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Craig Robinson on Going Vegan and Teaching Music in South Chicago

The Chicago native brings a much-needed dose of levity to TV this fall with “Ghosted,” co-starring with Adam Scott.

Photo: Brinson+Banks

Just looking at Craig Robinson’s IMDb page is fun. The Office, Mr. Robot, Hot Tub Time Machine, Eastbound & Down, much of the oeuvre of Seth Rogen. Now the 45-year-old Whitney Young alum and Beverly native is teaming up with Adam Scott in Fox’s Ghosted, an homage to 1980s buddy comedies with a supernatural twist. It may well be the least serious thing of 2017.

Ghosted is a nice tonic to all the depressing stuff in the world—and on our TVs.

That’s been the pillar of my career. Sometimes I perform and somebody will say to me, “You make people happy.” That is all I set out to do: make a connection and make your world a little lighter.

How did you get involved with the show?

[Creator] Tom Gormican wrote a 12-page script. It was a badass black dude, with a badass Afro, driving a badass … you know it’s all badass, right? Tom and I met in New York for barbecue. I’ve since become a vegan. But we met and talked about it, had a great time, and I’m like, “I like this. I’m on board.”

Did you say you’ve become a vegan?

Yes, something like that. I’ve stopped eating—first it was red meat, and then chicken and fish. And now I’ve been looking at all these vegan options. I’m learning, but it’s so funny because I’ve turned into that guy, when you’re at lunch and people are like, “Hey, Craig, try this.” “Is it vegan? Because, you know, I am doing that.”

Are you going to stick with the vegan protocol on your next return home to Chicago?

I’m going to do my darnedest. I’ve thought about that and think I might have to, because I have to be a beacon to the family.

You used to teach music at Horace Mann Elementary in South Chicago. It’s got to be disheartening to you that music always seems to be one of the first things financially struggling schools cut.

It is disheartening. There’s no way I’d be where I am without music. Music taught me to put a rhythm to everything. I’m out here in Los Angeles, I’ve got to figure out the city. I’ve got to figure out the game. The rhythm—I’ve got to figure it out and stay in time like a song.

How long did it take you to figure out the rhythm?

I’m still figuring it out, bro.

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