Helms was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother was a school administrator and his father was an attorney. He graduated from The Westminster Schools in 1992 a year after his Office co-star Brian Baumgartner. Originally a geology major, Helms graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in film theory and technology in 1996 and spent a semester as an exchange student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
After graduating from Oberlin, Helms began his comedy and acting career as a writer and performer with New York City sketch comedy bands, and studied improvisation with the Upright Citizens Brigade troupe.
Helms concurrently worked as a trainee film editor at Crew Cuts, a post-production facility in New York City. While doing so, he recorded some rough voiceover scratch tracks that eventually led to paying voiceover work, which in turn led to finding a talent agent.
Helms was performing comedy in New York City when, as he recalled in a 2005 interview, "The Daily Show had a sort of open audition with a casting company that I had dealt with. I read for the part, and got it". In his April 2002 to mid-2006 tenure on the satirical news program, Helms contributed "field reports" in addition to hosting various segments of the show, such as Digital Watch, Ad Nauseam, and Mark Your Calendar. He has also contributed to the This Week in God segment. Helms left the show in 2006, but has occasionally returned for brief appearances. On July 21, 2008 he returned for Obama Quest – a segment covering then-Senator Barack Obama's trip to Iraq. He occasionally narrates the Prescott Group educational films on sister series The Colbert Report.
In late July 2006 NBC announced that Helms would join the cast of the mockumentary The Office, along with his fellow The Daily Show correspondent Steve Carell, in a recurring role as Andy Bernard. Helms has been a series regular since the third season.
Helms returned to The Daily Show on December 5, 2006, stating he had been gone because he was "undercover at a paper company in Scranton", an allusion to his stint on The Office. In February 2007, NBC announced that Helms had been promoted to series regular, and in February 2010 Helms was added to the show's opening credits. In June 2009, on a radio interview with National Public Radio, Helms said that like his character, Andy Bernard, he is obsessed with a capella music.
Helms has appeared on such television shows as Tanner on Tanner, Childrens Hospital, Arrested Development and Cheap Seats, and in various Comedy Central specials. He has done commercial voiceover work in campaigns for Burger King, Doritos, Hotels.com, Sharp Aquos and Advair asthma medication, and he voices Angel, a character on Cartoon Network's Weighty Decisions series.
Helms plays guitar, banjo (which was shown in the commercial bumpers and on a What Up With That? sketch when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 2011), and piano, and he has played all three, as well as a sitar, in some of his movies and television performances.
Helms starred in the 2011 film Cedar Rapids and co-starred in the blockbuster 2009 film The Hangover. He previously appeared in small roles in films including Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, Meet Dave, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, I'll Believe You, Evan Almighty, Semi-Pro and, with Office co-star Jenna Fischer, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. In 2009, Helms appeared in The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, directed by Neal Brennan and starring Jeremy Piven.
Helms has been developing, with Judd Apatow, a Universal Pictures film, A Whole New Hugh, in which he would star, and which he would co-write with Jake Fleisher and Ian Berger. Variety reported in February 2009 that Helms would star and he and Fleisher would co-write a Warner Bros. feature about a time-traveling Civil War re-enactor, with the film to be produced through The Office star Steve Carell's production company Carousel. Helms reprised his role in 2011's The Hangover Part II.
Helms is also in a band called "The Lonesome Trio" with his friends Ian and Jake. They formed the band when they were in college, and still get together to play a few shows every year.
Often plays characters who appear meek at first, but show their strengths by the end.
Often sings in his roles
Has done much voiceover work for companies such as Lycos, CDnow.com, Burger King, etc..
Graduated from Oberlin College.
Plays the banjo and piano, and has played both in some of his TV and movie appearances. Wrote and sang "Stu's Song" in The Hangover (2009).
Lived in New York City for 10 years.
Enjoys bluegrass music and playing the banjo.
Was nicknamed "Chuck E. Cheese" when he was in school.
Plays bluegrass guitar and banjo in various bands.
(2009 - On living in L.A.) I'm kind of embarrassed by how quickly I adjusted to L.A. I really love it. It's so pleasant. I lived in New York for 10 years, I loved it, I never second-guessed it. There were definitely times when I thought, "I will never leave this place". And I kind of got into that center-of-the-universe mindset. And then, my last couple years, I was traveling so much for those "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (1996) field segments that I really got kind of beaten down, and for the first time, I would land at LaGuardia and get this heavy feeling like, "Ugh, I have to deal with New York City again. It's gonna stink, it's so hot in the summer". All the hardships of city life start to outweigh the convenience and fun of city life. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I was traveling every week, almost, and I was just in and out of the city constantly. I didn't feel very stable. And then when I got to L.A. and started work on "The Office" (2005), it was so pleasant. It was such a change of pace. I would just go to work every day, the weather was beautiful, and I had this nice kind of Zen time in my car between work and home.
I try to explain to people that you get the roles that are right when they're right. If you have a nerd character but you're kind of a cool guy, you're probably not going to get the nerd part. The nerd is going to get the nerd part. You know, someone like me.
(On filming The Hangover Part II (2011) in Bangkok) We exploited its dark underbelly with great enthusiasm in the movie. We shot in some interesting neighborhoods, what you might call "sketchy", that most tourists probably wouldn't visit. You take a vacation to a place like Thailand and you're ready for the excitement of something new and foreign. But when you're working 14-hour days, all you want is something familiar to ground you. And there's just nothing there. Even the American things, such as Starbucks or a hamburger joint, felt different in Bangkok.
(2011, on if people try to buy him drinks because of his Hangover fame) If I'm in a bar, frat boys will usually try to buy me shots. But I'm not much of a boozer anymore. I certainly had my share of ragers during my 20s, but I think it had more to do with geography than age. I lived in New York City for most of my 20s, and then I moved to Los Angeles when I was 32 or 33. L.A. is all about automobiles, and New York is about public transportation or taxis. So alcohol consumption isn't as automatic as it was when I was in New York.
(2011, on his worst hangover) For me it's less about the physical effects than the remorse. I think I'm a fairly obnoxious drunk, so I'll wake up the next morning just racked with guilt, replaying every conversation I had the night before and every terrible thing that came out of my mouth. I read that's part of the chemical process of alcohol going through your body. It engenders feelings of guilt and depression.
(2011, on his character on "The Office" (2005)) This may come as a surprise, given the nature of my job, but I am very guarded and contemplative. I'm not a naturally boisterous person. "Andy Bernard" is a bit of a wish fulfillment for me, because I absolutely envy how passionate he is. If Andy's in love with somebody, everybody knows it. He just puts it out there. It's his saving grace, in the midst of all his other social handicaps.
[on "The Office" (2005) after Steve Carell left the show] Steve's departure was a massive heartbreak because he's one of the funniest human beings on earth - and one of the most benevolent, wonderful guys you'll ever work with. But that departure also offered all of us this incredible opportunity to just step away and reinvent this show in a way that few shows have the opportunity to do.
[on being described as a 'star'] Star? That's just sort of this label that other people generate. It's not something that feels very different while you're just walking around every day. It's kind of like a birthday, like 'How does it feel to be 35?'. I'm still the same idiot I was before.
Mindy Kaling embodies the trifecta of being brilliant, wonderful and hilarious. Because that is statistically impossible, it can mean only one thing: she was created by an evil scientist to lull us into a giddy stupor in order to control our minds. To be made fun of by Mindy is to feel special.
|The Hangover Part II (2011)||$5,000,000|
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