Here's the difference between Steve Carell and Will Ferrell, Luke/Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and any other major comedic actor working today: Not only is Steve Carell funnier than all of them, he can actually act. Carell, star of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and a one-time Daily Show correspondent, might be blowing up right now—he's in Little Miss Sunshine, which opens this week, and his IMDB page is crammed with upcoming projects—but he's also got a swell, easily Netflix-able resumé.
• The Daily Show: Indecision 2000 (2000)—A compilation of great Daily Show stuff—the best being the skewering of the Republican and Democratic conventions. The Republicans' con is like shooting fish in a barrel, but showing Hilary and Chelsea sipping champagne in a balcony while John Edwards talks about the Dems being the party of the people? Priceless.
• The Office (2005-now)—I know: This version sucks balls when compared with the perfect BBC show that inspired it. I resisted the goofier American version for a long time, but finally caved—and while NBC's show isn't anywhere near as great as its progenitor, thanks to Carell it's still better than any other current sitcom.
• Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)—Carell plays Brick Tamland, a retarded weatherman who kills someone with a trident, eats fiberglass, and vehemently opposes having women in the workplace. "I read somewhere their periods attract bears," he insists. "Bears can smell the menstruation."
• Melinda and Melinda (2004)—Blink and you'll miss Carell's tiny role in one of Woody Allen's crummier films—a film which, weirdly, also starred Will Ferrell.
• Bruce Almighty (2003)—Don't remember this labored Jim Carrey vehicle? Carell had a supporting role in it? No? Yeah, nobody else remembers it, either, except for Carell and director Tom Shadyac. When Carrey said no to a sequel, Carell signed up—expect Evan Almighty sometime next year.