The Office has 4 characters who have the same first names as the actors who play them. Angela, Phyllis, Oscar, and of course Creed Bratton (who goes by his actual full real name).

For the sake of argument, I can't think of any other example of a show where so many characters have the same first names as the actors who play them. There are only a handful in The Office, but this seems like an exorbitant amount considering you rarely see more than one, if that. Is there a particular reason each of these characters uses their real name for their characters?

1 Answer 1


Most likely because the writers were lazy:

VF Daily: First of all, I have to ask, what’s with all the first names? You’re one of four actors on The Office who has the same name as the character you play.

Angela Kinsey: You know, I was so curious about that as well, and I talked to the writers about it. They were like, “Oh, it was a total creative choice.” But now I started to hear through the grapevine that it’s probably just because they were lazy. So it’s me, Oscar [Nunez, who plays Oscar Martinez], Phyllis [Smith, who plays Phyllis Vance], and Creed [Bratton, who plays Creed Bratton].

VF Daily: Right. Creed gets the first and last names.

Angela Kinsey: Exactly. And it’s just enough to really confuse everyone, because just enough people have a different name. I would say the person it’s hardest on is Oscar. We’ll be in a scene, and he’ll call Jenna [Fischer, who plays Pam] “Jenna.” And then we’ll be at lunch, and he’ll call her Pam.

In the case of Phyllis, her name was apparently deliberately chosen:

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Smith is a former St. Louis Cardinals cheerleader. She got her start in the entertainment industry working for casting agencies, and she was working for Allison Jones casting during the pilot screen testing for "The Office" when the show's executive producers were so impressed with her line readings that they decided to create the role of Phyllis for her in the pilot. She is now a series regular.

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    Same in the original UK series, 6 of the characters have the same name as the actor [excluding actual cameos]. So maybe they were lazy initially, but carried it over to the US show intentionally.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 2, 2018 at 13:49
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    There is a precedent for using your own name in improvisational comedy, for reasons Angela Kinsey alludes to above; if you're improvising, it's largely stream of consciousness so it would be easy to use the wrong name. The Office is mostly scripted, I believe; more so than Parks and Rec for example. But there is always room for improv, and it often makes it into the cut. In comedy, its often encouraged. Sep 3, 2018 at 7:32

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