Blake Anderson is moving from a “Workaholic” to being “Woke.” Anderson, who created/starred in the long-running “Workaholics” on Comedy Central, has a lead role in Hulu’s “Woke.” He plays Gunther, the stoner roommate of Keef Knight (Lamorne Morris, “New Girl”), a cartoonist who prides himself on keeping his work “light” — exasperated by the notion …
Blake Anderson is moving from a “Workaholic” to being “Woke.”
Anderson, who created/starred in the long-running “Workaholics” on Comedy Central, has a lead role in Hulu’s “Woke.” He plays Gunther, the stoner roommate of Keef Knight (Lamorne Morris, “New Girl”), a cartoonist who prides himself on keeping his work “light” — exasperated by the notion that artists are expected to provide social commentary in their work.
After an incident in which he’s racially profiled by the police, Keef becomes more attuned to racial injustice in the world — and develops the ability to hear inanimate objects around him talk about the problem.
“[The script] was something that I read probably almost two years ago [but] it’s kind of crazy that the show is so relevant right now,” says Anderson, 36. “I thought it was a cool way to take on some of these subjects, because it does have this whole element of puppetry and the fantasy aspect of being in Keef’s mind and seeing things come to life.
“And the show has a comedic tone,” he says. “Sometimes the best way to get a point across is to package it with laughs.”
Anderson, a lifelong Californian, got his start in improv comedy troupes including The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. He rose to prominence on “Workaholics” (2011-2017), which followed three college dropouts and housemates employed by a telemarketing company. He’s also appeared in shows such as “Arrested Development,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Mixed-ish.”
“[Acting only] was something that was fairly new to me. I’m used to being kind of hands-on in all aspects of the shows that I’ve done in the past,” he says. “For [‘Woke’], they were very open to allowing us to improvise. I do the majority of my scenes with Lamorne and [co-star] T. Murph, because we’re best-friend roommates. And it helps to build that authentic friendship feel. So it was really cool to be able to have that freedom on the set.”
As Keef struggles to adapt his career as a cartoonist in the wake of his new mindset, Gunther and their other roommate Clovis (Murph) alternately support him and engage in their own wacky schemes — including trying to sell “energy powder” that Gunther swears is not cocaine.
“Gunther is not too far of a departure from what I usually play,” says Anderson. “It’s to be expected; I’m a long-haired, laid-back dude, so I kind of get cast as stoner types. Fair enough. I didn’t have to reach too far into my bag of tricks to find who this character was, but that’s also why I was cast and why it felt so good to improvise this character.
“I really felt like I could tap into him, because we aren’t too different, really.”
The distinctive coif that Anderson mentions has remained a signature part of his aesthetic through his career, and he says he’s never been asked to change it for a role.
“The only real pressure I get is just the weather in California. Having this mop on my head can be daunting,” he says. “You definitely get those days where you’re just ready to shave it. But other than that, I haven’t had Steven Spielberg knocking on my door telling me I can be in a war movie. I haven’t had ‘Star Wars’ call and say, ‘We need you to shave your head to be a Jedi.’ ”
In addition to “Woke,” Anderson also writes for and lends his voice to the animated Adult Swim series “Tigtones” (returning for its second season Sept. 13) — and he’s launching a podcast with his former “Workaholics” co-stars Adam Devine and Anders Holm called “This is Important.”
“I’m having this strange renaissance during this month,” he says. “I feel almost kind of bad — but I’m excited to give people stuff to watch.”