’30 Rock’: What Happened to ‘TGS”s New Actor, Danny Baker?

The early 2000s were a golden age for NBC comedy. They had The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock running all at the same time. All three shows are now binged over and over again by ravenous fans. 30 Rock may not have the same meme-ability as The Office, but in terms of jokes per minute30 Rock was the funnier comedy.

Tracey Morgan and Jane Krakowski starred as Tracy and Jenna, the actors on TGS, the fake sketch comedy show that was the center of Tina Fey’s most notable television series. But what about the third TGS actor, Danny Baker? 

Danny Baker, looking back at the camera
Cheyenne Jackson as Danny Baker | Ali Goldstein/Getty Images

Danny Baker’s absence had to be explained when Cheyenne Jackson didn’t have time for ’30 Rock’ 

Fey and the other writers of 30 Rock let Danny fade into obscurity, but not because they were unhappy with Jackson’s performance. He wanted to be part of the show, but his theater career came first. As Jackson explained to the AV Club:

“Well, first of all, I was also doing theater at the same time. So at some point I was doing 30 Rock, and then I was doing Finian’s Rainbow at night, and they were trying to make it work for me.”

Jackson and Fey also thought that Danny’s disappearances were kind of part of the joke, anyway. Jackson didn’t feel the need to be on the show all the time, because Danny’s predecessor, Josh, had quit because he was constantly forgotten. Danny doing the same thing worked in the context of the show. 

Cheyenne Jackson played Danny Baker on ’30 Rock’

Danny Baker took the place of Josh Girard on TGS. On 30 Rock, Josh got upset at being constantly overlooked and quit. Liz and Pete traveled far and wide to find an actor to replace him, only for Jack to hire a street performer, Danny Baker. Luckily for Liz, Danny actually had some acting experience. 

Like his character, Cheyenne Jackson didn’t have that much TV experience when he was recruited to 30 Rock. According to the AV Club, he was nervous but probably didn’t need to be. Jackson had Broadway experience and knew exactly what he was doing.

He shone in season four as Danny, although the character had largely disappeared by the next season. Fans on Reddit recently wondered what happened to Danny, and one commenter pointed out that it is mentioned in the last episode that he was fired due to budget cuts.

As another Redditor said, it’s easy to miss these things in the density that is 30 Rock:

“I swear to god, this show is so dense with jokes that it takes multiple viewings to catch all the jokes.”

Cheyenne Jackson has an impressive resume 

Danny Baker apparently wasn’t meant to be a star. In one of his last appearances on 30 Rock, he’s in danger of being deported back to Canada. But that’s not how Jackson’s career has gone. First of all, he’s not really Canadian. Second of all, his quick foray into TV with the role of Danny Baker has led to a plethora of new work. 

Jackson was lucky enough to learn TV from the likes of Fey and Alec Baldwin, and he took their notes to heart. According to IMDb, Jackson has since starred in Glee, American Horror Story, and HBO’s The Watchmen. One of his most recent television roles saw him star alongside another TV great, Mayim Bialik, in her show Call Me Kat

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