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Interview: Patton Oswalt talks about AP Bio and what he was like in High School

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A.P. Bio - Season 2
A.P. BIO -- Pictured: "A.P. Bio" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC)

Recently, Jennifer Ortega attended NBC’s Press Day where she got to speak to many talented actors from some of the best NBC television shows. She sat down to talk to Patton Oswalt about Season 2 of AP BIO.

Jennifer Ortega: I was just telling Glenn Howerton that I am really sad that I can’t go back in time and bring you there and make you the principal of my high school. I want you to be my principal. 

Patton Oswalt: Thank you. I mean they do have a lot of fun with the authority figure who absolutely has no authority. So he’s the guy who has to get things done, but it’s all through begging, which is a fun comedic role to play. I think a lot of high school principals can actually relate.

Jennifer: We were asking Glen when you were at school and a substitute teacher came in – where you like nasty to that teacher or you were like I’m going to be cool because I feel bad for this teacher?

A.P. BIO — “Ride The Ram” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) Paula Pell as Helen, Patton Oswalt as Principal Durbin — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Patton: It’s weird you brought that up. A lot of times I remember specifically we would start off being kind of being nasty, and then you can see the student’s conscience starting to kick in near the end of the period and thinking we just brutalized this person. So some people will pull back and some people will just stay with it, so it just depended. There was that weird shift of pretty much everyone started off as being nasty, but some people would feel bad but other people wouldn’t.

Jennifer: What were you like at school as a kid?

Patton: I was one of a lot of class clowns. I wasn’t the class clown because there wasn’t never one class clown. There was a clique of them, of girls and boys who were super into comedy and could recite Monty Python. We would watch SCTV and Kids in the Hall. We were the comedy nerds. So I was very luckily part of a whole group of people that did that, so it was great.

Jennifer: You were the comedy connoisseurs of the school.  

Patton: What were you like in high school. Jennifer, were you on the newspaper staff? Did you want to write?

Jennifer: Oh, absolutely. I loved writing. I loved film. I wrote a lot of angsty poetry. 

Patton: Well I mean look at you, you are a total lit girl. You are a haunting lit girl. That’s awesome. Even your wrist bandages are black. That’s amazing, that’s gorgeous.

Jennifer & Patton at NBC MEdia day
Jennifer Ortega talks with Patton Oswalt during NBC’s Media Day.

Jennifer: So now this coming season – what can you tell us? Are we going to be sitting on the edge of our seats or are we going to be cry laughing?

Patton: Well the two big things that I can tease are the fact that Glen’s character Jack decides to try to—I don’t want to say go native, but he tries to embrace life in Toledo for a book that he was writing. It’s hilarious watching him trying to acclimate with Toledo. And then the other thing is they’ve really expanded the stuff that the three teachers do. Mary Sohn and Lyric Lewis have really gotten really interesting – you are seeing them more. They are expanding in the world now. And there are some other new characters that weren’t necessarily, they are not necessarily regulars, but like the janitor, the coach and this other history teacher, where they are starting to populate the world. So they are doing what the Simpsons did and what Parks and Rec did.

Jennifer: I still remember my P.E. coach because she had extremely long hair and she’d wear short shorts and tucked her hair into her shorts.

Patton: I am sorry your coach?

Jennifer: Yes, our PE coach for that class.

Patton: And then she would tuck her hair into what?

Jennifer: Her shorts so when she did sit-ups you could see it coming out through the leg holes it was very bizarre.

Patton: Wow, that must have made so many people confused.

Jennifer: I always tell people to go to Largo to see you because you are hilarious.

Patton: Thank you. I am there again on March 10th. I don’t know if you are in town?

Jennifer: I’ll be there!

about

When disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing into Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids for his own benefit. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to control the force of nature that is Jack Griffin.

Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn, Jean Villepique, Tom Bennett, Paula Pell, Charlie McCrackin, Jacob McCarthy, Aparna Brielle, Nick Peine, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Eddie Leavy, Jacob Houston, Sari Arambulo, Tucker Albrizzi and Spence Moore II also star.

 “A.P. Bio” is written and executive produced by Mike O’Brien. Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker, Andrew Singer, and Lorne Michaels also serve as executive producers. “A.P. Bio” is produced by Universal Television, Broadway Video, and Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions.

Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/ap-bio

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