Steve Carell shares memories of Fred Willard with Stephen Colbert: ‘The funniest person that I’ve ever worked with’

Acton native Steve Carell revealed that crew members on "Space Force" gave the late Fred Willard a standing ovation.


Old pals Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert got together for a chat on Colbert’s show this week, discussing the Acton native’s new Netflix show “Space Force” and the recent passing of his co-star Fred Willard.

Carell, who tweeted that Willard was “the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with” upon news of his death, said that the late actor “quietly influenced” a whole generation of comedic actors.

“He never indicated at all that anything he was doing was even remotely funny,” Carell said. “And I think that’s what made it 10 times funnier. He was so deep in character you almost started to think, ‘Well, he ‘s just this person. He has no idea how funny he’s being.’ But he did.”


Carell, who also worked with Willard on “Anchorman,” praised Willard’s performance in “Space Force,” the series Carell co-created with “The Office” showrunner Greg Daniels that lands on Netflix May 29.

“He’s probably the funniest thing in ‘Space Force,'” Carell said. “He’d improvise a lot of stuff, obviously. And after one take, the crew put down all their equipment and gave him a standing ovation. He was a joy, and just a really sweet person.”

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