It sounds like the set of “The West Wing” was rife with pranks. Joshua Malina revealed last year in a Reddit AMA that when Jimmy Smits first joined the cast, Malina played a prank on co-star Bradley Whitford:
Janel Moloney and I pulled off a good one on The West Wing.
When Jimmy Smits first joined the cast, we sent a HUGE bouquet to him
from Brad Whitford. I had stolen some personalized Whitford stationary,
and wrote a really suggestive note from Brad to Jimmy. It was all very
awkward and fantastic.
“I think Jimmy was confused. I know I was. He came over to me, he kept patting his heart and going, ‘Thank you.’ and then he hugged me,” laughs Whitford, who then proceeds to share his awesome plan at getting back at Malina that never came to fruition.
“This is going to remove the possibility of this happening,” says Whitford. “But to get back at Josh, I had a check written for $3000 to the guy who edits the Screen Actors Guild Memoriam reel and I was gonna kill Josh. Put him right after somebody famous, so everyone would think he passed. … But the guy chickened out.”
That would have been … kind of amazing. That’s pretty much the ultimate death hoax. But Whitford says he came up with something else.
“I ended up writing a ‘West Wing’ and I wrote one where Josh says over and over, “I can’t act. I’m a terrible actor.’ It’s in Season 6,” says Whitford, to which Kimmel replies, “You’ll have to make sure when he does pass away that that is the clip included in his memorial reel at the Emmys.”
It’s from the episode “Internal Displacement,” in reference to Malina’s character Will Bailey having to hide from the press that Elizabeth Bartlet’s husband Doug Westin is having an affair — in case you were wondering.
Whitford goes on to say that perhaps Malina doesn’t understand the idea of a proportionate response when it comes to pranking.
“He made a fake Twitter account where I was on some kind of drunken journey where I was questioning whether I was attracted to women anymore. … Josh has no sense of proportion. Like, you shake his hand with a hand buzzer, so to get back you, he’ll pick up your daughter from school. … He’s perverse, you gotta know what you’re playing with,” laughs Whitford.