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Duffey makes Chotchkie's waiter unforgettable Print E-mail
Written by JON SINGER   
Friday, 13 February 2004
Even the minor roles in “Office Space” were cast with talent that is memorable. The characters were so defined by director Mike Judge that even the “Chotchkie’s” restaurant waiter, Brian, played by Todd Duffey, is quotable, imitatable, and above all, hilarious.

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Duffey was cast perfectly for the role.

“I was a puppeteer on the kids' show 'Barney' at the time, and had a guest star on 'Walker, Texas Ranger.'" Duffey, 31, says. "So I get called out of my puppeteer thing for this audition in Austin for 'one of those annoying waiter guys at those chain restaurants. It just so happens I'd been one of those guys about eight months prior. So I went down in full flair attire (from my previous job) and nailed it."

Duffey originally thought it was a small Texas role, and local talent was sought for budget reasons. But he found out later that others had read for the role, and it was his knock-'em-dead reading that won Judge's favor.

Duffey says his true waiter self wasn't too far from the character he played.

"You know, I was just trying to get as big a tip as possible," he says. "The more they drank, the more like that character I became. That character can make a killing when drunk people are involved!"

Duffey at first was able to insert his own creativity into the role, too.

"Mike let me make up my own lines for the character - we did about a day of improv lines (which never made the movie or the new DVD), just because he said, "You know this character better than I've written it. So just go for it," Duffey says. "Turns out his lines were better than mine. … I'm on the cutting room floor somewhere."

Duffey says his "Office Space" experience was "the bomb."

"Even through all of the weirdness of my career, this was one of the best casts and crews I've ever worked with," he says. "I was only there for three days, with a follow up in L.A. about four months later, but Mike's ability to let the actors just go and do their thing as the characters they portrayed was awesome."

OTHER ROLES

Duffey has had quite an eclectic career, seemingly all in cult favorites. In addition to "Barney," "Walker," and "Office Space," he's starred in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Charmed."

"'Buffy' was WILD! I had NO idea what I was getting into," Duffey says. "I've been very fortunate to have hit several cult jobs in my life, but 'Buffy' was something that was already cult-ish. I read what I thought was the worst audition in my life, and on the way home, my agent called and told me I'd booked it."

"In retrospect, it was so much fun; but in the day-to-day of it, going in and out of 5 hours of prosthetics everyday, then 10 hour days, it wears you out," Duffey says.

One other common theme in Duffey's work is that he's always surrounded by famous, beautiful and tabloid-covered women.

"Even on set those women are hard to get close to," Duffey says about Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyssa Milano. "I asked Jennifer if she wanted to go for drinks one night (it was a cast/crew 'martini shot' thing) and she declined gracefully. Sarah - I think I saw her once, outside of being on set, in all the episodes I did. And Alyssa walked by me while I was on the set of 'Charmed.'"

"I keep calling Jenni (Aniston) up to get some coffee, but she's really busy - I guess," he says.

THE FUTURE

"It's a mad world, let me tell you," Duffey says. "I've got a horror film out in early 2006 called 'Hollywood Kills,' where I play a bad boy henchman. It was the sickest death scene ever made, I swear - go see it!"

"I have three commercials running right now, and in January, I'll be performing a play in Hollywood called 'American Idle.'" Duffey says. "It's a dark spoof on very timely events going on in the world.

"Then I'm going into production for a hilarious pilot a friend of mine wrote," Duffey says. "It's top secret stuff, though, and the cast is under wraps, so I can't really say anything more about it. But keep an eye out for something weird and fun! And who knows, maybe someday I'll make enough to live in a place without roommates; but for now, this is the life!

Photos courtesy of Todd Duffey and 20th Century Fox

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