A new baker is stepping in to fill the void left by Leslie Jordan‘s Phil in the Fox sitcom Call Me Kat. 30 Rock alum Jack McBrayer will step in for the foreseeable future as Gideon, a delightful Amish man who’s experiencing much of the outside world for the first time and will now be manning the oven at Kat’s (Mayim Bialik) cat café. With the announcement came a short teaser that sees Kat introducing Gideon to her friends at a bar where he quickly shows off that he has no filter.
McBrayer will fill much the same role as Jordan did as the quirky, charming baker injecting the series with humor. In the brief clip, he’s filled with wide-eyed wonder as he visits his first bar and marvels at Carter (Julian Gant), the “second Black person” he’s ever met before Kat explains his situation. He already gels well with Kat and even manages to make a good first impression on her mother, albeit in a rather unconventional way. It’s unclear exactly how long McBrayer will stick around, but Kat’s line “Gideon is on a journey of self-discovery, and as someone who recently went through this myself, I am giddy to be his guide,” indicates he could stick with cat café for a while.
Of course, McBrayer enters the series under unfortunate circumstances. Jordan tragically passed away late last year and the show has since opted to honor him with its winter premiere. In an off-screen wedding, Phil married his new boyfriend Jalen and the two started a bakery together in Tahiti. Bialik ensured that with this ending, “his character will live forever, and he can have whatever adventures we all imagine.” Jordan also received a loving tribute from his longtime friend Dolly Parton during the episode.
McBrayer’s Career Has Been All About Making People Laugh and Smile
If there’s anyone who could match the joyful energy Jordan brought to the series, it’s McBrayer who has four Emmy nominations under his belt and has been a fan favorite of the sitcom genre for some time. He’s best known for his performance as Kenneth, the always-cheerful, perpetually optimistic page at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which he earned three of his Emmy nods for. His other came for his role in the Hell-based workplace comedy Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. McBrayer‘s reach has extended far since his days working alongside Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, with some of his most notable roles including Wreck-It Ralph, Talladega Nights, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wander Over Yonder, and The Middle. More recently, he also created his own Apple TV+ show for preschoolers, Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show, which has earned stellar reviews.
McBrayer joins a cast that features both Bialik and Gant alongside Swoosie Kurtz, Kyla Pratt, Christopher Rivas, and his old 30 Rock colleague Cheyenne Jackson. Gideon will make his debut in Thursday’s episode which airs at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.