When Office Space hit theaters in February of 1999, it took in a paltry $4.2 million in its first weekend, landing in eighth place behind such widely-forgotten turkeys as My Favorite Martian, Blast From The Past, Message in a Bottle and Payback. Writer/director Mike Judge had proven himself in television with Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, but this seemed like it would end his foray into movies and live-action work before it really began.
Office Space made such a tiny impact when it opened, it’s easy to imagine that Michael Bolton had absolutely no idea there was a movie in theaters that gleefully tore him to shreds. For the few that haven’t seen the film by this point, David Herman plays a nerdy computer programmer/gangsta rap fan with the unfortunate name of Michael Bolton. “There was nothing wrong [with my name] until I was about 12 years old,” he says. “And that no-talent ass clown got famous and began winning Grammys.”
Not long after it arrived on DVD and Comedy Central began airing it, Office Space became an enormous cult classic. Millions of people all over America have toiled in thankless cubicle jobs and were able to relate to the pain of the characters. Journalists began to ask the real Michael Bolton about the film. “What do you do when someone knocks you when you’ve been nominated for Grammys — Best Male Vocal — four times?” he said in 2006. “When you’re looked at with respect in the industry? When you write with Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Kanye West? The answer is, you don’t have to be insecure about ever being a no-talent anything. You are light-years beyond that possibility. But I admit sometimes I am a clown.”
Bolton was such a good sport about the whole thing that even agreed to recreate scenes from the movie in a hilarious 2015 Funny or Die video where he changed the famous line to “extremely-talented ass clown.” You can check out a compilation of all the Michael Bolton references in Office Space right here. Our favorite moment is when John C. McGinley’s character of Bob Slydell shares his thoughts on Michael Bolton the singer. “I’ll be honest with you, I love his music,” he says. “I’m a Michael Bolton fan. For my money, I don’t know if it gets any better than when he sings ‘When a Man Loves a Woman.'”