Thursday nights on NBC, Tina Fey is Liz Lemon and Steve Carell is Michael Scott. Neither is particularly functional.
In the new big-screen comedy "Date Night," however, Fey and Carell discover unforeseen talents, playing married parents whose night out in Manhattan turns into a wild adventure due to a case of mistaken identity.
The pairing is fitting. Fey are Carell are not just two of NBC's most famous, award-winning faces, whose shows normally sit side by side. They're both alumni of the famed bastion of improvisation, Second City. In a recent interview, Carell, 47, and Fey, 39, discussed their collaboration, which was directed by Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum"). After the interview, Fey stood up and did a "cheeseburger macaroni" dance, excited that dinner with her daughter was approaching.
Q: Do you both consider yourselves improv comedians at heart, rather than standup comedians?
FEY: For sure.
CARELL: Yeah, I think I'd fail miserably.
Q: "Weekend Update" had a standup feel sometimes.
FEY: It is joke-telling, but I never wanted to do it alone. I did it with Jimmy (Fallon) and when Jimmy left, I had the opportunity to do it alone or do it with someone else. I was like, "No, no." Telling jokes alone, you're a standup, but telling jokes with a buddy, you have someone to go to if the jokes fail; that's what I'm used to.
CARELL: You're used to jokes failing.
FEY: Yes, all my jokes fail.
Q: Steve, you're renowned for your niceness, while, Tina, you've recently said that you represent "normalcy." That makes for an interesting combo: nice and normal.
CARELL: It's our vaudeville act.
FEY: Normalcy and Niceness go to the circus. It's like Goofus and Gallant.