David Koechner is widely recognized in classic comedic roles in films like “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman,”” but he is also a stand-up comic who isn’t afraid to mine the nostalgic power of “The Office.”
At Atlanta Comedy Theater at Underground Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., Koechner will host a special trivia night focused on “The Office,” where he appeared as Michael’s joyfully noxious buddy Todd Packer in 15 episodes. He will also do four stand-up shows, two each evening on Friday and Saturday.
“I host the matinee trivia show as Todd Packer,” Koechner said during a Zoom call with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I slip in and out of character. I talk about my experience in ‘The Office’ and my career in and out of ‘The Office.’”
The top two winning teams in trivia get to go on stage and act out a real “Office” scene with Koechner as Packer.
“The Office,” since it went off air in 2013, has only gotten bigger courtesy of streaming and its appeal to a new younger generation. It has spawned multiple podcasts, two oral history books and even a cookbook so even an actor like Koechner who was only on as a recurring character has been able to capitalize. (He charges $199 for a personalized Cameo video, comparable to “Office” regulars like Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery and Brian Baumgartner.)
“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen,” he said. “If I’m out of town away from my family, I want to monetize every hour I can. We just added the trivia show and the response was amazing right away. It would often sell out before my regular stand-up shows. Sometimes you draw people who don’t normally go to a comedy show. They go to the trivia show, then sometimes go to the stand-up show as well.”
His Packer character whose utterances were consistently offensive, was so memorable, he said many folks think he was in more episodes than he was, which is a compliment.
Koechner is an actor with an extensive resumé who says yes to almost anything thrown at him because he said he needs the income. “I have five kids,” he said. “The twins have one more year of high school, then they will be in college at the same time.”
But he said he has nothing to complain about because his agent gets plenty of offers.
“It’s a good mix of TV and film and some branding opportunities,” he said. While most of his gigs are comedic, he gets the occasional dramatic role. For instance, he is featured in an upcoming indie film “Ganymede” in which he plays “an agent of depravity, a nasty awful preacher. I’m excited to see how it turned out.”
He is rarely the lead in a movie or TV show and accepts his place in the pecking order: the dude often added to a show or film to provide spice to a scene or two. “I don’t mind,” he said. “Actors often try to design or plan out their career. But you can only do that if you’re always the lead. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a support player. So I’ll support to the load limit they need me to.”
IF YOU GO
7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18. and a special 4 p.m. “Office” trivia party on Saturday. $25-$35. ATL Comedy Theater at Underground Atlanta, 75 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW, Atlanta. davidkoechner.com,
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.