The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
Instagram

Q&A with SMU Alumnus Brian Baumgartner

brian-baumgartner.jpg

Brian Baumgartner, the actor known for his role as Kevin on the beloved TV comedy “The Office,” took the time to answer some of my questions regarding his experience after the end of “The Office” and at SMU. Enjoy this insightful and fun interview.

1. How many times have you heard the word office in your life? Do you ever get tired of people just focusing on that? “No, I mean it’s probably the reason you and I are talking together today. It’s a show that got a lot of attention and was critically acclaimed, but it’s also a show that I am tremendously proud of, so it’s hard for me to say I get tired of hearing about it. I feel like it has its place in American culture now and moving into the future, and I am tremendously proud to be a part of it.”

2. What is your life like now considering you did that for so long? “I’m not waking up at 5:15 in the morning (laughs). I think what is really exciting for me now is having the opportunity to do something different. I am tremendously proud of the show and have very fond memories of it. For me, it’s exciting though to be able to start fresh and create something different.”

3. Can you share about any of those new projects you are working on now? Is there something in particular you are really excited about? “Over the last year for myself, I really wanted to focus on things that were totally different. I did a bunch of dramas like ‘Law and Order: SVU’ and ‘Criminal Minds,’ and I was really excited to do a recurring thing on the FX show ‘The Bridge.’ Now coming up I am about to start shooting a movie called ‘Geezer.’ It’s an exciting and different type project. The lead singer of Green Day is the lead and Fred Armison, Judy Greer, and myself are in it.”

4. Moving to more SMU related questions considering you did go here (and we are really proud of that), how did your SMU experience impact you professional career? “I went to SMU because when I was looking, I believed that it was the best actor training program in the country that was in a large university. I wanted to go to college. I wanted the college experience. I went into theater directly out of the program and then eventually made the transition into television and film. So many programs focus on building a career, but I feel like SMU’s program at the time really focused on training. I feel like that’s what is important. Don’t worry about your career first and foremost. Figure out what it is that you are trying to do and focus on what you are doing and from there, the rest will serve to take care of itself. Also, I did something while I was there and Kathy Bates came, and I thought that was so cool, and then I had the opportunity years later to work with her on ‘The Office.’ That was a special thrill for me.”

5. What is your favorite SMU memory? “Probably my proudest memories would have to do with doing shows there, but also just being a part of campus life, you know, going to the football games, and the basketball games.”

6. Is there something you wish you could have done in college that would have benefited you in the long run that we could do as current students? “In terms of being an actor or being in this business, being open to the business of this business and to what’s going on in this business and having the education and intelligence to be able to track what’s going on to me is tremendously important. I’ll give you an example. An actor that stays at home and waits for the phone to ring for an audition and they go in prepared in terms of their own work, that’s one thing, but, for me, knowing the business is equally important. So being able to know what’s going on in all facets is just going to help you. If you stay too singularly focused, to me, you sort of lose perspective.

7. Do you actually know how many M&Ms; you can fit in your mouth? Have you attempted this great test? “More than you. I’ve done it on a couple of different occasions, and it’s actually not as easy as one might think.”

Don’t miss out on a chance to ask Brian Baumgartner a question yourself in person at the theater in Hughes Trigg at 11:30 on Friday. If you want to share this fun experience with your friends on social media, make sure to use the hashtag #briansback.

More to Discover