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A Superstore' scene-stealer

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A conversation with Colton Dunn

There's one in every crowd - the sardonic observer who says what everybody else is thinking. On NBC's hit comedy 'Superstore,' airing Thursdays at 8 p.m., that figure is customer service rep Garrett, played by Colton Dunn ('Parks and Recreation,' 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien').

'He's horrible at his job,' Dunn said me with a laugh in a phone interview. 'He does the bare minimum to get by. He doesn't like customers and he doesn't like service. He's in a wheelchair but after you get to know him you don't even notice it.'

'Superstore,' now in its second season, is centered on a group of employees at Cloud 9, a fictional big box megastore in St. Louis.

'It's very relatable,' Dunn continued. 'Everybody has been to these stores and many people work in them. We get messages all the time on Twitter and Facebook where people are like that exact thing happened in my store.''

Dunn is part of a very strong ensemble cast, most of whom have a background steeped in improv comedy.

'The shows are scripted but we usually do an improv take. Lots of times, those takes have ended up in the show,' Dunn said. 'We have Mark McKinney ('Kids in the Hall'), Lauren Ash (Second City), Nico Santos ('Paul Blart'), they are obviously very good comedians. And America Ferrera ('Ugly Betty'), Ben Feldman ('Mad Men') and Nichole Bloom ('Project X') who are all really good actors.'

Dunn also said that his character can be a bit of a scene-stealer but he believes it's because Garrett is the voice of reason on the show.

'A lot of the time, he says what the viewer is thinking. There's a lot of crazy things that go on and Garrett is a little bit of the gravity on the show. If you watch this season, you'll see he's pretty un-fazeable. Except when a bird gets loose in the store. You'll find that Garrett has a little bit of an issue with birds.'

Dunn, a two-time Emmy nominee for his writing on Comedy Central's 'Key and Peele' and a writer and performer on 'Mad TV' from 2005 to 2009, said the cast and writers on 'Superstore' keep an open dialogue.

'A few weeks ago I went into this giant store and bought only one thing. At the checkout, they printed up this yard-long receipt (laughs) and it was full of coupons and an email feedback section. I told our head writer about it and that bit actually ended up in the show.'

What if Dunn was asked to write an episode of 'Superstore' based on his character? What would he like to see Garrett doing?

'I would love to see Garrett's house. He talks a lot about all the video games he plays but he's also kind of a ladies' man, so he's probably not too messy. I'd like to check out where Garrett lives and see what happens there.'

For its second season, 'Superstore' received a 22-episode commitment from NBC. Dunn said he looks forward to discovering more about his character along with the other characters on the show.

'The fun thing about a show like this is you can keep diving deeper into the characters. It makes them more rich and allows you to have more fun with them.'

Before our conversation came to an end, Dunn had to share his love for Maine.

'I've been in Maine in the fall so I know how beautiful it is there right now. I was in a New York City touring company and we would do improv and sketch shows for colleges and smaller venues all over the east coast. A lot of times when you work in this industry, it's great to get out and see other parts of the country and driving through Maine in the fall is just the best.'


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