‘The Office’ Cast: Do Fans Know the Reason Actors Used Their Real Names?

The Office actor Brian Baumgartner has become a beloved podcast host. First, he introduced fans to An Oral History of The Office — a podcast featuring interviews from the cast and crew who made the NBC comedy series possible. Now, Baumgartner is bringing fans the extended versions of those interviews in The Office Deep Dive

Baumgartner has provided fans with answers to some of their most burning questions about The Office throughout each episode. Recently, he addressed a popular fan question regarding the cast whose characters have the same name. Find out why showrunners didn’t change certain Office characters‘ names when they cast the actors on the show. 

Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin and Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin cast in an episode of 'The Office'
Angela Kinsey & Phyllis Smith | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘The Office’ cast only features two actors who are from Pennsylvania 

As authentic as The Office is to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the show takes place, only two of the actors in the cast are actually from the Keystone State. Kate Flannery, who played Meredith Palmer, and Zach Woods, who played Gabe Lewis, are from Philadelphia and Yardley, respectively. 

Growing up, Flannery’s family owned a bar in the Philadelphia area. “My dad owned Flannery’s tavern,” she explained in an interview with Comic Cure. “My grandfather started it in 1933. It’s a bar in Germantown, and we would go there on Sundays, listen to the jukebox, eat Slim Jims, drink Coca Cola.” 

Meanwhile, Woods grew up in Yardley, a suburb of Philadelphia. “[Yardley] is right on the Delaware River across from Trenton, New Jersey,” Woods shared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Woods and Flannery are both from Pennsylvania, but they didn’t share a first name with their characters on the show.

‘The Office’ cast use their real names because Greg Daniels ‘ran out of creative energy’

During the “Mailbag” episode of The Office Deep Dive podcast, Baumgartner answers fan-submitted questions. “Why did [Phyllis], Oscar, Angela, and Creed keep their real names on the show?” asks one fan. 

Greg Daniels describes it as ‘he ran out of creative energy,'” Baumgartner explains. Since The Office is based on the British series, Daniels carried several characters over to the American version, including Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), Kevin Malone (Baumgartner), Stanley (Leslie David Baker), and Michael Scott (Steve Carell). 

“Greg Daniels always knew he wanted our ensemble to be larger,” Baumgartner continues. “They brought in other actors that offered different personalities and voices. At that point, Greg thought, ‘Let’s just call them who they are.'”

Creed Bratton was a rock star before his time on ‘The Office’ 

“Creed Bratton is the only person whose first and last name is the same, and let’s just say there might be a reason for that,” Baumgartner adds to his answer. As it turns out, Bratton is almost as quirky in reality as his character is in The Office

Creed Bratton lived an entire life before becoming known as “the office weirdo.” Growing up in a musical family, Bratton started pursuing music at an early age. He was in several bands throughout his youth, but his time in The Grass Roots is what many people recognize him from.

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As Bratton discusses with Baumgartner in another episode of The Office Deep Dive, Bratton performed with the group from 1966 to 1970 along with bandmates Rick Coonce, Warren Entner, and Kenny Fukumoto. The Grass Roots’ song “Let’s Live for Today” topped the charts when Bratton was a member.