Ed Helms: Cool Facts About His Life And Career

Whether you adore him as the lovable buffoon, Andy Bernard in "The Office," or you couldn't stop laughing when he played Stu Price in "The Hangover" franchise, there are many reasons to love funny guy, Ed Helms. The actor has brought some very memorable and hilarious characters to life while staying down-to-earth and surprisingly relatable offscreen. The actor summed it up best himself, once telling GQ, "I'm just a nice southern boy. I'm just happy people enjoy watching me work." That sentiment is also echoed by people who work with him. Director Todd Phillips, who apparently took great delight in making a fool out of the star in "The Hangover," told the same outlet, "He's an amazing improviser who is a put-upon and super decent human being." 

Apparently, Helms also loves rewatching "The Office" just as much as the rest of us. Bringing up the topic on an episode of Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey's podcast, "The Office Ladies," he revealed, "When I do catch an episode here and there, it is like just hanging out with old friends." Though you might know a lot about the star's famous roles over the years, there's a lot more to discover about this Atlanta, Georgia-born actor. 

Andy Bernard and Kevin Malone go way back

Long before they were onscreen employees of Dunder Mifflin, the men behind Andy Bernard and Kevin Malone in "The Office" were actually classmates back in Atlanta, Georgia. Yep, Ed Helms and Brian Baumgartner both attended Westminster High School together, and apparently shared some pertinent interests in common.  

Back in 2007, the pair were asked about the fun fact at a convention for "The Office" in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Helms confirmed they knew each other as teens and shared that they both performed in plays together. He also gave a little glimpse into their high school status at the time by adding, "We were both kind of nerds."

A few years later while doing an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Helms had only good things to say about his classmate-turned-castmate, sharing, "Brian rules ... He is actually nothing like Kevin and is a smart, hilarious, down-to-earth fella. And a freakishly good golfer."

He needed open heart surgery as a teen

While growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Helms experienced a heart murmur that required surgery. "I have a nice, long scar on my chest from open heart surgery when I was 14," he told Us Weekly in 2015. He opened up further about the procedure during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in 2017, where he explained that he had a congenital heart defect known as a supervalvular aortic and pulmonic stenosis

When asked by host Jimmy Kimmel whether or not the heart surgery impressed the seventh-grade ladies, Helms replied, "I thought it would, but it didn't actually." This prompted the actor to recount a funny tale about an old crush, explaining, "While I was in the hospital I got balloons from a girl that I had a big crush on. Then I got back to school and I saw her and I was like, 'Hey, thanks for those balloons! It really pulled me through.'" Unfortunately, the object of his affection burst his bubble by stating that she had no idea what he was on about and that her mom must have sent them. 

Ever the comedian, Helms finished his story with the punch line, "My heart was fixed only to get shattered." The actor revealed that he continues to see a cardiologist to this day — and has done since he was born, as he told NJ.com.

His slacker voiceover skills were very popular

It's possible you heard Ed Helms' voice long before you saw him on the small screen. As he told Sean Evans during an episode of "Hot Ones," he got his start in entertainment as a prolific voiceover actor, where he specialized in commercial narration. During an appearance on "Conan," he elaborated on the type of work he used to receive and how he adapted to a specific marketing niche. Discussing how he worked a lot in the early '00s, he recalled how advertisers were looking for a very unique tone from their voiceovers. "The thing that was hip was to sound like you didn't care," he explained. "... There was this weird sort of slacker, aggro energy to advertising, and that's who I was. I was an aggro slacker." 

That skill likely paved the way for his eventual voice work as a successful TV and movie actor who lends his talents to numerous animated projects. The actor has voiced characters in children's films like "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" and "The Lorax," and served as the narrator for the 2019 nature documentary, "Penguins." He has also voiced characters in more grown-up animated fare such as "Bojack Horseman," and "Big Mouth."

That was Ed Helms' actual missing tooth in The Hangover

Remember that hilarious scene in "The Hangover" where Ed Helms' character Stu wakes up without a tooth? Apparently, this famous scene was incredibly easy for the actor to pull off, with no movie magic required. As he told People, he had a physical advantage to bring to the scene. "An adult tooth never came in and when I was 16, they did a permanent implant," he explained. Despite Helms truly missing an incisor, the scene was actually written into the film before anyone on set knew about his implant.

As he explained in an episode of "Hot Ones," there were various discussions as to how to pull off the missing tooth during pre-production — none of which involved his actual implant. "It was in the script, and so right away — once we got into pre-production — Todd, the director, was like, 'How are we gonna do this? What are you comfortable with?' And I said, 'Well, I don't know, we'll talk to the visual effects guys,' and they said, 'Okay, we'll try blacking it out.'" 

After none of these methods sufficed, Helms fessed up to the truth about his tooth and made sure taking out his implant was feasible. "I went to my dentist, and he said, 'Oh yeah, no problem! We can just take the crown off and put a little thing in there to keep your gum healthy.'" And the rest is movie history!

He got his big break on The Daily Show

Ed Helms and Steve Carell have more in common than co-starring on "The Office" — they also both credit "The Daily Show" as helping them to get their start in Hollywood. The "Captain Underpants" voice actor was a mainstay correspondent of the popular Comedy Central show from 2002 until 2006, while Jon Stewart hosted. During his time on the series, he starred alongside other comedy legends like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee.

While getting interviewed on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," he reminisced with his former co-star about his time on the show and admitted he got a lot of inspiration from the talented actors he got to work with "When I first started my correspondent's style was ripping off Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert as much as possible. Just doing everything I saw you guys nailing, and just copying that," Helms confessed. "It took a year or so before I actually was kind of comfortable in my skin on that show, and found my own voice." 

Ed Helms once played banjo with Mumford & Sons

Ed Helms didn't have to fake any musical skills while playing Andy Bernard on "The Office." The star is actually very talented when it comes to music, playing not one, not two, but five instruments! Per Billboard, the actor is apparently skilled at playing guitar, trumpet, banjo, piano, and the harmonica, and played all of them on the self-titled debut album of his bluegrass group, The Lonesome Trio. "I can pick up instruments fairly easily, but at a very rudimentary level," he mused to the outlet, noting that he's worked hard to become a skilled guitar and piano player. "... That doesn't mean I'm very good at it," he countered. "I played trumpet in junior high, but could I play a Miles Davis solo? Hell no."

Comprised of Helms and two of his pals from his time at Oberlin College, Ian Riggs and Jacob Tilove, the band has found some success in the bluegrass scene. Per The Daily Beast, in 2015, the group played Bonnaroo, where the multitalented actor lent his banjo skills to another band at the festival — Mumford & Sons. Helms joined the band on stage for their headline performance at the event, but it wasn't his first time crossing paths with the musicians. The actor joined comedy stars Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Will Forte, in the 2013 music video for the British folk rock band's song, "Hopeless Wanderer," where they parodied Mumford & Sons' distinctive style. 

He was originally cast as a guest star on The Office

It's hard to envision Dunder Mifflin without the Nard Dog, Andy Bernard. From his office romances to his acapella tunes, Ed Helms's character is integral to the heart of the series. That makes it all the more shocking to realize Helms was originally only cast as a guest star. He'd originally auditioned for the role of Jim Halpert and lost out to John Krasinski. Luckily, the actor eventually got a call to audition for a new character being introduced in Season 3. 

The fun fact was discussed on an episode of the podcast, "The Office Ladies," where co-host Jenna Fischer revealed that Helms' character wasn't intended to stick around. "He was originally only asked to do a total of eight episodes on the show because they thought that the Stamford storyline would not necessarily end in a merger and that his character would be finished when Jim went back to Dunder Mifflin."  

The actor eventually filled Steve Carell's shoes when Andy became Dunder Mifflin's regional manager following Michael Scott's departure but had mixed feelings about his promotion. Thankfully, he had a lot of faith in the show's writers. "I think we were all a little bit anxious to find out [what would happen next]," he reflected to "The Office" writer and co-star Paul Lieberstein for Daily Actor. "But [we were] always confident that whatever the choice was it was going to be good creatively."

Ed Helms gave a speech at Andy Bernard's alma mater

Ed Helms was a member of an acapella group in college, just like Andy Bernard ... but it wasn't at Cornell University. In real life, the actor attended Ohio's Oberlin College. Despite not truly having a degree from the Ivy League school, the University invited Helms to give the commencement speech in 2014. To people that aren't fans of "The Office," the decision might have seemed strange. But attending Cornell University was such a major part of Andy Bernard's character that it made total sense to have the actor deliver the great honor. 

During his speech for his fictional alma mater, Helms made a reference to one of his sweetest lines as Andy, telling the graduates, "Those foolish diversions are the real nectar of life, don't relegate them to the good ol' days. Take them with you, keep creating good old days." The speech is considered by NPR as one of the best of its kind.

While Helms didn't attend an Ivy League institution, he looks back at his time at Oberlin College fondly. In 2019, he reminisced about his undergrad years in the liberal art school's paper, The Oberlin Review, sharing, "The culture is so rich here: Having a conservatory here, having so many people who are passionate about science and the arts all mashed up in this tiny little crucible of a town. It's an incredibly special place."

He gets starstruck in front of celebrities, too

Just because Ed Helms is famous, doesn't mean he can play it cool in front of his favorite stars. It turns out, the actor is a huge Julia Louis-Dreyfus fan and he was just as star-struck by meeting the comedy veteran as the rest of us would be. Back in 2011, the actor told Elle about his superfan status and revealed that meeting the actor was one of his most awkward interactions with a celebrity. 

He told the outlet, "A couple years ago I was introduced to Julia Louis-Dreyfus at a party, and I've been such a big fan of hers for so long that I gave her this big hug that was, like, too familiar — one of those hugs that you'd give a dear friend." He went on to explain his embarrassment at realizing that not only was his hug a little much, but it was also not altogether welcome. "She was perfectly gracious and warm, but there was a certain lack of reciprocation," he commiserated. 

Despite the initial awkward encounter, he would later get to interact with her as a colleague on a comedy roundtable for Los Angeles Times ahead of the Emmys in 2012. By all accounts, it appeared that the awkward encounter was thankfully far behind them. 

Ed Helms' childhood provided plenty of comedy fodder

Ed Helms is a natural entertainer, and he can likely credit some of that to his hilarious upbringing. In 2017, the actor reminisced about his days as a self-proclaimed nerd in Atlanta during an appearance on "Conan." "I got glasses in the second grade and then I went to the same school all the way through ... I also had gigantic teeth, which I have grown into," Helms revealed. Thus, he received his childhood nickname. "Because of that, I resembled a certain pizza franchise mascot ... Chuck E. Cheese," he explained.

If that hilarious nickname didn't build character, experiences with bullies in school certainly did. In fact, one of Andy Bernard's most famous catchphrases was actually inspired by the bullies that Helms grew up with. During a stop on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the star explained that Andy's "roo-doo-doot-da-doo" catchphrase actually came from his bullies, who'd use the odd expression to assert their power while hurting or humiliating people. "It didn't make any sense and that's what made it even more terrifying," he added. "It's just one of those irrational expressions, so I took that and I made something positive. It became Andy Bernard's expression of joy." 

Ed Helms keeps his private life under wraps

Unlike a lot of actors, Ed Helms keeps his private life under wraps. It might even come as a surprise to fans that the star is not only married, but a father of one. The actor shares a daughter with his wife, but doesn't open up about the names of either of the important ladies in his life. 

In 2019, he was pressed on the topic of his daughter during an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live." While the late-night show host was successful in finding out that Helms' child was almost two at the time, he didn't manage to find out what his daughter's name is. When questioned on the topic, Helms offered a hilarious response, quipping, "Her name, weirdly, is Jimmy Kimmel."

Though we still don't know the name of the star's daughter, the comedy star opened up a little more about her on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," sharing that she shares his love of music. "I sing a lot of songs to her, but then she always wants me to sing whatever's going on in that exact moment," he revealed. "She wants me to narrate whatever's happening. So I wind up singing these dumb songs about, like, eating granola bars or playing with toys. They're not good songs."