Dax Shepard isn’t afraid to talk about his failures.
In today’s Armchair Expert episode, the actor spoke to Sean Hayes at length about Will & Grace—and at the end of it, he shared a surprising piece of trivia: “I was fired from your show.” The news wasn’t a surprise to Hayes, of course. “I almost don’t remember it,” Hayes admitted. “Of course I remember it, but I almost blocked it out, because it was horrible that it happened.”
News that Shepard would be guest-starring on the popular series was revealed in November 2017, but at the time, NBC did not provide additional details regarding his role. “I’m fine with it now. It was an interesting feeling to get fired. The only thing I cared about is that you and I were involved,” the 43-year-old actor told Hayes. “Had it been any other thing with a bunch of strangers, I would have been like, ‘Oh, whatever. I was at a table read for 45 minutes and then I got fired. Who gives a s–t?’ The only [unfortunate] thing is there was no anonymity to it for me. I knew many of the people at that table read. I think maybe that was the only element that I was like, ‘Well, that’s kind of embarrassing. These are people that I know—and then, I got canned.'”
“I cannot believe they fired you,” Hayes said. “I cannot believe they fired you.”
After Shepard was fired, Megan Mullally‘s husband, Nick Offerman, replaced him as baker Jackson Boudreaux, who seduced both Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing).
Shepard’s co-host, Monica Padman, then offered a theory as to why he was ultimately let go. “They wanted a moment with him and his wife,” she speculated. “If [Kristen Bell] was doing something with someone, they might do that to a person to get you to come on, is my opinion.”
Remaining neutral, Hayes said, “I don’t know the machinations of any of that.”
Either way, Shepard is fine with it. “It could be as simple as I was terrible at the table read, and that’s fine. But that’s the only time in being friends for 12 years where I was like, ‘Now I feel like there’s something awkward between us.’ Because you said to me, ‘Oh, my God. I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘Oh, Jesus, you should never be saying [you’re] sorry to me in our whole friendship,'” Shepard told his guest. “You don’t ever do anything wrong; you’re not the creator of the show.”
Hayes agreed, saying, “It has nothing to do with me or you.”
Maintaining a sense of humor about the situation, Shepard said he knew the table read didn’t go that well. “I go about my day, then I get a call from my agent and she goes, ‘I just want to say, you were so good in that movie’—I had a screening of a movie, like, the week before—and she’s like, ‘Oh, you were so good in that movie.’ I go, ‘Oh, thanks, thanks, thanks.’ She goes more and more and more about how good I was in that movie from a week ago. When we’re getting about 15 minutes into how good I am in this movie, all of a sudden something clicks where I go, ‘Oh, bad news is coming.’ In the middle of her compliment parade, I go, ‘Did I get fired from Will & Grace?’ And she goes, ‘They’re going another direction.’ I was like, ‘I knew it! Something stunk.'”
Had Shepard not lost the role, he would have missed one of his daughters graduating from pre-school to attend a live taping. As he reassured Hayes, “This all worked out exactly as it should.”
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)