Alum John Balma Played Role of Barney on 'Parks and Recreation'

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

RECORD SEARCHLIGHT (REDDING) -- After earning degrees at Chico State and San Francisco State universities, Balma became a stage actor in San Francisco, also performing in Europe. Roles included the coveted part of yellow-stockinged Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He also helped found avant-garde theatre company Z Space, then called Z Club, in the Mission District.

He was a happy stage actor with no intention of leaving the Bay Area, he said. But a sitcom writer friend kept urging him to come to Hollywood. She promised he could crash at her home for several years if he’d just give Hollywood a chance. So in 1998, Balma went.

Within a year, he’d landed his second television role, a part on Will and Grace.