Broadway fans know Aaron Lazar as the handsome, oh-so-serious star of musicals ranging from The Light in the Piazza and Les Miz to A Tale of Two Cities and A Little Night Music. Lazar is about to show off a very different side of his personality on Onion News Network, the Peabody Award-winning satirical newscast on the IFC Channel. The Broadway vet will debut as dashing correspondent O’Brady Shaw on October 11 and is set to appear on all nine remaining episodes of the show’s second season.
“I describe it as Anderson Cooper meets [Anchorman's] Ron Burgundy, but it’s a little bit more sexy than that,” Lazar told Broadway.com. “He’s a rugged reporter who goes out in the field and gets way too emotionally involved in his stories. I get to do some pretty crazy stuff, but it’s very funny.”
In what sounds like a takeoff on Cooper’s tearful coverage of Hurricane Katrina, Lazar’s character is sent to Sao Paulo to cover an earthquake in one episode and goes back and forth to war-torn Somalia. According to the IFC website, in the character’s debut appearance on October 11, “O’Brady Shaw takes a drunk driving victim’s death so personally that the victim’s family must take a break from their own grief to comfort O’Brady.”
Lazar reports that he was originally signed for only three episodes, but initial response to the character was so positive, his role was expanded. “Some people have said to me, ‘Dude, we had no idea you were funny,’” the actor admitted, “and I said, ‘Well, that’s because I haven’t gotten the chance to do that in these period pieces on Broadway!’”
In addition to his Onion News Network role, Lazar appeared in the October 7 episode of Patrick Wilson’s medical drama A Gifted Man and is awaiting the birth of his second child next month. (He and his wife, Leann, are already the parents of 21-month-old Julian.) “I'm excited for people to see this,” he said of his new comedy gig. “It's been so much fun.”