A crowd of star-crazed fans that included President Ruth Simmons filled Salomon 101 last night to see John Krasinski '01 crack jokes and tell personal stories in an informal hour-long question-and-answer session.
"This is insane," Krasinski, who plays Jim Halpert on "The Office" and has starred in several films, said upon entering the packed auditorium. "I'm having an existential meltdown."
Students gathered outside Salomon as early as 3 p.m. to get seating at the event, which started four hours later. But the line last night was nothing compared to the wait for tickets — some students arrived at J. Walter Wilson earlier than 7 a.m. Tuesday for the 12 p.m. distribution.
"It was so worth it," said Deesha Misra, a sophomore at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The crowd was brimming with anticipation before the event began. Two false entrances provoked applause and cheering before Krasinski made his entrance, cracking jokes as he appeared.
"I took way too many classes in here," he said, looking around Salomon. "And a couple naps."
After a few opening remarks, Krasinski opened the event to questions from the audience. Students lined up to ask about the actor's decision to attend Brown, which dorms he stayed in (Wayland House and Young Orchard Apartments), his favorite classes (ENGN 0090: "Management of Industrial and Nonprofit Organizations" and an introductory biology course) and his time on The Office.
"I think we all have a little bit of our characters," he said, referring to the show's cast. Krasinski said Steve Carell is "pretty shy" but is also one of the funniest people he knows. He said the two actors had an emotional time getting through their last filmed scene together.
"I think I just rehydrated last week from that," he said.
Krasinski said he did not plan to go into acting as an undergraduate. He entered Brown as an English concentrator after spending the first semester of freshman year in Costa Rica teaching English. The best thing about Brown was "everyone doing whatever the hell they wanted — in a good way," he said.
Krasinski recalled the first play he acted in at Brown, in which he played a "6-foot-3 transvestite."
"I wore high heels. So that was another phenomenal moment."
Some students asked more personal questions, like how Krasinski met his wife, actress Emily Blunt, who was sitting in the front row.
Krasinski said the pair met at a restaurant, through a mutual friend. "There's more to it, yes, but you're not going to get it," he added.
Krasinski also made multiple references to the crowd tweeting his responses. "Get your Twitter out," he remarked at the beginning of the question-and-answer session.
When someone asked about his experience at Sex Power God, Krasinski said he had not heard of the event. Later, he referred to Josiah's by its full name. The crowd corrected him, yelling "Jo's."
"Yeah, I call it Josiah's. I'm 90," Krasinski said.
Several students asked about how Krasinski became a successful actor. He responded that though he was working in New York as a waiter when he decided to pursue acting, he had a lot of fun just living in the city and being with friends.
"Every time I went into a room to audition, it wasn't my only thing, and people can feel that," he said.
"I think that's pretty much the world's job — to dissuade you from acting," Krasinski said. "Don't listen to anybody."
"You have to be courageous enough to give it a shot — and keep giving it a shot."
When the event ended, the majority of the crowd rushed the stage to get autographs and pictures with the actor, who complied with several requests but quickly left the stage.