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Angela Kinsey And Jenna Fischer On Their New Book, Viral ‘Office’ Memes, And The Cast Group Chat

Despite being enemies on the hit workplace comedy The Office, Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer are actually real-life best friends, as chronicled in their upcoming book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, which drops next week.

Office BFFs takes fans behind the scenes of some of the most iconic Office episodes, like the messy “Booze Cruise” adventure, and the iconic “Dinner Party” episode that caused all of them to break character at some point. Uproxx spoke to the best friends/podcast hosts/now-authors about what it was like to reflect on those Office memories, and how fan response is now, versus when the show began airing nearly 20 years ago.

Office BFFs reads like a very natural-flowing conversation. So it was really nice to read. I think my favorite part of the book specifically was all of the photos and all of the little keepsakes that you have.

Angela: Yay! That was like, so hard, it was so hard to pick. Because like you’re saying, you know, there are about 400 [photos].

Is there some there’s like a hidden Office archive or scrapbook somewhere?

Angela: Well, we are avid scrapbookers, the two of us. Like, one of the things we bonded about on set was that we were always taking pictures, and making old scrapbooks. Jenna has made scrapbooks as gifts, I would make scrapbooks for gifts. Like, we are those gals.

Jenna: I remember the first time we got a little memo in our trailer telling us that, I can’t remember who it was but, Access Hollywood or something is going to come to do a story on set tomorrow. And we ran to each other and be like, Oh my god, Access Hollywood is coming, we’re big time! And I saved that memo. We saved everything.

Angela: We save everything! I found a memo from the day we got internet on the set, which was a big deal, because our computers were just, like, props for the beginning [of the series], you know. But what you see in the book, we sorted through probably a thousand, like, easily. So it was so hard picking all the ones we wanted in there. Like, there’s actually so much more.

The younger generations are getting into The Office because of streaming, and now there are a ton of viral TikToks and memes reaching these teens. How does that resonate with you both?

Jenna: I mean when it was streaming on Netflix, there was a group of younger folks who thought the show was a Netflix show.

Angela: I have a middle schooler now, and middle schoolers love The Office. They have a student store, and I volunteer there, and someone will come up and they have a Dunder Mifflin shirt on! Like seventh graders, eighth graders, they love The Office. So it’s been sort of wild to experience the show again, because, you know, their parents sometimes are with them. You’ll talk to a parent who loves the show, and now they’re watching it with their kids. And it’s something Jen and I talked about, how growing up, we all have a memory of that one show that no matter what we were doing—you know, with our families and extracurricular activities, and all of our siblings having all sorts of different interests—there’d be that one program that we all sat down and watched together. And it’s such a great family memory, and we all have it! And there’s a lot of families that come up to us and say that, for us, is The Office. And it always warms my heart.

Jenna: Yeah, that for me growing up, was Cheers. And now for my family, it’s Abbott Elementary. I actually use that as a frame of reference for my kids, who are a little younger. I was like, “So you guys, you know when people are coming up to Mom and they’re saying, like, ‘I love The Office, I love your show.’ Do you know how we watch Abbot Elementary every week? Like, that’s what people did with Mom’s show.” And they sort of were like “oh!” So I was able to frame it [like that].

Angela: My kids are older, so they’re watching it with me as we rewatch for the podcast. They’ll watch episodes with me because they’re older. And it’s really wild now to have my own kids quote the show to me, or quote a line I said. There was an episode we were watching and Angela runs off to the warehouse to meet Dwight, and my daughter turned to me and goes, “Mom!” And she was like, embarrassed. And I was like, “Honey, that’s just Dwight and Angela.”

When you do fan events like your book talk at The Town Hall, do you ever have any weird or memorable fan interactions?

Angela: Oh my god. So many. I’ve told this before, but it’s one of my absolute favorite moments. I was at a U2 concert a few years back, and I was trying to find my seat….there was a group of guys that probably were like, college-age, you know? And they yelled across an entire section of people, “Angela!! We would take The Da Vinci Code ‘cause we’d burn the Da Vinci Code!!” I was cracking up because, of all the quotes to yell at me across the U2 stadium.

Recently, we’d been watching the St. Patrick’s Day episode, and I have a quote in that episode that people have said to me every year on St. Patrick’s Day, I’m telling you, every year, someone says to me, “Oh, I don’t want to leave to go CELEBRATE St. Patrick’s Day; I’m going to PROTEST it.” Just like, so odd! But I get these really random Angela Martin quotes thrown at me.

It’s strange, what sticks out to fans. Is there anything that was kind of a throwaway line or bit that became unexpectedly big?

Jenna: Yeah! There’s this episode where Pam holds up two pictures and she says, “they’re the same picture.” It’s a talking-head that Pam has. And that’s been meme’d like crazy. But I went to the pharmacy once and I was picking up something and I was asking questions about the medicine, and the pharmacist said to me, “They’re the same thing.” Like, somehow, quoted the show to me. And I was like, “Wait, they’re the same?” And they’re like, “No, no, no. You know, they’re the same thing.” And I’m like, “I don’t understand! If they’re the same thing, why do I need both?” And it was so confusing! Because to me that was such an obscure quote, right?

When I first got glasses—because I wear glasses now—I posted a picture online of myself and my new glasses, and I got all these comments that were like, “Jenna, you’re going in the wrong direction.” And like “Jenna, you take the glasses off to be hotter” and stuff. And I was like, “What’s everyone coming down on my new glasses for?” And then I just realized they were quoting Michael Scott to me.

Angela: I once ordered cupcakes from this bakery. And they had cupcakes and cookies and stuff. And my daughter was with me, and was like, “Oh, let’s get a cookie.” And she ordered, then I went up to the counter and was like, “I want a cookie, too!” And the guy behind the counter says “oh, no cookies for you.And I was like, what? I was so thrown in the moment! Like, “…but I want a cookie!”

In the book, you mention that Creed is your neighbor, Angela.

Angela: Oh, my gosh, he lives at the end of the street from me! And it’s one of the absolute joys of my life. I love it so much. We can walk to each other’s houses and I just love it. One time I was on a walk and he was dog-sitting for his daughter, and all of a sudden I hear, “Pumpkin’s out!” And I was like, there’s Creed! He still calls me pumpkin. I mean, you know, we talk about this in the book, and Jenna has been here when he walks down with his guitar, and he sits out in the yard and sings.

Do you ever see any of your other castmates? Or do you just kind of keep in touch with them from a distance?

Jenna: Yeah, I mean, I hope the book makes it clear that we see each other all the time and keep in touch constantly.

Angela: We are so fortunate and thankful that we’re all still in touch. You know, we have a cast text thread, where we text each other and check-in. And I mean, just this week Rainn thought he was hilarious because he texted a picture of a prison guard that helped an inmate escape, and there was their mug shot, and Rainn was like, “Angela, John—you guys should do this.” Like, sent it to the group. He was like, “this should be your movie!” So there’s always, just like jokes or updates or life things. We have this ongoing text thread.

That’s amazing. Who’s the funniest person in the group chat?

Angela: Oh my gosh. I think Creed sends us the most random things. Creed will do a really cute thing at Christmas, sometimes he puts on an elf hat and, like, sings a funny song and will text everybody.

Jenna: Yeah, but then like Rainn, really a big part of Rainn’s personality and part of his life is that he’s a person of service. So he is often texting the group, like, kind of in that vein, as well. Like, “Hey guys, here is something I thought as a group we could come together, and really make someone’s day. What do you say?” And so he’s often initiating ways that the cast can be of service. And I really appreciate that about him.

Angela: Yeah, he has a really big heart for others. In particular, you know, people in need, people who are going through a hard time, and he’s so great about getting us together to just make someone’s day a little brighter.

Almost the complete opposite of his character.

Jenna: Yeah! I think it’s a piece of him that we know so well because of how close we are to him, but it’s—I think it’s not something you would expect if you know his character from the show.

Were there any stories that you recovered during writing the book that you had totally forgotten about?

Jenna: Well, this wasn’t about the show, but I had completely forgotten that I, like, got up on the Emmy stage for snacks.

Angela: I couldn’t believe you forgot that! I mean, it is such a vibrant memory.

Jenna: You told me that, you were like, “Oh, we have to tell that story about how we were on the Emmy stage, eating snacks!” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” And you’re like, “Remember? Remember, we got the stink-eye? And then people were really, really mad at us, because we were being really loud?” And I was like, “What?” And you were like, “And then we got kicked out!” And I’m like, “What are you talking about???” And you told me that whole story and I went downstairs to my husband and I’m like, “does this ring any bells??” And he goes, “Oh my god. YES. You don’t remember that??” And I was like “No!”

Angela: And then I found those emails, where we emailed each other after the award show. And then it all came to you.

Jenna: It did. It did.

Angela: But I will say that whole thing, when it happened, Jenna was the last one of our group, of us and our dates, to realize that we were on the actual Emmy stage. We weren’t in some room. We were just enclosed in a curtain, eating food, while people were presenting awards. And so it just cracks me up, like, her moment of realization like, oh my god, YES, I did that.

Jenna: Yes, I had completely forgotten that.

Co-authoring a book must be hard, especially when you are so close. Did you find anything that you disagreed on when you were writing the book? Or was it a very collaborative process?

Angela: We’ve always been really great creative partners. You know, whether it be Angela or Pam in a scene, talking about sprinkles being in her freezer. You know, we’ve always had great chemistry as actors, and I really saw that in our writing as well. Like Jenna would share something with me, and then that would inspire me, and we would sort of bounce ideas off of each other, or memories off of each other. If I sort of forgot one part, she remembered the other. So we were a great team in that regard. But having said that, we also work very differently. [laughs] So we had to figure out how to write together.

So how do you work differently?

Jenna: I like to write first thing in the morning, to have that be the first thing I do for the day, because then I find that my brain gets a little mushy, and I don’t have much more to give. And then the second half of my day is, like, chores and, you know, emails and things like that. Right? Well, Angela does her best creative work in the evening. And so we did not want to be writing at the same time. Angela doesn’t want to be writing the book at eight in the morning.

Jenna: Angela wants to be writing the book at like 9:30, 10 pm. So that is her burst of creativity.

Angela: Oh, yeah, my sweet spot!

Jenna: Yes, exactly! And so that made it hard to write a book together when we write at totally different times of the day. And we didn’t want to have to force one person to take another person’s creative process. The things that Angela would come up with in her creative time were so fruitful and important, and just, her brain wouldn’t have been able to do that at eight in the morning. And likewise, I’m just sludge by 9pm. So we had to figure out what—

Angela: Jenna, you’re in bed by like 8:30, come on. You’re asleep by 8:30! Your brain isn’t sludge, it’s off.

Jenna: Everything is sludge. I am done. Yeah, so that was a big thing to realize.

‘The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There’ drops on May 17th.

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