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TFD: Chatting with Mike Rylander (fake Wally Szczerbiak) about his Parks & Recreation appearance tonight

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wolves news Updated: January 19, 2012 - 5:13 PM

You might remember Mike Rylander from his five seasons as the in-arena host at Target Center for Timberwolves games -- and his uncanny resemblance to former Wolves player Wally Szczerbiak.

But Rylander, who moved out to the Los Angeles area last summer to pursue an acting career, will be glued to the TV tonight -- as will many of you -- waiting to see his appearance on the hit NBC show Parks and Recreation.

We chatted this afternoon with Rylander. Here are a few takeaways:

*He's been working as an in-arena host with the Clippers and also UCLA basketball, while also bartending in Santa Monica. But his manager set up an audition for Parks and Rec ...

"The role was originally a basketball announcer. I did the audition and the episode was supposed to shoot the next week, so I assumed I didn’t get it. But a week later I got a call. The director really liked the audition and I was cast [in a different role]."

*"It's a two-line role. Hopefully, both lines didn’t get cut. I play someone on [unnamed special guest star who may or may not (wink-wink) be Paul Rudd]'s campaign staff. I call him up on the stage before he gives his big campaign speech. There's a scene with me, [unnamed guest star], Amy Pohler and Adam Scott. Obviously I’m not the big-name draw in that scene."

*Is this his biggest career break so far? "Prior to this was probably the Super Bowl commercial I was in. But in terms of jobs, this is probably the biggest thing that’s happened in my career. It’s a small part, but ... it was my first audition in L.A.. The fact that it was Parks and Rec and not some Maalox commercial, and I got it, that was kind of mind-blowing."

*Does he miss the Target Center gig? "The Clippers hosting job is pretty much same thing I did with wolves … but it’s the Staples Center in LA. The huge difference is the audience. They’ll boo anything they don’t like and instantly turn on people. I’m a little jealous I’m missing out on Rubiomania. (Friday's Wolves game in L.A.) is hands-down the game I’m looking most forward to. I still do love the Wolves."

*Do people still say he looks like Wally Szczerbiak? "I don’t get it as much in LA as I did in Minneapolis. Just because not as many people here are as familiar with Wally. But any basketball fan, I still get the Wally Szczerbiak. With non-basketball people, It's usually Ben Affleck, or older people say I look like a young Ted Danson. Maybe some weird lovechild of all three."

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