'Parks and Rec's Ben Schwartz on How Jean-Ralphio Would Quarantine

Plus, Thomas Middleditch sings us a song in character as Richard Hendricks from “Silicon Valley”

Ever wondered how the citizens of Pawnee, Indiana would be doing in quarantine? Well, Ben Schwartz can speak for at least one of them.

The actor and comedian played Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” for many years, and he knows exactly what the delightfully obnoxious co-founder of Entertainment 720, who famously got run over by a Lexus, would be doing right now.

“Okay, here, I wrote it down,” Schwartz told TheWrap in a Zoom interview with his “Middleditch & Schwartz” comedy-partner Thomas Middleditch, who together have a set of three improv comedy specials premiering April 21 on Netflix.

“I said he would throw a worldwide digital quarantine party from the safety of his computer, with a shared playlist and drinks delivered to your door — but the party goes so well that he gets excited and tells everybody to dance in the streets together, and by mistake makes everything 1,000 times worse,” Schwartz said.

He even went so far as to verify that answer with “Parks and Rec” co-creator Mike Schur.

“He said yes, that’s correct — and then he would fly to the Canary Islands and bill himself as one of the leading pandemic DJ innovators and open a club in an abandoned food processing plant.”

As for Saperstein’s mental and emotional health, Schwartz said he would be about as lost as the rest of us.

“Jean-Ralphio by himself would be very difficult,” he said. “He would crash everybody’s Zoom and be like, ‘It’s me!’ and try to make as many friends as possible. He could not be by himself.”

Middleditch, who is known for starring as tech wiz and Pied Piper startup founder Richard Hendricks on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” also had an answer for what his most famous character would be doing in quarantine.

“Coding,” he said. “Easy. He’d be on the ‘puters, doing the bip-bop-boops, C++, Q-basic, whatever it is. Java.”

Then, at Schwartz’s behest, he sang us a song in character as Hendricks that went a little something like this: “I am Richard, coding day and night, I lo-o-o-ove my parents.”

“I think Richard would be perfectly at home,” he added. “He’d be like, ‘Finally, I can get some work done.”

Watch the video interview above.

Celebrities Who Have Died From the Coronavirus (Photos)

  • The world continues to be upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with more people contracting COVID-19 as the days pass. While many have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness. These are the names of some notable figures from Hollywood and the media  that we have lost.

  • Terrence McNally, a four-time Tony Award-winning playwright, died on March 24 at the age of 81 of complications from the coronavirus. His works included “Master Class,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” which later became a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.

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  • Italian actress Lucia Bosè, who starred in such films as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Story of a Love Affair” (1950) and Juan Antonio Bardem’s “Death of a Cyclist” (1955), died on March 23 of pneumonia after contracting COVID-19, according to the Guardian. She was 89.

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  • Chef Floyd Cardoz, winner of “Top Chef Masters” Season 3, died at the age of 59 of coronavirus complications on March 25.

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  • Mark Blum, who starred in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Crocodile Dundee” and the Lifetime/Netflix series “You,” died on March 26 of coronavirus complications. The veteran character actor and regular on New York City stages was 69.

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  • Maria Mercader, a CBS News veteran who worked for over 30 years as a reporter and talent director, died March 29 after testing positive for coronavirus. She was 54.

    CBS News

  • Grammy-winning country music singer Joe Diffie died March 29 due to complications from the coronavirus. He announced his diagnosis just two days prior.

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  • American rock musician Alan Merrill, best known for co-writing and recording the original version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” died March 29 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 69.

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  • Popular Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, whose career spanned decades, died March 29 due to complications from the coronavirus. He was 70.


  • Andrew Jack, a dialect coach who most recently was hired to work with Robert Pattinson on the new Batman movie, died March 31 of complications from coronavirus, TMZ reports. He also appeared in “Star Wars: Episode VII” as a member of Leia’s resistance. Jack was 76.


  • Adam Schlesinger, Fountains of Wayne singer and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” contribute, died at the age of 52 from coronavirus complications on April 1.


  • Ellis Marsalis Jr., New Orleans jazz legend and father of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, died at 85 from COVID-19 complications, Branford said. “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz… He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said also.


  • Eddie Large, one-half of the comedy duo Little and Large, died April 2 after contracting coronavirus while hospitalized for heart failure. He was 78.


  • Sergio Rossi, the Italian shoe designer, died at age 84 after being hospitalized with the virus, the brand confirmed in an Instagram post Friday.


  • Patricia Bosworth, a stage and screen actress turned journalist who penned celebrity biographies, died April 2 from complications of the coronavirus. She was 86.


  • Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints legendary kicker who was born without toes on his right foot and wore a flat shoe that he kicked with, died on April 4 from complications of COVID-19.


  • John Prine, one of the most influential and revered folk and country songwriters of the last 50 years, died on April 6 at the age of 73 after being infected with the COVID-19 virus.


  • Allen Garfield,  who appeared in such films as “The Conversation,” “Nashville” and “Irreconcilable Differences,” died April 7 due to coronavirus complications, according to his sister. He was 80.


  • Charles Gregory, an Emmy-nominated hairstylist who frequently collaborated with Tyler Perry on his films and TV shows, died of complications from COVID-19 on April 8.

    Charles Gregory/YouTube

  • Hilary Heath, an actress and producer who starred opposite Vincent Price in horror movies in the late 1960s and early ’70s, died in April of COVID-19 complications. She was 74.

    American International Pictures

  • Rick May, a voice actor best known to gamers as the husky-throated Soldier in Team Fortress 2, died in Swedish nursing home on April 13 after contracting COVID-19. He was 79.


  • Allen Daviau, a 5-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer, died April 15 at age 77. He frequently collaborated with Steven Spielberg, and worked on such films as “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Color Purple”


While many celebrities who contracted COVID-19 have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness

The world continues to be upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with more people contracting COVID-19 as the days pass. While many have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness. These are the names of some notable figures from Hollywood and the media  that we have lost.

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