Stars of the Top Comedy Movies
Since the dawn of movies, there have been comedians making us laugh. Today, top comedy movies are often more about the star than the plot. People go to the theater because Adam Sandler is in the movie, not because they particularly care about a spoiled twenty-something repeating every grade of school. Here are our top ten comedy movie stars of all time:
Charlie Chaplin was the first international comedy star. Although he wasn’t alone in producing slapstick films – Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton were also huge stars of the silent slapstick era, he’s the most famous of the three today. His name is synonymous with the physical comedy that he, Lloyd, and Buster Keaton transformed into an art. Without him, many of today’s stars wouldn’t be around.
As one of the original Saturday Night Live cast members, Chase quickly became a comedy institution in the mid-1970s. Before SNL, he was a writer for National Lampoon, and went on to star in several of their movies. Although he’s not the box office draw he once was, you can usually find one of his comedy movies on TV if you need a good laugh.
Some of his films could be called “cerebral comedy,” but the man also knows how to do great physical comedy. Most of his funniest films came out of the 1980s and 1990s, but he continue to be a box office draw when he does make a new movie. Although he’s appeared on SNL many times, he was never a cast member. He stars alongside Jack Black and Owen Wilson in 2011’s The Big Year.
He have been the king of foul-mouthed comedy in the 1980s, but today he’s a new kind of box office gold – the family comedy. As with most of today’s top comics, he got his start on Saturday Night Live. His slump in the mid-80s to mid-90s is partly responsible for his shift to family comedies, but parents are certainly glad he did. See him in the 2012 comedy, A Thousand Words, where he plays a fast-talking literary agent who finds himself having to communicate in other ways as a punishment for his lies.
What’s a summer without Adam Sandler’s big screen laughs? He usually plays a “normal guy” bumbling into funny situations, but he seems to get more outrageous with each movie. Some films are romantic comedies, but the more recent films have just been flat-out gags, such as Jack and Jill.
Although he’s technically an SNL alum, he actually got his start making short films. These short bits of comedy got the attention of SNL and MTV. It should also be noted that he’s the son of two Hollywood actors, both of whom have ample funny genes to pass on to him. In addition to being willing to act like an idiot on camera, he’s also directed or produced several comedy smashes like Dodgeball. He can be seen alongside Eddie Murphy in this holiday season’s ragtag comedy, Tower Heist.
Black is a member of a new breed of comic actors who haven’t been SNL cast members. It’s a departure from the standard, but it seems to be working. Instead, he became a comedy star by starting out as an actor. He lucked into several high profile roles, and then became a member of the “Frat Pack,” which also includes Ben Stiller. He returned as Po the Panda, the lead in the family comedy Kung Fu Panda 2, in 2011. Catch him in the upcoming 2012 comedy, Bernie.
We return to the normal path to comedy stardom with Will Ferrell, who was an SNL cast member for seven years. He’s also a member of the “Frat Pack.” He made several big screen appearances before leaving SNL, but he only became a major movie star after leaving the show. He even lent his recognizable voice to 2010’s animated film, MegaMind.
Jim Carrey followed the traditional route to comedy stardom by beginning as a stand-up comedian. He broke out on the sketch comedy show In Living Color, and was soon racking up multi-million dollar paydays. Although his early characters were bumblers with amusing physical gags, he’s matured into a major actor capable of both comedy and drama. He appealed to the family audience this year with Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Canadian comedian Seth Rogen began his acting career on the critical hit Freaks and Geeks. That show also led to his successful writing career. He found writing fame with Superbad, then found acting fame with Knocked Up. In 2011, he lent his voice as a smart alec alien named Paul and starred alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the dramedy 50/50.
In an ironic twist, Steve Carell auditioned for SNL, but Will Ferrell got the job instead. Carell moved to The Daily Show and shot to stardom. He then left to star in The Office and become a bonafide movie star. He continues to balance both TV and comedy movies. His flair for the funny, usually as a bumbler who doesn’t intend to be funny, has also netted him a spot in the “Frat Pack.” Check him out this spring in Crazy Stupid Love with Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling.
Owen started his comedic career teaming up with his brother Luke Wilson in Wes Anderson’s cult classics Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums. He has since branched out and made a name for himself in to world of comedy landing lead roles in Wedding Crashers, and You Me and Dupree. Recently, he starred alongside the Office’s Jenna Fischer in Hall Pass.
Cameron Diaz has been making audiences laugh since There’s Something About Mary. Even though she started out playing the beautiful blonde, she’s carved out her niche as a strong comedic actress who can go up to bat with the rest of them. She’s been seen with other female comedic powerhouses like Christina Applegate in The Sweetest Thing and Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels. Check out her latest comedy, Bad Teacher.
Jason Segel was also part of the Freaks and Geeks TV series with Seth Rogen. Segel would later reunite with Rogen in Knocked Up, which led to the smash comedy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Since then, Segel has made us laugh with I Love You, Man, starring alongside Paul Rudd, and Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz. You can catch him this holiday season in The Muppets. Next year, he goes back to his comedic roots in Jeff, Who Lives at Home.
Jonah Hill is another young gun that rose to fame quickly on the comedy scene. His minor roles in 40-Year-Old Virgin, Accepted, Knocked Up and Evan Almighty led to a breakout comedic performance in Superbad. Hill has been in a variety of roles since then, including the 2010 indie comedy favorite, Cyrus. His newest comedy for the holiday season, The Sitter, is a role he was born for.
Comedy movies just wouldn’t be the same without this bunch of guys who are always willing to make idiots of themselves if there’s a camera around. With the success of The Daily Show and the “Frat Pack” movies, it’s now also become possibly to find the path to comedy stardom without going through SNL.