‘Parks and Recreation’: Chris Pratt Knows Why His Funniest Improvised Line in the Show’s History Was Such a Good Joke
One of the funniest lines ever delivered on Parks and Recreation was a brilliant improvised joke by Chris Pratt, who played Andy Dwyer. Pratt has been praised for the hilarious ad lib, even by the show’s co-creator, and the actor explained recently how he knows that it was a good joke.
Pratt came up with the best ad lib of the series
It’s not just fans who love the line Andy delivers during the “Flu Season” episode — the show’s co-creator, Michael Schur, is downright jealous that Pratt came up with the joke.
If you need a refresher, it happens when Leslie and Ben are leaving the office and discussing her symptoms. “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems,” Andy tells them.
While discussing improvised lines during the 2012 PaleyFest panel for Parks and Recreation, Schur called Pratt’s ad lib “the funniest line ever spoken on our show.”
“And I’m not kidding, as a writer, it made me furious. I’m still really upset and angry,” Schur added. “He did it once, the camera happened to be on him, he did it once… I think it’s the funniest joke that’s ever been on our show. It’s my favorite joke.”
Pratt improvised a lot on ‘Parks and Rec’
Pratt admitted that he was mostly unprepared when they filmed, as he’d arrive late to set and didn’t memorize his lines. “I haven’t read the script,” Pratt recalled about those days. “I don’t know what the dialogue is. It was perfect for me in that regard because Andy was never carrying that much emotional through line weight.”
He added, “I could just riff and as long as I stayed in timing, I’d say whatever I want.” The actor said he would give the script a look beforehand and then would “give them a version of that but then it would spin into something else. It was a lot of improv for me to do that character.”
Why he still thinks his iconic joke is funny
During the podcast, Pratt recalled how he came to improvise the “Flu Season” line — after the episode’s director asked if he wanted to say something in the background. He was happy to give it a try and improv a line or two, landing on the “network connectivity” joke. “It’s pretty much a given that you have the single greatest ad lib in the history of Parks and Rec,” Lowe said of the classic improv moment.
“And Mike Schur gets so mad about it because he writes jokes… he’s very generous, he writes amazing jokes all the time, but he’s always been very effusive in complimenting that joke,” Pratt shared.
Lowe added, “He says it’s the perfect joke because it’s hilarious, it’s story point driven and propels the story, and you’re the only character who could have said it. That’s why it’s so great.”
“I know that it’s a good joke because every once in a while I’ll repeat it to myself and laugh. A joke that makes you laugh every time you hear it is a good joke,” Pratt said.