‘The Office’: Steve Carell Admitted It Was ‘Difficult’ to Leave the Show and Was ‘Ridiculously Emotional’

When Steve Carell left The Office, fans were sad to see him go and the cast and crew of the show were especially hit hard by his exit. Carell shared that it was “difficult to leave” and his last take on the show was “ridiculously emotional.”

The Office Phyllis Smith and Steve Carell as Phyllis and Michael.
The Office: Phillis Smith as Phyllis Lapin and Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Steve Carell said it was ‘difficult’ to exit ‘The Office’

Carell’s character Michael Scott left during the seventh season of The Office and, while the actor felt it was the right time to leave, it didn’t make filming the exit any easier.

During a June 8 appearance on The Office Deep Dive With Brian Baumgartner podcast, Carell reflected on how hard it was to part ways with the show since it was like a family.

“It needs to be acknowledged that, for us, Michael Scott was an amazing creation,” Baumgartner told Carell. “But you were equally as special.”

Carell was touched by the sweet sentiment. “It was a special group,” he told Baumgartner. “And to find that dynamic … just to have a group of people that you care so much about and you can’t wait to see the next day. I tend to do that though, career-wise,” he said, noting that’s the way it went when he left Second City and The Daily Show.

“And I sort of did the same thing on The Office,” he continued. “Like you don’t want it to — and maybe it’s out of fear. You don’t want it to turn a corner in any way, you don’t want it to be in any way less than it ever was..”

“I was just so proud to be part of it and it was very difficult for me to leave because I loved everybody,” he told Baumgartner.

Steve Carell had the idea for Michael Scott’s final day

Carell’s last episode was titled “Goodbye, Michael” and the actor provided the inspiration for how Michael’s story would end.

Carell discussed Michael’s final arc with creator Greg Daniels. “And the idea that I pitched was — you know, obviously he and Holly would be together — but I said, specifically, on his last day I thought that there should be a party being planned but that he should basically trick people into thinking he was leaving the next day,” Carell recalled.

“I just thought that would be the most elegant representation of his growth as a human being,” he shared. “That he … because Michael lives to be celebrated, you think that’s all he wants, he wants to be the center of attention. But the fact that he’d walk away from his big tribute, his big sendoff, and be able to, in a very personal way, say goodbye to each character — that to me felt like it would resonate.”

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When Carell filmed his final scenes, he said it was ’emotional torture’

Filming his final episode, however, proved to be rough for Carell. “It was emotional torture because imagine saying goodbye for a week,” he said.

“It was just fraught with emotion and joy and sadness and nostalgia,” he said. “But it was also really beautiful. I treasure it. I treasure just doing that episode because it did allow me to kind of have a finality with everybody.”

Carell recalled filming his last take for the show. “I remember the last take and we were shooting in the bull pen and I started to feel, ‘Uh-oh. I think there are more people in the vicinity.’ … You just get a sense something’s happening.”

“And as soon as that last take, the room just filled with people — it was all the writers and crew — it was ridiculously emotional,” he added.