From The San Francisco Chronicle (96 Hours)
January 11, 2007
By Reyhan Harmanci
Comedian Rob Corddry credits an unusual source for his successful audition for “The Daily Show,” where he was a correspondent from 2002 until August: a tuft of hair adorning his otherwise bald head.
“The tuft was longer then,” he recalls, noting that his final audition was behind an anchor desk and in front of a green screen, with show host Jon Stewart present. “I think it was the look Jon liked.”
Corddry will be in town this weekend to perform with the sketch group Naked Babies, which he founded in 1996, and whose current members are Corddry, John Ross Bowie, Brian Huskey and Seth Morris. While they are part of S.F. Sketchfest (the Sketch Comedy Festival), the group won’t be doing any sketches. “It’ll be an improv show,” Corddry says, “because we’re lazy.”
Boston-born Corddry came to comedy after a bout with serious theater. He was a member of the National Shakespeare Company when he decided that he could do comedy. His first group didn’t work out, but he moved to New York, started taking classes and working with the Upright Citizens Brigade and birthed Naked Babies.
“Our first gig was for the horrible women’s college my sister worked at. It’s called Pine Manor College in Boston and it’s mostly for rich foreigners,” he says. “It was sort of a disaster because we got this show and we wrote this whole show, but it was really kind of dirty, so my sister censored us. We had to cancel it. It was months before we got another show.”
Corddry says he hasn’t looked back. On the “Daily Show,” he milked his Boston background (“Masshole” persona) for all it was worth. And like all correspondents, he’s agreed to many humiliating poses in the name of fake news — posing ridiculous questions to unwitting or slightly witless people and narrating a segment naked. He only declined to perform once, when the writers tried to dress him in a KKK costume and make him hail a cab in New York. “It just wasn’t funny, especially coming from the whitest show on television,” he says.
He’s also appeared on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (as a pedophile Larry David befriends) and on “Arrested Development” (as a detective). This spring, he will be in a Fox show, “The Winner,” where he plays a man in his 40s — “the richest man in Buffalo” — who is looking back on his coming of age in 1994, at the tender age of 32.
Corddry’s been offered bigger parts, but he doesn’t see himself reverting to his dramatic roots. “I don’t think I’ll be offered anything serious anytime soon,” he says, “but also I think comedy is so much harder. It’s like swinging three bats at once. If I stepped up to the plate for drama, I’d only be swinging one bat. It’s not as interesting to me, it’s easier.”