Who doesn’t love a good Toby Flenderson story? No one, that’s who! With that said, former ESPN radio host Ryen Russillo shared a good one on Bill Simmons’ podcast a few days ago. The short version: Russillo was working out at the Equinox gym in Santa Monica recently where he spotted Paul Lieberstein, the actor who played Toby on The Office, working out. And, according to Russillo, Lieberstein “worked out just like you would expect Toby to work out.” Translation: he was dressed kind of funny and looked a little out of place and wasn’t really lifting much weight:
…brown shirt, dad shorts, Asics — no offense to the gel technology — dark socks, and he goes to the inclines. And I was like, ‘Wow, Toby’s going to go to the incline bench free weights, what do we got here? Tens on each side, not deep … I could have caught him on a high-rep day, to be fair. And he was looking around, and it was Toby, it was actually Toby from The Office doing chest!
For the benefit of those of you who don’t go to the gym, lifting ten-pound weights on an incline bench is not very difficult, though Russillo did go on to say that he noticed Lieberstein lift a little more later on: “To be fair, he did put up a twenty-five … and got a little deeper.”
Bonus interesting Toby trivia: Lieberstein is not an actor by trade — he was a writer on The Office and only got in front of the camera to play Toby — who may or may not be the “Scranton strangler” — because creator Greg Daniels wanted his writers to know what it was like to be on the other side of the camera. He went on to serve as the showrunner for the series from season five through season eight.
The “Toby at the gym” anecdote from the aforementioned podcast begins at around the 5:50 mark of the interview, which you can listen to below.