One can't help but wonder if Jack McBrayer's character on 30 Rock, Kenneth the page, didn't provide some small amount of inspiration for that Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker article this week on the advantages of being an underprivileged outsider. The hardworking "country boys" once favored by New York merchants went on to run Goldman Sachs and so forth, Gladwell writes, and 30 Rock's fictional GE executive, Jack Donaghy, was similarly optimistic about Kenneth: "In five years, we'll all either be working for him … or be dead by his hand." Salon's Sarah Hepola makes the case in her Q&A with McBrayer that the actor is the midst of an unlikely ascent of his own as 30 Rock's breakout star:
You could argue that, in a cast of narcissists, neurotics and megalomaniacs, the true protagonist of "30 Rock," which premiered its third season on NBC Oct. 30, is Kenneth Ellen Parsons, a truly decent human being incapable of the sarcasm and irony that erode the lovable but deeply flawed [Tina Fey character Liz] Lemon.
McBrayer comes out on top by playing the lowly character — aided, for once, by a refusal over years in the comedy business (he was at Second City with the show's Tina Fey) to lose his southern accent, a rarity in comedy ("there are millions of people who sound just like me. Millions). The actor was probably also helped by his looks, though they're apparently diminished in the show:
I met Jack a few years ago (a friend of a friend, lucky me) and what struck me about him in person, aside from his Southern politesse and honest-to-goodness kindness — were his good looks. I would not tell him this to his face (though if I did, he would blush ferociously), but for someone who plays "that nerd on '30 Rock,'" he is a handsome guy. He has radiant skin, beautiful eyes. He's in pretty good shape.
When someone spotted him in New York City last January, they wrote in to Gawker Stalker, "Saw Jack McBrayer sitting outside at the Bone Lick Park barbecue joint at Greenwich and 7th Avenues, looking way hotter than he does on '30 Rock.'"
Apparently McBrayer was got his job through a connection to Fey's husband, who is "just as weird and quirky as you would think Tina's husband would be."
If the below Funny Or Die video is anything to go by, all of Hollywood will soon be working for McBrayer, like Kenneth the page and Malcolm Gladwell's "country boys" before him. (Or not. But he's not going to disgrace the Peacock.)