Before They Were Stars: The Entire Cast of "The Office"
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Before They Were Stars: The Entire Cast of "The Office"

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | August 22, 2012 | Comments ()


With the announcement that "The Office" will be ending its run after this upcoming ninth season, what better time than now to look back at the careers of the cast of "The Office," before the show began to air. It's a particularly fun thing to do with this cast because, before "The Office," almost the entire cast of the show was unheard of. The most popular cast member before "The Office," was Steve Carell, who was best known for his work on "The Daily Show." Otherwise, there's not a lot to speak of, save for one particular cast member's membership in a popular 1960's pop band.

Steve Carell -- I have no idea why I didn't know this, but Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert -- who were together for many years over on "The Daily Show," actually began their careers together on "The Dana Carvey Show."


John Krasinski -- In covering 25 stars who appeared in the Law & Order before they were famous universe yesterday, somehow I missed the fact that one of John Krasinski's first roles was on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."


Rainn Wilson -- Most of us knew Rainn Wilson first as the quirky mortician in Six Feet Under, but fewer remember him as far back as Almost Famous, where he played David Felton.


He was also in Galaxy Quest, of course.


Jenna Fischer -- Probably our first glimpse of Jenna Fischer was as a sorority girl in the the amazing "Undeclared."


B.J. Novak -- Ryan's first credit was actually "The Office," but did you know he grew up in the same city as both John Krasinski and TK? It's true. I believe they all went to the same high-school, as well (at different times).


Leslie David Baker -- Baker didn't have a lot going on before "The Office," but he did play a janitor in "That 70's Show."


Brian Baumgartner -- Likewise, Baumgartner didn't have an extensive CV before "The Office," but he did appear in "Arrested Development" the same year that "The Office" debuted.


Angela Kinsey -- Kinsey has virtually nothing on her resume before "The Office," except for some voice work on "King of the Hill," a gig she probably landed the same way she landed "The Office" job: She's the sister-in-law of Greg Daniels, as well as the sister-in-law to Paul Lieberstein (who plays Toby and had been the showrunner of "The Office" until Daniels returned to those duties this year). Jenna Fischer is also her best friend. Here she is on "Yo Gabba Gabba."


Phyllis Smith -- Phyllis had nothing going on in the industry before "The Office," but back in the day, in a second life somewhere, she was a burlesque dancer and an NFL cheerleader. REALLY.


Same woman now.


Mindy Kaling -- Kaling was also new to showbiz when she landed her role in "The Office," but here she is when she was a little girl.


Ed Helms -- Helms, of course, got his start on "The Daily Show."


Ellie Kemper -- Kemper appeared in The Mystery Team (with Donald Glover and Aubrey Plaza) the same year that she debuted on "The Office."


Craig Robinson -- Before appearing on "The Office," Craig Robinson had appeared in an episode of "Friends."


Creed Bratton -- Of course, everyone's favorite before they were stars member of "The Office," Creed was a member of the 1960's band, The Grass Roots. You'll undoubtedly recognize at least this song.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    CREED! I was wondering which guy he was until I saw that creepy little smirk at :24. He totally should've given Jim a blue and white striped shirt for the Christmas gift.

  • citizen_cris

    Oh didn't know about Carrell and Colbert were on the Dana Carvey Show together? You missed out huge. A little gift from me to you -

  • Leanne

    I was in an improv group with Oscar Nunez for 4 years in the late 80s. He plays it straight on The Office (I mean, he doesn't get the laugh lines), but he's one of the funniest performers ever. Honest.. And a hella nice guy too.

  • Jt

    Wasn't BJ Novak on Punk'd?

  • kirbyjay

    I grew up and went to high school a few towns over from Krazinski, Roth, Kaling, Dratch, Poehler, Conan O'Brien, Stephen Wright, Denis Leary and Carrell. I guess Greater Boston and it's suburbs are the comedy capital of the world....or something like that.
    Didn't know TK was from my neck of the woods. Go Patriots!

  • Arran

    Bonus fun fact: Kemper's acting teacher in high school was one Jon Hamm.

  • Lucie

    Ellie Kemper first showed up in a fairly popular YouTube video...

  • I'd seen this video many times and it still blew my mind (pun intended but I'm going to lie and say it wasn't because it's stupid) that it was her. And it was Donald Glover's group and everything.

  • Ted Zancha

    I have been staring at the photo for a good 5 minutes and I can't see the resemblance between old and young Phyllis Smith. Combined with the Carrel stache and poor Mindy with her lonely beaver (two beavers are better than one), my head might explode.

  • Scootsa1000

    Most surprising tidbit on this page? Along with Krasinski, Novak, Eli Roth, and Joe Rogan, TK and I apparently went to the same high school.

  • Erin S

    Mindy had some success with a play she and her roommate wrote, "Matt and Ben," which came out of them impersonating Matt Damon and Ben Affleck around their apartment.

  • elenaran

    You're missing a couple of big ones: Both Angela Kinsey and Ellie Kemper did occasional comedy bits on Conan's Late Night show.

  • Snath

    The Mystery Team is one of my favorite movies ever.

  • Borknagarst

    Agreed. Soooo funny.

  • Three-nineteen

    Carell and Colbert actually started their careers together at Second City in Chicago. I believe they were there with Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello.
    About 10 years ago, Craig Robinson co-starred as Mutha in the TV show Lucky with John Corbett. It lasted about 10 episodes, but I liked it.

  • $27019454

    "It's a puff piece."

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    Now I have to go find the Colbert Carrell SNL skit. I'll be laughing again for days. Couldn't you have just posted the vid instead of a screen cap?

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    Here you go, Dana Carvey Show, Nauseated Waiters:

  • dizzylucy

    That top picture of Steve just made my day, and then even more so by picturing his reaction to seeing it again.

    I believe Craig and Phyllis were also on Arrested Development, as a security guard and one of the Bluth board members. Same (genius) casting director for both shows. Phyllis was in the industry, just not on screen - she was a casting associate for several years before ending up on The Office
    Mindy co-wrote the play "Matt and Ben" which I vaguely remember reading about in Entertainment Weekly a million years ago.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I think you're right. I remember catching Phyllis on the board, though I forgot about Craig Robinson. In fact...

  • John G.

    Steve Carell! What's on your face? Get that thing off your face.

  • Kala

    I keep rocking back and forth murmuring, "It was '84. It was '84. It was '84." Still can't seem to stop shivering though.

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