It may be hard to believe but it’s been over 6 years since we last checked in to the Office and the employees of Dunder Mifflin. Well, at least checked in with new episodes as I’m sure most of have revisited the series multiple times on DVD/Bluray or Netflix since then. Upon first viewing back in 2011, I was instantly hooked. Having worked in office settings prior, I laughed and identified with many of the shows high points and comedies, as I was witness to similar incidents in my work life(alas with no Dwight or Micheal-like characters.) Recently, I was able to travel to Raleigh, NC to do press at GalaxyCon Raleigh and briefly chat with Leslie David Baker, who played Stanley in all 9 seasons of the show. Inner fanboying may have ensued.
CJ: I have to admit, I’m a fan of the Office myself, and love reading all the behind-the-scenes facts of the making of the show. The computers on set actually had the internet on them, so I have to ask what did you do on them while filming?
LDB: Shopped…A LOT. In the first season, Greg Daniels told us that “you’re gonna be spending a lot of time at your desks, so we need to come up with something that will allow you to do that” and so we said we need our computers active. He said “That’s not a problem”, and they activated the computers and we started shopping and paying bills, communicating with friends and family and all that and it really made the show look more realistic. It also made our lives extraordinarily more convenient because we were able to handle business that normally you would have to wait until you had a break or until you got home.
CJ: Now Stanley was an avid fan of doing crosswords at his desk in the show. How many would you guess you’ve completed over the course of the series?
LDB: Oh gosh, over a nine-year period….about 5 a year…over about 60 books we went through.
CJ: As you mentioned (the show went on) for 9 years, 9 seasons, so there’s bound to be some favorite scenes or memories (working on the Office). Would you like to share any of those with us now?
LDB: Just sitting around laughing with the cast and crew and just having a good time. When you’re somewhere for 10-14 hours a day, it’s very important to have people you get along with and enjoy working with. It’s the camaraderie, and being able to contribute to a script and just have fun with it.
CJ: As Stanley, you were known to have some of the best facial reactions in the show. Is there any of them that were your favorite?
LDB: I actually don’t have a favorite one. They just come out depending on what the script says.
CJ: What are you working on now?
LDB: I’m doing Puppy Dog Pals for Disney, which is an animated cartoon where I play Frank with Cheri Oteri(also starring). I’m also doing a cartoon called Copper where I play Uncle Fork Rick, which is an elderly forklift. That’s about it right now, but of course (with acting) that could change at any minute.
With that, we wrapped up the interview, but before we went Leslie showed me some of the products that he has for sale at his tables at conventions and on his website such as Florida Stanley sunglasses, Pretzels, and even Stanley crossword books. If you’re out at a convention, make sure you stop by and say hey to Leslie, as he’s even more lovable in person than on the show…and unlike Stanley, he’s got a never-ending supply of smiles!