“Steve, you ever play any instrument?” Steve Carell responds quickly, but with a slight grimace on his face. “Baritone horn and fife,” he says. The audience erupts with laughter as he shakes his head. “They are the least sexy instrument,” he says in dismay.
However, as he sits across from Jonathan Ross on his famous British talk show, the host hands him a fife and begs him to play something. After wetting his lips, he’s able to pull off a surprisingly merry tune, much to the audience’s delight.
This single interview perfectly captures Steve Carell’s public persona: an effortless sense of humor, a relaxed demeanor, and a friendly attitude.
But though many fans are familiar with how he acts on screen, many still wonder: what is Steve Carell like in real life?
Though he’s best known for his portrayal of Michael Scott on The Office, Steve Carell has been in the public eye since 1996, when he first appeared on the ill-fated sketch comedy, The Dana Carvey Show.
He had several television roles through the late 90s, though he didn’t achieve stardom until the mid-2000s. But even in those early days of his career, Steve had a reputation as a genuine, down-to-earth guy.
Nick McKinney, a producer for The Daily Show where Steve often appeared as a correspondent, once said that Steve Carell is one of “the most organically funny people I have ever collaborated with.”
Even as he gained more fame and notoriety, Steve stayed humble and kind to everyone he worked with.
A Star is Born
Actors often gain a reputation for being difficult to work with on set or being rude to castmembers and staff.
In a book called The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, the author quotes a producer who describes what it was like to work with Steve on the set of The Office:
To this day, in my long and varied careers, Steve Carell is the most wonderful and most professional actor and the best human of anyone I have ever worked with.
High praise, to be sure. Beyond being gracious and kind, it likely comes as no surprise that Steve’s coworkers find him hilarious, too.
Rashida Jones, who played Karen Filippelli on The Office, told The Hollywood Reporter what it was like to work with him:
I was sure I was going to get fired because we were doing a conference room scene and Steve Carell was being so thoroughly and relentlessly funny that I couldn’t stop laughing.
According to the show’s staff and his costars, Steve has managed to remain funny and friendly, even as his fame began to skyrocket.
What’s Steve Carell Like in Everyday Life?
Though he’s known for his comedic roles where he often plays loveable but blundering characters, in real life Steve is quiet and easy-going.
In the early days of his career, when he taught improv classes in Chicago, Steve was especially known for his unassuming demeanor.
In fact, when he met Nancy Carell (now his wife), she recalls how nervous he was to ask her on a date. Steve eventually did ask her out, and the rest is history. However, he later told The Guardian that he wasn’t the only shy one: “She was just as nervous as I was and trying to act cool.”
While trying to act cool may have worked in their favor, Steve has since “given up on cool.” Though many people who’ve achieved the same level of success splurge on expensive cars, homes, and partying, Steve Carell prefers shopping for cargo pants at Target.
However, despite Steve’s reputation for being an all-around nice guy, he is fiercely protective when it comes to his family.
In what is perhaps the only recorded instance of Steve Carell losing his cool, he was interrupted by paparazzi while teaching his daughter how to ride her bike. The aggressive reporters caused quite a scene, and she ran back to the house in tears.
Steve was livid. He turned to the photographers and told them to “not ever hurt my daughter like that.”
Amazingly, the notoriously relentless paparazzi left immediately and didn’t return.
Though this is a break from the usual stories about his humor and kindness, the fact that he was protecting his family makes it no less endearing.
Steve Carell and His Fans
The greatest indicator of an actor’s off-screen personality may be in how they interact with their fans.
As you might have expected, it appears that Steve is just as gracious and charming when interacting with people all over the country.
In fact, stories of fans running into Steve Carell regularly pop up on Reddit, where users will share photos and anecdotes of their encounters.
One Office buff reported that after filming for an upcoming movie in a local town, Steve stayed behind to meet his fans. He was reportedly nice to everyone there, graciously posing for photos and engaging in conversation.
One little known fact is that Steve and his wife own a general store in Massachusets, and he regularly checks on the store in person.
On one such visit, another Reddit user and fan of The Office ran into Steve on the street. He was kind enough to stop for a selfie, and the user reported that “Steve Carell is incredibly kind and just as hilarious in person.”
From the beginning of his career and throughout his rise to prominence, Steve Carell has maintained a kind-hearted attitude. Because of this, he is loved and highly regarded by his coworkers, costars, and fans.
In his on-screen roles, Steve often plays a loveable — if somewhat dimwitted person. In reality, he’s a loving father and husband, a gracious professional, a master comedian, and he truly enjoys spending time interacting with his fans.
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