In anticipation of his new film Wonder, Daveed Diggs stopped by morning talk show Live With Kelly and Ryan November 9.
The movie, also starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay, is about a young boy named Auggie who has a cranio-facial difference and matriculates to mainstream education for the first time. Diggs plays Auggie’s homeroom teacher and “allows me to pay homage to the great teachers in my life.”
Diggs burst onto the scene with his Tony-winning dual role as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. Host Kelly Ripa asked Diggs about his rapping background; Diggs admitted he and his childhood friends used to rap and call themselves The Lil Hammers, in a tip of the hat to MC Hammer.
“He came and saw Hamilton twice,” says Diggs of his idol, “and it’s the most starstruck I’ve ever been in my life. Now, we’re like homies.”
As for his Tony win and career taking off, Diggs says that growing up in California, he never aimed for these goals. “Broadway really wasn’t a thing. Broadway isn’t really a thing for people on the West Coast now—and I was in theatre. New York wasn’t a real place to me. I was grinding it out in Oakland.
“So the idea of winning a Tony I don’t think ever crossed my mind,” he continued. “I knew I loved performing. I stumbled into it because I was really shy. I’m still really shy, but when I am performing or when I'm given a task to do, I have a reason to be around people. I really love being in groups of people, but if I don’t have a reason to be there, I feel awkward. So performing gave me a reason to be in big groups of people.”
Watch the full video interview above.