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'30 Rock' Extra's Sought-After Speaking Role Cut from Series Finale

By Mathew Katz | February 1, 2013 2:02pm

CHELSEA — Gary got to speak — but the world didn't get to hear him.

Gary Marinoff, a longtime "30 Rock" extra whose campaign for a speaking role exploded through social media late last year, read lines in the show's final episode — but when the series finale aired on Thursday night, his scene wasn't included.

"I was pretty sad it didn't make it to air," said Marinoff, a stand-up comedian, of the critically acclaimed show ending its seven-season run Thursday night. "People all over the world wanted to see me speak, so I feel let down."

Marinoff spent five years as a non-speaking extra on the smash NBC comedy before canvassing the city with posters asking New Yorkers to join him in his quest for dialogue.

Thousands flocked to the show's Facebook page, encouraging producers to "Let Gary Speak," and an image of his flier posted on the hugely popular website Reddit earned more than 173,000 views.

Shortly after Gary's story broke on DNAinfo.com New York, the show's producers reached out to him and invited him to appear in the series' final episode, he said.

According to Marinoff, the scene he shot was meant to appear at the end of the episode, when Tracy Morgan's character hugs members of the show's crew goodbye.

"He walked up to me and said, 'Goodbye. Thank you for your kidney. Just because you gave me your kidney, we're not friends. We'll never be friends,'" Marinoff said.

"I said, 'Goodbye Tracy!' And the whole place applauded me."

Marinoff said he was originally brought in to appear again as an extra, but that show creator Tina Fey herself elevated him to a speaking role. He was paid $842 for the day's work — much more than the $150 a day he made as an extra — according to a contract provided to DNAinfo.

He was also given a present: a fake ID badge for his character, "Leonard Bruno."

It's unclear why Marinoff's scene was ultimately cut, and a spokeswoman for NBC did not respond to requests for comment.

The comedian invited friends to a finale-watching party at Chelsea's Comedy Bar, but when his scene didn't air, he walked out.

Still, Marinoff is maintaining his cheery attitude, and appreciates the time he had on "30 Rock" — as well as the fact that he was even given a chance to return.

"I understand this is the business. These things happen, and '30 Rock' was good to me. It helped me live my dreams, so there's really nothing to be upset about," he said. "Tina Fey, she's the greatest boss I ever had."

Marinoff, who maintains that he's "the greatest character actor in the country," hopes to continue his career in comedy. He plans to audition for "America's Got Talent," and hopes to win a spot at the Apollo Theater in March.

"I'm undeterred," he said. "You've just got to go for it."

He added he's also weighing the possibility of appearing on late-night television.

"Jimmy Fallon," he said, "I'm ready for your show when you are."