ll go to Japan, and then I’ll come back and get a job.”
And then I got back to the States and realized that I had missed the job market by two weeks. When I got back to Chicago, I had about $300 in the bank, and I was like, “I have to figure out how to make a living now.”
I had two friends in Chicago who were trying to get into stand-up, and I was like, “I’ll go do that.” I was always a decent joke writer, and I was always a decent performer, so I decided to give it a try.
How did you make the transition from stand-up to full-time acting? I was hosting a show at Second City in Chicago, and I got a call from a friend of mine who was working with Conan O’Brien. She said, “They’re doing a guest-host show, and they’re looking for somebody in Chicago.”
I was like, “Okay, sure.” I went in, and they liked me. They put me on, and that was the beginning of the Conan show. I was doing Conan for about a year and a half when the producers of Late Night with David Letterman came to Conan’s show and saw me.
I had just been a guest-host for a couple of months. They were like, “We’re looking for a new sidekick for David Letterman, and we want you to come in and audition.” I was like, “Okay, sure.” I went in and auditioned, and they offered me the job.
I went from guest-hosting for about a year and a half to going to New York to be the sidekick on a show that was on the air for 15 years. It was really amazing.
What are some of your current projects? I’m on a Fox show called Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is in its sixth season. I’m also doing a podcast called Couch Detective, which is an improvised story show where we just make up a story and improvise it.
It’s been an absolute joy. It’s been really fun to have a creative outlet other than my acting work. I’m also working on a book. I’ve been writing a book for a couple of years now, and it’s about how to be a better person.
It’s a self-help guide disguised as a comedy book. It’s been a very busy couple of years, but I’ve loved every minute of it.
What has been the highlight of your career? The highlight of my career was the first couple of years on the Conan show. It was just a really amazing time. We were doing the show at night, and we had to put it on the air at 6 p.m.
That was a really amazing experience, and then to go from that to being the sidekick on David Letterman’s show was a totally different experience, but it was also incredible.
It was a very different type of pressure and experience, but it was also a great time, and I was very lucky to be around all of those people at that time.
What advice might you give to aspiring actors looking to pursue a career in the entertainment industry? I think the best advice I can give to anybody who wants to be an actor is to be really, really nice to everybody.
If you’re an actor and you’re trying to get into the business, you have to be really, really nice to everybody. And you have to know how to take care of yourself. You have to know what your deal points are, and you have to know how to work in a restaurant.
You have to know those things. You have to understand how the business works, but most importantly, you have to be really, really nice to everybody.
What do you think the future of comedy will look like? I don’t know. I think comedy is always evolving, and it’s always changing. I don’t think it ever stays in one place for very long. I think that it’s always being challenged and reshaped.
I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I hope that it’s always challenging people and making people laugh. I hope it’s always trying to make us think about things and make us understand each other a little better. Comedy has always been a great way to do that. I hope it always is.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career? That’s a really hard question. I don’t know. It’s probably the same thing that’s most challenging. I love the creative process. I love the way that comedy is always coming from a place of honesty and truth.
It’s always coming from a place of, “Let’s try to say something about the human condition that we wish we could say.” I think that’s what I love about comedy the most. I think that’s the most rewarding thing about it and the most challenging thing about it.
At the same time, it’s just an amazing creative outlet that I’ve been lucky enough to have for a long time now.
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