Brian Baumgartner, known for playing Kevin Malone on “The Office,” is spilling the beans on his famous chili scene.
The actor, who just launched his new podcast “An Oral History of the Office,” confessed that he had “no idea” the scene in which he spills a massive pot of “Kevin’s famous chili” all over the office floor would become such an internet sensation over the years.
“I thought it was funny. I thought it was cool. It fed into a lot of who Kevin was and I think in a lot of ways what made him lovable over time to the fans,” Baumgartner told Page Six on Tuesday.
The 47-year-old actor explained that fans typically find the scene either humorous or hard to watch.
“There are people who come up and they’re like, ‘That is the funniest thing ever. That made me laugh so much.’ And then there are other people who are like, ‘I feel so bad for him in that moment. It makes me so sad,’” he said. “And what do I think? I think it’s a combination of the two things.”
He continued, “I think it is funny. There’s the physicality of it that’s funny. But I also do think it’s sad, and so in that way, it makes sense that it’s a nice big moment for Kevin. On the other hand, did I realize that it would potentially supersede every other moment in the show? No, I had no idea.”
Amazingly, the scene only took one take to film.
“This is going to sound weird, but it’s an incredibly different thing to film. I’m holding a pot of chili that weighs a lot right? It is very heavy,” he said. “I know I’m going to spill it. I have to spill it. But having to do that in a way that you buy [it] — I mean I’m tremendously proud of how … that was one take.”
As for whether Baumgartner actually makes his own chili, the answer is yes.
“I do make chili. And someone was asking me, ‘did you always make chili? Were you good at making chili?’ And I don’t recall ever making it, but I definitely make it now,” he said. “It has become something that I for real do now.”
But chili-making isn’t the only thing Baumgartner has in common with Kevin.
“I think that I am him and he is me in a lot of ways,” he said, explaining that the writers took his real-life love of poker and basketball and added it into Kevin’s character.
“There are moments or things that overlap … in terms of activities and interests, but I think at our core we’re pretty different,” he said.
Baumgartner also reflected on Kevin’s on-screen relationships, specifically with Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin).
“The accounting department in general, I view that as kind of a perfect triangle of comedy,” he said, adding that off-screen, the entire cast and crew became a family over their seven-season run.
“John Krasinski (Jim Halpert), Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) and I play fantasy football together … So, we’re still keeping in touch,” he said. “But, you know, life happens … and you don’t see each other so much anymore.”
Luckily for Baumgartner, with his new podcast — which explores the history of “The Office” — he got to catch up with many of his former co-stars including Steve Carell (Michael Scott), Jenna Fischel (Pam Beesly) and Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon).
“For me to have been able to spend a day with everybody again … it was really fun,” he said. “I have not been able to sit down and talk to Steve Carell about this stuff in a long time and I had not seen him in a while, so that was really fun.”
“Over this period of time, because of the specific people who were cast, we really created a family that I think is, more than anything, what people enjoy when they watch the show,” he told us.
“An Oral History of The Office,” which also features interviews with the show’s creator Greg Daniels and “Office” fanatic Billie Eilish, is available to stream now exclusively on Spotify.