The Office's Craig Robinson on being a music teacher in Chicago : Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Craig Robinson, star of the Office and host of Peacock's Harlem Globetrotters: Play It Forward, plays our game about Craigslist. Joining him are panelists Tom Papa; Negin Farsad and Brian Babylon.

Before The Office, Craig Robinson was known as Mr. Robinson the music teacher

Before The Office, Craig Robinson was known as Mr. Robinson the music teacher

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Craig Robinson Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Netflix hide caption

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Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Netflix

Craig Robinson

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Netflix

Craig Robinson is an actor, comedian and musician who's been in dozens of movies, TV shows and Pizza Hut ads. He's probably best known for playing Darryl, the warehouse foreman on The Office. When you think about it seems to be the only one that is actually cool at that workplace, which makes us cool by extension.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Peter Sagal: The Office is so magnificently popular, I'm assuming that's what most people associate you with when they happen to run into you.

Craig Robinson: I agree, yes. You're correct in that.

PS: Does it ever get overwhelming that everybody yells "Darryl!" at you on the street?

No, they do other things, though, just like "hot tub!" or something. But no, it's cool. I know it comes from a place of love, so it's always nice.

Now, one thing I got to talk to you about is, because I'm kind of proud, you're from Chicago?

Yes, I grew up here.

And you were, if I'm not mistaken, the son of a music teacher.

Yeah, my mother taught music. And then I ended up teaching K-8 music in Indiana near Chicago.

So I know you're a musician, and sometimes we get to see you play in your various roles and performances. But you actually taught music to children?

I was! I taught kindergarten through eighth grade music.

Really? You were Mr. Robinson?

This is correct.

My music teachers were not so inspiring because they got very frustrated with our utter inability to make music as young children. Were you a good one? Did you love that work? Did you go after it?

Being a music teacher was cool because, you know, I would do these programs that had kids singing in the choir and stuff. So it was nice. The kids even reached out to me to this day, you know, social media is crazy, right? "Hey, Mr. Robinson. It's so inspiring to see you doing your thing." And I always tell them the same thing. I'm like, "Hey, I'm not your teacher anymore. Please don't contact me."

Can you explain to me why children get taught the recorder and no one else ever in life is taught the recorder?

I wish I could, but it's one of the most simple things to get them going, you know? And it gives you some confidence once you start playing. You play that "Mary had a Little Lamb" and figure out you can do that.. You know, it unlocked something. It's their gateway.

And you still play music, right? You have a band.

Yes, The Nasty Delicious.

The Nasty Delicious. And how would you describe that music?

We're funk mixed with stank.

Do you actually prefer playing music to performing? I mean, as an actor or as a comedian?

Oh, playing music. I wish I could just... I would just play in a dark room. That's all I want to do.

This is an excerpt from Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly news quiz. Have a laugh and test your knowledge with today's funniest comedians. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or listen on NPR One, and you can find us on Instagram. Want to come out to our live shows at our new home at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, IL or on the road? Just check out nprpresents.org.