Jack McBrayer’s Island Vacation Is in His Mind

Jack McBrayer has mastered the mind trip: the ability to transport himself anywhere but here. Which makes “Escape From Virtual Island,” a new Audible scripted podcast from John Lutz, his former “30 Rock” and improv colleague, a good fit. The premise: In 2038, guests live out their wildest fantasies through virtual reality at a South Pacific resort, where Beasley (voiced by McBrayer) is the long-devoted assistant to the owner (Paul Rudd). Then one adventurer gets lost in his imaginary world and needs rescuing.

Recently, McBrayer was plotting a virtual escape of his own — his sun-soaked backyard in Los Angeles was standing in for a tropical island. Hummingbirds, soothing sounds and “comedy with some kindness” made his list of 10 essentials.

When I was little, I wanted to be a cartoonist like in the funny pages. It was a Sunday-morning thing. Daddy would be reading the newspaper and then as soon as he was done with the funny pages, he’d pass them off and then I’d pass the section off to my sister. I don’t remember the last time I touched a real newspaper, but I love cartoons and will until the day I die.

And, feather in my cap, I got to work with Tim Conway on “30 Rock.” He joined us as a guest star; I had all my scenes with him and then I just stayed in touch. It was a real treat to get to know someone who you had idolized for so many years. I’m very grateful for that.

5. My Hummingbird Feeder

I don’t have any pets, but I do have hummingbirds. I have this simple feeder that sits outside my window, and I make my hummingbird juice — one cup sugar, four cups water — and they are truly a wonder. It’s a miracle to watch these things. They can fly backward. They’re fast. I like listening to the noises they make. Sometimes I have 15, 18 and more, which is pretty strange because they are known to be territorial birds, but they get going. I have one friend who was actually freaked out by it, because when they all get flocking together, it does feel a little bit — not like “The Birds,” because they’re so tiny, but it is like watching bats or a swarm of mosquitoes. I’m hoping one day that I’ll train them enough that they can help me get dressed in the morning.

6. Bloopers

As a kid, there was a show called “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” and it was fun to watch stars making mistakes and laughing at themselves and enjoying it. Part of it was seeing that they were human beings who messed up, but also there was the joy of seeing people laugh at silly things. Because when you’re a kid you don’t always see that from grown-ups. The “30 Rock” blooper reel — Tracy [Morgan] might be in it more just because he had more trouble with his lines. But I was never good with props, and sometimes you just get a bit of the giggles and it can’t be helped, and once it starts it’s hard to stop. So you just pray to God that it doesn’t happen in a scene with Alec Baldwin.

7. The Sun

When I’m sitting out in the sun, it feels like a weighted blanket in a very soothing and positive way. I’m calming down just thinking about it. Maybe I’m part lizard or something.

10. Coconut Anything

I love coconut-flavored things. I love coconut-smelling things. My favorite candy is an Almond Joy. I’m about to sit out here in the sun with the Hawaiian Pandora station on, drinking a Malibu Rum and pineapple juice. I remember when times got really grim in New York during those gray winters, I would wear sunscreen even around the house so that I smelled like summer. It was very sad, but you do what you do. I’ve always loved coconut. I always will love coconut. It’s like when you scratch a dog behind the ear: “Yes, yes, this works.”

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