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'Sidekick' star Rob Benedict shares who's in his Sidekick Hall of Fame

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Rob Benedict has felt like a sidekick all his life. “I’ve always kind of felt like I’ve been everybody’s buddy,” says the Supernatural actor, who grew up with a brother nearly a foot taller than him. “And as an actor, I’ve always played the Buddy, the Friend.”

When he turned 40, though, Benedict had a little mid-life crisis. “I realized that I’ve been an actor my whole life and that it’s kind of too late for me to think, ‘Well, maybe I’ll try something else’—I’m not trained to do anything else,” he says. “I felt that the [comic-book] sidekick was a great allegory for that—being a sidekick your whole life and then at 40 you get fired. What are your going to do?”

Benedict wrote a script and called in some favors from some famous funny friends—Jordan Peele, Ike Barinholtz, Martin Starr, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Livingston—to make The Sidekick, a comedy short in which he stars as Max McCabe, a superhero sidekick who can’t quite keep up any more. When he’s fired by Captain Wonder (Livingston), he has to regroup and discover a new way to contribute to society. 

Directed by Michael J. Weithorn, The Sidekick debuted at Comic-Con in 2013, and debuts online tomorrow. In an exclusive clip from the short, Max rushes to save Captain Wonder from a crook, with the help of a golden lasso and his ridiculous catchphrase, “Hold the mayo!”  

If the character gives off a Robin vibe, that’s no accident. “I modeled it after Robin,” Benedict says. “Robin is your classic sidekick, in that he’s always right by your side, he’s super-quick, and he’s the guy who says, ‘Look out!’ But he has no powers. He really has nothing else he can add to the game, except that he notices things perhaps a little sooner than Batman.”

But though Robin might be the poster boy for sidekicks, there are plenty of others for inspiration—and not all of them reside in the comic-books. Benedict’s sidekick hall of fame also includes the following:

Kato: The Green Hornet’s No. 2 “could really kick ass. He brought something to the table.”

Ed McMahon: “Ed McMahon is great because what Ed McMahon does is he worships Johnny Carson. He’s going to agree with everything Johnny says and he makes you feel like he’s you—he’s the audience. Johnny says something, he laughs, and you’re like, ‘Oh right, that was funny [because] Ed laughed.’ He was always half-repeating what Johnny says. ‘Did you hear what happened in the news today?’ ‘IN THE NEWS TODAY!’ I’d love to have a guy like that just walking around next to me all the time. And that’s what the sidekick is: He’s your buddy. You can depend on him no matter what. He’s going to make you a better you.”

Art Garfunkel: “Without Simon, there’s no just Garfunkel. Yes, he did some stuff, but really, you got to have Simon for Garfunkel to shine.”

Ben Carr, the long-time mascot and road manager for Boston ska group, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: “He’s the guy at the beginning of the show who comes out and is like, ‘Hey give it up for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones!’ Everybody goes, ‘Yeah!’ And his job is just to jump around and clap and dance and go ‘Yeah, alright! All he does is jump around for a living, this one guy whose job is just to sort of dance around on stage while the band plays and sings.” 

Groot: The Guardians are like a team of sidekicks. What’s great about them is they have their own quirky powers in their own way, but they’re all better together. And Groot sacrifices himself to the cause.”

Keith Richards?: No chance. “Keith Richards would punch me in the face if I called him a sidekick. The Rolling Stones, that really is a dynamic duo.”

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