In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.
Second City alum John Reynolds has played affable, seemingly clueless types for two seasons of both TBS’ Search Party and Netflix’s Stranger Things. Ponying up his killer recipe for bratwurst in this interview with The A.V. Club, he certainly leaned into the Midwestern-nice stereotypes. But as the mystery has deepened on both hit shows, Reynolds’ characters have kept their wits about them. Okay, so maybe we’re giving Stranger Things’ Officer Callahan a little too much credit. But as Drew, Dory’s sweet but unmotivated boyfriend, Reynolds is definitely starting to wise up. And when Search Party’s second season premieres on November 19, we could see a whole new Drew.
1. If you could spend the rest of your life inside one movie or TV show, which would it be and why?
John Reynolds: It would definitely be The Simpsons, but seasons one to nine preferably. I watch old Simpsons episodes with my gal pal before bed almost every night. It’s so comforting. The colors are warm, the people are funny, and the town of Springfield is quaint yet exciting. It seems like a dope place to live.
2. Do you have a favorite swear word or phrase?
JR: I’ve been saying “chonch” lately. I thought I had made it up, but I guess it’s a pretty popular slang word. I had to look it up on Urban Dictionary.
The AV Club: How often do you use it, and under what circumstances?
JR: Honestly, I use it whenever for whatever. To me, the meaning is universal—like, if I’m messing with my friends or describing something and feel like sounding stupid. Also, I feel like “eating ass” is a really popular phrase right now. I hear people throwing that phrase around a lot these days. I think it’s funny.
3. How did you spend your last birthday?
JR: A buddy and I tried to combine parties because we are both lazy. So, we went to this bar that has some video game he likes called Killer Queen, but the night we went they were having this big video game tournament there and we didn’t really get to play.
AVC: And Killer Queen is something that requires a lot of players, too.
JR: Then the next day I went to Connecticut with some Search Party buds and my gal pal. It was nice.
4. What is the worst professional advice you’ve ever received?
JR: Well, I was asked to quit from a couple jobs.
AVC: As in, you were encouraged to leave?
JR: Yeah, one was a sandwich shop in Chicago, and the other one was the Levi’s store on Michigan Avenue. I suppose I’m not a very good employee. I’m lucky as hell that I’m a serviceable actor.
As far as acting advice goes, I overheard someone telling background actors that they should always be speaking loud and saying real words, that way production may be forced to give you a line in the movie. I also had a basketball coach in high school who was stoned and told me, “Never pass the ball.”
5. If you were a medical doctor, what kind of doctor would you be and why?
JR: It’d have to be psychiatry or something that has very little to do with surgery or blood or broken bones or teeth or fluids of any kind. Hospitals give me the creeps. If I had to work in a hospital, I would administer eye exams or something.
6. What’s your perfect Sunday?
JR: My perfect Sunday would be chilling on a lake somewhere in the woods with some of my best friends. Cooking a big meal, playing Chinese checkers, drinking some margaritas. That’d be amazing if that was what Sundays always were.
7. What do you get snobby about?
JR: How to cook a bratwurst. I’m sure many people have their way of cooking these bad boys, but in Wisconsin it’s all about the beer-broiled brat. This is how I do it, and it’s the best way. Get yourself some Johnsonville bratwurst, or find a good local butcher, then get some Miller High-Life. Just don’t use Spotted Cow, you don’t cook with that, you’ll get yelled at by my dad. Then get some onions. Put them all in a pot and boil em up. Then you flash those brats on the grill, put some of the onions on the grill as well, maybe flash the buns if you like it toasted, then put the brats back in the beer and onions to sit while people snag ’em potluck-style.
AVC: We have some Wisconsin natives on staff who will probably want to weigh in on this recipe.
JR: It’s the most comforting food to me and it’s so good. But if you’re vegetarian and we are hanging out and you don’t want brats, I’ll make you a mean portabella burger too.
8. What book have you read the most?
JR: Growing up it was Goodnight Moon. That was my go-to. Now I’d say the book I peek at the most if I’m bored is this collection of poems by Charles Bukowski called Love Is A Dog From Hell.
9. What are you afraid of?
JR: Losing all my wonderful friends and family. Snakes, cockroaches, heights can be very fun, but jumping off of cliffs makes me wanna hurl. The dentist is up there too. Getting your tooth drilled is such a deep, spine ringing pain.
10. Who are you a big fan of that we wouldn’t necessarily guess that you’re a big fan of?
JR: I like this French composer Olivier Messiaen, especially his Turangalîla-Symphonie. At holidays when my family is cooking breakfast and my mom is playing a Christmas playlist or something I like to abruptly switch it to Turangalîla-Symphonie. It’s spooky!
11. What advice would you give to your younger self?
JR: I’d tell myself not to eat so much damn McDonald’s everyday after school. I’d tell myself that one candy bar a day is already pushing your luck. I’d also tell myself to try and learn Spanish and piano instead of watching Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which of course rolled right into 7th Heaven, which you know I watched every day.
12. From Robert Englund: Do you have any recurring nightmares? And if so, what are they?
JR: This is so cool. What a perfect question. I loved all the Nightmare On Elm Street movies as a kid, the Freddy song the little girls sang while jumping rope was so damn scary.
I do have a recurring high-school nightmare where I haven’t been to class all year, and I have to go to class and get scolded by my teachers. I get lost in the school, it looks just like my high school, Madison West High, but it is way bigger and has way more right angles [laughs]. Whenever I wake up from this dream, I always feel panicked and it takes me a little while to realize that I do indeed have a high school degree and I don’t need to stress about that shit, ha.
I also have recurring dreams about my teeth falling out. And I have one where there’s this giant glass box in the middle of this beautiful neighborhood and it’s filled with tigers, and I hold the only giant key to the box. I’ve also had a dream a couple times where the principal of my middle school is The Mask from Jim Carrey’s The Mask. It is so funny. He skateboards too. I love when he pops up in my dreams.
AVC: What would you like to ask the next person, without knowing who they are?
JR: If you could be any inanimate object in any place in the world, what would it be and why?
AVC: What inanimate object would you be?
JR: I would be the basketball hoop at Madison Square Garden. You’d see some amazing basketball players, all of which are on the visiting team. Just kidding, I’m not trying to throw shade at the Knicks. I would actually love to befriend some of their players and get some tickets to the games! Hit me up my dudes!