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‘The Drew Carey Show’: Catch Up With the Beloved Cast!

Plus, learn which two stars would go on to work together again.

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From 1995 to 2004, viewers were treated to a television sitcom that revolved around the retail office and home life of “everyman” Drew Carey on The Drew Carey Show. Although set in the actor’s native Cleveland, Ohio, and while the real-life comedian and TV character shared the same name, the fictionalized version was assistant director of personnel at Winfred-Louder, a Cleveland department store. 

Alas, the TV Drew was stuck in the same job for 10 years and his life was fairly mundane. Drinking beer, fighting with co-worker Mimi and unable to get dates was his daily existence, but his saving grace was the fact that he and a few friends ran a small micro brewery out of his garage, selling Buzz Beer, a caffeinated alcoholic drink. So popular was the Buzz brew, that it began to be the drink of choice at the group’s hangout, The Warsaw Tavern. 

Carey has explained that his character is what he himself would have been if he had not become an actor. 

Drew Carey and Kathy Kinney (1996)
1996moviestillsdb.com/ABC

For a time, The Drew Carey Show — which ran for a total of 234 episodes — was enormously popular, resulting in a who’s who of guest stars, including Shirley Jones, Pauley Perrette (prior to NCIS), Eddie Money, Tim Allen, Norm MacDonald, Joe Walsh, Wayne Brady, Jamie Lee Curtis, Steve Buscemi, Wanda Sykes, Micky Dolenz, Jenny McCarthy, Tim Conway and Bob Costas. Even Donald Trump appeared as himself in Season 2’s “New York and Queens” episode.

The secret of the comedy sauce, of course, was the ensemble that was brought together, which leads to this look at the five main cast members who made us laugh week after week for nine years.

Drew Carey as Drew Allison Carey

The Drew Carey Show: Drew Carey as Drew Allison Carey
2004/2024Jon Kopaloff / Contributor/Getty; Steve Granitz / Contributor/Getty

Cleveland, Ohio is the place where Drew Carey first gained stardom and recognition after years of doing stand-up routines, which he would perform both there and in Los Angeles.

In 1985 he won an open mic contest followed by his first national exposure in the form of the Star Search competition series. After that, a guardian angel named Johnny Carson came to him in 1991, allowing him to perform on The Tonight Show. His routine impressed Carson so much that he invited Carey to the couch next to his desk — which was deemed a really big deal.

While still starring on The Drew Carey Show, he began hosting the American version of the improv comedy series Who’s Line Is It Anyway?. In turn, his skill at improv and hosting led to a call from CBS to replace the retiring Bob Barker as host of The Price Is Right

While best known for his television work, Carey has done a limited number of films such as The Coneheads and Geppetto, plus he’s participated in The Masked Singer and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.   

Besides hosting and entertaining, Carey is an avid soccer fan and attended both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup games. 

Carey has been open in regards to his bouts with severe depression.  “I still get depressed, just like everyone else,” he commented, “but it’s not as bad as before. Just because you’re a celebrity, it doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen to you or you don’t have bad days.  Everybody’s a person.” 

As he regularly says while signing off of The Price is Right, “I’m a regular guy from Cleveland.” 

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Diedrich Bader as Oswald Lee Harvey: The Drew Carey Show

Diedrich Bader as Oswald Lee Harvey
2004/2024Jim Spellman / Contributor/Getty; JC Olivera / Stringer/Getty

Excitable, dimwitted Oswald Lee Harvey (an obvious backwards play on words) was portrayed by actor and comedian Diedrich Bader for the entire length of the show’s run.

A frequent television guest star, beyond The Drew Carey Show he’s had recurring or starring roles on Danger Theatre (1993), Center of the Universe (2005 to 2005), Outsourced (2010 to 2011), Save Me (2013), Veep (2014 to 2019), American Housewife (2016 to 2021), Better Things (2016 to 2022) and Lucky Hank (2023). And while he’s voiced many animated characters, he’s probably best known for vocally creating Batman on Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008 to 2011) and Harley Quinn (2019 to the present).

Born in Alexandria, Virginia, he moved with his family at age two to Paris, France. It was there that he developed a love for movie legends like Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin. In fact, on a fateful afternoon, when one of Chaplin’s movie reels burned in the theater’s projector, a four year-old Bader hopped on stage and entertained the crowd with a spot-on imitation of Chaplin’s Little Tramp character. He received a standing ovation, which set the course for the rest of his life – perform and entertain. 

By the time he was in high school, the family had returned to the States where a casting director noticed Bader during a spring break in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Local auditions led the ambitious wannabe to move to Los Angeles and try his luck. He did land guest spots on many series, including Cheers, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: The Next Generation and others. 

Bader’s tongue-in-cheek delivery during one of his auditions was so enjoyed by filmmaker Penelope Spheeris that she hired him for the feature film version of The Beverly Hillbillies she directed. It was after his Hillbillies dual role as twins that he returned to television for The Drew Carey Show

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Christa Miller as Kate O’Brien

The Drew Carey Show: Christa Miller as Kate O’Brien
2004/2024Steve Granitz / Contributor/Getty;Karwai Tang / Contributor/Getty

Christa started off as a toddler being photographed by the famed Francesco Scavullo for an Ivory Snow ad alongside her mother, already a 60s supermodel. She was sidelined early on when a benign bone tumor had to be removed. Although she returned to modeling briefly, she decided to give it up when she moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to pursue her acting ambitions.

Her first foray into showbiz was on Kate & Allie which just so happened to star her real life aunt, Susan St. James. Other guest starring roles on Northern Exposure, Party of Five, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Seinfeld followed. Actually, it was her second appearance on Seinfeld that brought her into Drew Carey’s world when that series’ co-creator/writer Larry David helped Miller win over the producers of The Drew Carey Show

Post Drew, Miller’s husband, Bill Lawrence, created a new comedy, Scrubs, and his wife was given a guest role which became a recurring one. In 2009, Christa began starring on Cougar Town alongside Courteney Cox — another sitcom created and produced by her husband, which ran until 2015. 

When not appearing in front of a camera, Christa is mom to three kids.         

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Ryan Stiles as Lewis Kiniski: The Drew Carey Show

Ryan Stiles as Lewis Kiniski
2005/2019 John Sciulli / Staff/Getty; Rick Kern / Contributor/Getty

Erudite but unambitious janitor at DrugCo., Lewis was one of Drew’s best friends on The Drew Carey Show. Born in Seattle, Washington, Ryan Stiles moved with his family to Vancouver, British Columbia. Leaving high school just shy of graduation, he embarked on a series of stand-up appearances at clubs near his home, which eventually led to him performing with the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto and, later, Los Angeles. 

In 1989, Stiles was a regular on Britain’s version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and remained until its conclusion in 1998.  Receiving critical praise while growing a devoted fan base, in 1995 he was asked by Drew Carey to be a regular on the then-upcoming sitcom.   

As an actor, comedian and producer, whose work is often associated with improv comedy, other film and television roles soon followed, though he returned as a performer and executive producer for the revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the summer of 2013. Although he had been compared to a giraffe — due to his towering height and lanky frame — on that show, he thrilled audiences with his spot-on impersonations of Carol Channing and John Wayne. 

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Kathy Kinney as Mimi Bobeck

The Drew Carey Show: Kathy Kinney as Mimi Bobeck
2004/2022 Giulio Marcocchi / Stringer/Getty; David Livingston / Contributor/Getty

Co-worker Mimi Bobeck is a large woman with a clownish wardrobe, lots of makeup (including her trademark bright blue eye shadow) and a genuine dislike for Drew . Yet as popular as Mimi was, Kathy Kinney’s first memorable TV role was actually as the recurring Ms. Goddard, town librarian on Newhart

Kathy started her showbiz career as a secretary at WCBS-TV in New York in the early 80s while pursuing comedic acting and improv.

Over the years, Kinney continually worked as a character actress with appearances in a number of movies and on several TV series, including Full House and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where she and Carey played goofy bad guys.

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