Bagdad Cafe

Bagdad CafĂ© (1990) TV Series – Snake

(yes, the spelling is correct)

This was a recurring role on a series, based on the movie, with Jean Stapleton and Whoopi Goldberg. It was a bad time. Mort Lachman, who produced Spencer/Under One Roof, offered me this part, sight-unseen. I got the script and the character was described as a big, hulking, scary freak. Well, no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to look like that so I figured that they couldn’t find that sort of guy and got me, instead.

The character was the boyfriend of Whoopi Goldberg’s daughter. I came up with a character who was so shy and weird that he could be perceived as scary to a protective mother.

Whoopi Goldberg and Jean Stapleton were so nice. They were really cool. We did some read throughs and the character actually worked.

The director, who had won some Emmy’s for All in the Family or something, was a pompous Brit sort of shithead. He kept saying “You see in the script where it says you’re supposed to be terrifying when you walk in? You see that, love? We need to see that, okay?” I’d try to talk to him and he wouldn’t listen.

I was also doing the re-shoots of Men At Work at night. I was operating on no sleep. I had no fight in me.

The director would say to me “Do it like you did in your audition, love!” I tried to explain to him that I had never auditioned for the part. He wouldn’t listen to me.

Mort Lachman was never around to talk to. I was marooned. A couple of days in, I got the call that I didn’t need to go back to work. I was really pissed and asked to talk to someone about what had happened.

Liza Simmon, who cast it and who I knew from the Spencer days was stunned when she heard what had happened. Everyone in the cast had liked me, but the director didn’t at all. There was all sorts of miscommunication and, well, they shitcanned me.

No one ever apologized.

High Points: Making Whoopi Goldberg crack up during rehearsals.

Low Points: Getting shitcanned by a pompous Brit director.