HomeEntertainment‘Cheers’ Star Ted Danson Trained to Be a Bartender for Show, Was Told it Was Useless

‘Cheers’ Star Ted Danson Trained to Be a Bartender for Show, Was Told it Was Useless

by Anna Dunn
(Photo by: Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Ted Danson, star of Cheers and The Good Place, once said he went above and beyond for Cheers. According to Danson, he learned to be a bartender for his role as Sam Malone, only to be told it was useless. Danson spoke about his bartender training during an interview with Seth Meyers on his show back in 2018.

Danson’s Bartender Training

When Meyers noted he never recalled any of the characters on cheers actually taking shots, Danson quickly told the story. “I went to bartender school and worked my little butt off to learn how to make drinks, and for the first month of shooting I was making Manhattans and Grasshoppers and all sorts of weird drinks,” Danson said. “They didn’t give a s—. They want their jokes said well and on time, and they’re shooting you above your hand.”

On top of his training going to waste, Danson admitted that playing Sam Malone was quite difficult for him. Danson also admitted that being behind the bar was awkward and that it took him a year and a half working on Cheers to feel comfortable behind a bar. His producers have said the same thing.

The Good Place paid homage to Cheers by putting Ted Danson behind the bar again for a few scenes. Danson admitted it felt unnatural all over again and that he was nervous, even with the bartender training. “Playing Sam Malone was an anathema to me for the longest time, so going back was — all of a sudden, I was full of insecurity and just felt horrible.”

Myers reassured Danson that he “didn’t look horrible” behind the bar, on The Good Place, or on Cheers. Mike Scheur, the creator of The Good Place, is a huge fan of Cheers. Putting Danson behind the bar was reportedly his doing.

Ted Danson after ‘Cheers’

Some TV stars from the 80s have pursued more quiet lives after their success, but the beloved Emmy-winning Cheers was just the beginning for Danson. His work on multiple feature films and TV shows such as Damages, Three Men and a Baby, and Saving Private Ryan has been widely praised by critics and audiences.

His recent stint as the lovable Michael on the wacky NBC existential sitcom, The Good Place, earned him a multitude of awards and nominations. He is now the lead in Mr. Mayor, a show about a wealthy man who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for selfish reasons.

Thankfully for TV fans, it doesn’t look like Ted Danson is slowing down any time soon. While his bartender training may not have paid off like he wanted, his genuine effort and his ability to deliver lovable yet complex characters certainty has.