Q&A: 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer
Kenneth the Page used to clean up rat crap for a living.
Mon Apr 26 2010
You play someone with a terrible job.
But loving it!
What's the worst job you ever had?
The worst job I had was in a factory. We manufactured these swimming-pool liners. It was un-air-conditioned, there were those chemical smells, and there were rats everywhere. I was 18, and I was one of the only guys. I was with these—forgive me—white-trash women, and me. They were, like, "Jack, go clean up that rat crap."
What would you—or Kenneth the Page—add to our 30 Rock walk?
What about white-trash restaurants? I used to go to this place called the Hog Pit. You can still find good Southern food in New York, you just have to soak it in more butter or add more Cool Whip. It's stylized Southern food; it's not just a stick of butter and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Of course, Kenneth is so poor and hillbilly, he pretty much eats chickpeas out of a can.
Would Kenneth ride the subway?
I'm sure he would, but he'd be aghast by the number of sinners. I think at this point, Kenneth is surprised by every single person he encounters in New York. And scarred by them.
Do you get ever lost in the city?
The West Village still confuses me—anyplace that doesn't have a number for a street name. But I'm not afraid to wander, I'm not afraid of Google Maps, and I'm not afraid to go in and say to the owner of a deli, "Excuse me, sir, which one is Green-witch Avenue?" With the accent, you can get away with a lot more.
What did you think of the city when you first moved here?
One thing I loved was the sense of anonymity. It did not matter how you are dressed, if you had bathed that day. If someone walked by you wearing body paint instead of clothing, no one would even bat an eye.
Oh, is that how you roam the city? In body paint?
For my anonymity, that's what I do. Being on the street in New York, it's one of those Mary Tyler Moore, throw-your-hat-in-the-air kind of moments. If you can live in New York and survive in New York, you've succeeded.
Do you like hanging on the streets when you shoot on location?
Yes, but the worst for me is when they shoot in the dead of winter. Winter, as a concept, I don't like. They've decided that, except for a few exceptions, Kenneth doesn't wear an overcoat. I'm like, Really? We're sure about that?
Somewhere, Kenneth's poor mother is shaking her head.
They do give me crazy long johns and heaters in my shoes! These little heating pads. It's nice, but that's because I'm standing outside in subzero climes.
What's the worst thing you've had someone do for you?
Honestly, I don't have assistants! I'm trying to think. For one of the last episodes this season, we were on location. My caffeine of choice is Diet Mountain Dew. Tastes like poison, but I need that caffeine. And apparently in that particular neighborhood, it was impossible to find. I got seven people fired that day! [Laughs]
Where does the 30 Rock cast kick it together?
There's some good bars in LIC—like (27-24 Jackson Ave at Dutch Kills St, Long Island City, Queens; 718-383-2724, dutchkillsbar.com). It's near us at Silvercup, and they do great, homemade things that are ground up and muddled. You know, drinks, with the mortar and pestle. But I have to admit, I'm a fan of Bud Light. I will seek out Bud Light. Sometimes you feel like a jerk ordering it. Don't pooh-pooh me for making your life easier, just keep a six-pack of Bud Light back there!