Comedian and actor Colton Dunn loves that he's finally getting recognized on the street, but admits it’s weird when fans approach him when he’s wearing boxer briefs and flip-flops.
He's drawing attention for playing the wheelchair-bound, sarcastic scene stealer, Garrett McNeil on NBC’s “Superstore.”
The show, about a group of zany employees working for a big-box akin to Costco, premiered on NBC in 2015 and has gained a legion of loyal fans.
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Dunn, who originally hails from Minnesota and currently lives in California, is no stranger to being on TV. He’s appeared on “Parks and Recreation,” “MadTv” and the popular Comedy Central sketch series “Key and Peele,” which earned him three primetime Emmy nominations for writing.
But “Superstore” is Dunn’s first series regular role and he loves playing the witty Garrett.
"I think he’s the most normal person in the cast of characters” Dunn said. “I think he’s coolest guy on the show and he’s the most handsome guy on the show.”
The McNeil character is paralyzed from the waist down. Dunn, who is able-bodied, says he wants to bring the character to life without highlighting the fact that he’s in a wheelchair. But he understands that some may be offended by him portraying someone in the disabled community.
“I definitely agree with the sentiment that more people with a disability should be represented on screen,” Dunn said. “When you’re auditioning a bunch of people, you’re looking for types and people who kind of fit the types in the script, but what you're looking for in a comedy is a kind of a chemistry.”
He said that he auditioned against disabled actors for the role and eventually won out. Despite not being disabled, his hope is to represent the community respectfully and believes the show is the perfect vehicle to showcase that.
“It’s a character and it has an opportunity, for what the show is, to have a really diverse set of characters that you don’t see on a lot of shows,” he says.
The show also stars "Ugly Betty" alum, America Ferrera, who serves as executive producer of the series. Ferrera recently revealed she was sexually harassed when she was 9 years old, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Dunn describes Ferrera as "powerful" and "amazing" and expressed support for the women who are vocal about what’s happened to them.
“I think it was really braver for everybody who shared their story,” he said. “I think it’s really important, especially for younger women, to see that it’s okay.”
He also challenges men to speak up among themselves when inappropriate comments are made toward women.
“We have to stop laughing at some of the jokes that you call ‘locker room talk’,” Dunn said. “There’s sort of a mindset I think, that men need to work together to really understand that women are our equals.”