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Steve Carell is America’s goofy boss. He is the actor that made The Office a bonafide sitcom classic. For eight glorious seasons, he made us laugh and cringe as the lovable manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper. He made his mark on the world by playing Michael Scott, however, he has a storied career that goes far beyond the walls of the Scranton business park. It’s a given to every fan of The Office that he is an amazing comedy actor, but in recent years, he has proven to be a dramatic actor to rival even the greatest Oscar-winning actors.
#1- Humble Beginnings in Concord, MA
Steve Carell was the youngest of four kids. His father was an electrical engineer and his mother was a psychiatric nurse. So, Steve definitely followed in mom and dad’s footsteps. His ancestral surname was Caroselli but it was later shortened to Carell.
#2- He showed musical promise growing up
Carell played the fife growing up. A fife is a small woodwind instrument that bears a resemblance to the piccolo. Carell didn’t fall far from the family tree because the entire family played instruments. They played together as a family.
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#3- Steve Carell has always handled paper – he was a mailman in Massachusetts
Before Carell got his big break, he was a mail carrier in the small town of Littleton, Massachusetts. He didn’t get a company truck to deliver mail in, so Steve was riding around town visiting mailboxes in his own Toyota. He would write special letters to kids who put letters to Santa in the mailbox ensuring them that their letter was delivered by special reindeer carriers. And Carell officially wins the award for sweetest mail carrier south of the North Pole.
#4- The interest in comedy begins
Carell attended Denison University in Ohio. There, he joined the school’s improv group called Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company, which continues the tradition of college improv groups having the weirdest names (see Harvard’s Hasty Pudding or Yale’s perhaps a bit pretentiously named Lux Improvitas.)
#5- He began professionally acting in The Dana Carvey Show
In 1996, Carell began his acting career on The Dana Carvey Show. It was a short-lived sketch show, only staying on air for one year. Here, he met good friend and occasional career partner Stephen Colbert, who Carell went on to work on The Daily Show with.
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#6- He proved to have that special comedic touch so early in his career
Carell was a shining star on The Dana Carvey Show. His most famous sketch was performed with Stephen Colbert. He acted as a waiter nauseated by food and Colbert played the patron of the restaurant Carell’s character worked at.
#7 – Steve Carell is the voice of Gary
It’s no secret that Carell is an amazing voice actor. Carell voiced the character Gary, from the SNL sketch, “The Ambiguously Gay Duo”. The animated comedy sketch was originally part of The Dana Carvey Show, before moving to Saturday Night Live.
#8- Poor comedic choices have their consequences
The Dana Carvey Show only lasted eight episodes. The opening sketch of the show featured Dana Carvey as Bill Clinton where he, how to put this, nursed puppies and a kitten the way only a mother could… with his man boobs. Fans immediately tuned out and viewership never recovered.
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#9- Friends stick together
In 1999, Stephen Colbert was cast as a correspondent on The Daily Show, and what do you know, Carell was knighted as a Daily Show correspondent slightly after. The two men were fortunate enough to work under one of the best late-night hosts ever, Jon Stewart.
#10- 1999-2002 were incredibly defining years for The Daily Show
Carell and Colbert joined The Daily Show at a historic time. The race between Al Gore and George Bush was everything but a smooth sail for The US. The Daily Show’s famed coverage of the election was dubbed Indecision 2000. This was not the only earth-shattering event that happened during Carell’s time on the show. September 11, 2001 was a day that shook America to its core. Perhaps the hardest job in the months after the attacks was working on a comedy news show and having to perform shortly after the world changed forever.
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#11- Another friend joins the cast
Ed Helms became a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2003. That name might sound familiar to fans of The Office. Ed Helms was later cast as ex-Cornell acapella singer and current Dunder Mifflin employee, Andy Bernard. Side note about Andy, he was in an all-male acapella group called “Here Comes Treble” even though only women sing in music marked with the treble clef.
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#12- Jon Stewart gave Steve Carell a big break on his show. Don’t leave us, Jon!
Jon Stewart almost left The Daily Show shortly after he began hosting it. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Stewart said there were creative differences between him, the writing staff, and the producers of the show. Fortunately, he stuck it out and gained more creative control over the show, otherwise the landscape of American late-night TV would look very different today.
#13- Thank you, Ricky Gervais!
The show that made Carell a household name would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the British version of the show. Created by UK comedy legend Ricky Gervais, the show gained a massive following despite only lasting for two seasons. Gervais later went on to make cameos in season seven of the US reboot as his character on the UK Office, David Brent. Remember when Michael Scott runs into a fellow comedy enthusiast in the lobby of the Scranton business park? That was his British alter-ego!
#14- Carell’s wife played Carol, Michael’s realtor, on The Office
Michael’s first awkward on-screen relationship was with Carell’s wife. Nancy Carell played Carol for the second and third seasons of the show. They met when Carol sold Michael a condo and broke up when Michael photoshopped himself in place of Carol’s husband on a family skiing trip… Michael definitely needed a couple of trial relationships before he met Holly.
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#15- The Office wasn’t popular at first
Today we consider The Office a modern classic, but the entire cast and crew were worried they were on thin ice during the first season. Things took a turn when Carell starred in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He was so dedicated to the movie, he got his chest waxed on screen.
#16 – Steve Carell’s “employees” Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer met on the set of The Office and they still are best friends
Pam and Angela are closer to enemies than besties on The Office. One can even go as far as to say that Angela is the Dwight to Pam’s Jim. However, Kinsey and Fischer have been best friends ever since they filmed the episode, “Basketball.” While filming that episode, they had to sit right next to each other on the sidelines of the office vs. warehouse basketball game for hours on end while filming. That’s how they found their best friend soulmate. Steve Carell once told them on set to cherish the friendship because if they take nothing else from the then at risk show, they would always have each other. Who knew Carell was friendship Yoda? The two of them now host an amazing Office rewatch podcast called Office Ladies. The podcast is unmissable for any Office fans.
#17- Oscar Nuñez is “the rock”
Oscar Nuñez who played know-it-all accountant Oscar Martinez was dubbed by the cast as “the rock.” It seems impossible to avoid giggling while acting on a show as funny as The Office, but Nuñez became notorious for never breaking character and laughing. He stayed stoic even when he shared scenes with Carell who Fischer noted on Office Ladies was an incredibly funny scene partner.
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#18- Steve Carell was not the first choice to play Michael
It seems impossible to imagine any other actor playing Michael Scott. Steve Carell was the perfect choice for the role and seemingly irreplaceable on the cast. However, casting directors had Paul Giamatti in mind for the part. No offense to Giamatti, but thank god Steve Carell was chosen for the role instead.
#19- There were some other weird casting choices that might have been
In addition to Paul Giamatti almost becoming Michael, John Krasinski, who we now know as the mischief-maker with the heart of gold, Jim Halpert, originally was called in to audition for the role of Dwight. Once he read the script, he realized he would be better suited as Jim and he begged casting directors to let him try for his now-iconic part. In addition, comedian Jim Gaffigan auditioned for Dwight, Harold and Kumar actor John Cho auditioned for Jim, and Seth Rogen was another Dwight contender. As funny as these actors are, The Office is perfectly casted as it is.
#20- Carell wrote the season two finale of The Office
“Casino Night” is one of the most pivotal early episodes of The Office. It’s the episode in which Jim directly confesses his love for Pam for the first time and Jan is forced to confront the fact that Michael has other romantic entanglements. Many fans don’t realize that Steve Carell penned this episode. He almost chickened out of it, too, telling the show’s producers he had cold feet just weeks before the script was due.
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#21- Carell supported the writer’s strike
Carell worked very closely with the writers of The Office. Some of them such as B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling were fellow actors on the show. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Carell supported the writer’s strike. He would not cross the picket line and called in sick on the first day of the strike, citing “enlarged balls” as his excuse. Keeping it classy, Steve.
#22- The most meme-able moment from The Office explained
We all know the most common Office meme. Michael screams “NO!!!” multiple times while in a tight close-up. It’s from the season five episode “Frame Toby.” Toby, who we have gathered is not one of Michael’s favorite office mates, returns from a short stint in Costa Rica after breaking his nek on the first day of his trip ziplining. Michael at first doesn’t realize Toby’s back, but when he discovers the human wet blanket at his desk, let’s just say Michael doesn’t hide his feelings.
#23- Steve Carell didn’t study much before taking on the role of Michael
Carell only watched a bit of the UK version of The Office before stopping. He didn’t want to copy Gervais’ performance. As great as David Brent is, he’s not Michael Scott and fans are glad for it.
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#24- Apparently, Phyllis isn’t the best at calculating age difference
A cute running gag on The Office is when Michael implies that Phyllis is the matronly grandma of the office and Phyllis retorts that they’re the same age as they graduated in the same high school class. However, in reality, actress Phyllis Smith, who played Phyllis, is eleven years older than Carell.
#25- Michael’s last words to Pam
“Goodbye Michael” was a heart-wrenching two-part episode during which we all said goodbye to one of America’s favorite sitcom characters. Probably one of the most tear-jerking moments in part two was when Michael said his last goodbye to Pam before boarding his plane to Boulder, Colorado to be with Holly. A hotly debated question amongst Office fans is what Steve Carell really said to Pam in those final moments with her. The audience couldn’t hear because Michael showed the camera he was taking his microphone off moments earlier and Pam had just come back from an out of office errand so she didn’t have her microphone on either. While Jenna Fischer said she will never tell anyone verbatim what Carell said to her in those final moments, she told her Office Ladies listeners that the director of the episode told Carell to just say what he was feeling saying goodbye to Jenna. If you’re an Office fan and tears are not streaming down your face right now, you have a heart of stone.
#26- The crew got emotional when Steve Carell left, too
To honor Carell, the crew retired his number on the call sheet. No other cast member ever was listed as number one. Sports team managers apparently do the same thing when a great athlete leaves a team, retiring their jersey number forever. None of them were as worthy of this honor as when Steve Carell left the role of Michael Scott.
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#27- The Office trekked on
The show was never the same without Michael. But the show continued on for almost two seasons. Writers attempted to replace Michael with probable sex addict Robert California played by James Spader. But of course, no one could replace Steve Carell as Michael. Fans often comment that Robert was an awful character. In his defense, he was a well thought out and mysterious character. He just was a bad fit to replace a character who gave the show so much warmth and light comedy.
#28- The last appearance of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott
The finale of one of the world’s greatest sitcoms wouldn’t be complete without the best character in the show’s nine-season run. Michael made one last appearance in the two-part finale. In what is perhaps the sweetest cameo in the run of the series, Michael shows up to be best man at Dwight’s wedding after Jim defects. We learn Michael has been living a happy life in Colorado and keeps two cellphones because there isn’t enough memory to store all the photos he takes of his family on one. The audience is also incredibly happy he has a family plan!
#29- Carell’s last movie while still playing Michael was Crazy, Stupid, Love
In 2011, Carell took up the role of soon-to-be divorcee Cal in Crazy, Stupid, Love. The movie was incredibly popular and had an all-star cast including Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. If those names sound familiar together, it’s because they would again play a couple in 2016’s La La Land.
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#30- Steve Carell, the dramatic actor
Since retiring his call sheet number on The Office, Carell has taken on more dramatic roles. Since he left Dunder-Mifflin, almost every movie he’s been in has been dramatic. This is with the exception of his role in the Despicable Me franchise and he gets some funny points for his role in the dramedy Battle of the Sexes.
#31- The producers of Despicable Me only wanted to cast great improvisational actors
Fortunately, Carell fit the bill. Daily Show correspondents have to be quick on their feet as they interview real people and some of the best moments on The Office were improvised, such as when Michael kisses Oscar in “Gay Witch Hunt.”
#32- What the heck is Gru’s accent in Despicable Me?
It’s best described as a high pitched Russian guy trying to imitate Ricky Ricardo. Carell describes the accent as meshing famous Latino romantic actor Ricardo Montalban and Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi.
We, at Hollywood Insider, would like to wish continued success to Steve Carell. You have a reputation of being the kindest person and that makes us value you even more. We look forward to you making us laugh with all your genius comedic talent.
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