Comedian Erik Griffin is best known as recurring “Workaholics” character Montez Walker, the hyper-competitive office worker who shares too much detail about his sex life. The Comedy Central hit, largely written by stars Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine and Anders Holm and co-creator Kyle Newacheck, follows three telemarketers who refuse to give up their college habits of partying, smoking weed and chasing girls. Its seventh and final season begins airing tonight.
Old Town Comedy Showcase, run by local comic Aaron Putnam, hosts Griffin at the Loft Saturday night. City Pulse talked to the comedian about “Workaholics” and the next steps in his career.
How did you get started in standup comedy?
In 2003, I was at a job I didn’t want to be at, and I took the plunge, started going to open mics. It took me a year or so to get some paid gigs. Then I got on the “Payaso Comedy Slam” on Showtime, and then I got on “Live at Gotham,” where I got an agent. And then a couple years later I auditioned for “Workaholics,” and here I am.
Did you know the “Workaholics” guys before you auditioned?
I had briefly met Adam (DeVine). I’d seen him at the clubs doing standup, but I didn’t know what was going on with the show. I actually saw him at the audition; I thought he was trying to be an intern or something. I didn’t even know that it was his show.
The show feels pretty loose. How much do you improvise on set?
It’s mostly scripted. They even script the improv — they have a bunch of alternate lines and stuff like that. They work hard on the show. People think that it’s a lot of improv, but that would be awful. It usually is. There’s a myth out there; people think that improv is so great. It’s usually pretty bad.
Most of the characters have names that are similar to the actors’ names. Why isn’t your character named Erik?
I know, right? Apparently there’s a real Montez out there, someone that Anders knew. So the character’s based off of a real person, some crazy person. I never got a chance to meet the real Montez.
Do think maybe he’ll come to one of your shows?
From what I hear, I don’t know if I want that. Who knows though? I always think somebody’s going to walk up to me someday talking about, “Man, you tryin’ to be me!”
What do you for fun when you’re on the road?
I just did something great. I bought one of these portable video game systems. It has a monitor, so I can bring my Xbox with me. I’m kind of a nerd.
I like to go to movies and things like that, but when I come to a place like Lansing, I’m only going to be there for a night, so I don’t get a chance to get out and explore the city.
If I’m on the road for a week and I rent a car, maybe I’ll go out and explore — maybe this town has the biggest yarn ball in the world. I like that kind of stuff.
But I’m pretty low key. I just rest and write in my room, watch movies, play video games. I’m a pretty simple dude.
So what’s next for you now that “Workaholics” is wrapping up?
I’m going to be on a new show on Showtime called “I’m Dying Up Here.” That’s coming to Showtime sometime this year. It’s got a lot of buzz. It’s an hour-long comedy — more like a dramedy, really — about the comedy scene in the ‘70s, and it’s produced by Jim Carrey. The characters on the show are fictionalized, but they interact with the real world of the 1970s, like Elayne Boosler, Richard Pryor, that sort of thing. That’s the next phase of my career.
Erik Griffin Saturday, Jan. 14
6 p.m. with Mike Stanley and Kyle Forsyth
9 p.m. with Nick Leydorf, Aaron Putnam and Louis Michael $20/$15 students The Loft 414 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing (517) 931-0103, theloftlansing.com