‘Borderline Mean’ Steve Carell’s View On Comedy Today
Comedic jokes, in today’s society, are often at the expense of others. There are a number of comedians who have made their names known through this kind of humor. Such comedians include Don Rickles, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel), Andrew Dice Clay. These are the top 5 “mean” insult comedians, according to About.com, in the industry today.
It is often said that there is a “dark side” to every comic, but this is not the case with The Office star Steve Carell. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carell is an avowed Catholic, a passionate family man, and is deeply averse to the cynicism in today’s society as a whole and comedy in particular.
“It’s not like I want to put sunshine and lollipops into the world,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter, ”But I do believe there’s been a turn toward an uber-cynical point of view, and it’s borderline mean.”
“Taste in comedy, like fashion, changes all the time,” Carell says when asked about his thoughts on a recent ”rape joke” made by Daniel Tosh. Tosh, in response to a female heckler, asked a Laugh Factory audience, ”Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now … like right now?” This certain type of joke represents everything that Carell despises about most comedy today.
This “too good to be true, nice guy” persona is not just an act either. Jon Stewart, who gave Carell his break in 1999 on The Daily Show, compares Carell to Peter Sellers when describing Carell’s personal character.
“He has that same ability to inhabit characters, sometimes with silliness, but underneath is a great deal of humanity, and that’s what makes the silliness work.” Stewart adds, ”Comedy can be relatively dark, but what was surprising with Steve was the kindness at the heart of darkness.”
Carell’s true feelings show through in his acting. Audiences could see this during Carell’s final episode in The Office when he could barely fight back tears. You can tell by the following video, that he truly cared about the show and put all he had into it.
In my opinion, Carell is setting a great example for future comedians and society in general by avoiding cynicism and negativity.