Comedy Impact Report '08: Bigscreen Big Shots

It might have seemed silly at the time, but “Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s” puppet-opera subplot proved useful practice for the film’s director. When the pic hit, Disney hired Nicholas Stoller and writer-star Jason Segel to make a new Muppet movie.

“I love the Muppets, but Jason’s truly obsessed with them,” reports Stoller, who was born in Britain to American parents and developed his sense of humor watching “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

Today, Stoller is working like crazy. Next up is “Sarah Marshall” spinoff “Get Him to the Greek” with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand (Stoller wrote and directed), followed by “Five-Year Engagement” with Segel.

Stoller got his first break writing for Judd Apatow’s Fox series “Undeclared.” “For me, all comedy comes from character and a real place, and that’s true of everything I’m working on — even the Muppet movie,” he says.

Stoller’s other credits include several Jim Carrey properties: “Fun With Dick and Jane” (which he co-wrote with Apatow); Carrey’s next film, “Yes Man” (he shares screenplay credit with Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel); and one-time Carrey project “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” — “about a guy who turns into a fish, but it all starts from character,” he says.

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