Jon Stewart Jokes About Why He Should Have Fired Steve Carell After His ‘The Daily Show’ Debut

It’s been a year of reunions for Steve Carell. He teamed up with The Office co-creator Greg Daniels for Netflix’s Space Force and he’ll soon star in Irresistible, written and directed by former-The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, out this Friday. The political-comedy, about a Democratic political strategist (Carell) who launches a campaign to help a retired Marine colonel run for mayor in a right-wing Wisconsin town, is the first time the Oscar nominee has worked with Stewart since he departed the Comedy Central series in 2005, although if Stewart had his way, he would have fired Carell years earlier.

After Extra host Billy Bush remarked how talented Carell is, Stewart jokingly replied, “I said that to him every day. I said, ‘If I would have known just what a talented actor you are, I would have fired you from The Daily Show like a month in and said, ‘Just go, go do that.’” Carell started on The Daily Show in 1999, and although he was already known to comedy nerds due to his involvement with The Dana Carvey Show, it wouldn’t be until 2003, the year Bruce Almighty came out, that he would break through into the mainstream. Then came Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and mega-hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and that was the end of Steve Carell on The Daily Show.

Stewart continued:

“He’s really something. What was so nice for me, I wrote it for him, with him in mind, and when I would get in the edit room and watch it, he’d given me so many nuanced options to play with in edit that I never saw when I was on set, mostly because I was drunk, but his range of everything is remarkable.”

Irresistible is available through video on demand on June 26.