Kelsey Grammer has received plenty of acclaim for his role as Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers and its spinoff Frasier. But his audition for the original TV series wasn’t so glowing. In a past interview, Grammer reflected on the moment, saying he delivered what he thought was a hilarious performance. But when he finished, no one laughed.
Kelsey Grammer on his ‘Cheers’ audition
Grammer, 66, reflected on the casting process in an interview with GQ. He pointed out that he initially wasn’t super impressed with Dr. Crane, whom he found to be “an intellectual at some points but also an Everyman—flawed and very insecure.”
“The other thing I thought was that when he decided to love, he was completely—what is it Othello says?—’perpled in the extreme,'” he continued. But Frasier’s deep love for Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) was “what made him endearing in the end” and motivated Grammer to audition for the part.
“[But] when I auditioned for the twenty people that were in the room, I didn’t get a single laugh,” he continued. “I thought, ‘Holy sh*t. I’m done. I blew this completely.’ I put the script down, thanked everybody, and said, ‘I’m going to go and see if I can get some laughs out on the street.’ But then they sent me a bottle of champagne and said, ‘Welcome to Cheers.’
Kelsey Grammer turned out to be a big hit on ‘Cheers’
Not only did Grammer get the job, but he turned out to be one of the most popular actors on Cheers. Debuting in season 3, Frasier was introduced as a temporary character meant to interrupt Diane’s relationship with Sam Malone (via Mental Floss). But Grammer won viewers over with his charm and acting skills and eventually became a main character on the show.
Cheers spent 11 seasons on the air between 1982 and 1993. Just a few months after its end, Frasier arrived on TV. The show followed the character as he left Boston for Seattle, where he reunited with his father Martin and brother Niles. A radio psychiatrist, he would offer advice to people on his show The Dr. Frasier Crane Show, but Frasier had plenty of problems of his own.
The series ran for 11 successful seasons before ending in 2004, much to the disappointment of fans. But the show remained so popular that it has been approved for a reboot, which is expected to air sometime between 2021 and 2022.
In hindsight, it’s wild to see how things have panned out for Grammer and his iconic character. But at the end of the day, he’s human, which means he’s going to have his fair share of awkward auditions just like many other actors.