Everyone's favorite socially awkward paper-supply drone from The Office sheds the LensCrafters glasses and center hair part for leather pants and silver skull medallions in this month's Spinal Tap ode, The Rocker. Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, a sweaty drummer unceremoniously booted from Vesuvius, an '80s hair-metal band, just before the group lands the cover of Rolling Stone. Fishman gets a second chance at trashing hotel rooms 20 years later when he joins his nephew's struggling high-school garage band.
Wilson's own musical résumé is decidedly less glam: He played clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon as a teenager. "Instant chick magnet," he deadpans. "Nothing said 'cool' like a kid in an ill-fitting tuxedo with a giant double-reed instrument."
But the oddball persona is all part of his plan. "I relish making myself look ridiculous," Wilson says. "By now, I'm comfortable with my weird, pasty torso, and my wife"—author Holiday Reinhorn—"is too, for some reason." Maybe it stems from a quirky childhood: Wilson was born to hippie parents and claims the extra N at the end of his name was for nookie. They lived on a houseboat in suburban Seattle, and Wilson—a member of the chess club, Model U.N., and, yes, marching band—says he identified closely with Jon Cryer's prince-of-geeks character in Pretty in Pink. "I was a total Duckie kind of guy," he says. "Comedy is born of pain—you have to suffer a bit. It gives you a unique perspective."
And suffer he did, performing many of his own stunts for The Rocker, like riding a tricycle into a pool. "I love physical comedy," Wilson says. "Cool kids—they fit in. They aren't the people making comedy a profession. My fans are the fat Goth chick and the pimply World of Warcraft player. Freaks love me."