The Eight Best Dramatic Roles by Comedians
Comedians have been crossing over to dramatic roles for a while now, but only a select few have been able to conquer the next artistic level. It takes true skill to do what these performers have accomplished, as transcending mediums is an act that few thespians have done succesfully. Let’s had out some love, y’all.
8. Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love
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Over the years, most of Adam Sandler’s films have been filled to the brim with raunchy humor and endless cameos by his Saturday Night Live alumni. With this said, his Golden Globe-nominated role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love kinda took us all by surprise when it was first released. Yes, the role was pretty much tailor-made for him, but nonetheless, he still killed it. For a guy that became famous for ridiculous bits like "Opera Man" on SNL, it was a breath of fresh air to see Sandler step out of his “want to touch the hiney” comedy box and use his huge Hollywood name for a relatively independent film. I’m sure a ton of people out there thought it wouldn’t be possible for Sandler to pull off a role with such a critically-acclaimed cast and director, but he sure damn did.
7. Bill Murray in Lost in Translation
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Not matter what you do, it’s kind of impossible to take Bill Murray 100 percent serious in almost any part he plays. Murray’s classic sarcasm always seems to bleed through no matter the role. He was on the verge of accomplishing a completely straight take on a character as Herman Blume in Rushmore, but Lost in Translation was truly one of those rare moments where Murray took things a little more seriously than usual and gave us all one of the most endearing performances of his entire career. Yes, there’s a ton of hilarious moments in the film, but none of these are over-the-top or goofy. They are natural and totally organic. Sofia Coppola apparently wrote this film with Murray in mind and it really shows. Each moment in the film seems to be tailor-made for him. Either way, any which way you slice it, the man can do no wrong.
6. Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple
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Simply put, Whoopi Goldberg tore it the f*** down in The Color Purple. I know a lot of you only really know Whoopi from the trainwreck daytime show The View, but before she looked and sounded like a butch version of the Predator, Ms. Goldberg was actually a huge box office draw as well as a legitimately talented comedian.
Before hitting it big in Hollywood, Whoopi was spotted by Color Purple director Steven Spielberg during her one-woman show on Broadway and she was given a starring role in his new film. As Celie Harris Johnson in The Color Purple, Whoopi’s character is relentlessly tortured by her father, husband and unruly step kids. There’s no question that Goldberg’s work makes the film what it is. The depth of her emotion throughout the movie rivals any actress alive or dead. I guess that’s why she took home a Golden Globe for her trouble back in 1985. Let’s all try to remember Whoopi for her work like The Color Purple instead of Hollywood s**tshows like Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Just sayin’.
5. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
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Joke stealer or not, Robin Williams has talent by the truckload. Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Good Morning, Vietnam and Awakenings are all solid works that deserve to be mentioned on this list, although Mr. Williams’ Oscar-Winning role as Sean Maguire in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting simply stole the show in terms of his career highlights. It also made Robin one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. For a guy that got famous playing a wacked-out alien on Mork & Mindy, it’s extremely surprising to see how far Williams has come. The man is easily one of the most multi-talented entertainers of all time and the skills that he processes are a rarity these days.