Comedian Jon Benjamin's Jazz Album Is Full Of 'Real, Untapped Un-Talent' Best known as the lead voice on Bob's Burgers and Archer, Benjamin has no expertise in jazz music. "It's a real insult to people who try," he says of Well, I Should Have ... Learned How To Play Piano.
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Comedian Jon Benjamin's Jazz Album Is Full Of 'Real, Untapped Un-Talent'

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Comedian Jon Benjamin's Jazz Album Is Full Of 'Real, Untapped Un-Talent'

Comedian Jon Benjamin's Jazz Album Is Full Of 'Real, Untapped Un-Talent'

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Jon Benjamin is a comedian and voice actor best known for playing the title roles on the animated series "Bob's Burgers" and "Archer." He's also the voice of a can of vegetables in the movie "Wet Hot American Summer." He's been a comedian for more than 20 years. And none of that is why we've invited him on the show. We have him here because of the most public radio of reasons. He has recorded an experimental jazz album.

Jon Benjamin, welcome to the program.

JON BENJAMIN: Thank you for having me.

SIEGEL: You recorded this album with three other musicians - a bass player, a drummer and a saxophonist. You're on piano...

BENJAMIN: Yep.

SIEGEL: ...And I want us to listen to some of this track.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: This track is called, "I Can't Play Piano..." (Laughter). I'm sorry, I can't say it.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: This is called, "I Can't Play Piano, Part Two." (Laughter) and it's obvious, you can't play piano.

BENJAMIN: I really can't. And it really shows.

SIEGEL: And yet - and yet, here you are...

BENJAMIN: Yeah.

SIEGEL: ...Playing with some guys who seem to know what they're doing.

BENJAMIN: They were very accomplished jazz musicians that I played with, and me.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: The name of this album is, "Well, I Should Have" subtitle "Learned How To Play Piano."

BENJAMIN: Yeah, it's very literal.

SIEGEL: Now, you're playing with professional jazz musicians - Scott Kreitzer on sax, David Finck on bass and Jonathan Peretz is playing drums. Was this an act of friendship or just a measure of the jazz economy that you got to do whatever gig comes along?

BENJAMIN: They were very nice to do it, and I'm not sure they realized what they were doing till we got there. And then they were mad, but not mad enough to stop all together. So they went through it, and they were great.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: Well, (laughter).

BENJAMIN: That is real untapped untalent.

SIEGEL: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

BENJAMIN: He's good.

SIEGEL: Yeah. He knows what he's doing, yeah.

BENJAMIN: He really does.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

BENJAMIN: But that's just not as interesting.

SIEGEL: Think it lacks the complete sense of free-form surprise that we have...

BENJAMIN: Right.

SIEGEL: ...When you're actually...

BENJAMIN: He's not taking any risk.

SIEGEL: (Laughter).

BENJAMIN: He just knows how to do it.

SIEGEL: How safe to actually...

BENJAMIN: I feel bad for people like that, yeah.

SIEGEL: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: Are you going to do any live performances to promote this?

BENJAMIN: Well, it's funny. I've been asked a couple times, but I'm not sure I want to do that. I'm really going to dedicate myself to learning how to play and maybe my next album will be decent.

SIEGEL: Is that right? Are you trying to learn how to play?

BENJAMIN: I've started taking lessons so...

SIEGEL: (Laughter). I see. You're sort of charting a reverse career which begins with the recording contract...

BENJAMIN: (Laughter). It's a real insult to people who try.

SIEGEL: ...And then eventually makes its way to actual lessons on the instrument.

BENJAMIN: I mean, look, there's a distinct possibility that I'll be very good.

SIEGEL: (Laughter).

BENJAMIN: I don't know, like, how it's going to turn out. I just started doing the lessons so I might be incredibly good.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

SIEGEL: Well, Jon Benjamin, thanks a lot for talking with us about your album, "Well I Should Have...Learned How To Play Piano."

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF JON BENJAMIN SONG, "I CAN'T PLAY PIANO, PART TWO")

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