When Josh Groban shows up on Thursday (Nov. 7) night’s new episode of CBS’ hit sitcom “The Crazy Ones,” don’t expect him to bust out his famous set of pipes. Well, he will sing, but not in the way you might expect.
“I play a character named Danny Chase. He’s an ex-jingle writer who is now releasing CDs and joined a band and is excited to go pro,” Groban tells Zap2it. “I’m going to be singing as Danny so he’s got a different style than I do. But there’s definitely a little bit of fun, funny singing. He’s got a little bit more of a pop vibe, almost kind of like a rock, folky, pop kind of thing. He was a jingle writer so he likes to keep his voice peppy and upbeat. I wanted him to be more of the club, leather jacket kind of guy.”
So what is Danny’s connection with the cast of “The Crazy Ones?” Groban says that Danny and Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) have quite an interesting past. “He kind of shared a moment way, way back in the day when neither he nor Sydney was successful. They were pals,” Groban reveals. “Danny captured this moment between the two of them and he thought there was something there. He eventually wrote a not-so-subtle song about her that goes viral on the internet. She hears it and freaks out, her coworkers freak out, and eventually I’m able to make contact with her but she thinks I’m a complete stalker. The story line unfolds from there. It’s really fun.”
So was there actually something between Danny and Sydney, or is it all in Danny’s head? “Certainly in Danny’s mind there’s always been a spark,” Groban says. “But in her mind, I think she’s always been so career-oriented and she’s a little bit of a control freak, so to her this is coming out of the blue, hearing this song with her name with four different remixes and all that. It’s just like, nothing could be creepier to her. I think it’s a matter of maybe there was a spark, maybe it was romantic, but the way that Danny goes about reconnecting with her could be the farthest from cool as possible. It kind of freaks her out a little bit. I’m not going to give away what happens or the ending but there’s definitely an openness in the end for anything to happen.”
While Groban wouldn’t reveal if Danny and Sydney end up reconnecting … romantically, he did tell us he would love to come back and reprise his role. “I would come back in a heartbeat. It was an absolute joy to work on that set,” Groban says. “The character is one that could be a one-off or it could continue on. We’ll have to see where the story line goes and what they want to do with it. It was a blast to do and I would sure love to do it again.”
One of Groban’s favorite parts about his “Crazy Ones” role was being able to flex his comedy muscles. “Any time I get a chance to do some comedy, I think it’s great. It lightens up the mood of what my fans are used to in the style of music that I make. It’s a blast. I love playing other roles especially if there’s music or singing involved,” Groban says. “It was the same thing as when I played Andy Bernard’s younger brother [on ‘The Office‘]. It’s fun to not worry about having to have perfect technique and practicing 20 songs for two hours. It’s fun to sing something in the spirit of the character even if your voice is going to be similar. It’s fun to change hats and to dive into a character and to not feel like there’s any pressure because you’re being someone else.”
Groban was also excited to get to improv on camera with Robin Williams. “With Robin, you’re just trying to keep up with his brilliance. You can see he’s just so quick and to work with him is just a master class,” Groban says. ” Especially when it comes to a lot of the singing stuff, there’s some back and forth musically between Robin and I that is towards the end of the show. There’s a scene that actually got edited way, way down where Robin and I are at a piano together and we’re just going on and on and on about a made up song about Australia. We probably spent a good 30 minutes just trying to come up with as many crazy lines about the country of Australia that we could. When Robin gets going, especially with music and in full-on gospel mode, just back up and let him go. He is so funny to work with and sing with. That was probably one of my favorite moments in my career, being able to do that with him.”
All in all, Groban can’t wait for his fans to see his stint on “The Crazy Ones.” “I’m really proud of the show and I’m really proud of the episode,” Groban says. “It’s a great show and I think the fans are really going to love it.”
“The Crazy Ones” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.