Helms was raised in Atlanta, GA. Early on in life, Helms knew that he wanted to go into comedy, but wisely kept this information from his parents. He was active in performing arts in high school, appearing in plays, playing guitar with local bands and even studying at Interlochen music camp in Michigan. After graduating Westminster High School, he found creatively stimulating environs at the liberal arts mecca Oberlin College in Ohio. The budding comic performed improv and wrote for the school's comedy magazine, leaving his geology major behind in favor of a film degree. A self-admitted nerd, Helms also took a large concentration of computer-science classes, which helped him land on his feet when he moved to New York City after graduation to pursue a career in comedy. His educational background proved to be a perfect fit for the blossoming field of digital video editing, with Helms finding steady work doing technical support for Avid systems. His evenings were spent in the comedy trenches of open mic nights at brick wall stand-up clubs, performing improv and sketch comedy at black box theaters like the infamous Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.Helms transitioned from tech support work to a fulltime job as a video editor, which put him in the right place at the right time to segue into doing voice-overs for commercials, which proved to be a lucrative gig. When he made the decision to quit his day job and go full-throttle with a performing career, there were plenty of voice-over jobs for clients like Doritos and Burger King to pay the rent. In the spring of 2002, Helms - along with friend Rob Corddry and about 300 other comedians and actors - auditioned for a handful of correspondent slots on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Helms was a big fan of the show, as well as a news junkie, so he was undoubtedly thrilled when he was included among the five finalists, all of whom knew each other from crossing paths on the comedy circuit. Over the next few months, Helms was given a few segments on the show, with producers enjoying his performance enough to offer him a slot as a regular cast member. Routinely displaying sarcasm and smarminess, Helms set himself apart from his "Daily Show" cohorts by positioning himself as blissfully unaware, hilariously naïve and just plain silly. He regularly hosted "Digital Watch" and "Ad Nauseum," and achieved notoriety with a segment called "Level of Taint," a three-minute long double-entendre on politicians using the word to describe colleagues tainted by scandal in Washington.Before long, Helms followed former "Daily Show" correspondents Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, and left the show to pursue other opportunities. He landed guest appearances on the cult hit "Arrested Development" (Fox, 2003-06/Netflix, 2013-) and the Cartoon Network's "Sunday Pants" (2005), where he voiced the Angel on the recurring sketch "Weighty Decisions" opposite Rob Corddry. He also had a role in the festival circuit comedy "Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story" (2004), also starring Corddry. In the summer of 2006, Helms was invited aboard the hottest sitcom then on television, "The Office (NBC, 2005-2013), where he crossed paths with Carell. As Andy Bernard, one of a number of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company employees who upset the company's Scranton branch with their transfer from the defunct Stamford branch, Helms made an abrasive first impression with his hair-trigger temper and mean-spirited sense of humor. Following his character's stint in an anger-management program, he won over more viewers with a softened persona that focused on social awkwardness and the propensity to break into song, particularly his banjo-accompanied serenade of the Kermit the Frog classic "Rainbow Connection," sung falsetto to office receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer). Making the transition to features, Helms had a supporting role in the Steve Carell vehicle "Evan Almighty" (2007). While holding down his position on "The Office," Helms became a more frequent player on the big screen, appearing in Jake Kasdan's mockumentary "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (2007), the period sports comedy "Semi-Pro" (2008), and opposite Eddie Murphy in the sci-fi comedy "Meet Dave" (2008). He took a leading role alongside Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis as a member of a bachelor party gone awry in "The Hangover" (2009), a huge and unexpected hit about three groomsmen who lose the groom (Justin Bartha) after a wild Las Vegas bachelor party. Helms played Dr. Stu Price, a dentist who lies to his mean-spirited girlfriend about where he is going for the bachelor party, only to somehow wind up married to a stripper (Heather Graham). Also that year, he joined the all-star supporting cast for the uninspired but successful sequel "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (2009). The actor moved on to star in "Cedar Rapids" (2011), a comedy about a naïve insurance agent (Helms) who travels to the titular Iowa city for a convention, only to turn into an awkward party animal after befriending a group of fellow agents (including John C. Reilly). Helms returned for "The Hangover Part II" (2011), which this time focused on Stu's wedding in Thailand. Once again, the comedy was a raucous hit at the box office, despite complaints from critics and audiences that it was a carbon copy of the original. Rather than coast along on his TV and film success, Helms opted for a varied slate of projects, starring in the subdued indie comedy "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" (2011) as the seemingly together, but secretly miserable, older brother of the rudderless title character (Jason Segel). In 2012, he voiced the key role of the Once-ler in the CGI-animated extravaganza "The Lorax," based on the Dr. Seuss cautionary tale, and later rejoined "the Wolfpack" for "The Hangover Part III" (2013), right around the time that "The Office" finally called it a day. After reprising his much earlier role on "Arrested Development," Helms took a featured part in the faux-family comedy "We're the Millers" (2013), playing, of all things, a drug-peddling crime boss. Helms next appeared in a cameo in David Wain and Michael Showalter's romantic comedy parody "They Came Together" (2014), then co-starred in Joe Carnahan's comic thriller "Stretch" (2014). Helms' return to the comedy mainstream came with his leading role as a grown-up Rusty Griswold in "Vacation" (2015), John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein's reboot of the beloved comedy franchise.
All Apple Originals.
New Apple Originals every month. Watch on Apple devices, streaming platforms and smart TVs.