Best known for his roles in The Brady Bunch Movie, Veep, and Office Space, the actor is now playing FBI special agent Alden Parker. So we asked to see his pop culture credentials.

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Gary Cole Pop Culture of my life
Credit: Art Streiber/CBS via Getty Images

The moment I knew that I could act

I'm still looking for that moment! I guess it was junior high school. I got some laughs in a play, so I figured I was doing something right. I had to do this routine twice, and got the same [positive] result. So at least it proved it wasn't an accident.

DOG DAY AFTERNOON
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My earliest acting inspiration

I saw a movie called Dog Day Afternoon that starred Al Pacino. I was just starting college. It was kind of a revelation to me.

THE FORTUNE COOKIE
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My favorite childhood movie

It's an odd choice, but it stuck with me for a long time. It's called The Fortune Cookie, and I believe it was the first time Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon appeared together. I remember going to see it with my parents when I was 10. I had a lot of questions about it, 'cause at the heart it was about insurance fraud. I kept asking, "Why is he in a wheelchair? Why are people spying on him?" They were saying, "Just be quiet. Watch the movie."

office-space-2.jpg

The movie role I'm most often asked about

It's a toss-up between Talladega Nights and Office Space. Mostly people want me to tell them to come in on Saturday or they want to know if I got the memo. All of us [from Office Space] started hearing quotes echoed back to us on the street. We were surprised at first because we thought the movie hadn't done very well. But then there was a period of time where we realized it had survived, somehow.

Gary Cole Pop Culture of my life
Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

Whether I consider it a career highlight that I made a Republican sexy and appealing on The Good Fight

When you're standing next to Christine Baranski, you're pretty much assured that you're going to look very good and you're going to be able to do interesting things. That's where my [Good Fight] character came from. At least half of it is supplied by her, and I'd say more than half of [those characters'] scenes always take place in the bedroom.

Gary Cole Pop Culture of my life
Credit: CBS via Getty Images

An old role I'd like to revisit

Sheriff Lucas Buck on American Gothic. We only did one season of it in 1995. It took place in a small South Carolina town called Trinity. It was a little bit after Twin Peaks came on, so it had that kind of flavor. There were demon elements and dark humor in a stylized way.

NCIS - Face the Strange
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The most appealing part of my NCIS character

Well, he's punctual.

Jigsaw puzzle pile
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What keeps me sane at home

The pandemic introduced me to jigsaw puzzles. I got very deep into that. I probably have 20 under my belt now.

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