‘The Office’: Ed Helms Had a Hilarious Habit of Improvising Andy Bernard’s Lines
Every character in The Office played a key role in the show’s success. The popular sitcom ran from 2005-2013, and during that time, a few characters came and went. Though Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) wasn’t in the show’s first few seasons, he quickly became an integral character. And Helms had a funny habit of improvising many of Andy’s lines.
Andy Bernard joined the show in season 3
It’s hard to believe there was a time when Ed Helms wasn’t known for his role in The Office. But Andy Bernard actually didn’t exist for the show’s first two seasons. His character only came along in season 3, after Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) took a job at the Dunder Mifflin Stamford branch in Connecticut.
Bernard was the Stamford branch’s regional manager; he worked with Jim and Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones). All three of them relocated to the Scranton branch upon Stamford’s closure later in season 3. Andy quicky integrated himself into the Scranton family, and fans loved his wacky personality from day one. Even after Rashida Jones left the show, Andy became a staple and spent the next six seasons with the crew, even dating Angela (Angela Kinsey) and Erin (Ellie Kemper) at one point.
Ed Helms improvised several of Andy’s lines throughout the show
Andy’s personality made him lovable. He had several iconic moments throughout the series, including when he took over the CPR class with his rendition of “Stayin’ Alive.” But it turns out Helms improvised a number of Andy’s lines.
In the season 3 episodes “Traveling Salesman” and “The Return,” Andy and Michael head out to pitch Dunder Mifflin paper to a series of potential clients. And many of Andy’s lines during the sales pitches were totally improvised — including when he claimed he caught an “80-pound shark” with a “rifle” while out on his parents’ boat.
Helms also improvised lines during typical conversation with Michael, including in “The Return” when Michael asked Andy what was said to Pam, and he responded with phrases such as “roo-doo-doo-doo-da-doo” and “bleh bleh bleh” in an effort to recreate a conversation he didn’t actually know anything about.
Ed Helms’ childhood bullies inspired one of his signature ‘The Office’ phrases
Perhaps one of Andy’s most well-known improvised lines was his habit of saying “Roo-doo-doo-da-doo.” The words became somewhat of a catch phrase to Andy, and he’d slip it into conversation occasionally (including when he improvised Michael’s conversation with Pam in “The Return”).
Surprisingly, the line wasn’t something Helms thought of off the top of his head. Rather, it was a phrase used by his childhood bullies. In an interview with Stephen Colbert in 2018, Helms explained where the phrase originated.
“The roo-doo-doo-da-doo that Andy says in The Office … It started as a thing that these bullies at my school — after they gave you a wedgie or pushed you down … — they’d go ‘roo-doo-doo-da-doo’ … I took that, and I made it something positive.” Colbert was shocked to learn that Helms’ bullies were behind his famous phrase, but fans were glad to see that he turned it into a popular catch phrase on one of the best known sitcoms of our time.