Ed Helms was a familiar face from “The Daily Show” and “The Office” when he landed a role 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 riddled with anxiety about his career.
“It was a tornado of fame and a lot of buffeting,” Helms said of his career after “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 really was reeling a lot of the time, like in the aftermath of ‘The Hangover’… I was getting scripts for all these different kinds of projects. ‘Like what do I do? I dunno.’ I was kind of spinning out and panicking about different things. Like, ‘Well, what kind of a career do you want?’”
While he felt “very lucky” to have more opportunities, Helms said that he “definitely felt a lot of anxiety and like identity kind of — just turmoil.”
“I will say one of the — one of the craziest things about a massive jump into fame like that, and what I think people who have never dealt with that or been close to it just can’t understand, is the just total loss of control of your environment.”
Helms starred in all 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 would’ve stayed sane,” the actor said. “But we all had each other to kind of be like, you know, I don’t know, just to commiserate and measure ourselves… and I think we kept each other from drifting too far. And being too unprofessional.”
Helms most recently starred on the short-lived Peacock series “Rutherford Falls” and appeared in films such as “Together Together” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong.”