‘The Office’: Ed Helms’ College Experience Helped Create Andy’s Ringtone in Season 3

“Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee” fans of The Office! If you heard Andy Bernard’s acapella ringtone in your head as you read that phrase, you’re in the right place. As it turns out, Ed Helms is almost as musically inclined as the role he played in the NBC series. Find out how Helms’ extracurricular activities in college lent themselves to Andy’s ringtone in the season 3 episode “The Return.”

Ed Helms as Andy Bernard in the NBC series 'The Office'
Ed Helms | Byron Cohen/NBC/NBU Photo Bank

Ed Helms was ‘too into’ making Andy Bernard’s ringtone

In the season 3 episode “The Return,” Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) plays a harmless prank on Andy by hiding his cell phone in the ceiling tiles. When Andy’s phone rings, he hears his acapella rendition of “Rockin’ Robin” but cannot find his phone. Ultimately, Andy’s frustration results in his punching a hole in the office wall. 

During an episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Helms talked about creating the ringtone for Andy’s phone. That’s actually him singing!

“Like Andy says [in the episode], I did it on my computer at home,” Helms told his co-stars. “I don’t think they wanted it to be very good, but I was too into it to make it anything less, and I thought Andy would make it as good as possible.” Helms said he spent “a long time” toying with Garage Band and recording the four parts, which he referred to as a “pretty simple, elementary harmony arrangement.” 

Ed Helms’ time in an acapella group helped with Andy’s ringtone in ‘The Office’

Some Office fans might be shocked to learn about Helms’ experience, albeit brief, in an acapella group. “I was in an acapella group, but only for a semester in college,” Helms said on the podcast. “It wasn’t a huge part of my identity — it was for a semester, but then I realized it wasn’t for me.” 

As much fun as Helms had recorded the ringtone for this episode of The Office, it also presented one of the most “daunting” scenes for the actor. “I remember it was my first time doing anything that qualified as a stunt,” Helms recalled on Office Ladies

“There was a whole little meeting about how they were going to score the back of the sheetrock so that my hand went through easier. And then they were gonna put up … they fixed a pad onto the inner wall so that when my hand went through, I wouldn’t hit wood or aluminum or anything. Also, they had multiple planks that they could stick up just so we could do multiple takes.”

The actor added: “That was one of those scenes for me, in a very early one, and something that I think was very exciting, but also kind of daunting. And I really didn’t want to screw up the punch.” Still, Helms was determined to get the shot right with only a few extra wall panels at the ready. 

“I didn’t want to get it wrong … there were a lot of kind of wind-ups to practice, practice swings,” Helms added. “I think we only did two, two takes or so and I skinned up my knuckles. There was a pad in there, but I think breaking through the sheetrock skinned up my knuckles. So, yeah, that was pretty intense.” Fortunately, he managed to nail the scene in a few takes. 

Stream every episode of The Office on Peacock. 

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