Before "The Daily Show": Carell's star was already rising with acclaim for his stint on ill-fated "The Dana Carvey Show," and as the voice of one-half of "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" on "Saturday Night Live." It was an auspicious sign that Stephen Colbert was his understudy at Second City, too.
What happened from there: Carell's perfectly square performances on "Daily Show" earned him regular segments like "Even Stevphen" and numerous field assignments. First he showed up to support in "Bruce Almighty" and then held down a desk job in smash success "Anchorman"; the year he left Jon Stewart's show, he started up his long stint in the American sitcom redux of "The Office" and into marqueeing comedies like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Despicable Me" and "Crazy Stupid Love" (plus a standout role in drama "Foxcatcher"), making him one of the show's biggest success stories to date.
- Katie Hasty