Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell are not only two of the funniest and most famous faces in comedy, but they're also the ultimate friendship goals. From their days working together at The Second City (for you weirdos who don't follow Colbert's and Carell's every move, this is a famous improv comedy theatre), to their time as correspondents at The Daily Show, these two have been friends for decades, sharing similar paths through the entertainment industry and rising to fame together. Even today, they still manage to make each other and audiences laugh whenever they're in each other's company, whether they're accepting Ricky Gervais's Emmy on his behalf or singing together on The Late Show.
Here are 15 times Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell were the ultimate friendship goals.
15 When they reminisced over their friendship on The Late Show
In this sweet interview, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell adorably reminisce about their long history together in show business. They discuss the beginning of their friendship, when Colbert was Carell's understudy at The Second City improv comedy club in Chicago. Apparently, after returning from touring, Colbert had to learn the baritone horn in six days after suddenly being told he'd be taking over Carell's part in the company. "My lips were like a baboon's ass," Colbert jokes. Colbert then asks Carell about his recent turn towards more dramatic roles. "I feel like it's time to have some pretense in my life," Carell grins, to which Colbert hilariously responds, "Have you tried not pronouncing the last consonant of your last name?" They then unleash the mush, with Carell gushing about their friendship and his respect for Colbert. "There is no one I would rather perform with than you," Carell admits, "You're always so on point and so great." Aww.
14 When they teamed up for a hilarious skit at The Second City in which Colbert played a rather unconventional character
In this hilarious skit, Colbert and Carell team up once again at The Second City in Chicago, the improv comedy club where they both worked as young comedians. Playing two men visiting Colbert's character's hometown, it is quickly revealed that things aren't quite what they seem. After a woman greets Colbert as Shirley and thanks him for being a second mother to her throughout her childhood, Colbert turns to Carell and tells him, "Oh, I forgot to tell you. When I'm home, I'm an old black woman." Carell stares on with his characteristic deadpan as person after person approach Colbert thinking he's an old black woman, from teachers congratulating him for overcoming the barriers of sex and colour, to an old lover asking for his hand (and making out with him— yeah, now you're going to watch).
13 When they hilariously debated religion on The Daily Show
Back in the days of The Daily Show, Colbert and Carell starred together in a segment called Even Stevphen. In this hilarious bit, the two satirize religious debates by, of course, having a religious debate. Carell sides with Islam and Colbert argues on the side of Christians. For a good three minutes, they basically throw differently phrased versions of the argument "because God says so" at each other, talking in circles with Jon Stewart looking on with bemusement from the sidelines. "If you were God, would you manifest your divine glory to a shepherd in a cave in Saudi Arabia in the seventh century, or as the son of a carpenter in a manger in Judea in the year zero? C'mon, use your mind," Colbert urges Carell, asking for a "rational" argument. To this, Carell responds,"Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your God is the one true God. That would mean Allah is not the one true God, which we know he is. Don't you see? Your logic eats itself." They even engage in a "pray-off," with each attempting to pray their god into smiting the other.
12 When they teamed up to play waiters nauseated by food
Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert not only worked together on The Daily Show and at The Second City in Chicago, but they also costarred on The Dana Carvey Show. It is this show that this hilarious(ly weird) sketch came from. Carell and Colbert play two classy, upscale waiters at a fancy restaurant, but they have one major weakness: they are nauseated by food. No, not any specific type of food. Just food in general. As you can imagine, this is problematic, given that they are waiters at a restaurant that serves...food. Whenever they read out the names of the restaurant's dishes to customers, they can't help but gag and dry heave. Hilarious and playing off each other perfectly, this bit is a perfect example of the friendship and comedy goals that are Steve and Stephen.
11 When they romantically sang "Dance With Me" together on The Late Show
In this sweet segment from The Late Show, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell show that there really isn't anything they aren't good at. "People still don't know that you're a great singer," Colbert says, asking Steve to join him in a duet of "Dance With Me" by Orleans. The two embark on a beautifully harmonized version of the song, with romantic lighting to match. Colbert quickly jumps across his desk and perches himself on its edge, beckoning for Carell to join him. The two then romantically rock back and forth together on the desk with their arms around each other as they sing. Carell grins slyly as he places his hand on Colbert's thigh, and progresses to first base by the end of the segment when he plants a wet one on Colbert's cheek. Oh, the bromance goals.
10 When they sang the national anthem together
Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell seem to really enjoy singing together. In this video, the two duet the national anthem after Carell gushes over Colbert. "Stephen Colbert is probably the smartest person I've ever met," Carell admits, to which Stephen humbly responds, "Yes." Carell continues to pound on the praise, commending Colbert's acting and singing talent (which Colbert—you guessed it—also approves of). Then, Colbert jumps on that complimentary train of thought, asking Carell if he wants to sing the national anthem with him. The two then embark on a beautiful rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," with Colbert providing excellent baritone and perfect harmonization of Carell's voice. After they finish the song, Colbert shouts out, "Play ball!" as the audience jumps to their feet in applause.
9 When they sang about Steve Carell's many talents together
In this hilarious clip from Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell sing together yet again (but hey, we ain't complaining). "I began this show by asking a simple question: Who is Steve Carell?" Steve begins, sitting alone on a stool in the middle of the stage. He then tells the audience that he's going to end the show with a more complicated question. "How do I do it?" he asks in song, wondering at his own talent. "I mean, it really is incredible." After a few lines of this self-praise, Colbert jumps in from an aisle in the audience, wondering at the same question. "How does he do it? How does he do the things he does to us?" Colbert sings, slowly descending towards the stage. As the credits roll, the two continue in their duet, gushing over Steve's talent (join the club).
8 When they talked about their improv experience at The Payley Centre For Media
In this clip from a panel interview at The Payley Centre For Media, Carell and Colbert discuss their experiences with improv. Both having been correspondents on The Daily Show, the two talk about what it was like to do field pieces (when they would go out and interview real-world people who often didn't know they were from a comedy show). "You're improvising with someone who doesn't know that they are your improv partner," Carell explains. Colbert jokingly adds, "But they're improvising so beautifully. They're so sincere. They really inhabit their character." The two then turn to their days at The Second City, and reveal that Colbert was in fact Carell's understudy. "And he did a great job," Carell fawns, with Colbert smiling on. There are not enough "aww"s in the world for these two.
7 When they teamed up for a skit about spit-roasted chicken at The Second City
In this hilarious clip from The Second City improv comedy club in Chicago, Colbert and Carell team up with the rest of the company for a hilarious skit about rotisserie chicken and the benefits of roasting on a stick. The skit quickly progresses into song (as it often does at The Second City), and the cast harmonizes over the wonders of roasting rotisseries, wondering over "the juices of equality." "The whole world would be better if it were on a spit," they sing together, "Every part of the chicken gets to know what its like to be every other part of the chicken." As an example of spit-brought equality, the women chant, "Men would be on MTV shaking their tits if the whole world was on a spit." Filmed back in the '90s, this clip is worth watching for Carell's and Colbert's baby faces alone.
6 When they sang a hilarious, outdated song at the 2010 Comedy Central benefit together
In this hilarious bit, Steve and Stephen perform a less than topical song at the 2010 Comedy Central benefit. "We have written a novelty song that will take its place in the immortal cannon... A song that says what's on people's minds," Colbert and Carell introduce the song. They then perform a tune about the headline news of two years prior: Sully Sullenberger, the Hero of the Hudson. "Everyone's talking 'bout Sully. He's on everyone's minds 'cuz he's one of a kind," they sing together, until Jon Stewart interrupts them to ask when they actually wrote their so-called "topical" song. "We turned on TV, Sully did his thing, and 18 months later, here we are!" Carell explains. Outdated pop culture references are peppered throughout the performance, from MySpace to Crocs, and Chocolate Rain (the YouTube sensation of 2008) even makes an appearance. But perhaps the best moment of the entire bit is its last line, when Carell and Colbert shout in unison (with a dancing goose behind them, because why not?), "Suck it, geese!"
5 When they tried to break the internet
When Kim Kardashian posted the nude photos from her internet-breaking photoshoot in 2015 (if you've forgotten, just think booze and butts), The Daily Show decided to take it upon themselves to raise her three shirtless comedians. The show posted this hilarious GIF of Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Steve Carell, all shirtless and posing deliciously suggestively. Accompanying the post was the hashtag #BreakTheInternet and #ThrowbackThursday (a pretty long throwback, given the overwhelming absence of grey hair). Although the video was filmed back in 2001 (as you may have noticed from the baby faces), it felt particularly applicable after Kim's posts, and, in our humble opinion, more worthy of the title of internet-breaking. For Colbert's seductive duck face near the end of the video alone (and for women everywhere), this video deserves to go viral.
4 When they sang the Obvious Song together at The Second City
It's always fun to see the celebrities we've grown to know and love back when they were muggles like the rest of us, and in this video, we get to see both Colbert and Carell as young adults, before they became international comedy sensations. Back in their days at The Second City improv theatre in Chicago, the two would often perform together (Colbert starting out as Carell's understudy), and in this hilarious skit, they team up with two other actors to sing a song about very obvious questions and answers. "Is there a god? Why are we here? When you're walking backwards is your butt still your rear?" they sing, seamlessly alternating between real and ridiculous questions. "How big is space? What the hell is that thing on your face?"
3 When they stole Ricky Gervais's Emmy
When Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert are together, you know it's going to be funny, but add Jon Stewart to the mix and it's a comedy match made in heaven. In this clip from the 2007 Emmy Awards, Colbert and Stewart present the award for Best Actor, for which Carell was nominated for his performance as Michael Scott in The Office. Ricky Gervais ends up winning the Emmy, but, given that he wasn't in attendance that year, Colbert and Stewart decide to give the award to Steve Carell instead. They invite him onstage and he runs up the aisles in wild excitement, ascending the stage and embracing Jon and Stephen in a giant group hug as they all jump around in hilarious, mock triumph over his "win."
2 When Steve Carell reminisced over his friendship with Colbert
In this sweet interview, Steve Carell reminisces about his friendship with Stephen Colbert. After a fan asks Carell if audiences will ever see him and Colbert reprise a fan-favourite segment from The Daily Show called Even Stevphen, Carell takes a trip down memory lane, telling the story of how he met Colbert way back in 1987 at The Second City comedy club in Chicago. Carell goes on to talk about their time together on The Daily Show, revealing that it was actually Colbert who got him the job. To close, Carell expresses awe at how far he and Colbert had come since their time at The Second City. "It is kind of amazing to think that, back 20 years ago, we were just two goofballs improvising together."
1 When they reenacted their famous bit about waiters getting nauseated by food at The Payley Centre For Media
In this clip from The Payley Centre For Media, Stephen Colbert discusses how he got started at The Daily Show. Apparently, he actually worked as a correspondent for Good Morning America for awhile (they were trying out the whole "being funny" thing), but eventually, got picked up by The Daily Show when they saw one of his clips. That clip happened to be the one in which both Steve Carell and Colbert play waiters getting nauseated by food (shown above), and Madeleine Smithberg, one of the creators of The Daily Show, fell in love with the two. "The thing just cracked me up," she admits, and Colbert and Carell blessedly proceed to do a lovely reenactment of the bit together, gagging uncontrollably as they list off various food items.