It's Friday night, and Blake Anderson has wrapped filming for next week's episode of Workaholics, on which he has played the stony, frizzle-haired Blake Henderson for the past four seasons. It's an intense schedule–he and co-stars/co-writers Adam DeVine and Anders Holm have four days to film a 24-minute episode, and it's not uncommon for the guys to pull all-nighters, as they did this particular week, shooting until 11 a.m. Thursday.
It has been especially busy for Anderson, who, on top of starting production on Workaholics, cameoed in the season premiere of Parks and Recreation the week before.
But now it's time to chill, and Anderson sounds fully relaxed on a quick phone call from the set, speaking slowly and distinctly, with a slight drawl that sounds out of place for a native Californian who hails from the East Bay. The genesis of Workaholics came when Anderson met DeVine on his first day of improv class at Orange Coast College, which led to the creation of the show's precursor, Mail Order Comedy, before he and his pals got snapped up by Comedy Central.
And though he currently lives in Van Nuys, tonight he slips into something more North Carolinian, as we discuss his DJ aspirations, which he says are in a nascent state, if anything–even though his Twitter feed has him spinning records at parties and generally geeking out about the music he's listening to. Anderson's celebrity may be thanks to his writing abilities and stage presence, but he's also a guy who takes his tunes hella seriously. Should the time come when he's ready to claim a DJ moniker, it'll be Uncle Blazer.
"I got it from my roommates back in the day," Anderson says about the nickname. "It was something along the lines of Blake morphing into Blaze, and it may have something to [do with] what I like to do when I'm relaxing in my private time. There are three cool things to be if you're a dude: a dad, a grandpa or an uncle–those are all pretty solid."
Music has been a lifelong subplot for Anderson. As a kid in Concord, his first two albums were Nirvana's Nevermind and Ice Cube's Predator, and it wouldn't take long for the youngster to discover the riches of his local hip-hop scene. "My buddy Jaime had the E-40 tape In a Major Way–with "Sprinkle Me" and "One Love" on it. Those are some real classic jams. I was like, 'This album is fresh,' so I got every E-40 album ever since. Fan for life."
He still has his "ear to the ground of the Internet streets," as he says; Anderson cruises DatPiff for mixtapes, and he tweets shoutouts about East Bay underground artists on the regular. Richmond's HBK Gang are among his favorites, Kool John in particular. "One of the best of 2014 is Shmop City–solid from cover to cover," he says about the mixtape.
Since he has summers off, Anderson is a regular fixture on the festival scene as well–but he's not just some punk celebrity lurking in the VIP section. There's YouTube footage of him going hard in the mosh pit during the Trash Talk set at Coachella 2013. You see his curly locks lashing about and can hear voices yelling, "Hey, it's Blake!" amid the melee of knees and elbows. For a guy as recognizable as Anderson, he has no qualms about getting down and dirty with the masses. "The energy of a two-to-three-day festival is awesome, so I try to attend as many as possible," he says.
Who is he the most excited about this year at Coachella? Steely Dan, of course. "They're, like, the greatest," Anderson says, genuinely stoked.
And how can you blame him, especially coming off a months-long "jazz phase" that dominated his Twitter feed this autumn? It began at Flying Lotus' You're Dead record-release party in October. "Thundercat came on with some other musicians, and they were, like, just jamming, and I was in the zone–like fully," he recalls. "It's magical when you see jazz cats up there like that."
Rapping with Anderson about live music in a festival setting is enough to make you look ahead to April, but he doesn't quite have that luxury. A lot needs to happen between now and then, namely shooting a dozen more episodes of Workaholics. Also, he has to think about life after the show; as of press time, this is the last year of Workaholics' contract with Comedy Central. DeVine and Holm both have active writing projects (and have teamed up with Seth Rogen and James Franco–DeVine for Neighbors and Holm for The Interview).
Anderson runs a T-shirt business with his wife, Rachel, at boredteenager.com. (He sports the shirts on his TV show.) Ostensibly that would be enough to keep him out of trouble for a bit–lest we find him jumping off his roof onto beer pong tables and breaking his back (yes, it happened; check YouTube) or running around the streets of Costa Mesa at odd hours, stealing posters off bus stops, as he did in his undergrad days at OCC.
"I would like to apologize to the city for all the trouble we caused," he says. "We were young and dumb."