The comedian has a way with words in sticky situations on Parks and Recreation and House of Lies. No need to blame the kid who doesn't speak English any more.

The first time I got caught lying:
In kindergarten, I became close with a kid named Shigeki, who spoke no English. I went to his place and we played Nintendo all day, but we couldn’t talk to each other. One day in school I shouted, "Shit!" at the top of my lungs. My teacher freaked out and yelled, "Benjamin!" and I said, "Shigeki said it!" I blamed it on the kid who couldn’t speak English.

The last time I got caught lying:
I barely use the word "promise" and try to be trustworthy, so I don’t remember the last time I lied. I put myself in a position where I don’t have to.

The first time an actor gave me advice:
One of the first things I learned from Don Cheadle on House of Lies is that you need the confidence to take risks. They pay off and that’s when you start learning about yourself as a performer. I try to surround myself with people who I look up to. Don’t be so stubborn that you can’t understand that being collaborative is enormous.

The last time an actor gave me advice:
Tina Fey and I were outside filming This Is Where I Leave You and it was freezing but we were supposed to pretend it was summer in New York. We were wearing coats, and when they said, "Action!" we took them off. Tina said, "Ninety percent of acting is pretending you’re the opposite temperature of what you actually are."

The first time I defended someone:
When I was at Union College, I went to some frat and a random person I didn’t know got pushed and was going to get in a fight, so I went to break it up like a fucking idiot. I said, "Whoa, guys, come on," and put my hands in between them and someone head-butted me. I blacked out for a second and when I bounced back, out of nowhere, all these six-foot-four guys I played intramural basketball with jumped in and protected me. It was a beautiful feeling of someone saving the nerd.

The last time I defended someone:
Verbally, it happens all the time. In Los Angeles, in this industry, people shit on each other so much. They'll shit on people they don’t even know, or performances that are good or even great. They’ll say, "I heard that guy’s an asshole." I'm like, "You never met him!" I do that a lot.


This article appears in Complex's December/January 2015 issue.