Saturday, August 25, 2018

Hey, weren't you "Jerk at the Bar?"

A trainer in my gym is also an actor. (I know – knock you over with a feather). He appeared on the Showtime series CALIFORNICATION playing the fan favorite, “Hollywood Asshole”. And knowing him, I bet he was good in it. Some of his previous roles included “Jerk at the Bar”, “Thug #2”, and to prove he has range – “Jogger”.

An actress I know has these impressive credits: “Vegas Showgirl” on CSI. Also “Bikini Girl”, “Sheik Girl”, “Cute Girl”, and “Homewrecker”.

Another actress friend boasts these credits on imdb: “Waitress”, “Saleswoman”, “Assistant Candidate #1”, and the part she’s best known for -- “Desperate Woman”.

And one of the most talented comic actors I know lists these on his resume: “Caterer”, “Waiter”, “Delivery Boy”, “Great Great Grandfather” (he was in his 30’s at the time), “Husband”, “Exterminator”, and my personal favorite – “Squid”.

Forget being a star, most actors in Hollywood would be thrilled for a role that actually had a name.

Usually these parts are one or two lines, usually day player roles. But not always. Remember the old guy who used to sit at the bar at CHEERS. His name was Al Rosen. He became a semi-regular. He had lines in probably thirty episodes. His name on the show was “Man Who Said Sinatra”.

“Sinatra” was the first line he was assigned, he got a good laugh, and a few weeks later the writers were looking to give a line to a bar patron and someone suggested, “What about the man who said Sinatra?” And thus a legend was born.

It’s not easy being an actor. And for every one who gets a part as “Punk #2” and “Guy in the Sewer” just remember – there are five others who auditioned for those parts and didn’t get them.

Yours truly,

Schmuck with blog


Janet Ybarra said...

Obviously, the hope is that these folks break out in some way but can actors like Man Who Said Sinatra make a steady living at that level in ongoing way?

And do those day players enjoy the work?

Stan said...

He said a line - Hmmm... so then by the weird rules of residuals, he must be getting a small check.

No line and no matter how long you appear on screen, then no residuals right?

Nick Archer said...

Nashville radio host Les Jameson has one IMDB credit for the movie Nsshville Girl, as Massage Parlor Customer.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

To be fair, the highly talened comic actor you cite *also* has a few named characters on his IMDB list.


cd1515 said...

Semi-related: always been intrigued by actors who go after roles that make them look terrible.

Example: in most dumb teen “comedies” there’s a scene where they laugh at, or about, a woman who’s hideously ugly and/or obese.

And I’ve always wondered: what woman actually wants that role?

Who sees that audition listing for Hideously Ugly Obese Woman and thinks “I’d be PERFECT for that!’
And when they get it, are they actually happy?
Are they pumping their fist, saying “Yes! Of all the hideously ugly obese women who auditioned, they chose ME!! I was uglier and fatter then everyone else!!”

Thomas Mossman said...

There's a story that when Russell T. Davies was showrunning on DOCTOR WHO, he would give even the bit characters names in the script even if they were never said onscreen. Supposedly, the reason was that it looked better to casting agents and producers when actors were looking for future jobs.

Uncle Bill said...

How many times I wish they list these bit part actors name in the credits or on IMDB.

I have been looking for ages for the "Hot wine waitress" from the movie "A Good Year". It's the only time I can say that some bit part actress was wayyyyyyyyy hotter than the other 2 main actresses (Marion Cotillard and Abbie Cornish) in the movie.

Anyone interested can have a blurred look in this YouTube version at 14:40

Mike Bloodworth said...

I was in a short film where my credit was "Nightmare Indian."

Peter said...

Al Rosen was already in his 70s when he did Cheers. Looking on Wikipedia and IMDB, he did a few uncredited bit parts in the 1940s and then there's a long gap till the 70s, when he was production supervisor on What's My Line. It was in the 80s that he did a few credited bit parts, including Cheers.

I'd love to know what he did in those intervening years. Wikipedia doesn't shed much light on his life. Did he have a regular job? Did he have a family?

Ken, do you know?

therealshell said...

This film about bit part players/extras is quite entertaining - I have no idea how to post a URL, sadly.

DBenson said...

Question: For comedies, is it harder to find people who have the timing and reliably straight faces to play bit parts opposite comedy stars? I'm thinking of things like the coffeehouse scenes on "Frasier", where a waiter has to participate in a precision Crane brothers dialogue without calling attention to himself.

Edward said...

Saturday Questions:

IMDB indicates Al Rosen had 87 appearances on "Cheers" but many episodes say "uncredited"

1. Does "uncredited" signify he had no lines?

2. Is they a pay/residual difference if the actor is just sitting at the bar v. speaking a line or two?

Peter said...

Uncle Bill,on imdb there's an actress listed as Hostess in A Good Year and she looks like the lady in the scene at 14:40. Her name is Félicité Du Jeu.

Uncle Bill said...

No Peter, that's the lady who leads Russell Crowe to the table. The waitress I am talking about, is already serving wine to his friend who is seated at the table.

That YouTube version is of bad quality. You need to see the clear version. Boy, she is beautiful ;)

Peter said...

Bill, I just watched a clear version. The lady who shows Russell Crowe to the table is Giannina Facio. The waitress is definitely Félicité Du Jeu.

Anonymous said...

Earl B writes:

Semi-related to cd1515 -

I fondly recall a Simpsons episode where Olde Springfield Towne was casting for Village Idiot. An actor, asked what else he had done, proudly declared "I was 'Panicky Idiot #2' in 'The Poseidon Adventure'. He lost the gig when the casting director told him "We're actually looking for more of a Duh - Duh Idiot."

Mike Doran said...

True Story (at least the basic story is true):
There was a character actor named George E. Stone, whom the movie buffs in the crowd will recall as The Runt in Chester Morris's Boston Blackie movies.
By the early '60s, Stone's health became uncertain, and his inability to remember lines became pronounced.
This in its turn led to his not getting many parts, which put his eligibility for SAG's medical plan in jeopardy.
Enter Raymond Burr, who persuaded the Perry Mason team to hire George E. Stone to play the court clerk in Mason's weekly courtroom scenes, thus preserving Stone's eligibility for the plan.
That's the basic story.
What I've heard (can't confirm) is that they would film at least one scene in every show in which Stone, as the clerk, would swear in a witness.
Most of the time, the scene would be cut out to save 30 seconds or so, but two or three times a season they'd keep it in, and Stone would get billing for the appearance, thereby boosting his pay for those shows.
I hope that's true …