The actor credits costars Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis for helping him stay “sane.”
The comedian starred as Stu, the responsible and uptight dentist in the 2009 film that follows a group of groomsmen who must track down their pal before his wedding following a wild jaunt through Vegas. While Helms was already well known prior to the film thanks to his stint as a correspondent on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and as Andy Bernard on The Office, he said he chartered new territory post-Hangover.
“It was a tornado of fame,” Helms said on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast. “It was very overwhelming. I really was reeling a lot of the time. 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?'”
Ed Helms in ‘The Hangover’
| Credit: Everett Collection
While he felt “very lucky” to have the opportunities that came after Hangover, Helms said it caused “a lot of anxiety and identity turmoil.” He added, “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 also credited his costars Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis for helping him navigate the fame. “If it wasn’t for those guys, I don’t think I would’ve stayed sane,” he said. “We all had each other to kind of commiserate and measure ourselves… and kept each other [from] drifting too far and being too unprofessional.”
The Hangover was a box office hit and grossed $467 million worldwide. Helms and much of the original cast, which also included Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong, returned for two more sequels, released in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Mike Tyson, Jamie Chung, John Goodman, and Melissa McCarthy also made memorable appearances in the franchise.