And the actor who plays Jack on the hit sitcom reveals who he beat out for the role of a lifetime way back in the late '90s.
The actor revealed he was axed from the show and replaced by star Megan Mullally's real-life husband Nick Offerman while chatting with his longtime friend Sean Hayes on the "Armchair Expert" podcast that dropped Monday.
"I was fired from your show, which is the only firing experience of my life," Shepard told his friend, who plays Jack on the sitcom. "I got offered to a do a thing on your show last year. I'm fine with it now. It was an interesting feeling to get fired."
"The only thing I cared about is that you and I were involved," he continued. "Had it been any other thing with a bunch of strangers, I would have been like, 'Oh, whatever. I was at a table read for 45 minutes and then I got fired and who gives a shit?'"
Shepard, who is now a regular on Netflix sitcom "The Ranch," said the ordeal was "embarrassing" because he knew so many people at the table read.
"I think maybe that was the only element that I was like, ‘Well, that’s kind of embarrassing,'" he explained. "These are people that I know, and then I got canned."
Hayes called the incident "horrible" and expressed shock that producers fired his friend. But it's all good, both Shepard and Hayes laughed it off. Shepard even found the silver lining: "My daughter had something at school, and it was on the day I would have been doing the live show, and she was graduating from her little class in pre-school, so I was like, this all worked out exactly as it should."
Elsewhere in their two-hour chat, Hayes also revealed the actor that almost got the role that made him a household name. Producers for the hit sitcom approached him at the Sundance Film Festival to audition for the role of Will, which as we all know, went to Eric McCormack. But Hayes didn't want to jet away from the independent film festival to audition for a part he might not get, so he passed on the opportunity, and then was once again asked to audition to play "the other guy" once he was back in Los Angeles.
"It was between me and Alexis Arquette, God rest his soul, he was such a good guy," he said. "And there it is, here we are -- still on the same sitcom, by the way."
Arquette, who was a transgender actress, passed away at the age of 47 in September of 2016 after entering cardiac arrest due to complications stemming from HIV.
"Alexis was born as Robert, our brother. We loved him the moment he arrived. But he came in as more than a sibling — he came as our great teacher," wrote Patricia Arquette in a moving statement. "As Alexis transitioned into being a woman, she taught us tolerance and acceptance. As she moved through her process, she became our sister, teaching us what real love is. We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth — that love is everything."