EXCLUSIVE: They are among the leading comedians of their generations and both hail from Chicago’s Second City. Steve Carell and David Steinberg have teamed for a documentary that will chronicle the evolution of comedy over the past sixty years through the eyes of several generations of comedians. The yet-untitled documentary, from Carell’s Carousel Prods., is already in production. Among the comedians interviewed by Steinberg are veterans Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Lily Tomlin, Don Rickles, and Carol Burnett, trendsetters Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Judd Apatow and Robin Williams, more recent stars Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Jane Lynch, and Tina Fey, as well as a host of up-and-comers. “We’re honored that so many legendary comedic performers have chosen to be part of this,” Carell said. Steinberg and Carell had known each other for awhile. Asked how their partnership on the documentary came to be, Steinberg deadpanned: “Short story: Carell’s career floundering.  I throw him a bone.  End of story.” Carell and Steinberg are producing the documentary, which is targeted for TV distribution, with Carousel Prods.’ Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock as well as writers Alan Zweibel and Josh Etting.

Steinberg is one of the country’s best known comedians of the 1960s-70s who went on to become a top comedy series director and worked on such series as Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He previously showcased top comedians on his informal interview-style show Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, which ran on TV Land for 2 seasons. The documentary does not fall under Carousel Television’s overall deal at NBC. Through it, the company is producing a Rockford Files reboot for the network as well as a post office comedy written by Carell. For the past seven seasons, Carell has starred on NBC’s flagship comedy The Office, which he will be leaving in May.