The Emmy-winning “30 Rock” returns this week, and with it, comes more quality time with the show’s resident country bumpkin, Kenneth “The Page” Parcell.
Tina Fey created the role specifically for actor Jack McBrayer and during a recent conference call with him, the resemblance between McBrayer and his character was crystal clear.
Sweet, Southern, grateful and humble are all things the two have in common. But McBrayer is no bumpkin. He seems to possess all of Kenneth’s admirable qualities, plus a solid sense of humor too.
The highlights of his interview…
Playing an NBC page on TV, how do the real NBC pages react to you? Are you a hero to them?
Jack McBrayer: Well I do get a little special attention every time I’m in the real Rockefeller Center. In fact, I was just over there last week and one of the real pages was showing me their handbook which now has a special section in each chapter [titled], “Tips from Kenneth” …Although I did hear that a couple of the pages have kind of set their tour groups straight by going, It’s not really like [Kenneth on “30 Rock”] at all. We are real people. We are not a cartoon… I’ve single-handedly brought the program down.
What about Kenneth do you identify with?
JM: Well I think just, very generally, you know, kind of being a people pleaser and always wanting to do good at my job. And, you know, I will be the first to admit that sometimes I’m not exactly sure how this big world works. But I just try to cope with it as well as I can.
What do you find challenging about playing Kenneth?
JM: Oh, well, I’ll tell you — and it sounds like I’m complaining, but if this is the worst part, then I’m doing alright — sometimes I just have to have a lot of caffeine to be that peppy at, you know, un-Godly hours in the morning or night. Sometimes I’m like, Oh daddy needs a nap. That’s where the Diet Mountain Dew comes in and all is well.
Being so closely identified with your character, are you afraid of
getting typecast? During ’30 Rock”s hiatus, do you look to do
drastically different roles?
unfortunately I’m not that great of an actor, so I can lose the navy
blazer, but that’s about it. No, I know what I can do and I know what I
like to do and they’re pretty much along the same vein, so [when]
people are kind of tired of seeing that, then I might flex some other
muscles. But right now I’m real happy with where I am and what people
are asking me to do.
We’re happy with it too, Kenn– er, Jack. We’re happy with it too.
Will you watch “30 Rock”‘s fourth season premiere?