Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To Stanley From The Office?

For eight years between 2005 and 2013, people across the nation left their offices, commuted home, and sat down to watch a sitcom about people working in an office. Well, more often than not, the characters on the show were doing anything but working. They were hosting stationery-based Olympic-style games, planning and enduring holiday parties, falling in love, getting dumped, and pulling a whole lot of pranks. As a result, NBC's The Office became a modern-day classic, and even now, it's one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.

But while some of the show's stars like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper and Craig Robinson have moved forward with big projects, some of the actors who were once so familiar that they felt like real colleagues seem to have slipped from the Hollywood scene, like Leslie David Baker. In the series, Baker played Stanley Hudson, Dunder Mifflin's permanently disgusted sales rep who prefers pretzels, crosswords, and sleep to his job, and who has little tolerance for Michael Scott's idiocy. At the end of the series, Stanley retires to Florida, but what happened to Baker? Well, here's what he's been doing since The Office closed for business.

He's appeared in other meta TV shows

One of The Office's greatest draws was the use of the mockumentary-style interviews that blurred the lines between the reality of the show and that of the viewers watching it. Whether intentionally or not, Baker has stuck with shows that explore similar meta ideas. 

In 2017, Baker played Captain Jackson #4 in an episode of YouTube Red's Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television. The web series involved comedians and actors like Joel McHale and Hansen's Veronica Mars co-star Kristen Bell playing themselves, assisting LAPD cops (also played by actors, including Samira Wiley) in solving murders. In the first season, Captain Jackson was played by a different African-American actor in every episode, drawing attention to Hollywood tokenism. Baker's fellow Captain Jacksons included Yvette Nicole Brown, NYPD Blue's James McDaniel, and Die Hard's Reginald VelJohnson. The series called for plenty of significant looks to camera and Hollywood in-jokes, but it was canceled after the second season.

Speaking of actors riffing on their profession, Baker also had a recurring role in Still the King, which starred Billy Ray Cyrus as a washed-up, one-hit-wonder country music singer who becomes an Elvis impersonator and, as part of his parole agreement, a church handyman. Baker played Curtis, a blind caretaker of the church, in season one, but despite fairly high viewers in its first year, the show was canceled after its second season in 2017.

Leslie David Baker has had small roles in left-field comedies

While some of his colleagues from The Office made the jump from small screen to blockbusters (all hail Mindy Kaling, Steve Carell and John Krasinski), Baker's first movie project post-Dunder Mifflin was on a smaller scale. He had a brief speaking role playing an actor at an audition in an indie movie co-written by Zach Braff, 2014's Wish I Was Here. It's not entirely clear what role Baker's actor is auditioning for, but based on the lines he and his rivals for the job are practicing, it's probably a lawyer.

In 2017, Baker appeared in an episode of Life in Pieces — another sitcom known for playing with format and leaning in to that brand of so-uncomfortable-it's-hilarious humor. The show ran for four seasons from 2015 to 2019, with each episode divided into three concurrent plot lines following different branches of the Short family, with a fourth subplot bringing the whole clan together. Think Modern Family but with sharper edges. Baker channeled his dry sense of humor to play Gavin, a classic car salesman who won't sell a specific model to the family's matriarch and patriarch, Joan and John (Dianne Wiest and James Brolin, respectively). Florida Stanley would approve.

He's played a lot of cops

If Baker was worried about being cast as unenthusiastic salesmen for the rest of his career, that concern was misplaced. However, that doesn't mean he's avoided typecasting. Since The Office, Baker has played enough cops to fill a Dodge Charger. After playing Captain Jackson in Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television, Baker was demoted to a lieutenant for 2018's puppets-behaving-badly crime comedy The Happytime Murders, starring Melissa McCarthy. Baker described the character as a "strait-laced, married police lieutenant, ready to retire ... and then a series of events happen, and now he actually has to work." So maybe there is a bit of typecasting left over from Stanley after all.

In 2015, he played a police officer in an episode of TV Land sitcom The Exes and another one in TV movie When Duty Calls. Two years later, he reunited with The Office co-star Ed Helms to voice Officer McPiggly in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Even when he's not playing officers of the law, Baker is cast in professions where the mission is bringing criminals to justice. In 2015, he traded the police uniform for legal robes to play Judge Tanniston in two episodes of CBS's tech-meets-crime drama Scorpion.

Baker has frequently appears on kids' shows

As his Captain Underpants credit implies, Baker is open to expressing his sillier side for kids' shows, but even then, he usually ends up as an authoritarian figure. 

In April 2015, he played a health inspector with an unpronounceable surname (spelled Schxlumbraugh) on the Disney Channel's Austin & Ally, who's set on closing down the kids' music school. Clearly not one to shy away from buzzkills, Baker also played a school principal on another Disney Channel show, Raven's Home, the spin-off of millennial favorite That's So Raven, both starring Raven-Symoné as a psychic trying to live her best life while having visions of the future. Away from Disney, Baker played another principal, named Mr. Kersey, on Fam, a CBS sitcom starring Nina Dobrev that was canceled in 2019 after just one season.

Not all of his work on family-friendly shows is quite so, well, unfriendly. Baker has voiced bad dog Rufus and world-traveling human Frank Exposition in Disney Junior's animated series Puppy Dog Pals since 2017, and the series was renewed for a fourth season in November 2019. 

He regularly reunites with his Office co-stars

Videos of cats aside, nothing fills the internet with more glee than seeing cast members of beloved TV shows reunite. And it seems that Baker likes getting together with his colleagues from The Office as much as fans like to imagine. 

In December 2018, real-life close friends Jenna Fischer (who played Pam) and Angela Kinsey (who played Angela) posted similar group photos of ten members of the cast — including Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, Brian Baumgartner, and Oscar Nunez — taken at a brunch hosted by series creator Greg Daniels. One showed the gang smiling, and in the other, they looked like they might be about to fire us, with Baker delivering his very best deadpan Stanley glare. Steve Carell was one of several notable no-shows, but he tweeted "miss you guys" in response to the photos. Kinsey noted in her tweet that the cast felt more like family than co-workers, which is exactly what we want to hear.

In 2019, Baker was again photographed with one of his colleagues, this time in the name of showbiz duty. He dropped the glower in favor of a broad grin when he posed with Phyllis Smith (aka Phyllis Vance) on the red carpet for the premiere of Netflix's The OA Part II. Good to know work friendships can flourish outside the office.

Catch Stanley at ComicCon

Leslie David Baker has attended multiple Comic-Cons around the country in his capacity as that guy who played Stanley in The Office, often in tandem with other cast members. In 2019, he and Brian Baumgartner (aka Kevin Malone) held a Q&A at Detroit's Motor City Comic-Con, where Baker proved that he's much more approachable than his cranky character, to the point that maintaining Stanley's signature look of contempt was one of the more challenging parts of the job — especially in scenes with Steve Carell. 

"I'm supposed to be sitting there looking sullen and mad. ... I'd just have to deliver a line and not look [at him], because if you look him in the eye, you're gonna lose it," he told the audience. There was an even larger cast reunion at LA's Comic-Con that year, with Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Kate Flannery, and Creed Bratton joining Baker and Baumgartner. The show may be over, but being in The Office is still big business.

He's still game for pretzel-related events

Stanley stans know that when our favorite sales rep is in Scranton, there's only one day that puts a spring in his step: Pretzel Day. In season three, episode five, we learn that every year, the building treats workers to free soft-baked pretzels. It's not a big deal to Pam, but it's very serious business to Stanley and Michael. In fact, seeing Stanley crack a smile was such a rare occurrence that his love of Pretzel Day became one of the defining features of the character, to the point that the appropriately named Baker often incorporates the snack into his public appearances.

If you go to a meet-and-greet with Baker, you'll probably end up getting a free pretzel for your troubles. Malls from Ohio to Minnesota have organized Pretzel Day events with him, even handing out wristbands to keep the thousands of expected attendees in order. And he's not just ready to eat the pretzels. At a Notre Dame basketball game in February 2019, Baker threw pretzels into the crowd, and he's even been known to bring them to interviews. Good to know that Stanley's one true passion lives on.

Leslie David Baker played a farmer in a software commercial

There's been one on-screen reunion featuring The Office castmates, but they weren't in Scranton. In 2018, Baker teamed up with Kate Flannery (aka Meredith Palmer) and Paul Lieberstein (who played Toby Flenderson and wrote for the series) to shoot a commercial for Apple subsidiary FileMaker, now known as Claris, a platform for making business apps. 

While you'd think this would play right into the trio's roles in The Office, they were actually playing farmers, complete with denim overalls, a mostly empty barn, and a shotgun. However, in a nod to the show, their crop of choice was beets. While Flannery's commercial persona was far more efficient than Meredith and Lieberstein adopted a Southern-esque twang, Baker really was playing Stanley-on-the-farm, complete with unimpressed side-eye.

Lest you think Baker, Flannery and Lieberstein have sold out, they aren't the only Dunder Mifflin employees to turn to commercials for a buck. Ed Helms voiced a claymation character called Smart for Hotels.com while playing Andy Bernard on the show, Ellie Kemper has appeared in commercials for Chase accounts and Sonic Burgers, and in 2000, Steve Carell played an office manager whose efficiency put Michael Scott to shame in a commercial for FedEx, three years before his first big break in Bruce Almighty.

The man behind Stanley starred in a bizarre music video

This is a bonus treat — the chocolate coating on your pretzel — since it actually happened while The Office was still on air, in 2011. But it's so far away from our collective understanding of Stanley that it merits a separate point in this discussion of Baker's exploits outside of the role he's best known for.

In November 2011, without any explanation, Baker released a song called "2 Be Simple," featuring N.U.M., that combined a pounding auto-tuned riff straight from under-17 club nights with such lyrics as "I'm a love sex machine," "I want it to be simple/Baby put your hands all over me," and "simple like a pimple." He also starred in the accompanying music video, wearing a Hugh Hefner-reminiscent robe and silk pajamas, showing off a mansion and pool, and partying with people in bikinis and, inexplicably, a Captain Jack Sparrow costume. 

The song raised eyebrows — and questions about a pop career — but Baker appears to have let it slide. Given that this is the same year that saw LMFAO find worldwide fame with Party Rock Anthem, the song itself isn't that surprising. It's simply a shock to the system to see the man we know and love as the ever-unimpressed Stanley being felt up by a model. Florida Stanley has arrived.

He's open to an Office reunion

Fans of The Office have long hoped for a revival, and as it turns out, Baker is also on board with this plan. In a solo interview at LA Comic Con in 2018, he said, "I think that would be very interesting to see. ... Will & Grace has been successful, a lot of other shows have started to come back, so that would be very interesting." He even has some advice for how fans can make that happen: Write to NBC. "Tell them, let them know, and we'll let the public decide."

Calls for a reboot have been growing louder every year since The Office closed its metaphorical doors in 2013, but recent developments in the world of streaming may have made it more likely. Netflix own the streaming rights to the NBC show until January 2021, at which point they'll transfer to NBCUniversal, who promised at least $500 million at auction to secure the show after the Netflix contract ends. NBC's streaming platform, Peacock, is set to launch in April 2020, and rumor has it that one of the company's major tactics for beating competition from other services is a reboot of The Office. However, with Steve Carell firmly against a second go-around, public pressure may not be enough to get the original gang back together beyond panels and brunch.