Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Comedic Actors I Wish Did More Serious Work

Just a little list for you guys this Monday.

1. Jim Carrey
I like Jim Carrey mostly anyway, but I REALLY love his serious work. The Truman Show is one of my top 10 movies of all time, and that's mostly due to his serious work. He manages to create incredibly likable protagonists. Lately he's gone back to doing a lot more comedy, which is sad for me. I hope he re-explores dramatic work soon.

2. Zach Galifianakis
I'm not a mega Zach Galifianakis fan. He's pretty funny in The Hangover, and I occasionally like Between Two Ferns, but most of the time he leaves me uninterested. However, based solely on his performance in It's Kind of a Funny Story, I would LOVE to see him do some more serious work. His loser persona translated in that movie into something very moving and very tragic, and, frankly, I wanted to see more of him and less of the main kid. I feel like if he picked the right projects, I could be very drawn to him as a dramatic actor.

3. Neil Patrick Harris
NPH has not only wonderful comic timing, he also has a way of injecting even his more comedic characters with very compelling dramatic sides. I'm thinking specifically of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Barney Stinson, who, although they're mostly comedic characters, both have moments when they reveal that there's more to them than meets the eye, and he plays those moments superbly. There's no character on How I Met Your Mother that I *care* about more than Barney, which is odd, because you'd think he'd be the one I'd care about least. But every time he has a semi serious storyline, Neil Patrick Harris does it perfectly. I'd love to see him do some more work that's mostly dramatic.

4. Steve Carell
He has the same dramatic appeal for me as Zach Galifianakis, in that he has a way of portraying someone who is a loser (and *knows* they're a loser) that can either crack me up or make my heart hurt for him. Or, as in the case of The Office, frequently both. And like Neil Patrick Harris, he managed to make me deeply care about a fairly obnoxious character - Michael Scott is a fairly terrible person, but I rooted for him. I cared about his fate. He's only ventured into dramatic work a few times, but I hope he continues to play with this.

5. Will Ferrell
I've seen two slightly-more-dramatic enterprises from Will Ferrell - one was Winter Passing (which was unbelievably dull and terrible for everyone involved, so I can't judge anyone based on that) and the other was Stranger Than Fiction , which was a comedy/drama, but a very normal character, and I *liked* him in it. Ever since then I've wanted him to do something else dramatic. He has an earnestness in his characters that could translate very well into dramatic work.

What do you guys think? What comic actors do you wish did more dramatic work? (Or, the fun flip side: What dramatic actors do you wish did more comedy? I started that list myself but didn't get very far.)


  1. I'm convinced that Seth Rogen has a completely blow-me-away awesome dramatic performance waiting somewhere in the future. This is based solely on a hunch, though. I agree with all your picks too. Well, except NPH I suppose, but that's only because I'm very unfamiliar with his work.

    Also, I'd recommend checking out the movie Everything Must Go, starring Will Ferrell. Like you, I really dug his work in Stranger Than Fiction. I won't say that Everything Must Go is a better movie, but his performance in that one is better than the one in StF.

    As for dramatic actors who should do more comedy, there are a few I can think of. Tom Hanks, for instance, who did a lot of comedy earlier in his career but has mostly stopped now. Ryan Gosling is another pick. I mean, he's brilliant at everything he does, so I'm fine with him doing whatever, but he has had some good comedic turns that he shouldn't stop pursuing. Nicolas Cage should be banned from doing films that aren't at least partly comedic. He's a great actor, but I have little interest in seeing him being all serious throughout an entire movie.

    1. Seth Rogen is a good choice! I actually found him very moving as the best friend in 50/50, which wasn't even a full dramatic performance, so here's to hoping he takes that further...

      I had a friend recommend Everything Must Go on Facebook after reading this blog. It's been moved further up my "should watch someday" queue.

      I debated Hanks and Cage for my own drama-to-comedy list. Gosling is a great choice. My list also included Orlando Bloom, who I am SO BORED BY in most movies, and then I saw him as a guest star on Extras and he was HILARIOUS. My favorite of the entire series. I feel like if he was given the right roles, with just the right amount of earnestness and taking-himself-slightly-too-seriously, he could be hilarious.

    2. That makes two of us who find Bloom dreadfully dull. I haven't seen his Extras bit, but I'm all for him trying out some comedy. It can't be worse than his serious fare.

    3. One year for National Novel Writing Month, I wrote a romantic comedy spoof about a girl who meets a movie star and they hate each other at first, but then go through all the traditional bonding experiences, getting closer and closer together, and then at the very end, she realizes she's madly in love with his best friend, the wisecracking sidekick, and runs away with him. The movie star was an extremely exaggerated version of Orlando Bloom.

  2. One comedic actor I'd like to see do more serious work would be Adam Sandler. I don't know if they'd be any good but I really liked Spanglish and liked him in it. I found him genuinely likable and endearing in that and he tones down his Adam Sandler-iness. Besides, it would mean fewer Adam-Sandler-comedies, (which is starting to feel like a whole comedy sub-genre), and that would be an accomplishment by itself.

    1. I haven't seen Spanglish, but maybe I should. I absolutely despise Sandler's comedic work. DESPISE IT. But I feel like the things I hate most about him as a comedian wouldn't carry over very well to a dramatic role. Interesting choice.