“In America, that’s gonna frustrate people”: Steve Carell Got a Precious Advice from Ricky Gervais That Made Michael Scott Bearable in ‘The Office’

Ricky Gervais saved Steve Carell from destroying Michael Scott's character with one change.

Steve Carell Got a Precious Advice from Ricky Gervais That Made Michael Scott Bearable in ‘The Office’


  • Both Ricky Gervais and Steve Carell brought to life two counterparts of one iconic character, however, they were interestingly different.
  • Gervais gave advice to Carell to make sure Michael Scott was good at his job otherwise it won't make sense as to why he hasn't been fired.
  • Carell incorporated that advice and made Scott a redeemable and memorable character.
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Steve Carell is known far and wide for his incredible performance as Michael Scott in The Office. Had it not been for the actor, the fame that his character got would have been either less or completely nonexistent. Proof of that came quite frequently following his departure when Carell left some big shoes to fill. However, the series was a retelling of the UK’s The Office, which starred Ricky Gervais as his British counterpart.

Steve Carell
Steve Carell

Despite both Gervais and Carell representing an arrogant yet somewhat careless manager of their respective paper companies, there was a stark difference between the two. Carell’s Scott is a much likable character as compared to Gervais’s David Brent. The credit for the same would go to the latter considering he gave the Despicable Me actor some integral advice.

Also Read: Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell Became Superheroes Before MCU and DCU Began, Almost Brought a Show Similar to ‘The Incredibles’ to Life


Ricky Gervais’s Advice to Steve Carell

British humor and American humor are two very different categories of jokes that can make people laugh. Some might bend with one, while others might bend with another. This makes it impossible to flesh out a show from one region to another without making certain specific changes. According to Jenna Fischer in her podcast, Office LadiesRicky Gervais gave some important advice to Steve Carell that made his part more likable to the audience.

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais

“He said, ‘In England, you can be really, really bad at your job for a long time, and you never get fired,’” Fischer remembered. “‘In America, that’s gonna frustrate people. So my one piece of advice is that Michael can be a buffoon, he can be silly, he can be irritating, but you should show glimpses of him actually being a good salesperson.’”

According to Gervais, getting fired in America for being incompetent at your job is much easier than in the United Kingdom. To incorporate that idea, Carell must show the fact that Michael Scott is good at what he does, which is why people at Dunder Mifflin tolerate his attitude regardless of his questionable behavior.

Also Read: “The fans still care a lot”: Even The Office Showrunner is Not Sure When a Reboot is Coming as Fans Clamor for Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski’s Return


Steve Carell Proved Michael Scott’s Worth

Steve Carell did not take this advice lightly. He gave Michael Scott his moments to shine. He was a good person, a good boss, just peculiar to be around. To prove that, Carell had to show qualities regarding the same. Angela Kinsey, who co-hosts Office Ladies, added to this idea, saying that he would always be redeemed by just how wonderful of a person he was.

Steve Carell in The Office
Steve Carell in The Office

“As awkward and cringey as he could be and really not aware of the things he said and how they affected people, they would give him one moment that was redeeming, one moment in the episode where you rooted for him or felt bad for him so that it wasn’t just all like, ‘Oh, that guy is such a j*rk.’”

When it came to Michael’s job, there was a reason he was appointed the position of Regional Manager. To prove that to the audience in Season 2 Episode 7, The Client. The episode saw Jan questioning Michael’s abilities as he took a client to Chili’s. He got drunk with the client and allowed him to open up to him. This in turn built trust between the company and the client. Not only was Michael able to bring in a new client, but he got his loyalty along the way.

Also Read: The Office: One Breaking Bad Star Came Painfully Close to Playing Michael Scott Before Steve Carell Immortalized the Role

Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1394

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley is an Assistant Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1300 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment.