Jack McBrayer can’t wait to slip into his NBC page uniform for tonight’s season premiere of 30 Rock — but not because he gets to hang out with one of the show’s many celebrity guest stars.
“We haven’t blown it out of the water with guest stars this year,” says McBrayer. “The writers are trying to focus on the usual cast of players. I like that because that’s how it all started — just us interacting in the workplace.”
Of course, McBrayer and the rest of the 30 Rock crew loved the attention they received from some of Hollywood’s biggest names. “That was crazy flattering. To have you admire and respect come up and say, ‘Make sure Tina Fey knows I want to be on the show,'” he says. “I’m like, ‘Alright, Meryl Streep. I will.’ Isn’t that the craziest thing ever?”
McBrayer says season 4 will have its share of crazy moments. “I’m up to my usual high jinks. I stage a page strike in the first episode and I volunteer at an animal shelter later on,” says McBrayer.
The actor has another reason to look forward to tonight’s show. The Georgia native directed an animated film short that will run during the episode. He’s one of five NBC actors dabbling in directing for Liberty Mutual’s the Responsibility Project, which promotes daily acts of kindness. The message is to “be nice to other and be considerate,” says McBrayer, whose short follows a harried temp’s day at the office. “That’s the way we can progress in this crazy world together.”
And he’s taken that lesson to heart. “I sound like I’m making myself out to be a saint but I was walking down Broadway the other day and this lady tripped and fell on the street,” he recalls. “People walked right by her! I put down my groceries and held off traffic for a second and helped her up,” says McBrayer. “I’m a living commercial.”
Check out McBrayer’s short film — as well as others from Milo Ventimiglia, Zachary Levi, Connie Britton and Anthony Anderson — after its on-air debut at NBC.com and ResponsibilityProject.com. –Liza HammMary Ellen Mathews/NBC