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Serious Actors Who Are Seriously Funny

These actors have shaken us to the core with their gravitas on screen, but they’ve also shaken us with laughter. While they normally play kings, soldiers, gangsters and Shakespearean characters, once in a while they’ll play best friends to teddy bears and over-the-top agents with intense arm hair. And they play both ends of the spectrum just as convincingly. Just think about how Steve Buscemi played Nucky on Boardwalk Empire and magician sidekick Anton Marvelton in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone at the same time and nobody batted an eye. In other words, these might be the perfect actors.

Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart may be best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, or for his stage roles in Shakespearean classics like MacBethThe  Tempest, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Recently, however, Sir Stewart has emerged as somewhat of a viral video darling, wowing us with his quadruple-take acting lessons and endearing us by sharing his first experience with pizza. In 2005, he made one of the funniest and most memorable cameos on Ricky Gervais‘s Extras, in which he’s obsessed with seeing women naked.

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Tom Cruise

When you think Tom Cruise, you probably first think action star, and then maybe dramatic actor (and then maybe crazy Scientologist), but before 2008’s Tropic Thunder, you probably would have never thought overweight, balding, sleazy studio executive. But he played exactly that in the Ben Stiller-directed comedy, and he played it to perfection. His character Les Grossman spouts such lines as “First, take a big step back…and literally f**k your own face!” and “A nutless monkey could do your job,” making Ari Gold look like Mister Rogers.

Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg has steadily starred in Oscar-winning dramas like The Fighter and The Departed during his career, but peppered throughout are movies like Ted and Date Night. Wahlberg’s gruff Boston attitude gives him weight in more serious roles, but also lends an edge to his comedic roles. His performance in David O. Russell’s quirky, surreal, philosophy-heavy comedy I Heart Huckabees is perhaps one of the most underrated comedic performances of all time. Seriously, go watch it if you haven’t.

Colin Firth

Colin Firth first rose to fame playing Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and recently he was nominated for an Oscar for  A Single Man and won one for The King’s Speech. That said, let’s all stop kidding ourselves and admit it: our favorite Colin Firth role was in Love Actually. Don’t be ashamed. Every single other person secretly feels the same way.

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Steve Buscemi

There are few actors in Hollywood who can do stoner movies (Airheads), Tarantino classics (Reservoir Dogs), rom-coms (The Wedding Singer), dark comedies (Fargo), iconic stoner movies (The Big Lebowski), and still terrify us as TV’s meanest gangster. Steve Buscemi is a rare gem of an actor. If he played an old Asian grandma, we would probably believe it, and be impressed.

Matt Damon

Oscar-winner Matt Damon has made a career out of  carefully-chosen film roles, most of which are of the dramatic or action variety. But the actor’s inherent charm truly comes out when he dabbles in comedy, even in less-than-successful movies. His turn as bumbling and dense Mark Whitacre in The Informant! is subtle but spot-on. When he pairs up (literally) with Greg Kinnear in Stuck on You, his performance may not have won over critics, but it’s a refreshing contrast to the usually serious Damon. And let’s unearth a little-known ditty, shall we? Here’s Damon as the lead singer of a pop-punk band in the 2004 comedy EuroTrip (you’re welcome):


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