The 31-year-old Egender is a graduate of O'Hara High School and gave up an accounting career to become a full-time actor. The Department of Burnt Ends recently called him at his home in Los Angeles to talk Gilmore Girls, that green suit and his semi-famous father.
Burnt Ends: Acting from accounting?
Joe Egender: I was in Chicago, and I started taking acting classes on the weekend, and it was all I thought about all week. So I just knew. Some of my friends were saying that it seemed like a really hard transition to make, but the truth is, for me, it would have been harder to stay with what I was doing, because I was so not supposed to be doing it.
You were on Gilmore Girls. Who'd you play?
I was on one episode, where I was on a speed date with Paris, and she pretty much ate me up and spit me out. It was a fun day for sure. I was disappointed that that show ended.
So your dad invented those Dial-A-Down markers they use at football games?
My dad used to referee on the side. He saw injuries here and there with the flip cards. Basically, he started this Dial-A-Down [business] from nothing. We made them in our basement. That was my job in junior high and high school: making Dial-A-Downs in our basement. And they ended up being at most every football game.
Do you get recognized?
I'm in the sort of zone where people come up and say, "I know you, right?" or "You're in something, right?" I never know where they would have seen me, so I just kind of guess. If it's a girl, I usually do say, "Gilmore Girls."
Did you get to keep the green suit?
Unfortunately not. It's a vintage '60s suit. Although in the last one we shot, they used a cheap polyester suit because, you'll see, there are stunts in them. I'm struck by lightning, I get lifted — I have a harness on me. It's pouring down rain, and I'm lifted up into the air into the mud, so they didn't want to ruin the vintage suit. But yeah, when they pulled out the green suit the day of order, I said, "Oh boy."