‘The Office’ Star Brian Baumgartner ‘Wanted To Distance’ Himself From Kevin Malone

by Craig Garrett

Brian Baumgartner wanted to shed his The Office character but eventually accepted that he will never truly leave Kevin Malone behind. Despite being off the air for less than a decade, many consider The Office classic tv. It’s reached a level of iconic status with generations of viewers. It’s no wonder that Baumgartner worried about being typecast after the series ended.

“I wanted to distance myself,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to be Kevin Malone forever.’ I spent a long time turning down roles that I felt were too similar or wanted a similar sort of feeling and character.” However, even after the show left NBC in 2013, streaming services and reruns kept the show stronger than ever. “It all just built this momentum,” Brian Baumgartner said. “Which was like, ‘Well, I don’t think I’m going to be escaping this one anytime soon.'”

However, Brian Baumgartner isn’t upset about the longevity of the character. “I consider it a blessing, especially the amazing fans who talk about how The Office gave them comfort, how it helped them during a difficult time,” Baumgartner explained. “I mean, countless stories, way more than I can mention. That’s an amazing thing.”

Brian Baumgartner on the endearing legacy of The Office

One scene that fans of The Office will never forget is Kevin and the infamous chili spill. The scene is so popular, that it’s even part of an upcoming LEGO set based on the series.

“If I knew then that moment would still be living on,” Brian Baumgartner quips. “It was really a fun scene to shoot because it was just me and kind of unlike anything else, really, that ever lived on the show. [It was ]sort of an entire scene playing out under a monologue by the character. I’m going to take a different answer than what I’ve usually give about this before, but I do think that this is true: In a lot of ways, that moment has become sort of symbolic of the show.”

However, embracing his Kevin Malone character continues to be lucrative for the star. According to USA Today, in 2021, he was one of the top three celebrities requested on Cameo’s video app. Brian Baumgartner’s rates for customized short videos on the platform are $195 each. He is also one of the few Office cast members who is willing to create custom messages.

As to why Kevin Malone is such an endearing character, Brian Baumgartner has thoughts. “The Office being 10 years, nine seasons, I mean, I was essentially on the show the entirety of my thirties,” he explained. I mean, it was a decade. To give people perspective, that’s like progressing from high school through college, he explained. “Then a couple of more years,” he continued. “It’s such a long period of your life. You establish such deep relationships and obviously, such close identification with those characters.”