I’ve always been of the mindset that actors best known for the comedic performances (unfortunately, I have to use the term “comedic” loosely) make some of the most impressive dramatic actors. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re so used to pushing their performances so far toward wacky that pulling back to normal is easy for them. Maybe making people laugh is harder than making them cry. Who knows what the case is?
But we decided that it was time to celebrate some of our favorite performances by comedians who took on straight-faced roles. To be honest, a number of the actors who made our list deserved to be mentioned two or three times for separate roles, so in each case, we acknowledged them for our favorite of their roles. It was a more difficult list to narrow down then we originally thought. So, without further ado, enjoy our list of the top 10 dramatic performances by comedians.
(Fair warning: In keeping with the theme of the list, it’s not that funny.)
10. Albert Brooks (Drive)- Albert Brooks is probably best-known for playing high-strung characters that talk really fast and panic about everything. Well, his performance as Bernie Rose went in a slightly different direction. See, Bernie worried about things, which was normal, but he also believed in solving problems with knives, which isn’t quite Brooks’ M.O. The fact is, this isn’t a stretch for Brooks; it’s just that he’s so nonchalant about shedding blood that makes it so eerie. Bernie is probably what would happen if any other Albert Brooks character finally snapped.
9. Patton Oswalt (Big Fan)- To be fair, Big Fan was written by Robert D. Siegel, the former editor-in-chief of The Onion, a not-so-serious “news” source. However, despite the fact that the film was a little absurd at times, Oswald fed into it by taking the role seriously. In it, he plays a New York Giants fanatic that is assaulted by the team’s star player, which brings him to a crossroads: With the big game on the line, everyone in Philly blames him for the player being benched over the ordeal. Oswalt steps into the role by perfectly embodying the character and making you believe he honestly blames himself for getting the crapped kicked out of him.