Getting on well with the people you work with just makes life a whole lot easier. According to a recent poll from Gallup, 51% of workers aren’t engaged in their work and feel no real connection or joy in what they do on a daily basis. Having fun at work and getting along with your co-workers is crucial for making you feel good, and if there’s one industry where that matters more than arguably anywhere else, it’s comedy! Heck, even if your comedic role means that you aren’t meant to be friends on screen (we’re thinking of the classic foes Jim and Dwight in the American Office here), the chances are you’ll need to be able to have a laugh together off-screen about the fictional bickers you’ve just had, otherwise there is a serious risk that you’re going to end up making a show that is about as engaging as the final season of X Factor USA was. So, how have cast members from some of the biggest comedies over the years managed – or not – to stick together?
Sticking Together: The American Office
Liking each other and being able to have a laugh is, of course, central to getting on, but Steve Carell managed to take things a step further to help endear himself to the rest of the cast. Not only did he make the TV news headlines when he chose to support the 2007 writers’ strike (something that showed unity beyond the acting cast) but he also didn’t use the fame he earned from the release and success of 2005’s 40-Year-Old Virgin film, which grossed 177.4 million USD at the box office, to abandon his role as Michael.
Steve Carell may have helped to keep members of the cast together, but it was the relationship between Jim and Pam that helped this show earn 42 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Their blossoming on-screen relationship was helped by the fact that, in her own words, Jenna Fischer acknowledged that she developed a genuine bond with John Krasinski. Sadly for US Office superfans (of which there seem to be many), this love did not translate from the small screen to real life, as both actors are now happily married… to other people! This does highlight, though, that turning “fake” love into, at the very least, genuine affection and a real bond in real life can reap dividends on screen. In the case of Jim and Pam, it helped to boost the two actors’ earnings from $20,000 each per episode to $100,000 as the show grew more successful and NBC generated more money from it.
Not Just “Friends”, but Actual Friends!
Another group of actors who got on well and reaped the financial rewards as a result was the cast of Friends. While many people would perhaps imagine that the title of the show precluded the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc and even Courteney Cox-Arquette from having anything to do with each other outside the show, the truth is that it all got a little bit close in real life to “The One in Vegas,” an unforgettable episode as one of the many highlights of casino portrayal in popular culture. In fact, according to a recent interview with Jennifer Aniston, whose illustrious list of previous sponsorships includes Emirates and L’Oreal, the gang were encouraged to meet up outside of the confines of filming and they inevitably ended up playing poker together. The strategy-heavy game, which famously involves bluffing and “poker faces” is generally considered to be a very good bonding activity, and that’s what the crew was going for: a quick, effective way to get the cast to bond. It certainly worked out well enough: Aniston and Co. ended up in a position where they received $1 million each to appear in every episode of the final season!
Becoming More Than Just Friends: The Inbetweeners
One cult comedy show that always made it easy to imagine the cast bonding in real life was British hit comedy The Inbetweeners. The show managed to produce two film cast-offs (the second of which generated a then-record £2.75 million during the opening weekend at the UK box office), and much of this success built upon the lovable characters’ inability to date, making episodes more awkward than a super-cringy exchange in Dragons’ Den! Off-screen, things went a little smoother, as two of the show’s characters, Simon and Tamara (who dated (terribly) on the show) have ended up getting engaged. This goes to show that on-screen relationship failures don’t necessarily end up in real-life failures!
How to Survive The Ups and Downs: The Big Bang Theory
Getting on well and even dating off-screen is a wonderful sign that the cast is getting on, but perhaps a bigger test comes when the members of the cast don’t just date but break up as well. This happened on The Big Bang Theory, one of the biggest comedy shows in the USA, with around 12.6 million total viewers tuning in to see the cliffhanger final episode of season 10. Indeed, while Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki have had on-screen success in their relationship, they seem to have managed to find a way to move on from the break-up of their real-life relationship, with Johnny hugging Kaley’s partner during a visit to the set.
Of course, the true test is not just surviving breakups and living together on the set while filming, but also meeting up once the show has ended. The cast of Scrubs, for instance, reunited and documented their meeting, showing that while the show doesn’t always go on, the friendships made during them can certainly endure!