‘Stranger Things’: Joe Keery Worked as a Waiter Before Landing the Role of Steve

Stranger Things fans couldn’t imagine the show without Joe Keery’s character Steve Harrington. In fact, many viewers were terrified that Steve would die in season 4. Luckily that wasn’t the case, and Keery will appear in season 5. Keery’s big break as an actor came when he was cast in Stranger Things. He was working in a restaurant when he received the good news.

Stranger Things star Joe Keery attend the show's season 4 New York Premiere wearing a gray suit and tie.
Joe Keery | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Joe Keery worked as a waiter when he landed a role in ‘Stranger Things’

It might surprise some Stranger Things fans to learn that Joe Keery didn’t have many acting credits to his name when he was cast as Steve in 2016. According to IMDb, Keery had made a few guest appearances in TV shows such as Sirens, Chicago Fire, and Empire before his big break in Stranger Things.

Keery recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he stated that he was a waiter before he was cast as Steve Harrington. “I was a pretty good waiter, I think,” Keery said. “I was pretty charismatic, and what I lacked in organization I made up for in maybe delivery, I guess.”

Keery originally auditioned to play Jonathan Byers

Surprisingly, Joe Keery had a different character in mind when he originally auditioned for Stranger Things. “I sent a tape in, didn’t really hear anything for a while, and then two months later they were like, ‘They want you to tape for this other role,'” Keery told Vulture in 2017.

“I taped for Jonathan originally and then taped for Steve and then Skyped the [Duffer] Brothers and then waited two weeks and then found out that I got it.” He continued, “I was waiting tables at the time and then found out that I got it and had to go back inside and wait more tables. So it was pretty bizarre, pretty cool.”

Keery also told Fallon that his friend Matt Williams, who worked in the restaurant with him at the time, helped him tape his auditions. He eventually got the call confirming he landed the part in Stranger Things. “I got the call in the back and I was like, ‘Oh my god. This is great. I don’t have to work at a restaurant anymore.'” Keery then relayed the exciting news to his friend.

Steve Harrington is a fan favorite character

While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joe Keery admitted that he didn’t think he would make it past Stranger Things Season 1. Thankfully Keery stuck around long enough for Steve to become one of the most beloved characters on the show.

In season 2, Steve leaves his immature ways behind and becomes the “mom Steve” that fans know and love. Viewers were terrified that Steve wouldn’t make it out of season 4 alive, especially after he was attacked by Demobats in the Upside Down. Luckily Keery will return for Stranger Things Season 5.

All episodes of Stranger Things are currently streaming on Netflix.

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