The Office’s Leslie David Baker visits Duquesne

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
Baker as Stanley Hudson on The Office.

Claire Neiberg | Staff Writer

02/28/19

On Feb. 22, Leslie David Baker filled the Duquesne University Union Ballroom with laughter and insight.

Baker is best known for his role as Stanley Hudson on NBC’s The Office, but has performed in many other sitcoms. While he is famous for his notoriously grumpy outlook on the show, off the screen he brought positive and exciting energy.

The night was set up as a general Q&A session and gave students the opportunity to ask Baker whatever they wanted. One of the first questions asked was how Baker got into acting.

“I was 5 years old, I did the kindergarten play,” Baker said. However, Baker’s career escalated after college, as he realized he did not want to work in the STEM field he was studying. Acting was his calling, so Baker took every opportunity he was given, starting with community theater and commercials.

Later, he was asked what advice he would give to future actors.

“Do everything,” Baker said, stressing that no job is too small and building a résumé is the most important step in becoming a successful actor.

A fact about the show that Baker uncovered was that 90 percent of the ideas came from the script writers and hardly any of it was improv. Many students imagined the wit from the show coming up naturally, but in reality, it was all part of the script.

An insightful question asked was what it was like to be one of the only people of color in the main cast of a predominately white show. Baker answered that it was just like “going to work” as we live in a world where white people are more prevalent in the workforce.

Many of the questions that Baker answered had to do with his relationships with the cast of The Office. To the audience’s relief, Baker and his co-star, Phyllis Smith, who portrayed sales team member Phyllis Vance, are still close friends. While they sat across from each other in their office for many years, Baker revealed that in the beginning of filming, “[they] would online shop a lot.”

In regard to his cast, Baker said, “We saw people get married, divorced, have babies, bury parents.”Nine seasons later, the cast was a family, and much to the students’ delight, Baker revealed that the entire cast of The Office was recently together for brunch. He did not disclose whether a possible televised reunion was dis-cussed at that gathering.

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