NBC comedy stars keep themselves relevant after finales

Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski shill baseball hats in viral ads, "Community" character gives Emmy picks, and more

Topics: Celebrity, 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin, Baseball, NBC, Oprah Winfrey, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Television,

NBC comedy stars keep themselves relevant after finalesYankees vs. Red Sox, Baldwin vs. Krasinski, or "30 Rock" vs. "The Office": who is your favorite?

What do the stars of NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup do during their summer vacation? Keep themselves fresh, of course. Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell if these guys can separate themselves from their characters, but who’s complaining if there’s a real Ron Swanson or Jack Donaghy walking around?

“30 Rock’s” Alec Baldwin and “The Office’s” John Krasinski have figured out what they’re doing with their off-season, and that’s punching each other in the face about baseball. No, seriously. In this series for New Era Caps, Baldwin goes head to head with Jim Halpert over their Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. So far there have been three spots, and if you play them in succession it’s kind of like watching a crossover episode between the two shows.

Meanwhile, Amy Poehler isn’t the only cast member of “Parks and Recreation” keeping herself in the spotlight. While the comedian is off giving speeches at Harvard, her costar Nick Offerman (who plays her boss and meat-lover Ron Swanson) has been wooing Oprah to come play his first ex-wife next season.  As he told the Huffington Post:

“I think Oprah would be the only, she’s the only person we can think of that might be intimidating to Megan Mullally. It would be so good.”

He then added, “I can assure you if it’s not Oprah, I will quit.”

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And while that’s doubtful, Oprah should actually consider it. She did cameo on “30 Rock,” so it’s only fair.

Rounding out the news cycle is Danny Pudi, who plays Abed on “Community.” Anyone who still thinks that show isn’t being taken seriously should check out Variety right now, where “Abed” has been given a column in-character for Emmy season. He’s predicting who will win the awards based solely on his extensive knowledge of television and film (despite never having seen the shows in question), as well as his more savant-like tendencies:

I sort the last four into two groups: a) shows that have won an Emmy, so it seems like they’ll win again, and b) shows that haven’t won yet, so it seems like their turn. Sorting every winner since “I Love Lucy” in 1953:

 B A B B A B A B B AA B B AB B A A B B AA A B A A B B A B B A B AB                              A A B B A A A A B B B B B B A B B A A B

The “ABBA” pattern emerges soon and repeats often, as people’s urge to shake up a system always results in systemic shaking. I totally get it: I once missed a week of school by trying not to touch my chin 7,000 times. The stretches of non-ABBA you see are “cable scares,” like when we just kept giving Emmys to “Frasier” until “Larry Sanders” went away. Think of TV as Rain Man getting through HBO’s smoke alarm by chanting “I like the guy from Cheers.”

The whole article is amazing, and by far my favorite post-finale offering from an NBC comedy actor. Then again, I’m a little biased.

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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