‘The Office’ Alum Ed Helms Hated This Nickname From High School

Ed Helms became a household name after playing Andy Bernard on The Office. While his character was known for giving co-worker Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) the nickname “Tuna”, Helms had his own food-related moniker back in his high school days.

Ed Helms in a blue jacket and orange vest in a scene from 'The Office'
Ed Helms | Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ed Helms was called ‘Chuck E. Cheese’ early in his high school years

In a 2011 interview, Helms discussed everything from his characters in The Office and The Hangover franchise to fans trying to get him drunk. The sitcom star revealed a tidbit from his high school days at The Westminster Schools regarding a previous nickname, where he was referred to as Chuck E. Cheese.

“It came from an upperclassman who claimed I looked like Chuck E. Cheese, the mascot from that chintzy pizza restaurant chain,” Helms told Playboy, according to Office Tally. “Any good nickname recipient shouldn’t actually like his nickname, and that was certainly the case with me.”

Apparently, Helms’ classmates picked up on his distaste for the moniker, which only prompted the name to stick.

“I hated being called Chuck E. Cheese,” he admitted. “And of course, that just encouraged them.”

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Ed Helms went to high school with ‘The Office’ alum Brian Baumgartner

Helms may have been called the edible nickname while working on The Office, since a former high school classmate co-starred with him on the sitcom.

“We did know each other in high school,” Helms said of Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone, as reported by the Daily Actor. “He’s a year older than me… we weren’t best buddies, but we certainly overlapped and we were in a few plays together and our high school chorus… it’s just been this sort of fun ridiculous reconnection.”

Helms and Baumgartner weren’t the only students at the Atlanta, GA high school that ended up at the NBC comedy.

“We went off in different directions and then circled back 15 years later,” Helms explained of his friendship with Baumgartner. “We even have a writer on staff that went to our high school, Halsted Sullivan.”

Yes, Ed Helms really can sing

Most fans of The Office can easily recall seeing – and hearing – Andy break into song at any given moment. Helms took his harmonizing from high school chorus through adulthood, even releasing an album entitled The Lonesome Trio with his group of the same name. Helms is also quite adept with a host of instruments.

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“I can pick up instruments fairly easily, but at a very rudimentary level,” he told Billboard. “I’m not a rudimentary guitar player or piano player, but that’s because I’ve worked hard at those things for many years. Other things I can pick up quickly but that doesn’t mean I’m very good at it. I played trumpet in junior high, but could I play a Miles Davis solo? Hell no.”

The Vacation star gravitated toward edgier music during his high school days, rather than the more folksy, blue grass styles he currently tends to favor.

“I’m not a closet hip-hop fan,” Helms shared. “I definitely went through a metal phase. I was super into Metallica in high school – I was obsessed with Van Halen.”