NOT SO FUNNYVILLE — We love comedic actors because they usually make us laugh and help us escape the difficulties of real life for an hour or two while we smile at their antics and quick wit.
That's why it's so jarring at times when we see some of our beloved funny people take on serious roles, but so often we're surprised and moved by their incredible performances.
We've seen some fantastic dramatic portrayals by some of the world's funniest people. This weekend, for example, funny man Steve Carrell stars in "Battle of the Sexes" opposite Emma Stone. Sure, Carrell is playing real-life character Bobby Riggs and no doubt we laugh a fair amount at the former tennis player's antics, but it's also a very serious role with heavy elements.
With this in mind, here's a look at the five best dramatic performances from comedic actors.
This one is a bit tricky because "The Color Purple" was Goldberg's big break on the silver screen. She did a Broadway show that caught director Steven Spielberg's eye, who was about to film "The Color Purple." Based on her work on stage, he offered her the role. The relatively unknown Goldberg blew audiences away and even garnered an Academy Award nomination for her work.
Most people know Goldberg for her work in comedies like "Sister Act," "Ghost" and "Burglar," but make sure you go back and watch "The Color Purple." Sure, she won the Academy Award for her just off-center charlatan character in "Ghost," but it's "The Color Purple" that really proves Goldberg has the dramatic chops to act alongside anyone in the business.
Jonah Hill was known for comedies filled with adolescent humor like "Superbad," "Knocked Up" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." That's why everyone was a bit surprised when it was announced that director Bennett Miller had cast Hill alongside Brad Pitt in the true story drama "Moneyball."
Hill still made us laugh once or twice in the baseball flick, but he proved that he's more than a punchline; he's a real actor. He didn't just hold his own against the likes of Pitt, Robin Wright and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, he stole the show. Hill received an Academy Award nomination for his role and would later receive a second for his comedic/dramatic role in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Albert Brooks is the funny man with that voice you recognize. Sure, he was in "Taxi Driver," which is about as serious as you can get, but he's known for films like "Defending Your Life" and "The In-Laws," but he's most famous for his voice. He is best recognized as the voice of Marlin from "Finding Nemo," but he can also be heard in films like "Doctor Dolittle," "The Secret Life of Pets" and "The Simpsons." This is why it was so surprising and downright shocking to see him play Bernie Rose in "Drive." Bernie is a mob-type boss who is ruthless and terrifying and will take down anyone in his way in the most brutal way possible. Brooks was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the heartless kingpin.
Brooks' turn as Bernie Rose is stunning and possibly one of the best things the veteran actor has ever done. If you want to continue to see Marlin as the loving and committed father of Nemo then I suggest you do not watch "Drive."
Everyone's favorite TV star, Mary Tyler Moore, shocked audiences everywhere when she took on the role of Beth in the 1980 drama "Ordinary People."
Moore was best known for her roles in "The Dick Van Dyke Show," as well as her insanely popular sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She was a girl-next-door type who could make us laugh, and we felt comfortable inviting into our living rooms once a week.
"Ordinary People" is no sitcom. The movie revolves around a family dealing with the loss of their oldest son. Moore plays the bitter mother alongside her on-screen husband Donald Sutherland and their fictitious son Timothy Hutton, who won the Academy Award for his performance.
"Ordinary People" is as dramatic as it gets and Moore's performance is haunting and real and sticks with you long after the movie ends. That's why she was also nominated for her role in the film.
In 2014 Steve Carrell starred in the film "Foxcatcher" and it was unlike anything we had ever seen him do.
We all know and love Carrell as the dimwitted, but good-hearted Michael Scott from "The Office," but in "Foxcatcher," he became the deeply disturbed and homicidal John du Pont.
The film recounts the true story of du Pont's descent into madness and wrestling. It is disturbing and mesmerizing.
Carrell's performance is nothing short of brilliant and, in my opinion, he should have won the Academy Award for best actor that year. Instead, it went to Eddie Redmayne for the "The Theory of Everything." Believe you me, I have been in more than one debate about why Carrell deserved the award over Redmayne, so if you'd like to get into it, feel free to email me.
Carrell's performance is so chilling and so real that you completely forget it is one of the funniest men in show business under that tracksuit. This movie is not for the faint of heart, not because it is graphic, violent or even contains any language, but rather because Carrell's performance is so off-putting and real that it's hard to handle at times.
Out of every dramatic performance I've seen from a comedic actor, I believe Carrell's work in "Foxcatcher" is the absolute best.