The Office Vet Craig Robinson Shares Hilarious Story About Why Patrice O'Neal's Character Stopped Appearing On The Show

It’s been nearly nine years since we had to say goodbye to Dunder Mifflin on NBC’s The Office, but it still remains a favorite today. Craig Robinson, who portrayed Darryl Philbin throughout the show’s nine-season run, recently shared a hilarious story about the late Patrice O’Neal that explains why his character Lonny Collins stopped appearing on the series. 

Craig Robinson was a guest on Red Line Radio, where he got to talking about the beloved mockumentary series. The topic of Patrice O’Neal came up, and Robinson had a pretty funny story to tell in remembrance of his friend and former co-star, who died of a stroke in 2011. 

O’Neal only appeared on three episodes of The Office throughout the first three seasons as warehouse employee Lonny. The reasoning for him not appearing in more, explained by Robinson, is that he just didn’t care:

He didn't give a fuck about Hollywood or The Office. Matter of fact, they were like, 'Craig, can you get in touch with Patrice? We have checks for him.' It was the most hysterical thing.... Like he knew he was funnier than anyone who could write for him. So I think he had a problem with someone lesser than trying to tell him what was funny. He was awesome, but he didn't give a damn about [Hollywood], about being out there. But he didn't want it. He wanted to be in New York.

If only we could all be like O’Neal! It sounds like he knew what he wanted, and if he was doing something he didn’t love, he just quit. And it sounds like Robinson was all for it as well, which makes it even more hilarious.

It makes sense that The Office and Hollywood weren't Patrice O'Neal's ideals. Besides acting, he was known for stand-up comedy. Although it is possible to be an actor and a comic, O’Neal was leaning more towards one thing, and now Robinson has that funny story to tell for years to come.

While Lonny wasn’t seen on The Office after Season 3, he was still mentioned in the following seasons. However, due to O’Neal’s death in 2011, any chance of another appearance was no longer possible. Patrice O’Neal still did a decent amount of acting after The Office, including 2010’s Furry Vengeance and 2012’s Nature Calls, the latter of which released after his death.

It’s safe to say that (mostly) anything surrounding The Office is hilarious, even when it comes to remembering a late cast member and their reasoning for no longer being on the series. It is nice to know that it was Patrice O’Neal’s decision and not him getting fired. However, it does make me wonder if there would be more storylines including Lonny, if he made the decision to stay on The Office

The legacy of The Office is clearly lasting, as Craig Robinson is not the only The Office alum to share a hilarious story as of late. Rainn Wilson, who memorably played Dwight, recently took to Twitter to share an experience he had at a dentist’s office of a woman sitting next to him wearing a Dunder Mifflin shirt. The Office fans are seen in the wild, and they are dedicated. 

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Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.