If you ever run into Steve Carell, please don’t ask him to play Michael Scott again.
The actor spent his “Saturday Night Live” monologue gently turning down requests from fans and former co-stars for a reboot of NBC’s hit sitcom “The Office,” which ended in 2013. It was Carell’s third time hosting “SNL,” but his first in a decade.
It all began with a pretend audience member asking the simple question: “Will you ever reboot ‘The Office’?” The host said no, so “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson stood up and framed it as more of a suggestion. Carell explained that reprising his role as the lunatic Dunder Mifflin Paper Company manager would be like Thompson returning full-time to the Nickelodeon sitcom “Kenan & Kel,” on which he starred with Kel Mitchell from 1996 through 2000. He wouldn’t want that, right?
Well, maybe he would: “That would be an honor,” Thompson solemnly replied.
One by one, former “Office” cast members popped up from their seats in the audience. “I need that money,” said Ellie Kemper, who played secretary Erin Hannon on the show. “Let’s get that money, Steve.” When he declined, the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” actress yelled, “You’re a jerk!”
Ed Helms, who played Dunder Mifflin salesman Andy Bernard, also argued in favor of a reboot. Maybe Carell didn’t understand just how much money it would make them. “You wouldn’t have to do all those sad movies anymore,” Helms said, referring to Carell’s recent roles, such as the panicked father of a teenage drug user in “Beautiful Boy.”
“SNL’s” Aidy Bryant had also poked fun at this in a promo video for the episode, in which she told Carell that he was “kind of, like, a serious actor now. Are you ready to do comedy again? Because this is a comedy show.”
Those movies are done for pleasure, Carell said, not money. But this answer wasn’t good enough for Jenna Fischer, who played the fan favorite Pam Beesley for all of the show’s nine seasons. She asked Carell if he remembered the unheard words Pam whispered to Michael before he moved to Colorado. They were, according to her: “Steve, don’t be a d—-, do the reboot.”
“I don’t remember that at all,” Carell responded. Even his wife – Nancy, who also appeared on “The Office” as Michael’s ex-girlfriend Carol – and their two kids showed up to try to convince him to do the reboot. But he wouldn’t budge.
The actor previously addressed the constant demand for an “Office” reboot in a recent interview with Esquire, in which he credited reruns and the show’s easy accessibility on Netflix with having generated talk of bringing it back.
“But apart from the fact that I just don’t think that’s a good idea, it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted 10 years ago,” he said. “The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now.”
Carell’s co-stars joined him onstage as his “SNL” monologue drew to a close, and he teased the audience by saying that he had an announcement to make. Had he finally come around?
“I am proud to announce officially,” he said with a slight pause, “that we have a great show tonight!”
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