Everyone has experienced one moment where they wanted to crawl into a hole. As an actor, being thrown off your game can sometimes come with the territory. Frozen’s Josh Gad had such an experience while starring in the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon. Gad recalled how an Entourage cast member became involved in the worst moment of his career.
The Central Park star revealed the onstage incident still haunted him years after it took place, even though it happened in 2011 when Book of Mormon was one of Broadway’s hottest properties. The musical was so popular that celebrities were constantly in the audience. This is where Gad’s worst moment took shape.
The actor’s lowest moment happened during a pivotal scene in the hit show. He noticed an Entourage cast member, who Gad refused to name, on their phone while attending the production. Josh Gad was disturbed by the HBO star’s nonchalant behavior, and recently told the Chicago Tribune about spotting the distracted celebrity:
So, there was one particular night in which one of our esteemed audience members was very poorly behaved and was not necessarily abiding by the rules of the theatergoing experience and I was just irked. I’m keeping this person anonymous, but they were on Entourage. I know everyone’s going to think it’s Jeremy Piven; it’s not Jeremy Piven. But this person was checking their phone, just talking and not really listening. And what upset me was that they were in the first three rows. So, I’m like, you can do all that stuff, but if you’re in my eye line? Show me the same respect I would show you.
After spotting the distracted Entourage star, Josh Gad went back and forth in his mind about whether to call out the person or not. Unfortunately, at the same time, he was preparing to sing the Book of Mormon highlight “Make Things Up Again.” As the opening chords began to play, Gad was so distracted he forgot the song’s first lines. The moment led him to stare at the audience in a silent theater. He recalled how the embarrassing incident unfolded by saying:
I don’t consider myself to be a great improviser, but I definitely know how to improv and I’ve used it to get out of many pickles and it’s something that I call upon. On this particular night, improv was not available to me because the human ability to speak words was not available to me. So, I look to one of my scene partners on stage and she’s staring at me and I think she’s concerned that I’m having a stroke. Here’s where things kick into high gear: She says the line to me, but for some reason at the same time I apparently lost the ability to speak, I also apparently got hit with a case of tinnitus because my ears start ringing and I can’t hear what she’s saying and I can’t read lips. (Laughs)
You have to understand, we’re now about 20 seconds into silence. The stage manager is offstage screaming the words at me — which I’ve never experienced in my entire life — but I cannot hear what she’s saying. My co-stars on stage, in this case the entire ensemble, are usually torn up by me forgetting my lines, because it’s something that I do; I get distracted but then I always find a way out of it. But there was no laughter at this point, there was just sadness. Like, a collective fear that a colleague has lost his mind.
As the incident unfolded, Josh Gad remembered seeing audience members getting uncomfortable by the unplanned pause. He admitted his improv skills couldn’t save him, so he turned to musical director Stephen Oremus for help. Eventually, Gad regained his senses just enough to hear Oremus shout his opening lines. After recalling the onstage incident, he called it his “lowest moment in acting history.” The horrific moment led to the actor carrying his lines in his prop book for the rest of his run.
This is the first time Gad has spoken about how fame has affected his life. The Frozen actor revealed how he keeps his kids humble on Disneyland trips despite his Disney star status. At least Josh Gad was able to remove Jeremy Piven from the equation, given Piven’s alleged reputation. Thankfully, Gad was able to move to pass the moment and continue his thriving career.