NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t AIR

If you’re a fan of The Office, you may have seen Ed Helms, who plays Andy Bernard, occasionally whip out a banjo and bang out a few tunes. On today’s Fresh Air, Helms brings his own banjo to the studio and sings bluegrass tunes with his band, The Lonesome Trio. He also discusses his new comedy Cedar Rapids, in which he plays Tim Lippe, a naive insurance salesman who’s never left his small hometown, let alone ventured into a hotel room for a night. But after he’s sent to represent his insurance company at a convention in a place that he considers exotic — Cedar Rapids, Iowa — Tim meets three insurance company veterans (played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who open his eyes to new boundary-pushing ideas. To play the character, Helms said, he had to tap into the part of his brain that contains his most idealistic notions about humanity. “I really loved this character and wanted him to succeed and I didn’t want him to learn the evils of the world,” he says. “As an actor, it was just fun to tap into a really earnest and wide-eyed view of the world that celebrates optimism and hope in a way.” MORE

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