OH BABY BABY. Derek Theler has played the pretty boy, but now he gets to play the funny guy in the new sitcom Baby Daddy. He talks to DA MAN about hockey, talking to girls and babies and the wise words of his father. By M. Berlian
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Derek Theler is an all-American boy who followed his dream of actingfrom the mountains of Colorado to the bright lights of LA. After getting commercial work for big names like Coca-cola and gigs on shows ranging from teen drama 90210 to late night’s best comedy, Conan, Derek landed a lead role on the new ABC Family sitcom Baby Daddy.
DA MAN: Can you tell us more about Baby Daddy and your role in it?
Derek Theler: Baby Daddy is a modern day sitcom that portrays a young group of friends as they come together to raise a baby in New York City. My character is Danny Wheeler, the baby daddy’s brother who plays professional hockey for the New York Rangers. It is a show that has real life situations, portrayed with a light sense of humor, with fun characters and underlying, genuine messages.
DA MAN: Was there anything specific that made you decide to audition for the role?
Derek Theler: I really enjoyed the script and thought it would be fun to work on a set with a live audience. I also consider myself an athlete and thought it would be fun to play a professional hockey player. I like working with kids and thought it would be interesting to work on set with a baby.
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DA MAN: Obviously your character is really into sports. How about you?
Derek Theler: I am really big on sports. We have Sports Center on around the clock at my house. I played all sports growing up, with basketball being my favorite. I’m from Colorado so I root for the Denver teams. I watch football, basketball and hockey, especially around playoff time.
DA MAN: Danny is also a bit of a ladies man. We’re guessing you are as well. Since you’re obviously pretty good-looking, we’re curious… Do you ever get intimidated talking to women?
Derek Theler: I’m pretty down to earth and enjoy talking to people. I don’t usually get nervous. I think it is important to be yourself, be honest and be confident when approaching women. I’m definitely not a guy that uses corny pickup lines. Because of my size, I try to do what I can to not intimidate other people, so I usually sit back, observe and wait for the right opportunity.
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DA MAN: Which one is more nerve-wracking: working with babies or acting in front of a live audience?
Derek Theler: I’m very comfortable around babies and kids. I’ve spent a lot of time working with kids in sports camps, summer camps, and day care in the past. Kids are fun to work with because what you see is what you get. I enjoy the live audience because you get honest reactions to your jokes and they give you great energy. It can sometimes make you anxious because you are not always sure how they will respond.
DA MAN: Has starring on Baby Daddy changed your views on family or having one yourself?
Derek Theler: The babies we work with onset are easy because they have people to take care of them if they get cranky or need something. I know that is not a realistic situation and having kids is a full time job that I am not quite ready for. This show is giving me great skills for when the time is right. I’m sure my kids will be little terrors compared to the twins (laughs).
DA MAN: You’ve did quite a bit of sketch comedy work, including for the great Conan O’Brian. How did that come about and what was it like?
Derek Theler: I started with one skit a while ago and made friends with some of the crew there. They called me back several times for different skits that we usually did in one or two takes in front of a live audience.
DA MAN: Do you consider yourself a “funny guy?”
Derek Theler: (Laughs) I have my moments. The cast of this show helps a lot because we joke around all the time, we are good friends and we play off each other.
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DA MAN: Your dad just had his 60th birthday! What is the most important lesson you learned from him?
Derek Theler: Oh, someone’s been checking my Twitter? I’m very close with my family. My dad always says “Don’t do anything stupid.” I try to hold true to that.
DA MAN: How did you first get into acting?
Derek Theler: I was going to college for pre-med in Colorado but always had a dream of being an actor. I did not want to have any regrets in life, so while in school, I decided to move to LA as soon as I finished my degree. I’ve been fortunate with the opportunities I’ve been given and I feel I made the right choice. Maybe someday I will be cast as a doctor and put that schooling to work.
DA MAN: Can you tell us more about the short movie you wrote, produced and starred in, Intrusion?
Derek Theler: It was one of the first projects I did in LA, I was trying to be proactive with my career. It was pretty low budget but provided lots of learning experiences.
DA MAN: Do you see yourself writing or producing more projects in the future?
Derek Theler: I want to learn as much as I can in the position I’m in now so eventually I can produce projects and be part of the creative team.
DA MAN: Besides sports, how do you like to keep in shape? What is your personal workout routine like?
Derek Theler: I like to go hiking in the Hollywood area, go to the beach and I have a routine workout schedule. I usually hit the gym four times a week to do weight training.
DA MAN: How would you describe your personal style?
Derek Theler: I’m pretty casual, jeans and a T-shirt type of guy. My outfit usually depends on which boots I’m wearing.
DA MAN: What is something about yourself that surprises most people?
Derek Theler: Most people don’t know that I am a type 1 diabetic, which means I have to pay close attention to what I eat and how I feel, especially while working.
DA MAN: If you had a motto in life, what would it be?
Derek Theler: Always be positive, be honest and loyal and “don’t do anything stupid!”
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Photographs: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling: Drew Manares