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Comedian and actor David Koechner to perform in Batavia

The Office actor David Koechner performs at Batavia's Comedy Vault March 14-16.
Aaron Farrier
The Office actor David Koechner performs at Batavia's Comedy Vault March 14-16.

Comedian and actor David Koechner has performed in numerous television and film productions. Koechner grew up in rural Missouri and studied improv in Chicago. Ahead Koechner’s slate of shows this week in Batavia, he started our conversation off by stating how good it was to be back in the area.

David Koechner: Every time I go back to Chicago, I will say I get a bit melancholy. So many great memories, so many great friendships. That's where I found out who I was. I tell you Chicago was the most important time of my life. My fondest memories. My deepest friendships came from my time in Chicago. I always wish show business was in Chicago, I did not want to leave Chicago. Who would ever leave Chicago?

Jason Cregier: David Koechner enjoyed his time in the Windy City, in part because he was able to train under legendary improv teacher Del Close at Second City.

Dell (Close) had just come back to teaching a year before, so I probably got the best of him. He was still just coming back to it (improv), just developing the Herald. He was in his real creative renaissance, if you will. He has made a huge mark on comedy.

Close also instilled the importance of comedy performance on Koechner early on in his career.

To him it (comedy) should be treated as a religion. And it's not something to be defiled. Because the thing that Dell would say is, treat your audience as poets and artists, because then they have a chance to become them. Never blame the audience.

As Koechner’s career went on, he landed the role of the brash and foul-mouthed traveling paper salesman Todd Packer on television hit comedy, The Office. One of the shows in Batavia this weekend is Office Trivia w/Todd Packer.

What I'll do is come dressed like Todd Packer. Do a bunch of the lines from the beginning, ask some other Todd Packer ideas that they that never been introduced to. Like, “What's Todd Packers favorite candy bar?” Mounds. “What's Todd Packers favorite breakfast cereal?” Honey. NUT. Cheerios. I Love it because there's a different timbre in the room when people come to that show. Because they're all in it together. It's like they're going to church.

But Koechner does want to remind people WHY it is that Todd Packer is funny.

Packer was only in the show twice a year. But people think he's there more often because like you said, they're always like, “OH #$*@! A storm is coming!” That's the point of the character. He is the worst of us. We're laughing because there really are people like that.

Koechner also reflected on how lucky he has been in his career, especially when a friend recommended him to star in a now very popular animated sitcom. F is For Family.

Bill Burr is a friend of mine and basically gave me that show. You know, there's a couple of very high honors I've received in life. That's one of them. Bill Burr and Mike (Price), the showrunner, asked me to be Bob Pogo. I've never been associated with an animated show that's funnier than that one. It's tough to get through those lines.

And in the end, David Koechner is very happy with how his journey is going, and how it has gone.

There are things in your life that you get to be part of, and you have to ask yourself, “Wow. How fortunate am I? How #%&*$@! fortunate am I?” The stuff I’ve been able to do. The stuff I’ve had. I'm just one of those guys that just kind of let their career happen. I'm not hell bent with a hammer or crowbar, making sure all this happens.

David Koechner will be performing on March 14-16th at the Comedy Vault in Batavia. I'm Jason Cregier.

Jason is WNIJ's host of "Morning Edition".