The Bagging Showdown
Behind the Scenes
In the Spring of 2008 my agent told me that My Name Is Earl was doing a Karate Kid homage and was casting the character of a world champion grocery bagger – a Billy Zabka type bad guy. I had always loved Earl‘s quirky world, and the idea of playing a nasty, arrogant grocery bagger sounded like too much fun. Billy Zabka actually showed up at the audition, which made me think my chances of getting the role were slim. If anyone was a Billy Zabka type, it would probably be Billy Zabka. He’s a great guy, by the way. We shot the shit for about twenty minutes while we were waiting to go in and read.
My read went well. I improvised some lines that I thought were consistent with the character, and Greg Garcia, Earl‘s executive producer, seemed to like my audition. My agent called me later that day to tell me they were trying to decide whether to cast me or a professional juggler. I said, “Tell them I can juggle,” and immediately got to work on my grocery juggling skills. When they finally gave me the role, I practiced diligently, developing some cool bagging moves, most of which didn’t end up in the final cut. I could grab the corner of a cereal box and flip it 360 degerees with one hand into the bag. I could take a can of tuna in each hand, and keeping my hands at my hips, make the cans switch hands in the blink of an eye.
It was a fun shoot day. A nice, laid back set full of people who knew what they were doing, and they all made me feel welcome. In the clip below, you’ll notice a young Rico Rodriguez making a one-line appearance. That little trooper is now making more in a week working on Modern Family than most grown men earn in a year. Ahhh, show business.