Let’s be clear… when I say “comedian”, I’m talking stand-up comedians. I like people like Will Ferrell and Mike Myers but people that have a base in improv groups can make the transition to the big screen much more seamlessly. Let’s focus on those people who started behind the mic telling jokes. My Mom, at a very young age, exposed me to a lot of films and a lot of stand-up so I thought this would be a fun list to compile. Here’s my Top 10 (in order):
10. ZACH GALIFIANAKIS.
By far the youngin’ of the group, the man we’ll call Zack (since his last name is a bitch to spell) has actually been acting for quite a long time even though most people hadn’t heard of him until The Hangover. I’m sure the acting he showcased in that film may start to wear thin on people after the third installment in the franchise but Zack has proven he’s got good acting chops in other areas so I think he’ll be fine. And I’m ready to watch whatever he does.
9. BILL COSBY.
Bill Cosby didn’t really do any great films. Unless you count the so-bad-it’s-good Leonard Part Six. Which was the first and only film in the franchise. Regardless, you can’t forget how Cosby became America’s favorite Dad during the 80′s on one of the most popular shows in television history.
8. WHOOPI GOLDBERG.
I never liked Whoopi’s stand-up or many of her films. I did grow up loving her as a host on Comic Relief. The girl had comedy chops and she makes this list for her turn in The Color Purple alone. End of discussion!
7. BILLY CRYSTAL.
I kind of hate to love Billy Crystal. There’s something about him that makes me want to dislike him but he always manages to win me over with good turns in great films like When Harry Met Sally, Throw Momma From the Train and The Princess Bride. Plus, he was everybody’s favorite cycloptic monster in Monsters Inc.
6. JAIME FOXX.
Though he has an Oscar, I was tempted to move him down on this list. Then I started thinking about it and I could easily see Jaime Foxx ending up in the #1 spot by the time his career is over. Not only is he in a lot of good films but, more than anyone else on this list, he seems to have that “thing” that makes a good actor. Time will tell on this one but keep your eye on Foxx.
5. EDDIE MURPHY.
Murphy, at one point, was the biggest star and the biggest comedian in the world. I would consider RAW one of the best live comedy films of all time. While his acting career took a bit of a turn, Murphy has reinvented himself as an actor in countless children’s films from Dr. Doolittle to Shrek. Which is kind of crazy considering how “R” rated his comedy was. Murphy could still easily find a comeback in more mainstream adult features but seems content on his current career path. Who knows?
4. ADAM SANDLER.
A lot of people like to bag on Sandler and his films (with the exceptions being Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore). I’m one of the few people that thinks that there really is no such thing as a bad Adam Sandler film. Except for Little Nicky… that was shit! However, I find personally that I just really LIKE Adam Sandler. I enjoy watching him in films. I find him entertaining. So, even when his films are less than spectacular (Grown Ups, Just Go With It), I still really enjoy them. Since he kills at the box office, I can’t be the only one!
3. JIM CARREY.
Carrey has tried several times to cement himself a serious actor with mixed results. Many people loved him in films like The Truman Show and I Love You, Phillip Morris. And his turn in Man in the Moon was robbed at the Academy Awards. People seem content to pigeon-hole him as a funny man though. Partially his own fault for finding fame from talking through his butt. However, at one point Carrey was the highest paid star in Hollywood. I can’t say it was deserved but I can’t help but feel like everybody likes and roots for Carrey.
2. STEVE MARTIN.
Steve Martin, for many years, had the most successful comedy album of all time. An honor that was taken from him by Dane Cook of all people. However, Martin is so much more than a comedian. He’s a writer, a painter, a banjo player, a bunch of other stuff AND a great actor. The great thing about Martin is that his comedy was quite silly but he’s one of those few comedians turned actor that we can totally buy in the serious stuff.
1. ROBIN WILLIAMS.
I LOVE ROBIN WILLIAMS! I love him in everything he does, including all the bad stuff. However, Williams can play actor like few others in the group. It’s almost hard to believe considering that the man walks around like he just shotgunned a 6 pack of Red Bulls most of the time. Williams has a compassion on the screen that I don’t think many people on this list, or a lot of actors for that matter, can find. It makes the audience identify and root for his characters… which is essentially an extension of their feelings for Williams.
So, what are some of your favs?