Danny DeVito says he asked ‘who wrote this sh**’ when he auditioned for Golden Globe winning role
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Danny DeVito has shared the unexpected way he went about securing his role in the acclaimed comedy Taxi.
When the sitcom began its search for its ensemble cast before production commenced, DeVito was an actor whose time mostly consisted of looking for work.
He had just appeared in the critically acclaimed film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when a casting director for Taxi got in touch about a new role.
It must be said, DeVito wasn’t able to watch much TV at the time and so when the casting director said that Taxi was created by the same team behind The Mary Tyler Moore Show, DeVito wasn’t too fussed.
When the casting director urged the future It’s Always Sunny star to audition for the part, DeVito agreed to read the script and he fell in love with the ‘cantankerous’, no nonsense dispatcher Louie De Palma role and he created a cheeky plan to secure the job.
“So I figured to get this part I wanted to do something really they would remember me by,” the Hollywood icon told GQ in 2019. “So I walked in with the script and they were all sitting around and I said: ‘One thing I wanna know before we start, who wrote this sh*t?’ and I threw it [the script] on a coffee table and there was this moment of terror where I just walked, and then all of a sudden everybody just laughed their asses off.”
It worked. The beloved actor and director starred in the hit sitcom about a group of New York City taxi drivers, their everyday lives and their abusive dispatcher for all five seasons between 1978-1983.
DeVito added: “And from that moment on, like when I was in the audience, I mean, anything I said, they found funny.
“So it was really a cool way to get a part.”
However, the 78-year-old Matilda director warned that this level of dedication doesn’t always work and he once tried to get a role in a play by doing something ‘wacky’, but it unfortunately backfired.
DeVito won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in Taxi, which he said felt ‘great’ to achieve so early in his career.
It wasn’t just DeVito who was recognised for his role on Taxi, the show was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for a total 31 Emmy Awards and won 13, including three consecutive years winning the Outstanding Comedy honour.
Taxi featured a cast who would go on to have success in other projects including Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Back to the Future star Christopher Lloyd, the late Andy Kaufman and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alum Carol Kane.