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Paul Rudd & Steve Carell: Funny Guys

The ”Dinner for Schmucks” stars talk about keeping a straight face

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While shooting their comedy Dinner for Schmucks (out July 30) — about a low-level suit (Rudd) who brings Carell’s character to his boss’ regular dinner party for the world’s biggest idiots — the two quick-witted actors relied heavily on improvisation. We wondered how they managed not to crack up on camera.

Rudd: Steve’s very good at keeping it together. I used to think I was, but I’m getting worse and worse. I will try my hardest. I’ll think of really sad stuff, the most macabre imagery. It’s really dark. It’s useless. It makes me laugh harder.

Carell: There was a scene we did at the start of the big dinner sequence. One of the guests is the 2002 National Beard Champion, [played by] Rick Overton. He improv’d a couple lines. It hit Paul and I exactly the same way at the same time.

Rudd: I’m crying. Crying.

Carell: It was this perfect delivery, and something that came out of the blue. I was still laughing about it that night. I told [my wife] Nancy about it, and she was laughing. But I won’t give it away.