Old YouTube Clips of the Now Famous: Steve Carell

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“Old YouTube Clips of the Now Famous” is a column in which we watch old YouTube clips of now famous funny people.

Since he started on The Daily Show in 1999, Steve Carell’s career steadily and surely built momentum until a few breakout roles made him one of the biggest working actors in Hollywood. In a time where it’s become increasingly hard for a single performer to carry the success of a film, Carell has been able to do so handily. Not to mention, the man is obscenely talented, likeable, and funny. And yet at one point he wasn’t famous and YouTube has a record of that. With Seeking a Friend for the End of the World coming out Friday, I thought it would be a great time to watch some old clips of SC. In some of the videos below you can see a glimmer of Steve Carell the movie star and others you see simply a guy overacting just so he might get noticed.

This was Carell’s first commercial back in 1989. ” What a likeable guy! Give me that chicken,” said America. Smartly, Brown’s Chicken still uses parts of this clip in their current advertising.

Steve Carell got his start at Chicago’s Second City and this is the earliest clip from them. The sketch is solid but Carell is mostly the straightman.

In 1991, Second City filmed a television special called Life as We Know it!. These two sketches most heavily featured Carell.  The second is Carell at his most broad and features his ability to rap very poorly, a skill he later put to good use. The first sketch is Carell at his best. There are moments of absurdity and overreaction but he brings such a sweetness to both the present-day and future versions of that character. His ability to place nice moments in a way that is both genuine and funny is maybe the one thing that Carell does better than anyone else and he was apparently doing it 20 years ago.

1991’s Curly Sue was Carell’s first ever movie role. He didn’t do much but pretend to look at Jim Belushi.

Look at that hair!

In 1994, Steve Carell participated in the pilot for The Second City’s 149 1/2 Edition. He stars in two sketches: one at the 9:40 mark and one at 29:10. Honestly, they both aren’t great but in the latter one Steve Carell breaks a lot, which is somewhat fun.

In 1996, Steve Carell worked on the short-lived but much respected Dana Carvey Show. The show got canceled very quickly but it got Carell noticed. The “Waiters who are nauseated by food” sketch is one of the show’s most famous.

In 1997, Carell got the part of Yorgo Galfanikos in Over the Top. The show got canceled after three episodes, despite starring Tim Curry. This part is nuts. Carell has never been crazier.

He was on Just Shoot Me in 1998 because he was just some working actor to casting agents, not a future movie star. Steve is actually quite good in this scene.

Soon after, Carell joined The Daily Show and everything changed. Arguably, however, it was Anchorman that allowed him to make the jump that got him on the path to household namehood. His audition for which is a fitting way to end.