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What Actor Brian Baumgartner Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: Sarah Morris / Getty Images

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked actor Brian Baumgartner — who famously played Kevin on The Office and whose podcast An Oral History of the Office launched today on Spotify — about the chili pot, baseball hat, and headphones he can’t live without.

I started eating pistachios at Dodgers Stadium; I’m a huge baseball fan. I’m not really a peanut guy — peanuts are too simple. I guess it’s a Southern California thing to do pistachios instead of peanuts? They definitely have peanuts at the stadium, but when I had these pistachios I was like, “This is a nut that I can get behind.” You have to buy them in the shell because part of the fun is getting them out, right?

I have kind of a distinctive head. Rainn Wilson, who is generally goofy-looking, and I both have this problem and we get spotted easily. The quickest and easiest way to avoid that is to wear a hat. So every time I go to a different city, even if I’m not a fan of the local team, I will buy a relaxed-fit, extra-large, 47 brand hat for that team. I feel like it gives me a cloak of invisibility or something. It doesn’t really work, but it makes me feel better and less like I’m out in the open. I have hundreds of these hats. It’s truly a problem. If I had to pick a specific team’s hat I wear more regularly, I’d say the Dodgers or the Yankees. I’m not a huge Yankees fan, but I do really like their logo. I think it’s super classic. I definitely try to pretend I’m from New York when I’m there. I think people in New York think you’re cooler if you’re from New York, so I try to carry that vibe.

Saying I can’t live without chili is sort of a half-joke that anyone who watched The Office will find funny. Kevin’s Famous Chili is all you need to know. But yes, I do actually have a specific pot that I use for chili. It’s a very lovely pot from Le Creuset. I’m not like Angela Kinsey — I’m not a major cooking expert, but I do like this pot. There’s a Le Creuset outlet near me, and I’ve bought multiple things there. Everything is a different color because I decided that it’s cooler to be eclectic and not matching. I honestly don’t think I made chili before the show, but now I make it fairly often, mostly during football season. Every time I make it, I post a picture of me with the chili on Instagram, and every time, 100,000 people like that picture because they think it’s so funny I’m actually making chili. It always amazes me.

When I was working on The Office, we would start doing hair and makeup at like 5 or 6 a.m. every day. And maybe this is too much information, but I would get some sort of neck burn or rash from shaving and putting on makeup and then working a 12 to 14 hour day in the makeup. It was getting worse and worse, so my makeup artist on the show, Laverne, told me about Art of Shaving. They have stuff that’s not scented and is made well — the brush is actually really helpful. I had never even seen a shaving brush before. It’s not just some old-timey thing — there’s a reason for it. The brush gets the shaving cream right where it’s supposed to be and improves your shave. Since I started using it 15 years ago, I haven’t had an issue.

I’ll drink Crown XR if someone else is buying, otherwise Crown Royal is my go-to drink. Crown Royal is kind of it for me — I don’t drink beer, and I will have some red wine, but I don’t really drink anything else. I went to school in Texas, too, where you’re either a Jack Daniels drinker or you’re a Crown Royal drinker. If I’m going to drink something, it’s going to be some sort of whiskey or bourbon.

These are incredibly well made, and because of that, I don’t lose them. Going back to the distinctive head thing — I know it’s a cliché for a celebrity, but because of that, I wear sunglasses and a baseball hat everywhere I go. I love this brand. They have a little storefront on Melrose Avenue — I think it’s still there, that location — and I went in one day and bought a pair. I had never heard of the brand before. That was probably 12 years ago and now I have a lot of pairs, about five? I have some that I wear in the evening, some that I wear when I’m golfing, and some that I wear when I’m trying to be incognito. They are stylish and functional, and they fit my head well.

I’ve been using these so much recently because of my podcast. Not just for doing the interviews, but also to listen back to the recordings. We started recording in December of last year, interviewing more than 40 people — most were in person, but once quarantine hit, we had to do some of them remotely. For the past few weeks, we’ve been doing extensive edits and multiple cuts for each episode, and we’re still cutting the later episodes. It’s so important to be able to hear clearly. I find headphones to be very uncomfortable generally — maybe it goes back to the head-shape-thing — but with these, I don’t have an issue. They are truly the best headphones and they made a difference. I swear I have no relationship with Bose whatsoever.

Friends actually gave me this as a gift last Christmas. They said it is their favorite soap. With the whole COVID-19 outbreak, we’re now washing our hands 9,000 times a day, and I really love using this. I can’t really describe the scent — it has all these weird mixes of smells, but it smells nice. I just wish I wasn’t going through it so quickly.

$295

These are the best, truly the best. I’ve been playing with PXG clubs for the last five years, and it has totally changed my game. I’m still not great, but they help me be as good as I can be. The way their wedges are forged gives them a larger sweet spot on the face of the club, which gives you more forgiveness if you don’t hit it perfectly. It’s really all about their clubs’ construction and the engineering. I have all of their clubs, but I probably use the putter the most. That’s pretty standard for any golfer because unless you hit the ball in the hole from far away, you have to putt on every single hole, whereas what other clubs you use will vary with each hole. So the putter is the most important. Some people have full-on relationships with their putters — like some will sleep with their putters and cuddle their putters, they just love them so much. Anyone who’s a golf tinkerer probably has 15 putters in their garage just trying to find the perfect one. That’s not me, but I do love mine and I only need one.

I’m from the South, and went to school in Texas as I mentioned, so boots have always just kind of been the thing to wear. These are well made, and the brand is a classic. They’re also super comfortable. It’s funny that Gene Simmons talked about these, too. We definitely have a lot in common, for sure. I won’t make the joke I’m thinking about, but Gene Simmons, man, that’s cool — he has good taste.

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What Actor Brian Baumgartner Can’t Live Without