The Unsung and Unlucky Kings of Comedy
Chris Farley started his carrer as a stand-up comedian in the popular american show Saturday
Night Live, he was Canadian and was mostly known for playing big (but athletic) crazy accident-prone idiots with
a tendency to yell "Oh My God! Oh No!" during hilarious slapstick situations.
He starred in the 2 Wayne's World movies and had a part in Coneheads.
His funniest performance remains, however, in Tommy Boy where he had the leading role with David
Spade. He made other excellent comedies such as Beverly Hills Ninja and Black
Sheep (with David Spade again).
You might have spotted him in numerous cameos:
- As the bus driver in Billy Madison
- As Captain Insano's interviewer in The Waterboy
- As the cop in Airheads
Sadly, his carreer was cut short when he died at only 33 years old of a heart attack a few years ago. His final film,
the underrated, hilarious Almost Heroes (with Matthew Perry) came out 5 years ater his death and
wasn't very succesful. He followed in his idol John Belushi's footsteps until the end. And that's a real shame indeed.
Jim Varney may not have been a particularly good actor or a famous one for that matter, but he certainly
was an excellent comedian.
He used to be in American commercials and went on to star in lots and lots of low-budget films where he played
the moronic and brainless janitor: Ernest P. Worrel. His films include: Slamdunk Ernest,
Ernest Scared Stupid, Ernest Goes to Africa, Ernest
in the Army, Ernest Goes to Jail but you should check out Ernest
Goes to Camp and Ernest Goes to School as they are his best and funniest ones.
He was the voice of Slinky the dog in Toy Story and of a character in The Simpsons (when Homer and Bart work in the carnival). He also had a part in Beverly
His humour is a bit similar to Jim Carrey's (rubber face, one liners, cartoon-like slapstick) and had a real talent,
that's why he deserves to be mentionned as a king of comedy.
Unfortunately, he was a big smoker and died a few years ago before he could finish Ernest
the Pirate. AAARRRHHH!
Mostly known as the strange, campy little manchild Pee-Wee Herman, Reubens is a comedy genius who's career
faded away after some silly incident. He starred in Tim Burton's magical directorial debut: Pee-Wee's
Big Adventure, a wonderfully funny film that shows why he really is a king of comedy.
The follow-up: Big Top Pee-Wee, lost a bit of the magic that made its predecessor so
great but Paul himself is as good as ever. He appeared in a few films after that including the superhero spoof Mystery Men (in which he played flatulent superhero The Spleen), Blow and
Matilda and he did numerous cameos in Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before
Christmas and Doctor Dolittle (voice) to name a few.
It's too bad he disappeared but, what are you gonna do? That's Hollywood. He is now planning, at
51, to make another Pee-Wee movie!
The Famous Kings of Comedy
John Candy was born in Canada. He started off in a comedy show starring
other kings of comedy such as Dan Aykroyd and Martin Short. He then turned to movies. He is well known for his roles
in Spaceballs, Cool Runnings and Splash
but his best films include the excellent Trains, Planes and Automobiles and Uncle Buck.
He cameoed in The Little Shop of Horrors and starred in films like
Delirious, The Great Outdoors (with
Dan Aykroyd), Stripes (with Bill
Murray), Brewster's Millions (with Richard Pryor), Only the Lonely (with
James Belushi) and Wagons East (during the filming of which, he sadly passed away).
He wasn't only a funny guy but also a good man and a surprisingly talented actor. It's just too bad he left us so
Cablo Gula's second favourite comedian after The Almighty. Steve
Martin is a comedy genius. Born in sunny California, Steve used to work, as a kid, in Disneyworld where he learnt some routines
from some crazy actors. He then became a stand-up and was extremely successful, his absurd and physical slapstick
humour proved very popular. He then turned to movies and starred in the hilarious The
Jerk, the underrated and loveable The Lonely Guy and
the side-splitting The Man With Two Brains. He also proved himself as a very good writer
in Roxanne, L.A. Story and Bowfinger.
Other great comedies of his include: Trains, Planes and Automobiles,
The Little Shop of Horrors (in which he stole the show), Housesitter, Mixed Nuts, Dead Men
Don't Wear Plaid and Parenthood. His first real mishit came with Sgt
Bilko, an unfortunately unfunny remake in which Steve was painfully miscast. One of his only serious roles,
in The Spanish Prisoner, was, however, unjustly ignored as it was very respectable.
Recently, he has done a few very average films like Bringing Down The House, Cheaper By The Dozen and Looney Tunes Back in Action. But he was very good
in the dark comedy Novocaine. An adaptation of his own novel Shopgirl
is coming out soon. Maybe the Pink Panther
remake he's preparing will be his great comeback?
Gene Wilder is one of the rare actors who can go completely nuts in a
matter of seconds. He demonstrated this in one of his first films: Mel Brooks' comedy masterpiece The Producers. He then got the main role in Brooks' brilliant spoof Young
Frankenstein and had a part in his famous western spoof Blazing Saddles. But the part for
which he is mostly known for is as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. His partnership
with stand-up funnyman Richard Pryor began in Silver Streak and followed in films like the very
funny See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Stir Crazy and Another You. He also
had a part, a few years ago, in an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
Now, his film career seems to be unfortunately over, but he can still be seen stealing the
show in a few episodes of sitcom Will & Grace (as Will's Boss). He is not only a really
funny man and a comedy genius but also an excellent actor.
Murray, the Prince of deadpan, is an actor that’s very hard to dislike. He’s at his funniest when his characters
find themselves in far-out situations. He started his career in films like Stripes (which also
starred his friend Harold Ramis and John Candy) and found success in Ghostbusters with Dan Aykroyd,
Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis. He was offered a more important role in the inferior but thoroughly enjoyable sequel Ghostbusters 2. He played a modern version of Dickens’ Scrooge in Scrooged,
an inevitable present-day version of A Christmas Carol. He cameoed in the wonderful star packed musical comedy Little
Shop of Horrors, playing a part that was amously played by a young Jack Nicholson in the original. He starred
in What About Bob?, an underrated comedy with the great Richard Dreyfuss in which he played
an annoying but loveable loon. In Mad Dog and Glory (with De Niro) he tried his luck at playing
a more serious part and did very well. He also starred in light-hearted comedy Larger Than Life.
his best part came in Groundhog Day where he played an obnoxious, grumpy weatherman doomed to live
out the same day again and again. The film is hilarious and Bill is at his best. His hilarious performance in Caddyshack
is definitely one of his most entertaining. Sofia Copolla's excellent romantic-comedy Lost in
Translation is his best film to date and allowed him to be very funny and to show his great acting skills
for which he received an Oscar nomination. He also starred in The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, cameoed
in Coffee and Cigarettes and did the voice of animated cat Garfield.
He also had the part of a ventriloquist in the interesting but flawed The Cradle Will Rock. In
2004 he played Jacques Cousteau-ish Steve Zissou in Wes Anderson’s The
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. It looks as if he's turning to more indie projects
these days, which is ar from being a bad thing and will undoubtedly allow him to stretch his acting capabilities a little
more. His forthcoming film, Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers, isn't even out yet but has already received
great reviews, it was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival and looks like it's going to be a new success for good old Bill.
Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy
slapstick comedy kings Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy, after all these years, still manage to make me laugh my Ace off. Unlike
the great Charlie Chaplin, these guys weren't concerned with political messages or ideas, they were all about fun. Interestingly,
when the little tramp started to talk he became less funny, Laurel and Hardy, however, became even funnier. The
great thing about them was the formula they always used. 2 guys: onr is fat, the other is skinny, they’re both
really stupid but the fat one thinks he’s smart. Laurel always looked like he was high or something and Hardy was always
pretentious and grumpy, this made an inevitably great combination. Even though they pretty much did always the same things
and the gags could be seen sometimes a mile away, they were geniuses and always funny. Their comedy western Way
Out West was their most successful and contained a whole range of classic moments. Sons of the
Desert is another feature film of theirs and it's a real classic. Block Heads was packed
with clever gags and Flying Deuces is also a must-see, the scene where Laurel keeps repeatedly bumping
his head on the ceiling is side-splitting. Saps at Sea may not be their best film but it's still
worth a look as it contains some classic moments. Most of their short films were about them getting new jobs and screwing
They often played poor
riends who get the chance to make big bucks but fail at the last second, and there’s always a fantastical or surreal
element present. My favourite short film of theirs is probably Going Bye Bye in which the script
is brilliant and the gags are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Ater having retired
from cinema, they returned or one last film, Utopia, which was suprisingly
ok. They sadly died in poverty but they left behind many many comedy gems that’ll make them live forever.
He may have given up ‘funny’
movies a long time ago for more, shall we say, intellectual films but Woody is still nevertheless a comedy genius and even
his ‘serious’ films always include a great number of witty jokes and metaphors. Woody is famously a big fan of
the Marx Brothers and this shows in his Jewish humour and in the physical comedy present in his earlier movies.
He started off as a stand up
then turned to films and starred in classic comedies such as What’s New Pussycat? (which
he co-wrote) and the star-packed Casino Royale. He then started making his own comedies. His Jewish,
neurotic, glasses-wearing, wise-cracking persona was, by then, already well established. In Everything
You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, Woody hilariously portrays a court jester and…a
spermatozoid. The supporting cast also included Gene Wilder. In Bananas, Sleeper, Love and Death, Take the Money and Run and Play
it Again Sam, Woody really showed his great comic genius. Of course, then he didn’t ‘feel’ funny
anymore so he turned to more challenging work thus creating masterpieces like Annie Hall and Manhattan. Other great works of his include Deconstructing Harry, Interiors,
Stardust Memories, Mighty Aphrodite and Sweet
and Lowdown. He even tried his hand at making a musical: Everyone Says I Love You which
starred Goldie Hawn, Alan Alda and Drew Barrymore. Thankfully, from time to time he goes back to comedy, in films like
Manhattan Murder Mysteries, Small Time Crooks, The
Curse of Jade Scorpion, Antz, Melinda and Melinda and Anything
Else. He was also in the insane black comedy Picking Up the Pieces with
David Schwimmer, Kiefer Sutherland and Sharon Stone. Overall, Woody Allen, love him or hate him, is undoubtedly
a comic genius as well as one of the best filmmakers there is.