‘The Office’: These Stars Got Their Start on ‘The Daily Show’ With Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart is known for hosting The Daily Show. But what many people don’t know about the comedian and political commentator is his eye for spying talent. During Stewart’s time hosting, he curated several news correspondents who went on to star in the hit series The Office. These Office success stories all got their start on Stewart’s Daily Show.
‘The Daily Show’ history
The late-night Comedy Central series started in 1996 and was first hosted by Craig Kilborn. Stewart famously took over in 1999. Throughout his more than 15-years on The Daily Show, Stewart turned the half-hour comedy into a politically driven news satire. Today, Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show — the longest-running program on Comedy Central. During Stewart’s time as host, he cultivated the talent of comedians who went on to star in The Office.
Steve Carell was a ‘Daily Show’ news correspondent before ‘The Office’
Before he became Michael Scott, Steve Carell was on the Daily Show from 1999 to 2005. He left the late-night show to star in the NBC series, but not before giving audiences a ton of laughs. From his “Beat the Heat” segment in cropped denim shorts to his satirical investment tips, Carell was one of The Daily Show‘s most popular correspondents.
According to Ed Helms, Carell was an inspiration on The Daily Show. Helms likened Carell’s early material on the Comedy Central series to the completely non-self-aware, less informed Michael Scott he would play later. “He pioneered the form of Daily Show segments [where] the correspondent is the butt of the jokes as opposed to making fun of somebody else,” Helms explained on Office star Brian Baumgartner’s podcast. Carell found a way to make being an “idiot news reporter” funny, satirical, and fresh.
Ed Helms worked with Jon Stewart as a correspondent too
Helms joined the cast of the Daily Show in 2002. Like Carell, he was a correspondent known for segments like “Battle of the Bulge” and his coverage of “Cooter Festival.” In 2006, Helms left the Daily Show to join the cast of The Office.
As he explained to Baumgartner on The Office Deep Dive, Helms was a big fan of the British series. He was excited about his audition for the American version. Despite not being cast the first time around — he auditioned to play Jim and didn’t get it — Helms was later invited play Andy Bernard.
Larry Wilmore was the Senior Black Correspondent on ‘The Daily Show’ and a writer for ‘The Office’
Larry Wilmore was a writer working behind the scenes on The Office. He also appeared as Mr. Brown, the representative for “Diversity Day.” But before he got started on the NBC series, Wilmore was part of the Daily Show as well. From 2002 to 2006, Wilmore was Stewart’s Senior Black Correspondent known for “breaking down racial barriers that nobody was asked to break” in the Daily Show‘s Wilmore Awards.
Other notable Daily Show correspondents who went on to do big things include Mo Rocca, Michael Che of Saturday Night Live fame, Nancy Carell (Steve’s wife), Rob Riggle, and John Oliver. Stephen Colbert got his start on The Daily Show too.