On this past week’s edition of the popular NBC television program, The Office, the character portrayed by Ed Helms (Andy) once again broke out the old five string to entertain his officemates. If you check out the video below, you’ll see that they don’t necessarily appreciate his playing or his enthusiasm all that well.
It wasn’t the first time his banjo has appeared on the show, but it is the first time he has picked a bluegrass tune. Andy even gives a shout out to Flatt & Scruggs.
Helms has been something of a public banjo evangelist of late, using the celebrity he has earned since his breakout role in The Hangover, to promote bluegrass and banjo music. He helped Noam Pikelny create an hilarious video with Steve Martin to promote Noam’s Beat The Devil And Carry A Rail album when it was released in October 2011. If you haven’t watched it, by all means click over and do so.
Ed also puts on an annual bluegrass/old time/Americana festival in Los Angeles billed as the L.A. Bluegrass Situation. Held the past three years in early May, it features modern bluegrass and string bands more apt to appeal to audiences not yet steeped in the tradition.
During World of Bluegrass last month we met Amy Reitnouer, who recently brought her Bluegrass LA blog into Helms’ orbit. Her site offers club and concert listings in the area, plus interviews, photos and videos about the local bluegrass/Americana scene, now a part of The Bluegrass Situation online.
Details were slim, but Amy suggested that we’ll be seeing Ed be more prominent in music after this final season of The Office concludes next Spring.
And now, the video… The banjo bit comes in the episode’s final minute. If you prefer to skip straight to this segment, simply click the play button, enjoy a few messages from NBC’s sponsors, and then the click on the last vertical divider in the status bar.
Thanks to Jason McKenree (a mighty fine banjo picker, himself) for the head’s up.