Geoffrey Owens on Steve Harvey Show thegrio.com
(Steve Harvey Show/Youtube)

The SAG Awards kicked off with an interesting opener that highlighted the struggles of actors on the rise to fame – but most notably it featured Geoffrey Owens, the former Cosby Show star.

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Last year Owens went viral after a woman took a picture of him working as a Trader Joe’s cashier and circulated the man’s mug on social media as he maintained a side hustle between acting gigs to keep his family afloat. Acting jobs for the former sitcom star had become few and far between.

But the joke was on the woman whose actual name was Karma, because a floodgate of opportunities opened up for Owens. He’s reportedly received quite a few acting jobs and he was sitting front and center at the 25th annual SAG awards, Page Six reports.

As the camera panned to Owens, the crowd erupted in applause:

“So somewhere in the middle of the road in my life, I found myself in the dark wood of unemployment and death but instead of switching careers like a sane person, I took a job at the local Trader Joe’s to see if I can hang in there with my career,” he said during the SAG Awards’ opening montage.

“It’s actually worked pretty well,” he added with a smile.

When things got hard for Owens, he recalled in a Good Morning America interview, that he didn’t make it known that he was working at Trader Joes because he didn’t want potential bosses to think he was done with acting altogether.

He said he “didn’t want the entertainment community to decide, ‘Well, he’s doing that. He’s not pursuing acting anymore.’ I felt like I had to be careful about that.”

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“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better. It might have better benefits. It might look better on a resume or on paper. But, actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable. If we have a kind of a rethinking about that because of what’s happened to me, that would be great. No one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or negative perspective. I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career … I’m doing fine.”

Owens got offers to work for Tyler Perry on his hit OWN show, The Haves and the Have Nots and plenty others. Nicki Minaj donated $25,000 to a charity that supports struggling actors on behalf of Owens as well.