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I'm Jenna Fischer. And I'm Angela Kinsey. We were on The Office together. And we're best friends. And now we're doing the Ultimate Office Rewatch podcast just for you.


Each week, we will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind-the-scene stories that only two people who were there can tell you.


We're the Office Ladies. Good morning, lady. Oh, we have a really amazing guest on Office Ladies today.


We sure do. All of you that listened to the work bus last week know that today in the studio, we have Brian Cranston. We cannot wait for you guys to hear this interview because look, there are certain episodes of The Office that are just real big episodes, and they warrant extra time. And Workbus is definitely one of those.


It's definitely one of those.


Yeah. And we shared all about our experience on that bus, but we really felt like you needed to hear from the director as well. So we reached out to Brian. He was so kind and gracious. He came into the studio and chatted all things work best with us.


And more. Now, I know a lot of people know Brian Cranston from his many acting roles. He's been in film and television, and he's been on Broadway. There's Malcolm in the Middle and Walter White on Breaking Bad, and he even won a Tony Award for the Broadway play All the Way. He's amazing. But Brian is also a very accomplished director. He directed episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, of Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Sneaky Pete, and his new series, Your Honor on Showtime, and of course, this very epic famous episode of The Office.


And he is Just delightful. He's so much fun to talk to. It was such a joy having him. And Jenna, you know what? I was thinking we didn't bring this up to him, but I want him to direct our road trip movie if we ever do it. Oh, my gosh. Yes. We have never even shared. Have we shared about the fact that me, you, and Lee have a road trip idea?


We came up with an idea for a road trip movie. Lee wrote it.


It's so funny. It's so funny.


I know.


Some of the hardest I have laughed in a long time was when the three of us were sitting at your dining table and we were pitching jokes. Because listen, you guys, this is a road trip movie about two gals.


They're in their 50s.


But anyway, I mean- It has a mom detective's element to it, I have to say.


It really does. Yeah.


But would Brian Cranston ever direct anything on the road again? That's the question.


I think after you listen to this interview, you might find that he would be very hesitant to do so. Well, listen, the office might have ruined him forever in directing anything in a moving vehicle again, but let's let him tell you about it. We're going to take a break, and when we come back, our interview with Brian Cranston about Workbus, which is also known as Death Bus. We'll be right back.


It's such a great interview. We'll be right back.


Yeah. Yeah. Who wrote your opening theme song?


Creeb Breton.


Creed Breton. Did he really? I just realized who Creed was.


You just did.


I just in the last few weeks.


Grassroots, all of that.


Yes, the grassroots. And I'm thinking, that can't be the same. It's the same guy. Yes. Now, my question to you, my first question, thanks for coming on the show, by the way. My first question to you would be, did the show ever do a backstage idea about what Creed's background was? Did someone ever go, That guy looks so familiar. Did you ever do anything like that?


I don't remember. There were so many pitches. There were so many people who wanted to do a whole episode just on Creed and his life and wanted him to be outed as Creed Bratten. Creed Bratten, because he's the only person on the show who has his full name as his character name. Angela is Angela on the show, but on the show, her last name is Martin. But Creed Bratten, the character, is also Creed Bratten, the man. But I don't think it was ever revealed.


I will say, though, of all the characters, we have a show Bible. Sorry. I have to... You guys, Brian, his microphone this morning, something's up with it, and there is a bar in front of his face. For me to talk to Brian, he has to look lean around the bar.


Angela, it's safer to have a bar in front of my face. It helps the restraining order issue that we have.


There you go. That we have. But anyway, all the characters, we had a show Bible of all their back history, and Credes is the craziest.


It's the most fun to read.


He has a family in Canada. He lives under his desk half the time. It's all over the place.


Why didn't I get a chance to read that? That would have been great.


They didn't give you the show Bible?


No, I didn't get it. No one said it was available.


Been given that.


I absolutely should have been given that.


Would have changed work bus. I'm going to quit. Retroactive.


Well, we always like to ask people when they come on, first question, how did you end up working on the office? How did you get this job, directing work with us?


Tracy Katzky is a friend of mine, and she was working as a consultant with David. In the last year you guys were on the air.




I had just finished my season with Breaking Bad, and that was 2012, I think. It was 2012. Tracy calls and says, We're looking for directors for this new season. Would you be interested in coming on board the office? Immediately, the answer was going to be, of course, no. But I love the show. It's such a legendary show that any chance to be a part of it in some small way. She said, I know you've been directing Breaking Bads, and you're out in the desert, and it's and it's sticky. How would you like to come to, what was it, Burbank, North Hollywood, wherever we were? And we work inside. Yeah, a little off-somedy.


It's a short day. A little off-somedy. Air-conditioned.


Air-conditioned, easy, Indoor five days. Bang, bang, bang. Boom, boom, boom. And I said, Oh, it sounds fantastic. Let's do it. And she said, Well, we have such and such slot open. And I looked at my calendar and I said, I'll take that slot. Yeah. And I don't know, you probably I described it on your show before, but the way it works in television for directors is by time. You have no idea when you sign onto a show what your episode is going to be by the time it gets to your time slot. So we had no idea.


Oh, my God.


It just so happened that work bus came onto my lap.


What did you think when you read this episode?


Well, The first, I was excited to read it, read it right away, and work bus. Oh, I don't know. Oh, they had an extermin... Was it exterminating? We were exterminating. This is 11 years ago, I think.


There was this electrical issue, electromagnetic things in the walls, and Dwight was going to have to open up all the walls and redo the electrical.


The basic idea is that there could not be a work stoppage for the whole team. So A work bus was found to be the best method to continue working while this work on the actual location, the office was taking place. Everybody had to load onto the bus Desks were on there, as we all know, and we had to just keep traveling. We're in the San Fernando Valley in August.


It's so hot in August.


I went to the call sheet, it was 100 degrees this week. It was like triple digits.


It was very hot. The first thing I did was curse my friend Tracy Katz. I was like, Damn you, as if they knew. But it was a challenge. I think we shot on the set for a day and a half or something like that. Something short. And then the rest of the time we were-On a bus. On that bus or in the park. And then we were at a baseball field. I know we were-Yup, right.


We had that cold open. I I enjoyed it for the most part, but there was a... There were some tough moments.


Well, I have to say, okay, you know that our cast has renamed this episode Death Bus. This has come to you. I know. Jenna and I wrote a whole chapter in our book about it, The Office BFFs. We have a copy for you. We signed inside. I love it. It says, Brian, we owe you our lives. Thanks, Angela and Jenna. It is Chapter 12.


We dedicated a whole chapter to just this episode.


And we have fantastic photos of you, but we realized after our book came out, you were doing press. We felt really bad because every single producer clearly wanted you to be asked about Death Bust. Jenna was like, Oh, no, Ange. We were quiet. We wrote about this, and now everyone is asking him the same question on every talk show. Why did you try to kill the cast of The Office? Why did I try to kill the cast?


Was it a murder for hire?


No one's asked. Was it a failed murder for- I can't discuss all those details.


There is a current investigation going on.




And indictments will be handed down. I have every reason to believe you two are in the clear. I can't be positive on that, but I have... Set of circumstances. It was hot and tight. You talk about the set being contained. Well, we're on a bus, and we didn't have a lot of room. And if I recall, nothing was actually nailed down. Everything was shifting around. Desks were actually shifting and moving. I'm looking at this going, Oh, my God, I think people didn't realize this bus is actually on the road, on an open street and moving.


Well, at first there was comedy in that, right? At first, we're traveling down the road and our little coffee cup is moving across the desert. Are we papers? You got to grab- We're holding on to things.


We hit it, it caught a hole. It was working. My lamp slid in my lap. I caught it. Yay. That's funny.


It's funny.


But then there was a part of the script where I guess Dwight swerves and we all slide and we all are like,.


Yeah, he's trying to get us to the pie.


Yeah, get to the pie. And I guess the AD yelled to the cast, We weren't really swerving. Lean right. And we got, and no one bought it. It didn't look good. And so then-They unloaded Rain. Rain left and a stunt driver got on the bus.


They removed us from the tow rig, and now we are truly just a bus traveling down the road with a stunt driver.


We listed what all was in the bus. We went back and screen grabbed it. It was a full, like, Arrowhead water jug dispenser, a microwave, coffee pot, lamps, rolling chairs, desk, computers, a printer. Was there a little mini Xerox machine? There was so many. I bet there was. It was a full office. When the stunt driver swerved right, it all swerved.


Everything moved. All of a sudden, that was not part of the production discussion that we had, by the way. I'm thinking about that. It was like, We're doing this. Rain is going to drive, and we're going to do this, and it's all contained, and we'll have the cast move back and forth. It didn't look good. Everybody was in sync. There was something funny about things happening at the same time and once, and you can't duplicate that. You can't fake that. And so there was an idea, and I don't believe it was my idea, but I'm not saying it's not, to actually heighten the movement of the thing with a professional stunt driver.


Yes, it was a professional stunt driver. It wasn't Rain Wilson.


We, however, are not professional stunt people.


This is true, and this is where the beginning of the indictments will start. Yes. The reality of it, in retrospect, you look back and you go, Oh, my God, what were we doing?


Oh, and then-Oh, wait, wait.


We don't want to get to that part yet. Wait, I have to ask, you're not on the bus with us at this point. You're in a follow van and you're watching this footage on a screen.


What- Hang on. I was in the bus the entire time.


Wait, you were in the bus for that moment?


I was in the veryback.


And the way back on the back row. I remember that.


I was on the floor with a little viewfinder and watching the thing as I'm moving back and forth, too.


I remember that.


I knew you were on the bus most of the time, but I thought there were a few shots where it was like we had to clear everybody. We cleared boom. We had just camera. And I did not know that you still stayed on.


I stayed on when there was room, when we were shooting, when I was able to hide in the back on the ground, when there was no room and shooting in one direction, I think I was off the bus because it was too dangerous. And I said, I shouldn't be on this.


I shouldn't be here. We did skip over. So Jen and I, we were trying to remember everything about this episode and filming it, and we were like, wait, we all had to get off the bus three times. The first one was because we got so tickled in Ellie Peter Pants.


Yeah. Remember? And we had to change her clothes.


And she had- I didn't know if you were going to actually talk about this.


Ellie Don't worry, it's in the book. Ellie is such a good sport.


Ellie was like, Guys, I peed my skirt. And we all laughed.


It wasn't a huge pee. It was just a little- She actually did. Yeah.


It wasn't just a saying.


So we all pulled over. We hung out in the park. Ellie changed clothes. Then we all get back on the bus. And I remember Jenna, us being like, This is crazy. What a crazy day, thinking like, That's the craziest thing that will happen. Then the swerve and everything flew. I remember digging Creed out of a pile of things. Do you remember that? Creed was totally covered.


It was dangerous. I look back on it now and it was... I would like to think that wouldn't happen today.


It would all be zip-tied or- Something.


Here's the thing. Our show did not travel well. We were very good at shooting inside of an office, but pretty much any time we left to go on the road, even just metaphorically- The wheels came off the bus. Something happened. Something happened. Yeah, we lost half the cast at sea.


That was how we were doing.


That episode when you're on- Boos Cruise.


Boos Cruise. Phyllis, Brian, and Raine drifted out to sea for about 20 minutes.


On dingy.


At 4:30 in the morning.


4:30 in the morning?


Yes, because we were shooting Nights, and you had the choice. We were wrapped. They were doing the scene with Jim and Pam. They're like, Do you want to stay on the boat till we wrap, or do you want to leave? And only this small group raised their hands because we had to climb down a ladder, hop on a dingy.


To get back to shore.


Yeah, and then the engine broke down. And then the engine broke and they lost them, and we floated.For.


A while.Let's.


Take a moment. I just want to think about them for just a second. They were such great cast members.


The famous thing is that everyone was like, We lost Phyllis. And me and Brian and Reanne were like, Anne. Anne, Angela.


Hello. People only cared about Phyllis. I know. Sweet Phyllis.


Sweet Phyllis.


Well, it's true that whenever we left set, things happened. So we're sorry.


It was hard.


Well, okay. So there was a second thing that happened then. We We piled ourselves. Then we were hot, and I remember being so excited after lunch.


Didn't you guys have to turn the air off when we were filming because it was loud? The AC in the bus was loud. Yes.


It was loud. So there was this announcement, Guys, we have a great thing. We have a portable AC unit that we're going to pull on a trailer behind the bus, and we have a hose that is going to go up through this sunroof thing in the bus, and it'll be quiet. We can leave it on while we're filming. You guys aren't going to be hot anymore. And we couldn't believe our look. We were so excited. This is fresh, wonderful, cool air.


People were getting wilty. They were getting... We were in a hot tin can.


It was really tough. San Fernando Valley, like you said, it was 100 degrees. Then we made it worse by having the closed up windows and everything else to where the heat inside that bus.


Oh, God.


I would think It would be 110, 150.


It was like a little sauna rolling down the road.


We were trying in the morning. Every time we cut, they try to pump the air, but then we'd have to turn it off, and you'd only be able to work for about 5, 10 minutes before it became unbearable. We got the little rolly unit.


A brilliant idea.


So wonderful. But then we started moving, and my chair was right under the little sunroof. I was very excited. I was like, This is awesome. You're going to get all the air. I'm going to get the first amazing cool air. Yes.


And you did. I sure did. And I was- That part is true.


I was very cool.


I was smelling the air as it was cooling me. And I was like, it doesn't smell right. It smells gassy. It smells not right.


And so you started voicing that. Yeah. And I was more towards the front, and I was like, I don't smell anything. I And there was a little bit of like, Jenna, a little bit.


I know. To be fair, I was the person on the set who had all the allergies, and I was ruining takes from sneezzing all the time. And I think people thought it was just Jenna's allergy nose, Jenna sensitive. And I was like, No, it's not that. It's gas.


And then Sarah, our camera operator who was standing back there by you, she was like, I wasn't sure. She got a little loosey.


She got a little loosey. Yeah. And then Brian, I think you came up. I did. And you were Let me see what you're talking about.




I stood on a chair right where your desk was, and I put my face right up to the register where the air was coming. And sure enough, carbon dioxide.


Nice and cold.


You were like, I remember you go, Get off the bus.


That's what I'm saying.


We all exited the bus, and that is when you can tell everyone what they discovered, what had happened.


It was a great, great idea, but the execution was not thoroughly thought through. What we came up with when we were realizing in production meeting was saying, It's going to be hot as hell on this bus. How are we going to keep everybody from wilting? I said, We can pull a portable air conditioning unit that is strong enough to pump fresh air into the bus. My concern was, I want to be able to shoot toward the back so I can't see it. We can make it low enough, small small enough to where it won't be seen throughout the windows. We thought about we'd have to adjust the rear view mirrors. And what about the noise? No, these new ones are... So we really thought about this. Okay, great, great, great. And we'll just tow it We'll have a tow hitch on the bus. We'll hook it up, and we'll just tow this unit. It has its own generator. It's quiet and perfect solution. What could go wrong? Well, what went wrong was the The intake for the air conditioning unit was positioned the way it's manufactured, and it just so happens the way it was placed on this trailer was it was facing the back of the bus.


At about a foot and a half away from where this intake is, is the exhaust pipe of the bus. So the fumes and exhaust from the bus only We had about a foot distance away from the intake from the air conditioning.


Just getting sucked up going right to the bus.


There was no possibility of avoiding this, and it was locked down. But we didn't realize that until we were actually underway. Away, and the thing was fired up. Actually, Jenna, you and your sensitive nose saved our lives. Finally, it did some good in my life. You saved our lives. At first, what? How can exhaust coming inside? It just doesn't make any sense to me. Sure enough, when I said, I went, Oh, my God, we have made a huge mistake, and we nearly killed the entire cast of The Office.


Really incredible.


But I would say, had no one detected it, what a beautiful way to go. All together. Oh, my God. All together. Rolling down the road. Kumbaya.


Shibuya roll call, the big roll call.


That's it.


Well, Leslie, I I remember looking at Leslie David Baker, and his eyes were bloodshot and watering. And I kept thinking, maybe the vent is hitting him at an angle. You know how it dries out your eyes? If a vent hits you. But no, it was just poignant.


Now, was Leslie's desk close to yours?


Yes. I'm trying to remember. When we all went flying into one another, I believe I flew into Leslie.


When we got off, I remember he was like, I'm not getting back on.


Leslie said, I'm never back on the bus again. I'm done. I'm done getting on the bus. I remember him walking to his car and driving away, but I think that might not be true. But for some reason, I remember Leslie was like, goodbye. I'm out.


I'm out. Shoot around me.


But also poor Leslie, whenever we went on location, he got the worst of it. When we went to the beach, he got sand kicked in his eye and it scratched his cornea, and he had to wear a patch for a week. So I think Leslie was like, I don't do scenes outside of the office anymore.


For Hit it.


I don't go on location.


Shit goes down.


It almost sounds like his character. You just drool, I don't go outside.


Yeah, exactly.


Don't leave the office.


Were there any moments that you haven't talked about about this episode? Because we know you've been hit up with those questions quite a bit, but any behind-the-scenes memories that you have that you'd want to share?


Yeah, those things are so on the frontal lobe that it's hard to remember. I just had a really good time other than worrying about that. I was really happy to be able to be on your set and see it and feel it. You guys, by the Why am I came along, it was the ninth season, so you were a well-oiled machine. The role of a guest director is not to come in, and I wouldn't dare, wouldn't dare say anything to an actor about their character. Wouldn't that be obnoxious?


Season nine, I think you could make a different choice for Dwight.


Let's make this... I think he's friendlier. Yeah.


Why is Angela such a bitch?


What's with the cats? Let's do away with it. Let's break out all that. No more cats.


No more cats.


Yeah. And then you two, I'd say, I'd pull you apart. Start to think about something about Jim that you didn't like. Just throw a wrench into everything. I don't think this. So there's nothing... A director on episodic television just comes in and tries to... What my whole goal was whenever I direct television, which is different from directing features, because in features, you are trying and need to please yourself and make sure that you get all those elements and moments that you've worked so hard in breaking down that script. In television, vision, it's about staying true to these characters, putting them in positions where they can really be themselves, where they feel comfortable. It's delivering the meat and potatoes that every showrunner is going to expect from you. I always thought, if I can deliver two or three things that the showrunner didn't see, that's golden. Just a couple of little things.


I think there's a few. I mean, when I rewatched the episode, I completely forgot that Ed plays the Banjo at the end. Oh, yeah. And just rips it. It's just so great. And everyone is just like, Oh, whatever.


Well, no, and it's true. I taught him the Banjo in two weeks, and he was able to pick it up and perform that. That's amazing.


I loved all the pie scenes, too. I thought they were really sweet.


Did you eat any pie? I had some pie. Do you remember your flavor of pie? That's probably hard to remember.


I'm thinking Gooseberry. Yeah.


Look how happy you were.


Well, he remembered that.


Wasn't that? Yeah. Because it's such a funny name. I like it. Yeah.


I think it was Gooseberry because it wasn't Blackberry. No. Yeah, but there was a special Berry crumble pie. Pie.


When I rewatched it, I just remember how happy we actually all were to sit outside and have pie. I had chocolate cream.


It was delicious. A really interesting choice on a very hot day. What? Chocolate cream. Peel back the layers.


Okay, I have got to do something. I have been going through the call sheets, and on the back of the call sheet, they do a thing called Get to know your cast and crew, and they ask a few questions, but they're so interesting Interesting.


You mean on every one of your call sheets, it was get to know your cast and crew?


Someone was featured on each call sheet. We had talked about, Jen and I wanted to start with each new guest, ask them a few of these questions. What was one of the first jobs you had in entertainment?


One of the first jobs I had in entertainment, I think it was a soap opera. I did a three-day role on Days of Our Lives.


I love Days of Our Back in 1981. What was your character?


I was a cousin of the person. I will tell you this, Bill and Susan Seaforth, he and his wife, Susan and Bill, they were on Days of Our Eyes for years. I happened to oversleep that morning, the first day that I was to work, and I missed the rehearsal, missed the blocking, missed everything. I'm panicking, absolutely panicking. And I race to NBC where we're shooting it. And I'm panicking, I'm nervous. And all of a sudden, I hear a knocking on my dressing room door, and it's Bill Hayes, the big star of the show. And he says, I understand you had a problem this morning. We stood in for you and we blocked him. And he says, Can I run down what we did? And do you need some help on the backstory of the character? I was so appreciative. I was just a day player, and he put himself out there to say, Look- That is so kind. Yeah, he was a lovely, lovely guy, and he helped me get over the anxiety of being late and the responsibility of that. I spent all the money that I made on that episode to buy flowers for the people that I knew stood up for me, and Bill and the casting director, and it was like, I'm so sorry.


But that was my first experience.


Okay, I love that. I love that story. I love the kindness you were shown. I didn't know where that was going when you said he knocked on the door. I was like, Oh, no.


In a good way.


In a good way. Okay. Favorite place in the whole wide world that you've ever been to?


I guess it would be Venice. I was there on my honeymoon almost 35 years ago. Very romantic and very unique. We just had... There was one night when my wife and I were There was a thunderous rainstorm, and we went to a Vivaldi concert in a church that had windows at the top of this sphere and this dome. It felt like God was adding the exclamation to it. Oh my God! It was just so magical and romantic. Unbelievable time.


Wow. Have you been back since your honeymoon?


Actually, no. It's been a long time. I've been there twice. We haven't been back in 34 years. It's time to go back.


I think it's time.


I don't know. I say, Don't mess with it. What? I say, Leave it. Don't revisit.


Never revisit a memory.


Well, it's too good. It's too good. You know what I mean? If you go back and then you're going to be like, Oh, my gosh, it smells. I mean, no offense, Venice, but I I hear that you're getting floods and maybe it's a little stinky now and a lot of tourists.


Here come the letters. Here come the letters.


The cruise ships and the- All the Venetians.


I've lost the whole- The amount of gondolears that listen to the show.


It's just incredible.


We just lost a few.


Well, I'm just saying a lot of time has passed, and this is an amazing romantic memory. Maybe it should just stay there.


I agree with you. I agree with you maybe in the church, in the concert, in the rain, and all that. But I don't think you need to rule out all of Venice. I think there's maybe new places you could discover.


I think leave it.


Okay. Well, I'm torn now. I'm torn now. Two very different takes on this memory. Okay, last question. They just asked three. Last question, do you speak any other languages other than English? Oui. Oui?


I don't, actually. That was the extent of my French. No, I know a little bit of French and a little bit of Spanish, but that's one of the things I really, really do want to accomplish before I leave this Earth, is to be able to expand my awareness and culture and not just be so American-centric. I don't want to step out of that. I spoke recently about not retiring, but taking a break. For the last 25 years, I've been working really nonstop, and it's been great. As we know, it's wonderful, and you're supported, and you're having fun, and you're engaged, and it's artistic, and creative, and all those wonderful things. But it's not real life experience. You're going from one bubble to another bubble to another bubble. And I'm getting to a point where I feel like I'm a little depleted, like my ideas aren't as fresh. They're a little harder to come by. And, oh, am I being derivative of another character that I've done? And can I break out of that? I need more influences to come in so that it's more reciprocal. Right now, there's been a lot of outflow for the last two decades, and I think I need some real-life experience to be able to say, Oh, I've never even thought of that before.


I want to read that classic novel that I've always sworn I was going to read. I want to learn how to cook. I I'm going to learn a language. I want to be in another culture, and I don't want to talk about show business.


Yeah. We had an amazing conversation with Zack Woods, and we were talking about this exact thing where we were saying that as artists, you need a life to feed your art. You can't stay in just an art-making bubble. No. Because it's through our observations of other people and things, and it's through going to that weird cousin's wedding that you get your ideas and your inspiration. I would extend that even to... I remember Jerry Seinfeld doing an interview about this, talking about how much of his comedy comes from the frustrations and little annoyances in his life, standing in a line or someone budding in front of you as you've been waiting for a... All those little ways that you watch how different people handle these everyday, very universal situations. They inform you. They inform your art. Like you said, when you go from set to set to set or bubble to bubble to bubble, you start losing all those. Those are the things that we use to make our characters.


I used to joke that I haven't changed. I've had great good fortune in this business, but I really haven't changed. My dresser still puts on my pants one leg at a time. Good. He really does. He does a great job.


You're valid. You're valid. That's my valid. You're valid. I traveled a lot growing up. My dad was a drilling engineer. I grew up in Jakarta, and we moved around a lot. But recently, I found an old travel journal that I kept as a young gal. And I read a little bit of it on the podcast. I was very snarky about a man who sat next to me who was taking a lot of notes about how to play poker on his napkin, but he would cover them so I couldn't see him. And I was like, What's up with this guy? And I had a whole journal of paper, and I would have given him a piece of paper, but he kept hiding his notes, so I didn't. It was this weird retaliation I had with him. But the story has a point, which is As I go back and look at that journal of travel and seeing other things and experiencing other things, I just crave it. I'm like, I want to sit next to the guy on the plane who is taking notes on his napkin. What's that about?


Now, what's interesting, though, is that now you have to hope that you're not recognized in order to have a legitimate conversation. Otherwise, it's weighted, and it's not the same thing. Celebrity is a strange thing, as we know. It makes people nervous, anxious, gitty, excited. They can't stop. They can't believe it. I mean, how many people have said, I can't believe I'm meeting you. It's blowing my mind. Well, that's not the way that person normally behaves. So there's no way that you're going to have a normal conversation with that person. So I always used to look for old people. Some people who didn't know, chances are, wouldn't know who I am. And that way I knew I was getting an authentic conversation. Oh, yeah. I do.


I do.


I do. One of my favorite cities is New York, and one of my favorite things to do is just people watch. I love to go hide out in Central Park and just watch everything unfold in front of me. That's something I find you can still go unrecognized. If you wear your hat and you don't make a big fuss about yourself. And your big red nose.


Yes, that's right. And your floppy shoes.


And my wig. And your sign. And then I smoke. We know I don't smoke in real life. Start making balloon animals.


They won't know who you are.


I feel the same way when I go to my family has a farm in Archer City, Texas, and there's a little café, Mearns, because the woman who runs it is named Meern. Fantastic. It's great. I go in there, and it's just everyone that's been working cattle, and they're all in there. I just love it. No one knows the show.


Do they have your picture up on the wall?


No, they don't. No, they have. Come on, Meern. They have the starting lineup of the football team and the cheerleaders and whoever is doing well at 4-H Club that year. That's rather sweet. Yeah, it is. It's great.


I used to travel a lot by motorcycle. In the '70s, I traveled across the country. For two years, I was on a motorcycle. Wow. And I would get odd jobs here and there. And in the '70s, you could do that. You ladies wouldn't know that.


How do you know I could ride a motorcycle in the '70s?


Because you were way too young. And at one time, I took Route 66 from California, Santa Monica to Chicago. And on the way back, I took this Route 50, which is called the loneliest highway. And you go through Nebraska, Kansas, the places that people, for the most part, they go, Well, there's nothing really to see there, so I want to avoid it. I want to go there. So we're going through Kansas in a little place called Peabody, Kansas. And it's flat, it's small. There's a bank on the corner. There's a coffee shop. And in the coffee shop, they list everybody's birthday for that day. And I said, These are the people who work here? And I go, No, that's people in the entire town. We have such a small town that they list everyone's birthday on that particular day. And it's quaint and sweet. And by the way, speaking of birthdays, weWe share a birthday. Share a birthday. You do. Your birthday, what do you? We are.


We interviewed Tim Meadows for the podcast, and we were all talking about our celebrity birthday partner, and I said, You.




I know. Happy birthday. Happy early birthday.


March seventh.


March seventh. Yeah.


Same year?


Yes, 74.


Yeah, that's right.


This is my big 50th birthday this year.


Are Are you welcoming it? It's going to come whether you want to or not, but- I am welcoming it. You're saying, Bring it on, world.


Yeah, I'm saying, Bring it on. I'm doing big party. I'm happy to celebrate my 50th. I'm excited about it. I find it very liberating.


I think it's great. You look fantastic.


You both look great. I am 52. I will be 53. I love my 50s. I love it. I told you, it's the zero Fs.


She's making it look a lot of fun.


It's my zero Fs chapter of my life. Yeah. Super fun. I guess if it was truly my zero Fs, I'd say zero Fs, right?


We like to keep it clean on Office. We do.


We keep it clean. We have a lot of young listeners. Yeah. I bet you do. We do. The age range is really big.


There's rumor that you Probably already talked about this rumor of doing a reboot.


Yes, we hear Greg is working on something.


Yeah, he's cooking something up.


But it's not involving the same cast, we should say that. Yeah. But I would love to pop on as a guest.


Oh, me too.


I'd love to be a guest on some...


Next Gen.


Yeah, or something like that. That would be great. But I don't see bringing Pam back in a permanent way and following her life again. At least it hasn't. But Greg Daniels is a person who could think it up and pitch it to me and get me on board. But I can't think of it.


Right. Yeah. If Dunder Mifflin still existed, there be other people working there. Maybe.


We think Creed would still be there. Creed would still be there. Brian and Oscar and I are a little accounting clump. We used to have this pitch that we would be the spinoffs, but it would be on Telemundo, and it'd be like, Los acontadores, Oscar, Ángela, y Kevin. I would do that. I would do the Telemundo reboot of the account.


Telemundo. Brian, what do you get approached about the most? Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad. Yeah. Yeah, still.


I guess the most fervent fan base.


Do you get pictures of people on Halloween dressed as Walter White? All the time. All the time, right? Yeah, we get that, too. It's a crazy thing.


You get pictures of Walter White for Halloween? I do.


People want me to know.


She holds a cat, my Walter White.


That's a crazy thing to have been on a show that endures. I just rewatched Breaking Bad. I got COVID, and it was my COVID comfort show. Let's see where- I watched it during the pandemic. This was my rewatch because it is my opinion that Breaking Bad is the single greatest television pilot ever. I stand by that statement, and I have loved rewatching it. And people still rewatch it, right? People still rewatch The Office, and it's such a cool thing to be part of something that endures like that, I think.


It's truly legendary shows. We're both all very How are you? I'm very fortunate to be chosen to be on such a thing. And as people have always asked you, I'm sure that always ask me, did you know it was going to be a big hit? And I go, no, it was a job. I was happy to read this great script. You two were like, This sounds crazy. This sounds fun. I don't know exactly how it's going to work. And let me ask you this, on the first year of The Office, what were the ratings like? I Abysmal.


Horrible. Our first season was six episodes.


And we were going to get-Shitcant. For sure. We were going to get canceled. But then that summer between season one and deciding if we would get picked up for season two, the 40-year-old Virgin came out, and Steve Carel became a massive box office comedy star. And I think NBC was like, I'm sorry, you don't cut loose the number one comedy box office star. You pick up that show. It was still only a little bit, not a full season for season 2. Phyllis and I used to call the Ratings Hotline. We used to run on Tuesday.


This is how old we are. Old tech alert.


Ratings Hotline, may I help you?


We would run on Tuesdays originally. Before we moved to Must See TV, we were on Tuesdays, and every Wednesday morning we would get on set and Phyllis and I would listen to the recording. We knew that as long as we had a 2.4 or above, we still had jobs. We would just hold our breath and wait for the recording to tell us what our ratings were. Yeah. It was like that for into the second season.


Every week, I would send out a mass email. I was like, That person. Please. I was like, Hey, you guys, can you guys please watch our show this week? It really means a lot. Thanks so much. Everyone I knew from all my improv days, all my theater days, everyone back home. And then finally, it was around the first Christmas episode, Yankee Swap, one of my friends wrote back and said, I don't think you need to send these anymore. You're going to be okay.


You're being a little annoying. Yeah.


I stopped sending me these emails.


What about was Breaking Bad big in the ratings at first?


No, not at all. No, we're on a cable channel, AMC. We weren't big hits at all, although the critics really, really loved us. So we had that, but that doesn't equate to being commercially successful. What happened for us was a stroke of really good fortune, and that was in 2009, Netflix switched from the red envelopes where they would send you the movies at once. Remember the mail to you? Sure. To streaming, to where you can push a button on a computer. It changed technology. It changed availability. And Breaking Bad second season, we had two seasons, and we were like, I don't know if it's going to go a third. Well, maybe we'll let them go a third. And all of a sudden, everybody started to go, was able to go back and watch the first episode and then just start watching them all. And then that's what caught on. So really, it was Netflix that was the stroke of good luck for us.


For us, too,. Yeah. It's why we've endured since the show went off the air.


Let me ask you this because I seem to remember this, and I'm not completely positive. But when Ricky Gervais' version of the original Office, his character was caustic and mean-spirited and rude and biting and all those things. And Steve's character, when it first started, had more of a flavor of an edge to him, didn't it? When I first started watching, it was more of like, oh. And I think at some point, and I'm asking as a fan, at what point did they go, Well, let's turn the dial on this a little bit and give him more of that confident, imbecile level and not mean-spirited.


That happened in that transition from season one to season two. I think People saw this lovable quality to his character in 40-year-old Virgin, and they also just started writing the show more to Steve and less to the template that Ricky had laid down with his character of David Brent. And so there was a little bit of a retooling. But we also got some really good advice from Ricky Gervais who said, Hey, in America, you guys like to do hundreds of episodes of shows, and David Brent doesn't work for hundreds of episodes. You can't have that character do this for that long. So you're going to need to find more layers to your lead character, or he's going to burn out. So true. So smart.


The Writers Room also did something that I thought really worked for American audiences is each episode has one redeeming moment. One moment where it's either Pam listening to Jim's messages as she drives home and there's a montage massage, or it's Dwight getting a pat on the shoulder from Michael, even though the whole day they were fighting. There's one little moment, and it doesn't have to be a huge one, but each episode has one.


So you're saying that this was a concerted effort. This was a note that every episode we want to have at least one redeeming quality come out of it.


Yeah, one moment.


A moment of hope, a hopeful moment. One moment of hope. One moment of hope. Moment of Zen. Yes.


Look at that.


I didn't know that.


Now, if I go back and watch, I see it, I can find them. I'm like, Oh, well, that made me feel better about that. To that work bus day, we got to have pie. We got to sit on that pie.


Was that our moment? Yeah. We got pie at the end?


Yeah, the montage at the end of pie.


There's another moment in this episode that I actually love, which is Jim and Dwight up on the roof of the bus. Oh, yes. I love any moment when... You know that these rivals, these guys who are always, Jim's always pranking Dwight and everything. But when there's this moment where Dwight gets vulnerable and Jim is there to catch him. I love that. That was a really beautiful scene.


That's true because that exposes the audience to the true character of Jim, and that he's... When it's necessary, when someone expresses vulnerability like that. It's like he doesn't come in for the kill. Yeah. He backs off and actually lends support.




It's very sweet. We had a few moments like that.


We I mean, so let's say that there's not a reboot series, but what if there was a movie?


Like, Doulton Abbey, the movie?


Something to where we can see where these people are, these people in the entire cast that we're curious about. We wondered at At the end, where did they go? What did become of them?


I mean, I'd do it. I would do it. I would do it for my kids because I think they would think that's fun.


I mean, if Greg did it because I would trust it. Yes, 100%.


For sure. Greg is signed on in this hypothetical.


Okay, as long as Greg is writing it and he's in charge of it, then I say yes.




Enough said.


Brian Cranston.


Let's get Greg on the phone.


Bitch, he's our new agent.


I just want to be an extra in it. I do. You have to be in it. I would be an extra in it. I would be some guy. I'd be like a crossing guard or something like that.


Just something- Maybe you're like one of Dwight's hired hands on Troop Farms.


On this farm? Now, why would I be the hired hand and not the foreman? Thank you.


It's just how we see you. It would be sad.


It's like, look at that old guy. He's just a hired hand.


Why is he happen to bale hay? Do all that heavy lifting.


He's an old man, and they're making him bale hay. Oh, that's not right. That's not the moment of Zen. That's not a nice moment at all.


Are there any projects you're working on right now that we can share with our listeners.


We know you're working on the project of living life.


Yes. The project of living life. That's a good way to put it. I really do need to do that. I'm very fortunate that I'm in a position where I'm getting a lot of offers, both for theater and films and television and things. And so I just have to pick and choose what is new to me and challenging. I don't want to do something that I've done before. And the more I go without that real life experience, the harder that is to find because I haven't changed. It's like you were saying, if a band just played the same music over and over, and they never expanded, they never wrote beyond what they were. You look at the Beatles, and they weren't together all that long, but they expanded and expressed themselves in so many different ways. Whatever they were going through, it was infused in their art. And I want to do that. I want to get out of the bubble a little bit. So that's that. But before that may happen, there's responsibilities I have. I have a Mescal company with Aaron Paul, Dosombres. I saw that.


Dosombres. Dosombres. Yeah.


And had I been a great guest, I would have brought you some. Damn it. I forgot. But that's going well. It's this business I I never thought I'd be in.


We'll share about it in our Office Ladies pod stories. It's so good.


It's so good.


Did you get to go do a tasting? Did you get to be part of the formula? How does that work?


Yeah. Well, Aaron and I, three years after the end of Breaking Bad, we missed each other. It's like when you leave-We can relate. Yeah. You're together, you're together, you're together. It ends in Life goes on and sends you in different directions. We happened to be in New York City at the same time, and we have to have dinner. So we were having dinner and we expressed how much we missed each other. And he said, We ought to do I have a company. We ought to have a mezcal company together.




That's what I said. I go, What do you mean? That's random. That's terrible. That shitty spirit with a dead worm at the bottom? What are you talking about? And he goes, No, no, no, no. He took me to a mezcal bar in New York City. We sipped some of the greatest spirits that I've ever had.


I don't think I've ever had mezcal. So good. It's the older brother of tequila.


Okay. Tequila is a mezcal, but mezcal is not a tequila. A spirit like that that's made from an agave plant is always a mezcal. And the way they make tequila is to steam it and put it in a silo, and it's more of a fast process. Mescal is smoked, and so it's in an earthen pit for four days and then mashed. In fact, ours, it says artisanal on the bottle, and there's no modern technology used in the process of this, or else we can't say that on the bottle. So it's the old fashioned way. It goes from that to a rock pit where two donkeys pull this big rock wheel and mash this now smoked agave. Then it ferments in an oak barrel for 10 days, and then it goes into a copper kettle for a distillation. And that's the purity of it. It's mountain spring water and smoked agave. That's all that's in it. Wow. And it's done... Dossombres is now the fifth largest mezcala in the world. Come on.


That is so amazing. We have to try it.


We have to try it.


We have to try it. We have to try it. We're going to go get some.


I will bring it to you. Yay. I will bring it to you.


Even better. I love this.


Also, just your description of it. I don't know. I felt like I left my body for a minute. It felt like I went on a little vacation. I know.


A journey. And we did. We went down to Oaxaca, we found this spirit and brought it to the marketplace. In truth, the spirit found us because it's been around for hundreds of years, and we were just there to receive it.


This sounds like a pretty good start on the project of living life. Yeah.


It is. But like any other business, it takes a lot of effort, a lot of time and energy.


Probably more than you expected when you started.


It's a lot of work. I find that the business end of it, the case sells and this, it's not as interesting to me as the process of making it and that nurturing sense. Yeah, that, and I have a production company, and It's interesting, too, and it's good. But I'm now looking for ways to have more of that human, real life experience.


I have a crazy question for you. Oh. Did you ever in your young artist's life ever do that book, The Artist's Way? No. By Julia Cameron? No. Excellent. I highly recommend it.


I highly recommend it. Jenna did it twice. I did a few pages of it.


And how did the few pages go?


We're fantastic.


We're different person. I did it twice because the first time I didn't finish, and it bothers me so deeply because I realized that one of my challenges in my early artistic life was having tons of great ideas of which I finished none. I thought, I need to get over this finishing things problem. Why don't I start by finishing the artist's way? I had done 10 of the 12 weeks, and I went back and I started over again. I did all 12 weeks. There are still things from that book, even today as an artist, that I think of One of the things is once a week, you have to go on an artist's date. Alone by yourself, just you. That could be going to a symphony. That could be sitting in a park and watching people. That could be- I love that. Taking yourself bowling alone. Like, whatever your artist date is, you have to do this once a week. But it's all creative. It's all artistic. And so sometimes when I'm starting a new artistic journey or whatever, I'll refer back and I'll do an artist date and I'll to kickstart something. It's that business of living life, right?


That's fantastic.


It's really awesome.


The bowling part threw me.


That's an artist date if you want it to be. Really? Oh, yeah. Take yourself bowling.


To be fair, the week I got the book- Go to an art museum. It was the week of my birthday when I got this book as a gift, but I also got a pair of roller skates. I was a child of the '70s, and I love roller skating. And then I think I started it, and then I was like, I'm going to go roller skate.


That could be an artist's date.


Well, that It was an artist's date that never stopped. It was an artist's date that never... I still have the same pair of roller skates. They're by my front door. I still roller skate. That's got to be something, Jenna. That's great. That came out of the artist's way for me. I think it came out of your birthday. My birthday buddy is Ricky Dervais.


Oh, look at that. A little tie-in.


I once told him that. He was like, Okay.


We also have Rachel Weis.


Does she share our birthday as well? Yes.


People Peter Sarsgaard. This is exciting.


We should have a dinner. I have Busy Philips. We should have a March 7.


Busy Philips has my birthday. Busy Philips, yeah.


You, Busy Philips, Ricky Dervais, are going to have dinner.


Oh, my God. I would love that dinner.


Then we'll have dinner with Rachel.


That's not a bad idea.


Birthday dinner? For a show.


You have a dinner with all the people who share the date and you find the similarities and the differences between them, but they all have the same birthday.


Brian, you have a production company. I'm so sorry we're putting you to work again.


This has to stop. Rather than that, let me give it to you and I take 10%.


There it is. That's it. Perfect. Welcome to Hollywood.


Thank you so much for coming in today.


This was fun. Thank you. It It's so good to see you again. You, too. This episode, it was beautiful. It turned out great. I just rewatched it, and it's so good. Even though we all almost died, it's a great episode, and it's a classic, and people love it, and they don't know.


It is a classic, and now when people see us fly across the bus, I think we needed that moment. I think it made the pie that much sweeter.


We did use it.


I know. It's the actual take. It's in there. Yeah. And now you can relive it in our book.


Thank you, Angela. That's so cool. Yeah. Oh, thank you very much. You're welcome. We love you so much. I'm going to bring you some dosombres, and we'll all sip some.


Do you have it on ice? Do you have it straight?




How do you have it?


Any way you like it is the right way. I like it just neat. Maybe in one big ice cube and just let it chill without diluting it and just sip it. It's so great just sipping it.


Do you ever mix it?


Oh, yeah, all the time.


It goes in a cocktail as well.


So well in a margarita, in a Paloma, in an old-fashioned, a Negroni.


Oh, you like old-fashioned, Negronis.


It just goes on and on and on. Oh, yeah.


Those are my faves.


So good. Try Mescal Negroni. You're going to love it. Well, there you have it.


Our interview with Brian Cranston. I could not have enjoyed that more, Angela. He's the best. The best. Yeah.


Big thank you to Brian for joining us in the studio, being so gracious with his time. And thank you all for listening. We will be back on Monday with a special Monday Motivation episode with Kendra Adachi, The Lazy genius, We can't wait for you to hear it.


And then on Wednesday, it's Here comes trouble. So two episodes next week.


Two Office Ladies.


Two office ladies.


See you then.


See you. Thank you for listening to Office Ladies.


Office Ladies is produced by Earwulf, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey.


Our senior producer is Cassie Jerkins. Our In-Studio Engineer is Sam Kiefer. Our Editing and Mixing Engineer is Jordan Duffy, and our associate producer is Ainsley Babico.


Our theme song is Rubbertree by Cree Bradton.ree by Creed Bratten.