Yesterday I went on a walk through my neighborhood, and as I approached a certain apartment building, I saw a big-screen TV flashing images out of the corner of my eye. When I got closer, I could see that the people inside were watching The Office—specifically a scene with Michael (Steve Carell) and Holly (Amy Ryan). I smiled and thought, “Comfort TV.” I was absolutely not surprised last spring when I read an article about how (and why) Gen Z is obsessed with The Office. And these days—when the thought of actually BEING inside an office with dozens of co-workers seems like a far-off fantasy—I get a little misty-eyed when I read about how the show might now serve as something like a time capsule of the Before Times.

I’ve found myself searching out shows and movies to help ground me when it seems like the entire world has gone crazy. In the process, I’ve come to realize that just like there’s comfort food and comfort TV, there are comfort actors and actresses. People whose presence is just instantly calming. People who activate something in the deepest parts of your brain that signals, “Everything is going to be OK.”

For me, Steve Carell is most definitely one of those actors. And what’s interesting is that it doesn’t even matter if he’s in a comedic or dramatic role. Just SEEING him brings this feeling of normalcy. I don’t know how else to describe it.

But it’s why I’m really thankful that there is never going to be a Steve shortage. On top of all those seasons of The Office, he’s recently starred in The Morning Show (for which he earned an Emmy nod) and Space Force.

And he has a movie out this year! That’s right—movies ARE still coming out. Carell’s old boss from The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, directed this one. It’s Irresistible, and it’s now at the Box and streaming on Redbox on Demand.

In it, Carell plays a Democratic strategist who wants to help a Marine Colonel (Chris Cooper) run for office in his conservative town. But when Republicans get wind of this plan, they bring in their equally savvy strategist (Rose Byrne) to even the score. Topher Grace, Mackenzie Davis, Natasha Lyonne and Debra Messing are also on board for this timely political comedy.

So we’re lucky to have some Current Carell, but I’m probably even more grateful for Past Carell, which truly offers something for everyone. From the family-friendly Despicable Me trilogy, to true-story-based dramas like Battle of the Sexes, The Big Short, Foxcatcher and Vice, to comedy favorites like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and everything in-between like Crazy Stupid Love and Little Miss Sunshine, I’m happy I can ride out the pandemic with one of my favorite comfort actors.

See all Steve Carell movies at Redbox here!

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