Ed Helms was a familiar face on “The Daily Show” and “The Office” while starring in “The Hangover” alongside Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The 2009 comedy blockbuster launched a trilogy and, as Helms said on a recent episode of the “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast, created a “tornado of fame” that left him worried about his career.
“It was a tornado of fame and a lot of buffeting,” Helms said of his career since “The Hangover” became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in history. “It was very overwhelming.”
Helms described “The Hangover” fame as “a whole new level” compared to being on “The Daily Show” and “The Office,” adding, “I was really sick a lot of times, like after ‘The Hangover’… I was getting scripts for all these different kinds of projects. ‘What do I do? I don’t know.’ I was kind of going around and freaking out about different things. Like, ‘Well, what kind of career do you want?’
Although he felt “very lucky” to have more opportunities, Helms said he “definitely felt a lot of anxiety and like identity — just turmoil.”
“I will say one thing — one of the crazy things about a huge jump in fame like that, and I think people who have never dealt with it or been around it don’t realize, is the total loss of control of your environment.”
Helms starred in three “Hangover” films and relied on Cooper and Galifianakis to keep him sane. “If it wasn’t for those guys, I don’t think I’d be sane,” the actor said. “But we all had to be like each other, you know, I don’t know, just to commiserate and measure ourselves… and I think we kept each other from going too far. And being very unprofessional.”
Helms recently starred in the short-lived Peacock series “Rutherford Falls” and appeared in films such as “Together Together” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong.”