– Minnesotans tuning in for FX’s ghoulish new sitcom “What We Do in the Shadows” will recognize Colin Robinson, a vampire who sucks the energy out of his victims with tedious small talk.

It’s not a coincidence.

Actor Mark Proksch readily admits he based his breakout performance on the nine-to-fivers he endured while working temp jobs in Minneapolis.

“I pray to God those people don’t know it’s them,” he said last month, the morning after an advanced screening left TV critics thirsting for more. “That would be awful and mean.”

Robinson wasn’t a character in the 2014 movie the series is based on. But co-creator Jemaine Clement made the right call by adding him to the roster of modern-day monsters caught between the moon and New York City.

“I feel like you meet these kinds of people at parties,” said Clement, best known as half of the music/comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. “You just get trapped and, even though you don’t want to be there, they somehow make it into a situation that’s impossible to extract yourself from. Mark has this really great ability to improvise on boring subject matters. He can endlessly come up with stuff.”

Proksch’s route to prime-time stardom is even stranger than a monster whose most dangerous weapon is droning on about the weather.

After college, he came to Minnesota for grad school, though he left the U without earning his degree. He lived in San Francisco for a while before moving back to his native state of Wisconsin, where he worked in a Milwaukee editing office.

To combat the boredom, he and a college buddy named Joe Pickett created a character called Kenny Strasser, a yo-yo artist who supposedly taught schoolkids about the environment. They managed to get the act booked on nearly a dozen Midwest morning shows, including stations in Madison and Green Bay.

“We tried Austin [Minn.] and a couple stations in Minneapolis, but they wouldn’t book us,” he said. “Maybe they’re a little smarter than those Wisconsin folks.”

Once the cameras went on, “K-Strass” — played by Proksch — would sabotage the live segments by stuttering and sweating through non sequiturs about his various addictions and bouts with depression. On-air demonstrations often consisted of him wildly swinging yo-yos over his head, forcing the hosts to run for cover.

“Mark has the best dumb-guy impression in the world,” said Pickett, who helped create the Found Footage Festival and co-hosts the web series “VCR Party,” both of which celebrate the weird, wonderful world of VHS tapes. “And he’s fearless. We had a class together in college where I would pass him notes and dare him to say dumb things. My favorite was when he raised his hand and told the class about the time he joined a street gang and how harrowing it was. He did it completely straight-faced and deadpan. Nobody knew how to proceed.”

That kind of delivery made “K-Strass” a YouTube sensation, especially behind the scenes at NBC’s hit sitcom “The Office.”

A couple of weeks after the show’s writers discovered the hijinks over lunch break, Proksch got an invitation to meet with them in Los Angeles. A month later, he was cast on the show, appearing nearly 20 times as Nate Nickerson, a warehouse staffer with myriad quirks, not the least of which was his allegiance to Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute.

That stint was followed by guest appearances on hit series such as “Better Call Saul,” “Portlandia” and “This Is Us” — not to mention a regular, continuing role on Adult Swim’s “Dream Corp LLC” opposite Stephen Merchant, co-creator of the original British version of “The Office.”

“Shadows,” however, offers Proksch his best shot yet to really sink his teeth into a character.

In the 10-part series, the undead now haunt America rather than the film’s New Zealand setting, squabbling with each other in their tight quarters while awaiting orders to take over the world. Proksch’s Robinson, the only roommate who can survive in the daylight, is so unbearable his roommates avoid inviting him to group events.

Proksch, 40, who grew up in La Crosse, Wis., and got his undergraduate degree at UW-Eau Claire, knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. While in the Twin Cities, he financed apartments in Uptown and St. Paul by working temp jobs at various financial institutions.

“There was absolutely no reason for me being in those places. I have no talent for numbers,” he said. “But it served me well, because I could draw on those experiences for ‘The Office’ and now this. There was always someone in those offices you would pray doesn’t stop by and talk to you because it would take so much energy out of you just hearing about their health or family issues.”

It’s ironic that a lack of energy, or at least ambition, almost kept Proksch from his date with destiny.

“The morning of the first time we played the morning-show prank, I had to wake up at 4:45 to drive to Green Bay from Milwaukee and we had had our first blizzard the night before,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘I have the perfect excuse not to do this. I could stay in bed where it’s nice and warm and temp for the rest of my life.’ Everything changed, all because I decided in that one moment to get off my butt for once in my life.”