10 Best British Comedy Actors

Friday, July 22 by Thomas West

Although Hollywood seems to have a monopoly on making blockbuster comedies, some might not realize that some of the finest comedy is produced by the 10 best British comedy actors.  These men, who are often quite accomplished, are some of the funniest men who have or are working in the movie industry.

  1. Peter Sellers- This late actor, best known for his portrayal of the bumbling French detective Inspector Clouseau, Peter Sellers was one of the greatest British comedy actors to have ever graced the silver screen.  However, he was also capable of acting in non-comedies, such as the film “Being There,” in which he plays a simple gardener.
  2. Hugh Grant- Hugh Grant is an English comedy actor who has gained a reputation for playing something of a fob in many of the romantic comedies in which he is the star.  One of his finest roles was in the films Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Bridget Jones:  The Edge of Reason,” in which he played the playboy Daniel, forever breaking Bridget’s heart.
  3. John Cleese- No list of British comedy actors would be complete without mentioning John Cleese, who is most famous for his crucial role in the comedy troupe responsible for the “Monty Python” movies.  In addition to these rousing bits of cinematic fun, he is also well-known for portraying Nearly-Headless Nick, one of the ghosts living at the castle known as Hogwarts, in the “Harry Potter” films.
  4. Stephen Fry- In addition to his considerable talents as a comedy actor, the venerable and very witty Stephen Fry has become one of Britain’s best-known actors.  In addition to his comedy roles, he is also well-known for his role in as Oscar Wilde in the film “Wilde,”in which he seemed to channel the characteristics and personality in that flamboyant literary figure from the late ninteenth Century.
  5. Simon Pegg- Simon Pegg is perhaps best known for his starring role in the films “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” has a wicked sense of humor and a great deal of acting talent.  In recent years, he has also taken on a number of other roles, including as a voice actor in the third installment of the “Ice Age” series and in “The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
  6. Nick Frost- Nick Frost is a British comedy actor who has become famous for his co-starring role in many films with Simon Pegg.  Of particular note are “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”  These films have established him as a very funny presence on the screen, particularly as a slovenly counterpart to the often-fastidious Pegg.
  7. Frank Thornton- Fans of British comedy will be quite familiar with Frank Thornton, as he has played in two of the most successful comedy series in television histories.  He is best known for portraying the uptight Captain Peacock on “Are You Being Served” and as Truly in the long-running television series “The Last of the Summer Wine.”
  8. Peter Sallis- In addition to the series “The Last of the Summer Wine,” in which he has starred since the series’ inception, Peter Sallis is also well-known to American audiences as the voice of Wallace in the popular “Wallace and Gromit” series of cartoons.  With his delightfully soft voice and understated sense of humor, Peter Sallis definitely deserves his place among the best English comedy actors.
  9. Eddie Izzard- If you are looking for one of the funniest English comedy actors, then you must certainly mention Eddie Izzard, who has become famous not only for his film roles but also for his standup comedy.  Like Pegg, he has also taken a turn at voice acting, providing the voice of Reepicheep in the second Narnia film “The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian.”
  10. Graham Chapman- The late Graham Chapman, also one of the core members of “Monty Python” should also be remembered as one of Britain’s great comedy actors.  Most American audiences are probably familiar with his enormously funny appearance as King Arthur in the popular film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”