‘Steve Come Back’ campaign asks movie star to speak at graduation


by Kyle Pratt

Some local students are reaching out to a movie star in an attempt to get him to speak at their high school graduation.

The senior class at Mechanicville High School has been trying to contact Steve Carell, who has starred in multiple blockbuster hits, via social media since late February. Carell visited Mechanicville in 2001 as a part of the “Everybody Has a Story” segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Carell, who played lead character Michael Scott on NBC’s The Office, has starred in movies such as The 40 Year old Virgin and Evan Almighty, and has played smaller roles in numerous  other films.

But before all of this, he worked for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. In 2001, Carell threw a dart at a map, promising to visit wherever it hit. It landed on Mechanicville, and Carell set off in search of a story. In the segment, Carell visits signature spots around the small city. In his search, he ends up at Kearney’s Service Center, Costanzo’s Lounge & Restaurant, McDonald’s, which he dubs a “local Scottish-themed restaurant,” and of course, Bubbles Restaurant.

On his trek around the city, he meets many local residents, some of them giving him a difficult time. Overall, the piece is a hilariously ridiculous, yet touching segment that represents Mechanicville well.

That same year, James Carola, the senior class vice president at Mechanicville High School,  was in kindergarten, and didn’t know who Steve Carell was, or that his small city was briefly in the national spotlight.

Now, as a senior, Carola, like most people in the city, is well aware of Carell and his visit to Mechanicville. When looking for a keynote speaker for his graduation, Carell was a no-brainer.

“I was trying to think of someone who was more than just a random celebrity, someone who had something to do with the town,” said Carola. “So when my friend mentioned Steve Carell, it just made sense to try and get him. Everyone in the town loves the video he made and would love to see him return!”

Carola and his friends took it upon themselves to bring their quest to social media. He runs both the Facebook account and the Twitter handle, both named “Steve Come Back.” He and his friends tweet at major media outlets, other celebrities, and even some parody accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers. Carola also sent letters to Carell’s home address and to his talent agent.

So far, there is no response from the celebrity, but the students’ hard work has been noticed by local news and radio personalities. Phil Bayly, a news anchor at the NBC affiliate, WNYT, saw the Facebook page and took it upon himself to help the students get noticed. He shared the page, posted about it, and even mentioned it on air.

Due to this attention, the amount of likes on Carola’s Facebook page skyrocketed from a mere 79 likes to a respectable 714 in just a couple of days.

It may be unlikely that a celebrity would visit a small town such as Mechanicville, but these students have proven that although their goal may seem far-fetched, they aren’t going to give up. As Carell said, “Everybody has a story,” and these students want him to be a part of theirs.

Kyle Pratt is a senior at Mechanicville High School and a member of the Mechanicville Mile’s Raider Reporter program.


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