Joe Keery wasn’t fazed by the “Stranger Things” theory saying his character, Steve Harrington, was related to Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz) from “Parks and Recreation.” Actually, he’s heard a lot about their resemblance before.
But Keery told HuffPost in a recent interview that he was not prepared for how far fans would take the viral theory claiming Steve could be Jean-Ralphio’s dad.
Thus far, the evidence has included the characters’ looks, the fact that “Stranger Things” is set before “Parks and Rec,” and that both shows take place in Indiana. However, Keery hadn’t heard about the memes also tying in Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), saying she could grow up to be Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler).
“Oh my God, are you kidding me?” said Keery, who was flabbergasted when we told him about photos showing Eleven and Leslie eating waffles. “Yeah, that’s insane,” he added.
“Insane” in a good way, though, since Keery supports that theory, too.
“I’m a huge fan of ‘Parks and Rec.’ I mean, hell, anything is possible. Maybe in the backs of their minds, the Duffer brothers are just huge fans of ‘Parks and Rec,’ and maybe they just subconsciously did it,” he said, continuing, “I think it’s hilarious that Leslie Knope and David Harbour’s character Hopper could exist in the same world.”
The actor embraces his doppelgänger status, even starring alongside Schwartz in a new Visa ad about making payments safer that plays off their similar looks. In a chat with HuffPost, Keery talked about working with his look-alike/possible son and took that theory one step further.
What did you think when the theory became a phenomenon?
When I used to live in Chicago ― went to school there for four years and lived there for two years after ― the whole time I worked at this restaurant called DMK, and people would come in, and I would wait on their tables, and they would say, “Oh my gosh, man. You look like the dude from ‘Parks and Rec.’ You look like Jean-Ralphio.’”
Oh yeah. So people have been telling me that for a super long time. When the theory came out, I was like, “Yeah, I heard that before,” but I mean the sickest part of the whole thing is getting to meet Ben because he is hands-down my favorite part of that show. He’s hilarious.
What was it like working with him on this new video?
It was a great time. Ben kind of reached out to me and said, “Hey, I have this idea for a little spot,” explained the premise to me, and wrote and directed the thing as well, so I knew we were in such good hands because he’s such a smart dude. [He] has such a quick wit. It’s almost like a relationship that’s too good to be true because he just kind of reached out and said, “Hey, I think this would be really fun if we did this.”
Have you had any real-life father and son moments with Ben?
Yeah, taking him to his kindergarten graduation. That was a huge father and son moment. I would say probably the most father-son moment [was] the video we did for [James] Corden. Teaching him how to ride a bike. I mean, I’m pretty sure he was pretending. Don’t quote me on that, but he’s a very good faker. He really acted the part.
What about taking the theory even further. Could Steve Harrington be related to Kit Harington?
I’d say yes. I’d say there’s definitely gotta be some connection there because it would make an excuse for me to go meet Kit Harington, who’s Jon Snow and who is so sick. Are there any other Harringtons in the world? He’s probably the one I want to align myself with. He’d beat up all my enemies.
“Stranger Things” Season 2 premieres Oct. 27.