10 Fictional Characters You Probably Didn't Know Were Based on Real People

By now we all know the story of how there is actually a guy named Kenny Kramer who lived across the hall from Larry David and who became the inspiration for Michael Richards’ character in Seinfeld. But there are plenty of other fictional characters on television and in movies that are secretly based actual people who live among us (or once did). Some of these muses are pretty surprising! In fact, you may want to ask all your writer friends if you’re in any of their screenplays and start demanding royalties now, because if their character ends up as popular as the ones we’ve rounded up are, you’re definitely going to want a cut of the dough.

Abed Nadir from Community, based on Abed Gheith

Gheith, a friend of Community showrunner Dan Harmon, has worked on many series for Channel 101, a monthly film festival in Los Angeles that puts out serialized five-minute television shows. He met Harmon through his work there, and even auditioned for the part of Abed, which eventually went to Danny Pudi. Gheith is happy to see the show succeed, though as he told Comedy Central in an interview, there are differences between him and the character: “I think I’m a bit more aware socially. I can tell when people are uncomfortable… It seems like the one on the show has no idea that he’s around other people.” Judging from last week’s amazing Abed-centric episode, we’d have to agree with him there.