Danny Pudi Was Recognized At His Community Audition As The 'Butt-Dialer'

A lot of actors get their professional start by appearing in commercials, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Paul Rudd to Kirsten Dunst. Some of them are okay talking about those early jobs on late-night talk shows, and some would really prefer you don't bring them up. A lot of actors get famous from them, or at the very least, obtain a large fan base, like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Anthony Head and his soap opera-style coffee commercials. Although I've certainly heard actors say they don't want to do ad spots so they don't get typecast (something I heard at almost every audition I went to many years ago), they can be helpful if they make you recognizable to a casting agent. 

"Community" star Danny Pudi, who played the loveable Abed Nadir, got a little boost from his own commercial work when he went to audition for his most well-known role. Pudi starred as "The Butt-Dialer" in a T-Mobile commercial back in the days of flip phones. While the product might not have lasted that long (we're all butt-dialers now, friends), it gave Pudi a leg up in the audition for "Community." 

'My butt just hung up on you — sorry!'

In the commercial, Danny Pudi is minding his own business on the couch when his partner comes in and sarcastically jokes about getting a phone call from his butt because he doesn't have a flip phone. Pudi's perfect deadpan is right on the money, and personally, I remember this ad like it aired yesterday. Back in 2011, someone else who remembered that commercial asked in a Reddit AMA if Pudi if he thought that helped launch his career. Pudi wrote:

"I think it helped! When I auditioned for 'Community,' the producers actually recognized me from that commercial. People still call me 'Butt-dialer' randomly on the street!"

As it turns out from the comments on Pudi's response, many people remembered that commercial. I'm not going to lie; I watched the first episode of "Community" and said, "Ooh, the butt-dial guy!" I remembered it because Pudi was funny and conveyed a lot by doing very little, all the while keeping a deadpan face. 

'Hey, you're the butt-dialer!'

Danny Pudi has publicly spoken about the commercial beyond that one AMA. In 2009, the year "Community" premiered on NBC, Pudi spoke to Vulture about the whole butt-dial thing, explaining that it helped him land the show (and probably wouldn't have helped for a different sort of job). He said: 

"I did the butt-dialing commercial for T-Mobile, and it did help get my face out there a bit. When I went out for the 'Community' audition, one of the producers recognized me and was like, 'Hey, you're the butt-dialer!' Right away, that makes me feel more comfortable, when someone's like, 'Butt dialer's here!' 

"I imagine it would be more difficult if you were going out for a leading man. Like if they're making 'Gladiator 2' and I walk in, and they go, 'Butt-dialer!' It's gonna be really hard to be, you know, Euophonius the Master of the Ring and slaying soldiers when two seconds ago they were calling you butt-dialer. But for this role, it actually worked out perfectly."

If you look at the T-Mobile commercial, you can see some of the Abed DNA in there. The same goes for his matter-of-fact delivery in a McDonald's commercial he appeared in way back when as well. It may not have worked in "Gladiator 2" as he joked, but it certainly did for "Community."

All six seasons of "Community" are currently streaming on Hulu, and the "Community" movie is still reportedly on the way.