Comedy deathmatch: Carell vs former Daily Show correspondents
From his early days as a correspondent for The Daily Show to his award-winning role as Michael Scott on The Office, Steve Carell proved himself one of the most reliable funnymen in the entertainment industry. And, unlike some of his peers, he easily made the transition from small to big screen, starting with a series of small roles and slowly working his way up into his current position on the comedy A-list.

In Despicable Me (showing Sun 6 Nov at 20:05 on M-Net and M-Net HD), Carell delivers one of his best performances, providing the voice for Gru, the hapless supervillain-wannabe who's actually a lot nicer than he’d like to be. It’s a career highlight for Carell that can easily rank alongside his scene-stealing supporting role in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and his breakout lead in The 40 Year Virgin.
Carell’s career is certainly going from strength to strength, but how does his current CV stack up against some of the more successful Daily Show alums?

Ed Helms

Aside from sharing the screen with Carell in The Office, Helms proved his box-office clout by starring in two of the most successful comedies of the last 10 years: The Hangover and The Hangover Part II.

Both films made more money than most of Carell’s big-screen outings. But, while Helms may have the edge in terms of box-office clout, he’s yet to prove himself outside of films that don’t feature Zach Galifianakis, alcohol abuse and wackily out-of-place animals.

Also, Carell has the advantage in terms of awards, having picked up a Golden Globe during his time on The Office.

Rob Corddry

His film resume is rather spotty, with his cameo in Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay and his co-lead in Hot Tub Time Machine being the two standout entries.

However, he’s appeared in some of the best TV comedies of the last few years, including Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Party Down and Community. He also wrote and directed the brilliantly twisted web series turned TV show Childrens Hospital.

(Caution: clip contains mature content)

His character is a bit abrasive to ever make it as a leading man in cinema, though.

Steven Colbert

Probably the Daily Show alum who can best give Steve Carell a run for his money in terms of current success, albeit in a slightly different part of the entertainment world.

While Carell went on to cinematic success, Colbert left The Daily Show but continued with the “fake comedy news” by founding his own show, The Colbert Report: a pitch-perfect parody of the many blowhard conservative opinion-makers that populate American news networks.

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Now in its sixth year, The Colbert Report has won two Emmy awards and reached a level where it’s on a par with The Daily Show in terms of popularity and achievement.

Colbert also totally killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2006. It was a while ago, but his performance was so awesome it deserves a mention.

To see how the current crop of correspondents are fairing, catch The Daily Show, Sundays on CNBC Africa (channel 114).