March 7, 2023
EP. 158 — Interview with Steve Carell
This week we’re interviewing Steve Carell! Steve talks about what it was like to be on “The Office,” play Michael Scott and everyone reminisces over some favorite Michael moments. Steve answers fan questions from the “Office Ladies” Facebook fan page including questions like “Do you have a Toby in your life?”. The ladies also give Steve a “Regular Guy” quiz. This is a delightful, funny conversation we’ve all been waiting for and we know you’re gonna be just as happy as we were to hear from Steve. Enjoy, Office Ladies fans!
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158 — Interview with Steve Carell
Jenna [00:00:03] I’m Jenna Fischer.
Angela [00:00:04] And I’m Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:00:06] We were on The Office together.
Angela [00:00:07] And we’re best friends.
Jenna [00:00:08] And now we’re doing the ultimate Office rewatch podcast just for you.
Angela [00:00:12] Each week, we will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you.
Jenna [00:00:19] We’re the Office Ladies.
Angela [00:00:23] Happy Wednesday, everybody!
Jenna [00:00:25] A very happy Wednesday. This is one of the most exciting Wednesdays for me.
Angela [00:00:30] This might be one of my happiest Wednesdays.
Jenna [00:00:33] Office Ladies listeners, we have a special guest today.
Angela [00:00:36] The one, the only….
Both [00:00:38] Steve Carell!
Angela [00:00:40] We have been waiting for this ever since the beginning of the podcast. We are so excited to have him on. And you guys are going to love it.
Jenna [00:00:48] We are dedicating this entire episode to Steve. He’s going to talk about all of his time on The Office playing Michael Scott. We could not be more excited for you to hear it.
Angela [00:00:56] Also, I hope you guys, when you listen, the thing that just warmed my heart was, for me, it was just three friends getting to hang out who had missed each other and hadn’t seen each other in so long. So I just hope as you listen, you get to feel that with us. It was like no time had passed. We just were so happy to see our old friend.
Jenna [00:01:16] I really feel like we captured what it’s like to sit on set with Steve Carell. People always ask us, What’s it like to work with Steve Carell? This interview captures what it’s like.
Angela [00:01:26] Yeah.
Jenna [00:01:26] These are the conversations. This is how we would laugh.
Angela [00:01:29] Yeah, these were our Monday morning chats after the weekend.
Jenna [00:01:32] Absolutely. Before we get to the interview, we do want to give a big shout out to our Facebook fan page. I hopped on there and I wrote a message. I had to literally figure out Facebook in order to do it.
Angela [00:01:44] You did. You were like, I don’t know my password. I don’t know how to do it.
Jenna [00:01:47] I didn’t know anything. I had an old account that was like five years old or something, but I went on there and I asked you guys, What do you want us to ask Steve Carell? And oh my gosh, did you show up for us. It was amazing.
Angela [00:02:01] So awesome! You guys sent in thousands of fantastic questions. I also want to give a big shout out to Nikki, who moderates the Facebook fan page because she helped us go through and pick out some of your most asked questions. And we asked Steve your questions.
Jenna [00:02:20] And some of the questions are so good, I would have never thought of them.
Angela [00:02:24] I know.
Jenna [00:02:24] And they made us laugh. And you’ll hear it. You’ll hear it. All right. Let’s take a break. And when we come back, our interview with Steve Carell.
Angela [00:02:35] Jenna, I am so excited.
Jenna [00:02:37] Because?
Angela [00:02:38] Guess who’s sitting next to me? Steve!
Jenna [00:02:38] Ahh!
Steve Carell [00:02:38] Ahhhh!
Jenna [00:02:38] Ahhh!
Angela [00:02:38] It is Steve Carell! In the studio. On Office Ladies.
Jenna [00:02:49] We’re all here in our glasses. Remember, we didn’t have these when we worked on the show together. Did we all three wear glasses?
Steve Carell [00:02:56] The very last season, I really needed them for table reads. Desperately.
Jenna [00:02:59] Right. For reading.
Steve Carell [00:03:00] Yes.
Jenna [00:03:01] But look at us now.
Steve Carell [00:03:02] Now we’re here.
Angela [00:03:03] I know. Ye oldies eyewear. Should I just kick it off with our very first question we always ask?
Jenna [00:03:10] We have a favorite first question of all of our guests.
Steve Carell [00:03:13] Okay.
Angela [00:03:14] Okay. Here it is. It is…
Jenna [00:03:15] It’s really hard.
Angela [00:03:16] It’s really hard. Ready? How did you get your job on The Office?
Steve Carell [00:03:20] I auditioned. I have to say, the audition for The Office was unlike any audition I’ve ever had. And I’m sure you had the same experience. Because it felt like it was a workshop. It didn’t feel like an audition. There didn’t seem to be a ton of pressure. You just went in and they had a camera, but you didn’t think there was anyone outside of the, you know, the one or two people that was that were in the room. So it was very low key and very supportive.
Jenna [00:03:52] I remember we did a screen test together. Because after I auditioned something like seven times, I made it to the end, I guess, and it was like I was one of the final four. And they paired me up with you for a couple of scenes. That was crazy. I had never done something like that before.
Steve Carell [00:04:09] I told them. I said I- anybody but her.
Jenna [00:04:11] You’re like, I don’t care.
Steve Carell [00:04:13] No chemistry.
Jenna [00:04:13] What is her name, Gemma?
Angela [00:04:15] Zippo.
Steve Carell [00:04:15] Gemma Fisker. I don’t like it. Don’t think it’s gonna work.
Angela [00:04:19] I don’t think Gemma Fisker is going to be on the show.
Steve Carell [00:04:22] No, I remember auditioning with you, and I remember how grounded you were instantly in your character. And I thought, you know, when you, you read with someone, you don’t know who they are as a person.
Jenna [00:04:34] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:04:34] And you immediately think, well, that’s that’s who she is, clearly. Because you, you can’t separate it at that point. But then you find out like everyone has completely different personalities than the characters they’re portraying. And it’s kind of amazing. Like once- I remember… Can I tell a story, like, right off the bat?
Angela [00:04:53] Yes!
Jenna [00:04:53] Yes!
Angela [00:04:53] Oh my gosh.
Steve Carell [00:04:54] I remember when we were at our first studio, our first soundstage out in Culver City, and we were shooting the pilot. And I was at craft service and I had taken a can of Diet Coke or something out of the six pack. And, you know, there was that plastic carrying six pack thing.
Angela [00:05:15] Right, right.
Steve Carell [00:05:15] And I started breaking it down. I started cutting the edges before I threw it in the trash, you know, because of the dolphins and you don’t wanna-.
Angela [00:05:22] Right.
Steve Carell [00:05:23] And I remember you walking up and commending me for doing that. And that stuck with me, like, oh, yeah, I was just kind of doing it as a courtesy to the dolphins, of course.
Jenna [00:05:35] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:05:36] And but I remember you kind of giving me a pat on the back and saying, Hey, good for you. Nice job.
Angela [00:05:44] That is such a specific memory to remember.
Steve Carell [00:05:45] I do- like it’s one of my strongest memories from the first episode. And I thought, She’s so nice. It’s so- it’s so nice to be with nice people. I guess that was the take away. Like, oh, this is going to be great.
Jenna [00:06:01] Fellow dolphin lover, you know? I do that at home. I probably said, I do that at home.
Steve Carell [00:06:06] Yeah.
Jenna [00:06:06] Yeah. I love to see it.
Steve Carell [00:06:07] And we should shout out to all the people out there.
Angela [00:06:10] Cut the plastic thingy.
Steve Carell [00:06:12] Who cut the plastic. Don’t, you know- well keep, keep the plastic down.
Angela [00:06:16] Yeah. There’s that too.
Steve Carell [00:06:17] For one thing.
Jenna [00:06:17] That’s right.
Steve Carell [00:06:18] This is going to be a PSA.
Angela [00:06:21] It is so funny, though, like where your brain goes. Because my strongest memory of the pilot is how you had to go down those stone steps outside to get, like, to crafty and everything, you know, like you had to go outside the building down these stone staircase. And Oscar and I were leaving at the same time. And he- we had done sketch comedy together for years, right? So we just went back to our silly schtick and he goes, Let’s walk down the stairs together the same way! And I said, Okay, Oscar! And we started to go down the stairs with our arms flinging about. And we turned and the whole like producing team was walking behind us. Like Terry Weinberg, Howard Klein, all of those people. And I was like, Oscar, there’s a bunch of people behind us. He goes, Then we have to keep doing it!
Steve Carell [00:07:11] Yeah, you have to own it at that point.
Angela [00:07:12] Yeah. So I’m like, okay, that’s one thing I remember.
Steve Carell [00:07:15] But then you find out later on, those intimidating people weren’t intimidating at all.
Angela [00:07:20] No!
Steve Carell [00:07:21] Everyone was completely-
Angela [00:07:22] So nice and rooting for us.
Steve Carell [00:07:23] Yeah, yeah. Everyone’s in the same boat.
Jenna [00:07:25] I have a question that came from our Office Ladies fan group. This is from Carly D. Carly would like to know, What was your process and inspiration behind playing Michael? How did you craft this character?
Steve Carell [00:07:38] I remember meeting with Greg Daniels up at a deli like on the top of Mulholland. And we didn’t know each other at all. And it’s before… It’s before I got the part, actually. He you know, he was I think he was meeting with some of the people who were sort of in the mix. The final mix for Michael. And we just discussed the character and talked about what his foibles are and what is his dreams and hopes, and and I had a pretty specific take at that point. And it wasn’t Ricky Gervais’, you know, and I and I’ve told this story a million times, that I chose not to watch the British version because I just didn’t want that to influence whatever this version was going to be. And because he was so he was clearly so great at it and it was such a distinctive character, I didn’t want it to do an impression of him.
Jenna [00:08:33] I remember you telling me that. And I remember telling you that I had chosen to watch the entire British series and completely copy Lucy Davis. And was basically doing a Lucy Davis impression to get the job.
Steve Carell [00:08:47] So, so not true.
Jenna [00:08:51] But also kind of true.
Steve Carell [00:08:53] I don’t think so.
Jenna [00:08:54] Until, until, you know, especially for the pilot, because we were doing it word for word. And I was like, I think she nailed it. Like, I don’t know how to say the line better than that. So I guess I’m just going to go with what she did.
Steve Carell [00:09:04] See I never- well.
Jenna [00:09:06] But I remember you saying you’d never seen it and I was really impressed.
Angela [00:09:09] You didn’t want that information in your brain. Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:09:10] I didn’t. Because, you know, I watched like a minute of just to get a sense of the tone of the show, sort of how how dark and very dry, very dour, kind of bleak, which I loved. I loved how still it was at times. But his character was so specific, I thought, no, I can’t, because that’s what I’ll want to do. I won’t I won’t see it any other way. And I think Greg agreed with that as sort of a template for doing it. And we were definitely on the same page in terms of who this guy could be and could become and, and I early on, I started thinking about an arc too, like where, where- Because you hope, you know, you don’t go in thinking this is just going to be a pilot or this is just going to be six episodes. The hope is the character starts here and ends up way somewhere else. There’s no way of really knowing where a character’s going to end in the last episode. But I kind of, in my mind, I had a plan. Like because these characters, the hope was that all of these characters would change and evolve and grow. And and that’s part of what’s fun about watching a show is to see progress in these characters. So that was that was sort of the plan going in. That was sort of the hope. It was one of those parts that you just pray that you get because… Well, you know, at that point, certainly we’re all just happy to be working.
Jenna [00:10:46] Yeah.
Angela [00:10:46] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:10:47] But on top of it, it just seemed like what a what a perfect thing to be a part of. And everyone who I met who had been involved with it seemed great and smart and nice and kind and all of those things just made it so appealing to to want to be- I was, you know, crossing my fingers.
Angela [00:11:08] Oh, I know. I remember thinking, like, I can do this. Like, this one I can do.
Steve Carell [00:11:13] Yeah.
Angela [00:11:14] But that was Pam, and I didn’t get it, but then I got to be the accountant. And then I was like, No, I can really do this.
Jenna [00:11:24] Have you ever worked in an office in real life? Or ever had a boss like Michael Scott?
Steve Carell [00:11:30] Um. No.
Jenna [00:11:30] No.
Steve Carell [00:11:31] No, I never have.
Jenna [00:11:32] Not an office worker.
Steve Carell [00:11:33] I, I did a lot of you know, I did a lot of waiting tables. I sold wine over the phone at one point.
Angela [00:11:41] What?
Jenna [00:11:41] How do you sell wine over the phone?
Steve Carell [00:11:42] Exactly.
Jenna [00:11:45] I mean, you can’t taste it. How does it- do you describe it?
Angela [00:11:47] It’s a beautiful bottle.
Steve Carell [00:11:49] Well you describe it based on- but we didn’t get to drink the wine. But you have to describe a wine based on a, you know, a paragraph that they’ve written on each on each wine and varietal characteristics of each wine. It’s a hard sell. Believe me. Hello. Do you like wine? Click.
Angela [00:12:12] Oh, my God. Okay. Was The Office your first lead role?
Steve Carell [00:12:19] Um yeah, I think it was. I. I had done… It was a it was really fun to do. I but I played a crazy Greek chef on a sitcom with Annie Potts and Tim Curry. So that’s, that’s the that’s the sitcom that I had done. And I did it. I did a show just before The Office starring Tom Papa, really funny comedian. And he had a show-.
Jenna [00:12:45] Come to Papa.
Steve Carell [00:12:45] Come to Papa. And he was he was so great. And the show, you know, only lasted a few episodes. So I, I went from that and then auditioned for The Office when that when that ended. But no, I’d never done a lead. I’d never done a lead role.
Angela [00:13:02] Because I have such a memory of you, Steve, sitting over on that little sofa at front reception or the chair sometimes that was in front of Michael’s office, just studying your lines. Because you would have to carry every scene. And I just breezed through and said something snarky to Kevin and then breezed out, you know, for the most part. But I always thought, was there a lot of pressure to be the lead and have to carry all of that?
Steve Carell [00:13:26] Not not with that group of people, because I felt like everyone was an equal component of that show. I didn’t feel that way. I didn’t feel like I was carrying any more load than anyone else. Because when you think about it, you know, yeah, I had a lot of dialogue, but everyone was there all the time. And even if you were in the background of a scene, you’re still acting. You’re still active. You, like, all of us had character stuff going on at all times. So I don’t think enough can be said for the fact that… to be to just be present on that set, everyone was working really hard. But it didn’t- it didn’t- I don’t wanna make it sound like it was hard work because it wasn’t. It was really fun.
Angela [00:14:15] Right.
Steve Carell [00:14:16] Because everyone was there supporting each other. So, no, I never felt I never felt like any undue pressure. And also, the writing was so good that at a certain point, it became very easy to memorize lines, because you started to understand exactly how the writers were writing it and how they were also writing to us, like, to our characters and to all of our voices.
Jenna [00:14:40] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:14:41] So I find that if dialogue’s really good, it’s generally pretty easy to remember because it makes sense.
Angela [00:14:48] That’s right. I always think about that too. If it’s well written, I have no problem. And then our joke is we’d never make it on a medical show. Because.
Steve Carell [00:14:57] Ohhh… I can’t even imagine.
Angela [00:14:58] All the things they have to just like quickly rapidfire off. I be like, Oh no. I’m like, I’m not going to audition for that. I’ll be a disaster.
Steve Carell [00:15:05] Yeah. No, that would be tough.
Jenna [00:15:07] So, Steve, we have talked about, many times on this podcast, just about our gratitude for your just stability and consistency and your leadership. So much so that a fan wrote in, Sarah H, and said, We’ve heard how supportive and professional Steve is on set, and I would love to hear Steve’s perspective or advice on setting the tone at work and fostering a supportive environment.
Steve Carell [00:15:36] Let’s start by saying I am pretty great. And.
Jenna [00:15:41] So some of it’s just in your DNA.
Angela [00:15:43] I mean, you had a shirt you would wear that said, I’m fantastic, right?
Steve Carell [00:15:46] Yeah, that’s right. With my face on it. So just to reiterate that it’s me. That’s really nice of you to say. But I, again, I, I felt like I was part of this very unique ensemble, and so I never thought of myself that way. I thought of Greg as our leader and our sort of mentor in terms of this world. And he oversaw everything. And everyone was so nice. Everyone was so kind to each other that I never got a sense that it should be any other way than- just in terms of the the production of the show, like from, from wardrobe to the writers to the all of the crew, you know, catering, craft service, everybody felt like they were part of something. And the other part of it is, I believe sincerely that every one of us knew, no, no matter who watched it or whether it had any sort of longevity in terms of viewership, even if, you know, if we got canceled after a season or two or three, I was so- I think we were all so happy and thankful for the time that we got to work on the show and to be with one another. It was really it just it was a special a special thing. And we were aware of how special it was in the moment.
Jenna [00:17:11] Mm hmm.
Both [00:17:12] For sure.
Angela [00:17:12] For sure. I always was just super thankful for the writing because it was like… You know when you do an improv show or sketch comedy show or something, and there’s one person that wants the joke, wants the joke, wants the joke, and they just kill the show? I never felt that on our show. It was like if Phyllis had the best button, she could level the room. Or Oscar or Creed. It didn’t matter. Like, the jokes came from everyone. It was a real creative collective, and the writers wrote that way, and Greg treated us that way. Like, Greg could look at a scene and be like, No, you know what? It’s not working with Jim getting the laugh. Let’s flip that and let’s have Stanley say it.
Steve Carell [00:17:55] Right.
Angela [00:17:55] And then it just floored everyone. And so I always felt that way. And I feel like Greg set that tone for us that like, everybody gets to play.
Steve Carell [00:18:03] You’re exactly right. Everyone got their shot. Not just that, but everyone else loved it. Everyone else was supportive of it. There was no resentment, no ego involved. And like, why not? That’s the way to do it. And I think you can see it when you watch the show, because there is a calm to it like no one’s- everyone’s- it’s all good. Everyone’s everyone is- everyone’s loving each other, you know? In terms of us as actors and people beyond the characters.
Angela [00:18:38] I’d get so excited for conference room scenes because those were our rapid fire things. I mean, when Michael’s up there, but literally every single person in the room has either a bit or a look. And it’s just so fun to watch.
Steve Carell [00:18:51] Almost impossible to get through.
Angela [00:18:53] Oh, we and we didn’t. Oh, my God. We laughed so much.
Jenna [00:18:56] Well, people are very excited for you to talk about some of your favorite memories of shooting The Office. Specifically, they’re curious if you have a favorite episode? Which I think is like asking, Do you have a favorite child? It’s very hard.
Angela [00:19:09] That’s so hard.
Steve Carell [00:19:09] Yeah, that is hard. Oh, you know, my last one, talk about heart, it was a really difficult episode to do, but I also loved it at the same time because it was sort of that end game for Michael. It was that- the culmination, the sort of showing the growth that he didn’t need the big sendoff. He didn’t need the big party. He could say goodbye to all of his friends on his own terms without any of the, you know-.
Angela [00:19:41] Fanfare.
Steve Carell [00:19:42] The fanfare, Exactly. And so that that I really enjoyed, you know, having that character evolve to that point in that moment. And people always point to this one, but but Dinner Party was- Dinner Party is up there. And, you know, we’d come back after the writers strike. So that was the first thing that we had shot. I know you’ve discussed it, but I think everyone was so ready to get back to work and had really missed each other. And this is an episode that had just been sitting there waiting to happen for a while. And it’s so weird and and kind of dense thematically and crazy and had great guest appearances and great sight gags. It was also really dark in a lot of ways and very sad.
Angela [00:20:35] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:20:36] And kind of emotionally fraught. So I that there was a lot going on in that one. So I like that one too.
Jenna [00:20:42] We didn’t realize until we were breaking it down and we did a little Googling, apparently it was a huge bomb when it first aired. It was not a fan fave.
Angela [00:20:51] I had no memory of that!
Jenna [00:20:52] It is not what it is today.
Angela [00:20:53] Yeah.
Jenna [00:20:54] But it was um people did not care for it.
Steve Carell [00:20:56] The show in general, you know, was a huge bomb when people first saw it.
Jenna [00:21:02] This is true.
Steve Carell [00:21:03] I, you know, acquired taste, I suppose. Another one to your point that people did not like at first was Scott’s Tots.
Jenna [00:21:09] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:21:09] And I loved doing that episode because it was so horrible. But but I think expressed so much about this guy’s persona because his heart definitely in the right place and a huge heart, but so wrong.
Angela [00:21:28] No follow through.
Steve Carell [00:21:29] And I think there was a talking head, something to the effect of, Of all the stupid things I’ve done in my life, this was the most generous. Or something like that.
Jenna [00:21:41] Yes. This is the most generous.
Steve Carell [00:21:42] Um it was something to that effect.
Jenna [00:21:44] I think it’s like, Of all the empty promises I’ve made in my life, this one was the most generous.
Steve Carell [00:21:48] That’s it! That’s…
Angela [00:21:50] Great memory, Jenna.
Steve Carell [00:21:52] That’s it. That’s just such a hard line to say with a straight face.
Angela [00:21:56] You have so many amazing talking heads. We talk about it every week, and I sort of go and look at the deleted scenes and there are some real gems in there too. But Jenna, your favorite is-
Jenna [00:22:06] I have a favorite.
Angela [00:22:08] Yeah.
Jenna [00:22:08] And we have an audio clip of it so that we can listen to it together.
Steve Carell [00:22:11] Okay.
Jenna [00:22:12] Is after Michael burns is foot on the Forman grill.
Steve Carell [00:22:15] Oh yeah.
Jenna [00:22:15] And you very angrily explain how it happened.
Angela [00:22:21] You’re so annoyed. Michael’s so annoyed.
Jenna [00:22:22] You’re so defensive. Like, why do I have to explain this? But I guess here it goes.
Angela [00:22:28] Again! Wait. We got to hear it.
Jenna [00:22:30] Yeah.
Michael Scott [00:22:31] I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon. Sue me. And since I don’t have a butler, I have to do it myself. So most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then, I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious. It’s good for me. It’s a perfect way to start the day. Today I got up, I stepped onto the grill and it clamped down on my foot. That’s it. I don’t see what’s so hard to believe about that.
Jenna [00:23:09] I love. I love the big sigh after you’ve explained how you eat bacon, six strips of bacon every morning, you’re like, So today…
Steve Carell [00:23:21] I think my favorite part of that was when he says, And it’s good for me. Just slipping in how good, how healthy eating six strips of bacon in the morning. Ohhh.
Jenna [00:23:37] But there’s so much about that if you unpack it. Like, it actually is really nice to wake up to the smell of bacon. That’s- I have that memory from childhood.
Angela [00:23:45] It’s comfort.
Jenna [00:23:45] You wake up on a Sunday. Dad’s downstairs making the pancakes, making some bacon. It is actually a really- he has a point.
Angela [00:23:54] Maybe just made bacon.
Steve Carell [00:23:56] He doesn’t say it the way you just did, though. That’s the problem. And what was so great about those talking heads, and so terrifying in a way, was that they were so well written that you just didn’t want to screw it up. You didn’t- you- there was an obligation, and I know you guys felt this too, like when you had a really good line and it- here it comes, you would try to do everything you could to take the pedal off a little bit. You know, don’t don’t floor it for the joke. Really ease off and let it seem like this is just a natural extension of what this guy is thinking or what these women are thinking. And that was the hardest part, is to not point to all of these fantastic jokes. To just make them feel conversational. And also just to not laugh. I’m sure I laughed 20 times during that, trying to do that talking head. There’s one talking head I- what was it? That I could barely get through. And it was the same sort of thing. It was something so ridiculous.
Angela [00:25:05] There’s one in the bloopers. You know, Isabel’s obsessed with the bloopers. She loves them, so she’ll be like, Oh, mom, you’re at season seven. There’s great bloopers. I’m like, Okay, Iz. But there was one, Steve, that you could not get through where you said- I’m going to get it wrong, but you’re like, Michael’s like, I’m not a bad guy. Sometimes I hit people with my car.
Steve Carell [00:25:23] That’s the one. That’s the one I was thinking.
Angela [00:25:25] Yeah, you couldn’t get through it. Sometimes I hit people with my car.
Steve Carell [00:25:29] Yeah. When I hit Meredith with my car.
Angela [00:25:30] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:25:32] Like trying to absolve myself of having done it. I’m not a bad guy. Sometimes I just hit people with my car. And I remember doing it, and I’d be getting close. And I, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get through it. It was so it was it’s it’s fun going to know you’re going to go into work every day and laugh until you cry.
Angela [00:25:56] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:25:56] Every, every day I was on that set, at one- at least one point of the day, I was laughing until tears were coming out of my eyes. And I mean, what a gift.
Jenna [00:26:05] Yes.
Angela [00:26:06] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:26:07] Who has a job like that?
Angela [00:26:08] So Michael Scott had a lot of characters that he would play over the years, and we found a deleted scene, Steve, that I wanted to share with you. I don’t know if you’ll remember it. I you know, when you hear it, you’ll remember it. But it’s from season three in The Convict. Michael explains where he got the idea, or I guess, inspiration for all of his characters, in particular Prison Mike. I really wanted you to hear it. Sam, can you play it?
Michael Scott [00:26:35] When I was just a little kid, we had an assembly at school where a giant owl came out and gave a very impassioned speech about giving hoots and not polluting. And you know what? I never polluted again. It was right then that I realized the power of saying things as a character. People listen to you when you are wearing an elaborate costume or speaking in a voice that is not yours.
Jenna [00:27:20] Can you believe it?
Angela [00:27:21] Isn’t that amazing?
Jenna [00:27:22] Can you believe that was deleted?
Steve Carell [00:27:23] Oh my god.
Angela [00:27:24] That explains Prison Mike. Date Mike.
Jenna [00:27:25] Everybody! Michael Scarn! Anyone. Any time you led a conference room meeting in a costume with a voice…
Angela [00:27:33] You thought, This is it. They’re going to hear me.
Steve Carell [00:27:36] Wow.
Jenna [00:27:36] This is how I am most effective.
Angela [00:27:38] How I get ’em.
Steve Carell [00:27:38] I did- I-
Jenna [00:27:39] Cuz you don’t give any hoots anymore!
Steve Carell [00:27:41] Well-.
Jenna [00:27:42] You give a hoot.
Both [00:27:43] You don’t pollute.
Steve Carell [00:27:43] Clearly this relates back to me tearing apart the plastic into, you know.
Jenna [00:27:49] Yes!
Steve Carell [00:27:50] For the dolphins.
Jenna [00:27:51] Even still! You don’t pollute.
Steve Carell [00:27:52] Steve Carell gave a hoot.
Jenna [00:27:55] Sure did!
Steve Carell [00:27:57] I, boy, I mean, that’s sort of like that vague, foggy, as I was hearing it, I kind of recalled. But there are there are thousands of those. There are like different versions of all of this stuff and things that could have made, you know, could made a difference either way. But they were so good, you know, the editors and Greg, I never regretted anything that was taken out of the show. I had complete confidence that- because you know how some people get possessive, like, well, why did that scene go or what happened there?
Angela [00:28:31] Right. Right.
Steve Carell [00:28:33] They were so good about structuring the show and what needed to be in and what what was might have been really funny but didn’t help.
Angela [00:28:41] Right. Or might have explained a whole backstory.
Steve Carell [00:28:45] Right.
Angela [00:28:46] But they just they let the audience just jump in the middle. They didn’t have to, like, explain everything. But every once in a while as we’re doing this rewatch and we find a deleted scene or something that’s such a nugget, we’re like, Ohh.
Steve Carell [00:28:57] Yeah.
Angela [00:28:57] That’s why he would come in these costumes and and give a big presentation. It’s because of Hoot, the owl.
Steve Carell [00:29:03] Sure.
Jenna [00:29:05] Did you get to give notes on things? Like were you very much a part of that? Like, I would remember sometimes you would stay behind after a table read and they would want to know your thoughts and things. They were really collaborative and open in that way, right?
Steve Carell [00:29:18] For sure. Yes. And the fact that so many of the writers were also actors on the show, there was like such a great connection that it didn’t feel like different facets of the show. Again, everybody just felt like they were all collaborators. And the writers were part of the ensemble, which I think helped, because they they understood everyone’s voice that much better because they were there and they were hearing it. But yeah, I mean, I’d, I’d weigh in.
Jenna [00:29:46] Would you pitch ideas?
Steve Carell [00:29:47] Sure. Yeah.
Jenna [00:29:48] Do you remember any?
Steve Carell [00:29:50] Well, I remember one one specifically. And this was later on. This was when you and Jim were getting married.
Jenna [00:29:57] Mm hmm.
Steve Carell [00:29:57] And they wanted to have a horse go over Niagara Falls.
Angela [00:30:01] Oh, my gosh. Yes.
Steve Carell [00:30:02] And I, I, I raised my hand and said, We can’t. That’s.
Angela [00:30:07] That’s crazy.
Steve Carell [00:30:08] I mean, all due respect, but please don’t do that.
Jenna [00:30:13] It was not just you. Apparently, when we were breaking down that episode, we talked to Greg about it and he was like, Steve told me not to do it. Randy told me not to do it. You told me not to do it. Like literally everyone told him it. It was so hard for him to let go of that.
Steve Carell [00:30:30] But I’m sure if it was Greg, it would have been funny. Definitely. But and those were rare moments when you felt like, no, I- yeah, I mean, little notes here and there. But again, that- those writers were so good and so on point about everything that it was more in addition to as opposed to negating.
Angela [00:30:56] Yeah. Side note, did you know- we didn’t know this- Randy shared this with us, that up until like, right like the day before, they had a horse they were training in a big water pool at Paramount Studios. Like it was, they were all systems go like right up until, like the day before.
Steve Carell [00:31:13] See, thats-
Angela [00:31:15] There was a horse being trained!
Steve Carell [00:31:16] Of course there was. That’s what- what you don’t realize when you write something, somebody starts to build it.
Angela [00:31:22] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:31:22] I mean, it starts to happen. So when you say, Oh, so now we’re going to be out in the woods. And then a month later, you’re driving an hour and a half up into the Los Angeles forest to shoot a few scenes, like, Why did I write this? It’s a terrible idea.
Angela [00:31:42] It’s nighttime in the forest. What was I thinking?
Steve Carell [00:31:43] In the middle of nowhere.
Jenna [00:31:46] Freezing.
Steve Carell [00:31:46] Terrible.
Jenna [00:31:48] He falls in a creek. What?
Angela [00:31:50] What?! Why did I write it? So we’ve talked how the show was slow to find an audience. It was sort of like we were doing a little theater production and no one’s seeing it. But then one day it turned a corner and everybody knew the show and we had people coming up to us. Jenna, do you remember we’re at an award show and Laura Dern was like, Stop, I have to talk to you! We’re like, What? She was like, I love your show. And I was like, This is Laura Dern. Oh, my gosh. But was there anyone like that for you, Steve, that sort of surprised you and caught you off guard that was a fan of the show?
Steve Carell [00:32:19] Laura Dern. Same thing. I met her somewhere down the road. I was doing a promotional thing with her and I wasn’t even aware of your encounter with her. Because she she was clearly a fan because she was very excited to talk about the show. And, you know, she said the same thing to me. She loved it. She was a- and that’s- it’s nice when, you know, it’s nice when anyone likes something that you’re a part of, and especially nice when somebody that you respect like that and has sort of a critical eye for things likes your show. So that yeah, it was really nice. It was nice hearing any of it, you know? Because you’re right, early on it felt like we were in a vacuum. And is any- let alone appreciating, is anyone watching it? Is anyone, you know, paying any sort of attention? And the only part of it that mattered to me was the continuation of the show. I wanted to have enough people watch it so they kept letting us do it. Because I didn’t really care about the acclaim, you know? Or like we knew that we liked it and we were having fun with it. And I think we all felt like it was special in that moment. And that’s what mattered to me. But yeah, yeah, it was Laura Dern.
Jenna [00:33:39] I remember that time early on because we- a few of us had gotten on MySpace and we were able to interact with the like 17 people who were watching our show in the beginning, and they were such fans and they so got it and they so appreciated it. And that really like kind of- that just felt so good, you know? Because when you make a television show, you don’t hear the people laugh when they watch it and you don’t know how it’s being received or a movie or whatever, I guess, unless you sneak in the theater. But you can’t go sneak in people’s living rooms while they watch it. So I always loved when someone told us that they loved it, especially a fellow artist. And they were excited too, because the show was different with the documentary style and the looking at the camera, would you look into the camera after you got jobs on The Office?
Steve Carell [00:34:26] I have never had a job where I didn’t look into the camera at the same point.
Jenna [00:34:31] Same! Same. I can’t not make the camera a character now. It’s so such a habit.
Steve Carell [00:34:36] At least once.
Both [00:34:37] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:34:38] And I’m sure on Foxcatcher, I, like, looked into the camera, and went, Nope, you cannot comment on what you just did. Because that’s not this show.
Angela [00:34:48] Yep. Same for me. I actually had a director say, Uh, Angela, you just looked right down the barrel. I was like, Oh, I’m sorry. Gotta look to the left or right?
Steve Carell [00:34:58] It was such a fun kind of discipline. Know who was really good at that right off the bat was Amy Adams. I’ll never forget, because it was kind of a learned strength, I think, on the show to figure out the right way to play the camera, to to invite the camera in and to make it feel like these people aren’t used to the cameras. So you couldn’t be too savvy, especially at first. You couldn’t you couldn’t play it too well. Do- you need to have an awareness of it without like having an over awareness of it.
Jenna [00:35:32] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:35:33] But I remember when Amy Adams came in to do purse girl? Was that it?
Jenna [00:35:36] Hot Girl.
Angela [00:35:37] Hot Girl.
Steve Carell [00:35:38] Hot Girl. She was selling purses.
Jenna [00:35:40] Selling the purses.
Angela [00:35:40] Selling purses. Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:35:41] And I remember she just had like this- she was right up to speed with everybody else in terms of how to play the camera like, it’s eavesdropping, I don’t know how I should react to it? And that sort of discomfort built in that we had learned how to do. So she was really good at that. And that was such an interesting- and we’ll never we’ll never get to do something like that again. It was a really interesting acting exercise to be, you know, you’re doing- you’re in your character and your character is also being watched. So there was like another layer of something going on with all of these characters, which is kind of cool.
Jenna [00:36:23] You mentioned Amy Adams. One of my favorite guest stars that we had in terms of chemistry with you was Tim Meadows. You guys doing the baby back ribs. That also that episode has one of my favorite lines in it, which is, Gould is dead? Because Jan is no longer Jan Levinson-Gould.
Angela [00:36:40] Yeah.
Jenna [00:36:40] And she’s like, No, Michael, we got- we’re separated. We’re divorced. Gould didn’t die. As if as if she would drop the Gould from her name if he died.
Angela [00:36:50] Right.
Jenna [00:36:51] As a widow.
Steve Carell [00:36:52] Yeah.
Jenna [00:36:52] Amazing. But, yeah, I love you guys. I don’t know how you got through all the rib eating and singing and comedy from that episode.
Steve Carell [00:37:02] I’ve known Tim for a long time, too. And we did a Second City show that went to Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center with Nancy. We went as this this group one summer and spent, I don’t know, three, three weeks at the Kennedy Center doing a Second City show. And I had known him from Second City as well, you know, earlier on stage. And he is so- I think he’s one of those one of those people that is always great. He’s never not great. You know, sometimes people like that are under the radar and then they pop out and you say, oh, my gosh, like, they’re incredible. And yeah, he’s, I think, one of the best. And he’s a great improviser. And he’s so he’s so effortless. He just doesn’t look like he’s ever breaking a sweat. And he’s hilarious. Oh, yeah, I’m a big fan. He’s great guy.
Jenna [00:38:02] Well, why don’t we take a break? And when we come back, we have some more questions from the fans.
Steve Carell [00:38:07] Okeydoke.
Jenna [00:38:11] All right, We’re back. And while we were on break, before we get to fan questions, Steve, I remembered this cold open that we did that led into a talking head that was one sentence from you. When I rewatched it, I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face.
Angela [00:38:26] What?
Jenna [00:38:27] Do you remember the cold open that we did where we’re all trying to take the Christmas photo?
Angela [00:38:32] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:38:33] Yes.
Angela [00:38:34] Yes.
Jenna [00:38:35] And we’re trying to jump on three, three, two, one, one, two, three. This whole thing.
Angela [00:38:41] Dwight’s like, Phyllis didn’t jump! Angela didn’t jump!
Jenna [00:38:43] Yes. And it’s so long, this cold open, and then it cuts to a talking head of Michael. And Michael says, We never got it.
Steve Carell [00:38:54] I, you know what? That, that cold open is a perfect demonstration of us as an ensemble, I think.
Jenna [00:39:02] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:39:03] Because to to make it look as bad as it did took some effort. Like we had to be completely in sync to be that out of sync.
Both [00:39:15] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:39:15] And everyone jumping at different times.
Angela [00:39:18] Yeah. And Michael getting frustrated like a dad would. Like, come on. Come on, guys.
Steve Carell [00:39:23] I think that’s a perfect example of, of how in sync we were as a cast, because we all got what that thing was and how many people needed to be going at one time. But we didn’t talk about it.
Jenna [00:39:33] No!
Steve Carell [00:39:34] We didn’t discuss like, well, on the count of three, you two are going to go. And then- we just as a group, we just felt that. Not to give ourselves too big a pat on the back. But, but I think- I’ve, I’ve watched that since and thought the same thing. Like that’s- there was something, something cool happening there.
Jenna [00:39:53] That was one of my favorite group cold opens for that reason.
Angela [00:39:57] I know.
Jenna [00:39:58] Well, let’s get into these fan questions.
Steve Carell [00:39:59] Okay.
Jenna [00:40:00] Catherine G and Christie R both asked, If you had to choose a different character to play on The Office besides Michael, is there one you’d like to be?
Steve Carell [00:40:07] Wow. I can’t imagine anyone but the people who played their parts. Like, right off the top of my head, I think Dwight is a very fun role to play, but I would have been terrible. I mean, Rainn was perfect for that part. So, no, I never like I never imagined myself in another part. It was it was just as it should have been.
Jenna [00:40:32] Lauren D asked, What trend or big pop culture moment that’s happened since 2011 do you think Michael would have gotten obsessed about? For example, Lauren thinks Michael would have been all over the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014.
Steve Carell [00:40:48] Oh yeah. I think I think she’s absolutely right.
Jenna [00:40:49] She’s so much so much ice water.
Steve Carell [00:40:51] Oh, and would have would have done something wrong. Someone might have ended up in the hospital.
Jenna [00:40:58] Probably Meredith.
Steve Carell [00:41:00] Yeah.
Angela [00:41:00] Dwight would have overdone it, too.
Steve Carell [00:41:02] Yes. Yeah, it would have gone south somehow. It would have gone wrong.
Angela [00:41:08] We say that we think that Michael probably would have made us all learn tik-tok dances.
Jenna [00:41:13] Oh, so many tik tok dances.
Steve Carell [00:41:15] Oh sure. Yeah. Well, the internet wasn’t as certainly as as much of a thing then as it is now.
Jenna [00:41:22] Social media really wasn’t-
Steve Carell [00:41:23] Yeah.
Angela [00:41:24] We had flip phones when we started the show. Then we got Blackberries. And then at the end we had iPhones. Like-.
Steve Carell [00:41:29] Yeah. Yeah, a lot. A lot changed. Yeah, there are there are tons of things that Michael would have glommed onto in, in the worst possible way.
Angela [00:41:41] Beth M writes in and says, What is the most common Michael line that people quote back to you?
Steve Carell [00:41:47] What do you think it is?
Angela [00:41:49] Yeah, Beth, it’s.
Both [00:41:49] That’s what she said.
Angela [00:41:52] Is there one other than that?
Steve Carell [00:41:58] Um… That’s the one. That’s the one. That’s the one I hear. And sometimes- I don’t know. Do people ever stop you and say, Oh, could you talk to, can you do a shout out, you know, into my phone and-.
Angela [00:42:09] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:42:10] And I’m happy to do it. But when they say can you say that? I can’t. I just, I don’t, I can’t do it.
Jenna [00:42:16] It can be taken.
Both [00:42:17] Out of context.
Angela [00:42:19] Please don’t make Steve say, That’s what she said if you see him at the airport.
Jenna [00:42:23] Do you ever that’s what she said in your life? Do you ever find? Never?
Steve Carell [00:42:28] No.
Jenna [00:42:28] Really?
Steve Carell [00:42:29] I don’t do it.
Jenna [00:42:30] I, I do throw them out.
Angela [00:42:31] Jenna does.
Jenna [00:42:32] I do.
Angela [00:42:34] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:42:34] Well, you can. You you can.
Jenna [00:42:37] Gosh, it’s gonna be so weird when we give you your parting gift. It’s a it’s a T-shirt that says, That’s what she said.
Steve Carell [00:42:42] Well.
Jenna [00:42:42] You’ll love it.
Steve Carell [00:42:43] I do wear that all the time.
Both [00:42:44] And on the back it says, I’m fantastic.
Angela [00:42:47] Same brain!
Jenna [00:42:50] We really liked this question because we both come from a long line of teachers. Someone wanted to know if you remember a favorite teacher.
Steve Carell [00:42:58] There was one in particular, a guy named Mr. Blackman, my second grade teacher, and he’s the one who got me interested in acting in the first place. We were doing like a pilgrim’s meet the Native Americans thing. It was a long time ago, so a lot was being glossed over for sure. But what I remember is we were rowing canoes. And it was all mime. You know, we’re sitting in little chairs in the classroom. It wasn’t a big play. It was just like a in class thing. And I started rowing the canoe, my mime rowing. And then I changed my hands with the oar and rowed on the other side. I’ll never forget it. He singled me out. It’s the first time I’d ever been singled out in any way. And he gave me a pat on the back and said, Notice how Steve rowed on both sides of the canoe so we wouldn’t go in a circle. And he kept the canoe straight, you know, in the in this mime, you know, miming the canoe. And something about that really struck me and I thought- and apart from that, he was just the most lovely guy and really kind to all the kids and everyone- it was fun. It was really just a fun class. And he did that for all the kids, too. He made them feel special about whatever talent they had, whether it was art or music or anything. He really he really embraced, you know, everyone’s abilities, you know, as little as they were in that moment as a second grader. But I’ll never forget it. Like being seen in that way.
Angela [00:44:29] Yeah, you felt seen.
Steve Carell [00:44:30] Yeah. And it was it was that was special. Something sort of clicked like, Oh, that felt good. And so I guess I, I owe it all to him.
Jenna [00:44:39] You know, Steve, I love that story because I have a similar story. I took a summer school acting class and we had to do pantomime. We had to mime things. And my assignment was to go over to the refrigerator and get out some milk and pour it in a glass and drink it. And so I did it. And afterwards the teacher said, Did everyone notice how Jenna shut the refrigerator with her foot?
Angela [00:45:00] Oh!
Steve Carell [00:45:01] Yeah, it’s exactly it.
Jenna [00:45:02] And I was like, Wait, I might be good at this because I didn’t think. It just I maybe I have a little thing, you know?
Steve Carell [00:45:10] Right. Exactly. That’s exactly it.
Jenna [00:45:10] And then it just makes you feel like, I might be good at this.
Steve Carell [00:45:14] Or it might be something. You know, it might be something that I’m actually, yeah, capable of.
Jenna [00:45:20] That’s so fun.
Steve Carell [00:45:21] And it’s not even like, look at me like, it it’s just a sense of a set like the one of the first senses of pride that you ever feel.
Jenna [00:45:30] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:45:30] That you accomplished something completely on your own, not your parents and nothing that you were instructed to do. It’s just something that you did naturally. And to have somebody notice it felt really good. And that’s a great teacher in my mind. Somebody who can pick up on those things.
Jenna [00:45:47] Yeah.
Angela [00:45:48] Okay. I love this question. Here it is. Are there any foods you don’t eat anymore because of so many takes you had to do with that certain food? It can be on The Office or any other job. I know mine right away. It’s that cake that we had to eat. The ice cream cake for Meredith’s Birthday.
Jenna [00:46:07] The mint chocolate chip.
Steve Carell [00:46:07] Mint chocolate chip?
Angela [00:46:07] Was it The Alliance? We started filming at 7:30 in the morning and we were given a slice of cake. And you know, this is a rookie move on my part. I took a plate with a big piece of cake and I took a huge bite in that first take. And by the end, my fork was shaking as it got close to my mouth because I was ughhh like, I can’t, I can’t eat it anymore. Anyway, I was asking you that. But clearly I have a visceral-
Steve Carell [00:46:29] No, no, no.
Angela [00:46:32] I can’t eat ice cream cake anymore.
Steve Carell [00:46:34] That did it. That did you in.
Angela [00:46:35] Yeah it’s so gross to me.
Steve Carell [00:46:36] I learned early on to nibble.
Angela [00:46:39] Yeah.
Steve Carell [00:46:39] Not like- if- that first take, try not to take a big bite, because then you have to match it for the rest of the day. Or, I’m not hungry today. You know, my character’s not hungry. But Michael would eat some pretty crazy stuff. I- nothing that turned my stomach. Nothing to the point where I can’t eat it anymore. I did a bit on The Daily Show where I was supposed to be eating Crisco. I was doing it was some health food segment. And I said, Well, this is all vegetable based. And I was like, at the at the the desk with John. And so I took a big spoonful of Crisco.
Angela [00:47:22] For real Crisco?
Steve Carell [00:47:23] Well, they wanted to mock it up and just put, like, vanilla frosting in. Because no one would know and I could play it like it’s Crisco. But I said, no, leave Crisco in, because that’s going to be funnier for John to watch me eat Crisco. Because the expression on his face was pretty horrified. And, and I didn’t practice it, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And so on camera, basically live, you know, that show was live to tape. But it was really bad. I did not… I could- I mean, the two of us had a hard time getting through the rest of that segment because he he knew- he knew.
Jenna [00:47:59] He’d seen your eyes.
Steve Carell [00:47:59] He did. He knew I was in distress. So, so not that I would sit around eating Crisco, but that that kind of that was a hard one.
Angela [00:48:10] Yeah.
Jenna [00:48:12] Here’s a good question. Do you have a Toby in your life? Someone who just enrages you the second they walk in the room?
Angela [00:48:17] This was one of our favorite questions sent in because we’re like, we’re sure Steve doesn’t have a Toby, but… but yeah.
Steve Carell [00:48:27] Someone who just really for no reason.
Angela [00:48:29] That you just hate.
Steve Carell [00:48:31] Just abject hatred. No, I don’t. But that… That’s, that’s one of my favorite character dynamics of, of the time that I spent on, on The Office. It, and it evolved from I don’t exactly I know it’s been discussed as to- and I think the writers could sort of pinpoint clearly, but I think one day I just decided I just I just got really mad at him, and like disgusted by him for no reason. And we just kind of stayed with it.
Angela [00:49:07] People lost it. They would lose it at a table read when you would snap at Toby.
Jenna [00:49:13] We did an interview with Paul and he said he remembers the moment.
Steve Carell [00:49:16] Oh, he does?
Jenna [00:49:17] It was during The Alliance when he has to come in the office and sign Meredith’s birthday card. And apparently it just took him a long time.
Angela [00:49:26] To write.
Jenna [00:49:27] And you turned on him. And you told him. You said, I don’t know what it is, Paul, but I hate you for how long it’s taken you to write this card. And you guys laughed so hard about it, and you meant like me as Michael. Like Michael is so irritated with you right now. And that that was like. That was the moment.
Angela [00:49:50] Everyone else just signed their name. But he started to write something.
Steve Carell [00:49:53] Yeah, I it was. I love the fact that it was never discussed, too, as to why and the specifics of it. And, and people have asked me that too. Well, why, why does Michael hate Toby so much? And I think it, well, I think it’s like the end, when our characters say goodbye to each other… That’s -I’ll never talk about exactly what was said, because that’s, that’s like our thing. And, and it’s more fun too, to leave those things as sort of a mystery. Like well why, really? Because I built, in Michael’s head, like, all of the reasons. But it’s better that you don’t know. That it just kind of sits there.
Jenna [00:50:32] That’s how I feel about the teapot letter.
Angela [00:50:33] Right.
Jenna [00:50:34] Everyone wants to know what’s in the teapot letter. And the thing is, is that what’s in the teapot letter is what you need to be in the teapot letter.
Steve Carell [00:50:42] Yeah.
Jenna [00:50:42] There’s what I needed to be in the teapot letter. There’s the thing that Pam needs. But like, it has to be the most wonderful romantic thing. And you can’t write it. Like, you can’t tell people what was in it.
Angela [00:50:55] It’ll just be a let down it.
Jenna [00:50:57] it will. It can’t live up to it, right? So it’s like, I know what it said.
Steve Carell [00:51:01] Completely.
Jenna [00:51:01] But it’s better if, if you write it yourself as an audience member.
Steve Carell [00:51:05] I think the writers in general felt that way about the show, and I think Greg was very savvy about that, that you don’t have to tell the whole story. And just let people come to it. And I think that’s partly why people have liked the show over the years is it doesn’t spell everything out about these characters or about these relationships. You kind of acquire a knowledge over time and it becomes more ingrained that way. This is sort of off the subject, but you know, you talking about the teapot letter and you know, and I thought about this many, many times since I left the show, that you and John, in my opinion, you and John were the the rock of that show. Like, if not for your two characters, I feel like that show would have imploded. Because… There was there was so much craziness going on and so much wackiness, and you were both such grounded characters on that show while simultaneously being incredibly funny and real. But the fact that everyone could bounce off of you and your very grounded, loving and interesting relationship and how that grew, to me, that was the nucleus of the show. I’ve always felt that way. And the way that you guys- and you’re both such good actors, too. It’s like we were just so fortunate on so many fronts. In terms of the casting of the show, in terms of the writing. I attribute it to, well, to you guys, obviously, and to Greg for like putting this group of people together in just the right sort of alchemy. I don’t know if I’ve ever specifically told you that, but I’ve always felt that way.
Jenna [00:52:51] Steve, thank you. I remember when we got ready to shoot the pilot, Stephen and Ricky came to visit and we had like this one day meeting with them. And Stephen told John and I, Never forget, you two are the heart of the show. And I remember it was like in Threat Level Midnight, I was like, Gulp.
Angela [00:53:11] Gulp.
Jenna [00:53:12] I thought, I don’t really know what that means. Like, that’s sort of scary to me. I was sort of hoping to kind of keep with my whole like wallflower thing where Pam just kind of sits at the desk and gives a couple of stares, really liking that lane. But over time I understood what he meant and it’s kind of what you’re saying, which is like, We’re not going to go to you all the time, or maybe even very often, but over a large arc, over a large period of time, this is a really important thing. And so just, you know, make sure you always honor it. Make sure that you you know. That you honor that.
Angela [00:53:52] I’m so glad that we did. I’m so glad Jim and Pam made it and work and they didn’t, like, do that thing where they pull you apart and put you back together and pull you apart.
Jenna [00:54:02] Break up, make up, break up, make up.
Angela [00:54:03] Yeah. And I get really defensive of Jim and Pam if like we’re doing an interview and someone’s like, So Jenna, think Jim and Pam are still together? I’m like, How dare you? Of course they’re still together! And so are Dwight and Angela, and so are Michael and Holly. Get out of here!
Steve Carell [00:54:19] Oh, you know what I need to tell you about.
Jenna [00:54:20] No.
Steve Carell [00:54:22] Yeah. Sorry. Aabout Michael and Holly.
Angela [00:54:23] No! No.
Steve Carell [00:54:25] Oh. It is bad. I don’t want to. I don’t want to get into it.
Angela [00:54:32] We just watched the scene, and it’s it’s, you know, I feel like I’m rediscovering so many of these scenes because we haven’t seen the show since it aired, you know, a lot of these episodes. But when you and Amy Ryan do that, You ah hoo ha, like that moment. And it says basically, I love you, like you’re wicked smaht. You ah. It’s like I was like tearing up. I played it for Jenna. I was like, You got to watch the scene. They’re just saying you are, but it’s, like, so powerful.
Steve Carell [00:55:01] Yeah. Amy Ryan’s pretty good.
Angela [00:55:02] Yeah, she’s okay.
Jenna [00:55:03] She was fine.
Steve Carell [00:55:04] I mean, eh. I guess we were lucky to get her on the show. She did pretty well for herself, I think. Yeah. Fantastic.
Jenna [00:55:12] Yeah, we did just watch all of these episodes. We watched the proposal to Holly and the singing goodbye to you.
Angela [00:55:20] Yeah.
Jenna [00:55:20] And you know.
Angela [00:55:22] Todd Packer.
Jenna [00:55:22] All the individual goodbyes to all the different people. What a brutal couple of final weeks for you. I mean, were we- did we just cry the whole time? How did we do that?
Steve Carell [00:55:35] I don’t know. You know, I could look at it that I’m I don’t know. I don’t want to make too much of it. But it it was it was difficult because, you know, we were such good friends and it had been so much fun and so rewarding in a lot of ways, all ways. But at the same time, there was this, for me, there was a joy to it. You know, when you you you’re crying with joy. Because it wasn’t even sadness. Like because I was ready, I was ready to go. And so I wasn’t sad about leaving.
Jenna [00:56:09] Yeah.
Angela [00:56:09] And it felt right for Michael. Right?
Steve Carell [00:56:11] Yeah. No, it was. It was time. And it was time. It was time for other characters to kind of step to the forefront and and other storylines to be pursued. It was just I think it was the right, it was that the timing was right, I think, for everybody. But simultaneously there was just a sense of joy for me that we had experienced all of this and we were getting- I was getting a chance to kind of take a lap with everybody. And the way, you know, those last few episodes were structured, it felt very rich to me to kind of simultaneously be saying goodbye as Michael and, you know, us as as friends, you know, in this moment of work together. But yeah, it was a lot. It was a very emotional thing.
Jenna [00:56:57] It was.
Angela [00:56:58] Like, it was. It was just hitting us in waves, I remember. Like we would laugh one minute and then we’d be tearing up the next. But like you said, it’s because we had had such a great run. We’d had such a good time.
Steve Carell [00:57:10] Incredible. Just incredible.
Jenna [00:57:12] Steve, we are always telling people, when they ask us, What was it like to work with Steve Carell? What is Steve Carell like? And we say he is a regular guy. We’re telling you. He is a regular guy.
Angela [00:57:21] Yeah.
Jenna [00:57:21] So we thought we would end this interview with a regular guy quiz.
Steve Carell [00:57:24] Okay.
Jenna [00:57:26] All right?
Angela [00:57:26] All right, regular guy question number one: Favorite pizza?
Steve Carell [00:57:31] Favorite brand of pizza? Like favorite pizza place?
Angela [00:57:35] Oh, my gosh. You’re you’re very versed in pizza.
Steve Carell [00:57:37] I mean. Oh. I, come on.
Angela [00:57:39] We know.
Jenna [00:57:40] We know your love of pizza.
Steve Carell [00:57:41] Well.
Angela [00:57:42] Favorite topping.
Steve Carell [00:57:44] I will either go with just a plain cheese or maybe do half cheese and then half mushroom and pepperoni. That’s my pizza of choice.
Angela [00:57:54] Okay.
Steve Carell [00:57:55] But I have, I have a lot of different spots. I have different types. The deep dish, the thin crust, the New York style. There’s different LA types of pizzas that are- it’s- I’m sort of a connoisseur.
Angela [00:58:06] Next podcast, Pizza with Steve.
Steve Carell [00:58:08] That’s- hey, you just gave me an idea. I’m getting the studio next to yours.
Jenna [00:58:16] Next question. Favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt?
Steve Carell [00:58:20] I like a good uh, I kind of a basic like a chocolate. I like good sundae. Like a hot fudge sundae is always pretty delicious.
Jenna [00:58:31] So you like a topping more than maybe something in the actual ice cream?
Steve Carell [00:58:35] I’m not. Yeah. Brownies mixed in are always good. But kind of basic. Kind of. I don’t. I’m not like a gummy worms and pistachio ice cream kind of guy.
Jenna [00:58:47] That sounds delicious.
Angela [00:58:50] Okay. Let’s see. Um. Favorite place you’ve visited in the United States?
Steve Carell [00:58:58] Pittsburgh was pretty cool.
Angela [00:59:00] Oh, yeah?
Steve Carell [00:59:01] Yeah. I mean, I’m not saying that ironically, either. I. I’ve done a couple of movies there, and I liked it. It was a cool city.
Angela [00:59:09] All right. There you go.
Steve Carell [00:59:10] I bet that’s the first one you got.
Angela [00:59:11] Shout out to Pittsburgh.
Steve Carell [00:59:12] Shout to Pittsburgh.
Jenna [00:59:14] What is your least favorite exercise or the exercise you avoid the most?
Steve Carell [00:59:18] Abs.
Jenna [00:59:19] Yes.
Steve Carell [00:59:20] Abs.
Jenna [00:59:21] Of course.
Steve Carell [00:59:21] Oh, leg day was always fun.
Jenna [00:59:25] We love a leg day. Who doesn’t? I mean.
Angela [00:59:27] Look at us. I mean, look at us.
Steve Carell [00:59:29] What’s, what do, well, yeah, I mean just doing sit ups is- that’s a- I do it, but I don’t love it.
Angela [00:59:39] All right. What’s the last thing you bought at Target?
Steve Carell [00:59:42] I bought one of those little razors for my son because he’s, he’s shaving now.
Angela [00:59:52] Uh huh.
Steve Carell [00:59:52] And it’s not it’s like a trimmer. But it’s what- it’s what the youths are using now. They’re not, they’re not using a blade.
Angela [01:00:02] We’re not there yet so we don’t know.
Steve Carell [01:00:03] So they’re not using. But it’s like, it’s like you can trim it close enough. This is a terr- you can definitely lift this from the show.
Angela [01:00:12] No!
Jenna [01:00:13] This is my favorite part of the interview.
Steve Carell [01:00:14] This is the dumbest answer. I don’t even wanna know what they’re called. It’s like it’s sort of a.
Jenna [01:00:17] I know what you’re talking about.
Steve Carell [01:00:18] It’s a little blade and you can kind of.
Angela [01:00:20] Yeah, like a beard groomer thingy.
Steve Carell [01:00:22] You can, but, but you can cut it really close but not have to use like an electric razor and… Oh, everyone’s tuned out.
Angela [01:00:30] No, they’re not. This is the sweetest thing.
Steve Carell [01:00:30] Yeah. No, everyone just changed, changed to a different- I want to listen to some music.
Angela [01:00:39] Go back to pizza.
Jenna [01:00:41] If you-.
Steve Carell [01:00:41] Anyway, the pizza.
Jenna [01:00:43] The sweet spot. If you are in charge of cooking dinner, what’s your go to dish?
Steve Carell [01:00:48] Spaghetti bolognese.
Jenna [01:00:49] Okay.
Steve Carell [01:00:50] I make a pretty good bolognese sauce.
Jenna [01:00:54] What skill would you like to master?
Steve Carell [01:00:56] I’d love to learn how to play the piano. Never going to happen.
Jenna [01:00:59] Do you play the piano in any way?
Steve Carell [01:01:02] No, not in any way.
Jenna [01:01:03] So we’d be starting from zero?
Steve Carell [01:01:05] Totally from zero.
Jenna [01:01:06] Okay.
Jenna [01:01:07] Do you play any instruments?
Steve Carell [01:01:09] I play. I’m embarrassed. I play the fife and I play the baritone horn.
Jenna [01:01:14] What’s a fife?
Angela [01:01:15] Yeah.
Steve Carell [01:01:16] Oh, God.
Angela [01:01:16] Is that like ye olde, ye olde flute thing?
Steve Carell [01:01:20] Yeah, it’s exactly right. It’s like a it’s like a, you know. Like a a flute from the 1700s.
Angela [01:01:29] Pittsburgh and the fife are two things I didn’t think we’d talk about today.
Steve Carell [01:01:32] Not only am I sort of an an ordinary guy, but super boring also.
Angela [01:01:38] Stop it.
Steve Carell [01:01:38] No.
Angela [01:01:40] Okay. Ready? To really lean in to the boring, how early do you get to the airport before a flight?
Steve Carell [01:01:46] Like, 2 hours early.
Jenna [01:01:48] That tracks. You were 10 minutes early today. I knew you would be early.
Steve Carell [01:01:51] And I actually circled the block a few times. I was, I was ready to go. But I’m like, I don’t want to seem too eager. Nancy and I get we get to the airport so early. And we just we were just talking-
Jenna [01:02:04] But it’s both of you, though. You’re in sync. That’s good.
Steve Carell [01:02:06] Totally.
Jenna [01:02:07] Okay.
Steve Carell [01:02:07] Yes. And she’s she’s often said if if she had been married to someone who is like always late, she would have gotten a divorce because it would have driven her crazy.
Jenna [01:02:18] Be very important to her.
Steve Carell [01:02:19] Very.
Jenna [01:02:20] Punctuality.
Steve Carell [01:02:21] But for both of us.
Jenna [01:02:21] Yes.
Steve Carell [01:02:22] And I would rather sit in the airport for an hour and a half than be like getting all worked up in the car that we’re going to make, not make our flight.
Angela [01:02:31] All right. What is your favorite cocktail or adult beverage?
Steve Carell [01:02:34] I don’t drink a lot. I will occasionally have a glass of wine or something, but I can’t say that I have a cocktail. I’m not I’m just not a big drinker.
Jenna [01:02:43] We would like to recommend Michael’s drink, which is the Scotch and Splenda.
Angela [01:02:49] We’re not kidding.
Jenna [01:02:50] We tried it here on the show. Steve, it is excellent. It’s very good.
Steve Carell [01:02:54] Really?
Jenna [01:02:54] Yeah.
Angela [01:02:55] Jenna brought it in.
Jenna [01:02:55] No joke.
Angela [01:02:56] Like as a joke. And I was like, This is going to be disgusting. What are we doing? We made them for everybody and we were like, Damn, it’s actually pretty good.
Jenna [01:03:06] I want to order one at a bar, but I, I, I’m scared to because.
Steve Carell [01:03:11] Well, you have to come up with a name for it. Instead of Scotch and Splenda, do you call it a scotchda? Do you-
Jenna [01:03:16] I know. Didn’t, didn’t Michael have a name for it? And we can’t remember what it is. I don’t know.
Angela [01:03:22] Yeah, he does have a name for it.
Jenna [01:03:25] A splotch. Wasn’t it a Splenda and Scot- a splotch.
Steve Carell [01:03:29] A Splotch?
Jenna [01:03:29] Maybe a splotch.
Steve Carell [01:03:30] Oh, that’s good.
Jenna [01:03:30] It doesn’t sound delicious. It’s very good.
Angela [01:03:32] Yeah. I’ll take a splotch, please.
Steve Carell [01:03:34] You know what? I’ll try splotch at some point.
Jenna [01:03:36] Great.
Steve Carell [01:03:37] All right.
Jenna [01:03:37] Okay. Next time.
Steve Carell [01:03:38] Three of us are going to get together.
Jenna [01:03:39] And we’re gonna have-
Angela [01:03:40] One splotch.
Steve Carell [01:03:41] We’re going to go splotching.
Jenna [01:03:43] Last question. When was the last time you had to get out your toolbox and what tool did you grab?
Steve Carell [01:03:48] About three days ago. I was putting (LAUGHS) I am I, I am so embarrassed.
Angela [01:03:57] Are you about to say you’re putting together a birdfeeder?
Steve Carell [01:03:59] Worse. I bou- I bought, I bought a vacuum s- an outdoor leaf vacuum, which also mulches the leaves. And I had go to my toolbox to put it together. I ordered it and it arrived. And I had to assemble it and put the little bag on it. And-
Angela [01:04:23] Do you blow leaves?
Steve Carell [01:04:24] I have a leaf blower, too. What I do… What I do is I use the leaf blower to blow them into a pile. And then I take my vacuum mulcher and I, I, I vacuum them up and mulch the leaves. And then I take the leaves and I put them in our planting beds.
Angela [01:04:41] Oh, my God.
Steve Carell [01:04:42] And so that’s. So the fife.
Angela [01:04:48] Pittsburgh.
Steve Carell [01:04:48] And pizza, plain. Chocolate ice cream. And that’s, that’s me. Yeah. And we all do it in Pittsburgh.
Angela [01:04:57] Hey-oh!
Steve Carell [01:04:59] Barrel of laughs.
Angela [01:05:00] Oh. I’m in love with you.
Steve Carell [01:05:06] Well, clearly, the bar is low because there’s, there’s, there’s not- the- I can’t even believe that Nancy decided to marry me with like that as a track record. That is the- that is- that’s pretty bad. Like, when you do interviews like this and you say things and you hear yourself reflected in the words how you’re describing yourself, I think I’m like more interesting than that. But clearly I’m not. I don’t know how to play the piano. What would you like to do? I’d like to be smart and play the piano, but instead I’m mulching leaves and playing the fife. So.
Angela [01:05:48] Okay. Is there anything in your career that you haven’t done that you’d like to do or in your life? Because like Jenna, for example.
Jenna [01:05:55] Yes. You know, it is my dream to one day do theater and win a Tony Award.
Angela [01:06:00] Yes.
Jenna [01:06:00] This is my I would love to do this in my life.
Angela [01:06:03] My dream is I really want one of those hats that has big flowers on it that hummingbirds eat out of. So that- Jenna wants to work towards a Tony. I want to work towards a hummingbird eating out of my hat.
Jenna [01:06:17] Where do you land?
Steve Carell [01:06:18] Those are very disparate dreams. Well, I don’t even know how to top that. Honestly? Boy, I am so content with certainly my professional life. It’s been. I’ve been so lucky. I can’t- maybe do a play at some point.
Jenna [01:06:42] Yeah. Would you ever do theater?
Steve Carell [01:06:43] Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve you know, I’ve been talking to a couple of theaters about maybe doing something. Yeah, maybe somewhere down the road. I haven’t done a play in, well, since Nancy and I got married. It’s been 27 years since I’ve done a play.
Jenna [01:06:57] Wow.
Steve Carell [01:06:58] So.
Jenna [01:06:59] But you are a classically trained actor.
Steve Carell [01:07:01] Oh, yes.
Jenna [01:07:02] Yes. You were. You were. You were. Of all of us, we always talk about how like there were a bunch of the people who were the theater nerds. And then there were the, like, comedy sketch comedy, improv nerds on our set. But you were both. You studied theater and also studied improv.
Steve Carell [01:07:20] I was just a nerd.
Jenna [01:07:21] You double nerded it is what I’m getting at. You you did both.
Steve Carell [01:07:26] Yeah. I mean, I it was. Yeah, I would like to do. I’m with you. I’d like to do some. Maybe we should do something together.
Jenna [01:07:33] Let’s do it.
Steve Carell [01:07:34] Do, do a play together.
Jenna [01:07:34] Some Broadway.
Angela [01:07:35] I would come and watch it.
Jenna [01:07:36] With your hat! And finally, Steve, you just worked with Mr. John Krasinski on his movie, If. How was it to team up with him again?
Steve Carell [01:07:46] Really fun.
Jenna [01:07:47] Was that great?
Steve Carell [01:07:48] Well, I’m supposed to- contractually. I’m supposed to say that.
Jenna [01:07:51] That’s right. Yeah.
Steve Carell [01:07:52] Yeah.
Jenna [01:07:53] Do you need to get out the piece of paper? Do you want to read directly from it?
Steve Carell [01:07:57] John Krasinski is the most wonderful. He it was great. He’s- and he was such a good director. I mean, obviously, since The Office, boy, has he, like, really shown himself as a fine director. But did you know Janusz Kaminski is his DP on this movie?
Jenna [01:08:17] No.
Steve Carell [01:08:18] Who is Steven Spielberg’s DP. Like he is-.
Angela [01:08:20] Good night.
Steve Carell [01:08:20] The best director of photography in the business. He’s a legend. And so, you know.
Jenna [01:08:28] Wow.
Steve Carell [01:08:28] That’s a it’s a huge deal. And I think it’s such a sign of respect to John.
Angela [01:08:34] Right.
Steve Carell [01:08:34] This person wants to, you know, wanted to work together with him. So that’s I, yeah. He’s he’s a he’s an amazing.
Angela [01:08:46] He’s a big deal.
Steve Carell [01:08:47] Amazingly talented guy. And so, yeah, just great to see him. Like you guys. It’s like, Wow. It’s exactly like the last time we saw each other. There’s like, no time has passed.
Angela [01:08:57] We definitely felt that too, like, when he zoomed in, we were just cracking up. We had to, like, stop laughing so we could do, like, our interview with him because we just got so tickled. I love that. This is, you know, B.J. was on and he said to us, he was like, you guys, Office family forever. And that’s absolutely how I feel. Like we’re family.
Jenna [01:09:17] Thanks for coming, Steve.
Angela [01:09:18] Yeah.
Steve Carell [01:09:18] Whatever.
Angela [01:09:21] Oh, sorry. You got to get back to your leaf mulching? Jeez. Got a busy day there.
Steve Carell [01:09:26] Oh, man. You don’t know the half of it.
Jenna [01:09:32] Oh, well, truly. Thank you.
Steve Carell [01:09:36] Thanks. Thank you. So good to see you guys.
Jenna [01:09:43] Thank you for listening to Office Ladies. Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey. Our show is executive produced by Codi Fischer. Our producer is Cassi Jerkins. Our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer. And our associate producer is Aynsley Bubbico.
Angela [01:09:59] Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton. For ad free versions of Office Ladies, go to StitcherPremium.com. For a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium, use code “office”.
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