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The Office Star Agrees That This Famous Joke From the Series Is ‘Weak’


  • Steve Carell agrees that some “that’s what she said” jokes in
    The Office
    are weak.
  • Carell finds the jokes were fun in the moment but aren’t as strong now.
  • Carell won’t return for
    The Office
    The Paper
    , as there’s no reason for Michael Scott to be there.

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Steve Carell has seemingly done it all in Hollywood, from playing Jim Carrey’s rival in Bruce Almighty, to voicing the character of Gru in the Despicable Me series. Perhaps no role of his is more celebrated though than that of regional manager Michael Scott in The Office, which Carell played on a regular basis from 2005 to 2011, and reprised in 2013 for the series finale. Now, 11 years later, Carell agrees with the sentiment that some of the jokes delivered in The Office – which is widely regarded as one of the best modern sitcoms of all time – are “a little weak.”

Appearing on BBC Radio 1 for a game of ‘Unpopular Opinions,’ which allows people to call in to offer their, well, unpopular opinions on things most people enjoy, Carell was on the receiving end of someone stating that they think, “the ‘that’s what she said’ jokes are really weak.” First uttered during episode two of season 2 of The Office, the line “that’s what she said” would go on to be spoken a total of 51 times over the course of the series, usually to make a crude joke about something. Carell, who helped make the phrase famous, agreed with the caller.

“I hear you, you know, because you know, I’d be walking around with my kids – especially when they were a bit younger – and the show hasn’t been on in 35 years, so for starters
it’s a little bit of an old joke at this point
, but walking around with my kids and someone would roll down the window of their car and scream ‘that’s what she said’ with no context,
not even in response to [anything]
. No set-up at all.”

The Office (U.S.)

Release Date
March 24, 2005

Steve Carell , Jenna Fischer , John Krasinski , Ellie Kemper , Rainn Wilson , Angela Kinsey , Melora Hardin , Rashida Jones , Mindy Kaling , Creed Bratton , B.J. Novak , Ed Helms , Brian Baumgartner


Carell would go on to further explain that most people miss the point of the joke, and the intent with which it was spoken. To this day, he says that he’s still asked to write the line down when giving an autograph, but won’t “abide by that sort of thing.” For Carell, “that’s what she said” was fun back then, but isn’t so much these days.

“I just can’t,
I can’t abide by that sort of thing
. And I agree with you. It was fun in the moment, and certainly that character thought it was funny, which was the joke. Because
it was even a bad joke back then
. And the character did not have a good sense of humor.
So, I think people forget that
, that it was coming from a place of mockery, for starters.”

Steve Carell Won’t Return for The Office Spin-Off

“There’s Really No Reason for My Character to Show Up”

Hoping to bring back some of what made The Office so great, creator Greg Daniels, who adapted the British version of the series for American audiences, is set to launch a new spin-off show titled The Paper, which was ordered by Peacock earlier this year. Taking place at a dying, small town newspaper in the Midwest, the new series will be filmed by the same fictional documentary crew that did The Office. While most of the supporting cast has yet to be named, it has been confirmed that The Paperwill star Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars, Ex Machina) and Sabrina Impacciatore (The White Lotus).

One person who won’t be showing up though is Carell’s character of Michael Scott. However, while the 61-year-old star says it doesn’t make much sense for Scott to make an appearance in the spin-off, that won’t stop him from watching it.

“I will
be watching but I will not be showing up
. It’s just a new thing and there’s really
no reason for my character to show up
in something like that. But I’m excited about it, it sounds like a great conceit. I love the idea.”


John Krasinski Is Open to Appearing on The Office Spin-Off: ‘I Would Do Anything for Greg Daniels’

It’s official! John Krasinski reveals that he would make an appearance on The Office spin-off if Greg Daniels asked him to.

Time will tell if The Paper manages to capture lightning in a bottle, and comes up with its own set of memorable jokes that will stand the test of time. Until it premieres, we’ll just have to speculate on how big it will become. That’s what she said!

All nine seasons of
The Office
are available to stream on

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