Jon Stewart Jokes He Should've Fired Steve Carell from Daily Show So He Could Pursue Acting Sooner

Before starring in The Office, Steve Carell was a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2005

Jon Stewart, Steve Carell
Steve Carell and Jon Stewart in 2015. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

If Jon Stewart had his way, he'd go back in time to fire Steve Carell from The Daily Show — for the future Oscar nominee's own good!

On Thursday, Stewart, 57, talked with Extra about his new comedy movie Irresistible, in which he directed Carell, 57, for a role he tailored for him. Watching Carell work on set made Stewart regret delaying him from reaching his acting stardom sooner.

Carell served as a correspondent on The Daily Show from 1999 until 2005 — the year he hit it big as Michael Scott on The Office.

"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,' " Stewart said of his pal Carell. "He’s really something."

In Irresistible — a political satire and Stewart's directorial follow-up to 2014's Rosewater — Carell plays Gary Zimmer, a Democratic strategist who attempts to get a retired veteran elected mayor of a conservative town. The film also stars Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper and Topher Grace.

"What was so nice for me, I wrote it for [Carell], with him in mind," explained Stewart, "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."

After signing off from The Daily Show, Carell found success both on television and on the big screen, with leading roles in shows Space Force and The Morning Show in addition to films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Get Smart (2008), to name a few.

He scored a Best Actor nomination at the 2015 Academy Awards for his work in Foxcatcher, further proving his dramatic acting chops.

The Daily Show is known for catapulting a number of comedians into superstardom. Other than Carell, Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms, Hasan Minhaj and Rob Corddry also appeared on the series as correspondents.

RELATED VIDEO: Steve Carell Is 'The Dad You Wish You Had' — According to Space Force Costar Jimmy O. Yang

Stewart stepped down from his Daily Show hosting duties in August 2015 after 16 years in the role. Comedian Trevor Noah then took on the mantle, and remains as the host to this day.

Shortly after his departure, Stewart told Politico that he was enjoying his post-show career — even letting his beard grow out at the time!

"People ask me if I miss it and honestly, I don’t miss it at all," he joked in October 2015. "Because think about work, man ... no matter how much you like work, there’s nothing better than not work."

Irresistible is available on demand on June 26.

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