Andre Braugher has a pair of Emmy wins for drama and one could easily argue that it's a minor travesty he only won one Emmy for "Homicide: Life on the Street." He's mastered a wide range of portrayals of heroes who are stern, capable and flawed, giving them authentic, raw life.
And at least for the foreseeable future, it's going to be hard to interview Andre Braugher without suddenly finding humor in his thoughtful and entirely earnest answers.
Captain Ray Holt on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" isn't Braugher's first role to feature humor. As he correctly notes, "Men of a Certain Age" offered him the chance to get humane, ego-free laugher and earned him two Emmy nominations, though they were technically for drama. Braugher's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" nomination was his first for comedy and was a recognition of how swiftly Braugher has eased into the rhythm of the single-cam and how instantly proficient he has become at the fine art of the deadpan.
When Braugher discusses his initiation into the world of comedy, he's humble and introspective, but it's hard not to hear hints of Holt's deadpan, even if they're not at all intentional. When Braugher discusses how he needs distance from acting projects in order to evaluate his work, for example, I ask if, in five years, he'll finally be able to know if he's been funny on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
"I will," Braugher responds. "In retrospect I'll be able to. Yes. History will finally confirm that that was a funny episode for me."
Braugher isn't going for laugher, but if you imagine Captain Holt saying it? Well, it becomes a bit hilarious. The same is true when Braugher initially forgets the name of the Candy Crush knockoff that was a key plotpoint in one "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" episode last season, followed by his pleasure at repeating the name when I remind him.
In our conversation, Braugher discusses what it's like to find himself at the funny people's table, to suddenly be a guy asked to deliver punchlines during the Emmy telecast. He talks about the way this role challenges his process and the co-stars who challenge him most.
It's a great conversation, but if you read the transcript with Captain Holt in your mind, you may laugh a little.
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" airs on FOX on Sundays at 8:30.
Check out the full Q&A...