The Genius Who Broke The Office
This interview surfaces online years after my notes were transcribed but never published. I ended up getting the chance to interview Steve Carell, now more known for his films perhaps than The Office, after nobody except myself contacted NBC at my school to reserve time to interview Steve Carell. I was given a number to dial into a voice chat with Steve Carell, and the rest is history.
Me: You had your start on the Dana Carvey Show. How much does your sketch comedy background come into play now?
Steve Carell: It plays a big role. Some pieces you create from improv, so in many ways Second City is the foundation.
Me: What was Second City like?
SC: Second City is almost the alma mater, the one you always look fondly upon, and then you go to grad school, and you're jaded, and you hate everyone, and you go through a phase and buy two cats.
Me: Been there, done that. So it's good to be Regional Manager of the office, then I take it?
SC: It's lucrative. It's fun. I wouldn't recommend it.
Me: Now that you've reached national superstardom, do you think you've forgotten the little guy? Do you ever miss the days of Saturday Night Live?
SC: Nope. I don't miss it. I have more fun, make more money. No regrets. If I can continue to get paid for what I do, I'm happy.
Me: What is some advice for virgins everywhere?
SC: Keep on truckin'.
Me: Is there any mythological inspiration to your work?
SC: Oh yes, it comes through in my characters. You know what, Brick was the minotaur, in that both he and the minotaur are largely misunderstood. Brick is also more beast than man. However, Brick isn't mythological. [pause] Yet.
Me: So, Steve.
SC: So, what?
Me: [laughs] Do you remember college?
SC: I was a kid in a candy store. I took every advantage possible. I don't hink I have any regrets, honestly. The two years following college, however, was a netherworldly experience.
SC: [inhales] Smell that college air. I remember, and this is no joke, I remember my first raging kegger party. I went by myself to a frat house, like, whatever, the first one I saw, and I remember they were making some stew of alcohol and what was a bunch of fruit, cantaloupe, and watermelon, and grapes, and then adding vodka and gin and, yeah.
Me: Some crazy WOP. I bet that was brewed in in an old inner tube or something.
SC: It was half of a garbage barrel. And it was delicious. I don't remember anything. The last thing I remember is rolling on the ground. I was rolling home. I know this happened because I woke up in my bed the next morning, and I was covered in mud and leaves. Just covered.
Me: So you want back in?
SC: That's why I do these things. Not only to get back, but to give back.
Me: What was your first acting gig? When did you know you were on your way?
SC: My first job realization was a McDonald's commercial for the new triple cheeseburgers. We all had three arms, and I remember thinking, "This is it. I am a complete and utter success. I am starring in a local McDonald's commercial eating a triple cheeseburger." It's all been downhill from there.
Me: What do you feel you bring to the profession of acting?
SC: Wow, I'm stumped. I try to go by what I think is funny, and rely on my friends and family to gauge humor. I use my own instinct. The journey is what is fun. It's all been incredibly fun. Even the terrible things in acting were fun. Comedy is a very visceral, subjective beast. To try to figure out a formula for humor -- it doesn't make sense to me.
There is a little me in everything I play. I always feel that I am beiged against a tan wall. What I can tell you is that I'm a wonderful human being. In fact, I'm nearly perfect, and my rise to national superstardom has not changed this.
Me: If you were in a fight with Jim and Dwight, using only office equipment, who would win?
SC: Well, let's see. Dwight would have a stapler, and he would try to trap people maliciously, but eventually, the staples break, Jim would fight with the copier, but he wouldn't be able to lift it. He wouldn't be able to lift the top up to even slide paper underneath. I would use a 3-hole punch to punch holes in that little flap of skin in between their thumb and forefinger. Justice prevails, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Me: Thank you for your time, Steve, and one last question. Complete this phrase: ______ the Mighty.
SC: Petition. Petition the Mighty. You never know what you're going to get.