Comic actors wearing makeup that takes half a day to apply has become a Hollywood tradition. Hiding behind those layers of latex can sometimes be a more liberating experience, releasing the actor’s inhibitions and bringing out his inner funny. It might mean dressing as a woman. It might mean dressing as an obese person, or the double whammy: an obese woman. Yes, more often than not, being funny while concealing yourself under pounds of makeup go hand-in-hand. Rumor has it that Artie Lange might actually be a 120 lb. African-American woman from Denver.
But there’s one cinematic stalwart that requires a special skill set, to be both funny and fantastical at the same time: The Comical Creature.
The following comic actors have mastered this craft, and Screen Junkies salutes the Top 10 with their own list. Some are all laughs. Some are darkly comic. Some are creepy and some are plain effin’ scary. But whether you pee your pants from laughing, screaming or incontinence, you’ll agree that these actors are sometimes more recognizable in disguise.
Timeless Michael Keaton all the way. He completely embodies the ghoul from the look, to the gravely voice, to the sardonic sense of humor. He wouldn’t have to ask me more than twice to say his name three times. BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE!
Roald Dahl was meeeeeeeeessed up. He wrote children’s books that could put kids directly into psychotherapy. In this classic from his warped mind, Anjelica Huston does her all to embody the disturbing and Selsun Blue-needing traits of a head witch.
Robin Williams is a kindly, albeit slightly creepy robot. He’s not as funny as a British nanny, perhaps, but Doubtfire was technically human. Also, if his character could cry like I did while watching this touching Chris Columbus film he’d be rustier than a Huffy left out in the rain. The Celine Dion song helps.
Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans all in the same film and they’re all dressed like bright colored aliens. Come on, how could that not be good?! Well, it just isn’t, folks. Maybe it’s the chaos theory Goldblum pimps in Jurassic Park or something. But this fish out of water tale does provide some wonderful situational humor. Like all the parts where the aliens try to figure out what all our weird earth stuff is.
Before he become the slickly bald, flavor-savor wearing, gold earring sporting pharaoh-esque host of Deal or No DeaI, Howie Mandel played Maurice. He lived under Fred Savage’s bed and got him into all sorts of wacky situations while his eyes bugged out and his flesh bubbled. Sources tell me that’s still their sleeping arrangement to this day. My sources are fictional.
Holy crap, it’s hard for me to even write a blurb about this film it terrified me so bad when I was a young lad. The only thing I couldn’t understand was why Georgie didn’t run away when a clown popped its head out of a sewer. Hello, Georgie?! Clowns don’t belong in sewers even if they do have your paper boat! Get the f*** out of there!
(Editor’s Note: We thought we should give a nod to Curry’s awesome performance as "Darkness" in Legend, even though Pennywise – with less makeup – trumps the devilish one.)
Why would she change her name to Latrine? Well when it used to be shithouse it’s no wonder. Tracey Ullman shines in all her British glory in Mel Brooks’s take on the staunch Democra Robin Hood. Takes from the rich, gives to the poor… Ah, forget it.
The guy’s so nice we had to mention him twice. We all know that Jim Carrey is a master character creator, and his role as Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch is no exception. I have to admit I wasn’t too fond of the movie when I saw it in the theater, but upon viewing this scene again I can say without a doubt that it’s damn funny. It’s just a good thing we’re not doing television too because you better believe Fire Marshall Bill would be on the list. Lemme tell ya something!
Not kidding, I literally had no idea that this was Doc Brown when I watched it the first few times. Maybe because I was like, 8. Or maybe I should just credit Christopher Lloyd’s outstanding performance. And Uncle Fester and Joan Cusack have some classic lovers’ quarrels in Addams Family Values, the sequel.
Now here are two fantastic comedians in their prime. They sound like Billy Crystal and Carol Kane, but boy do they look more ugly and older. And they have the old married Jewish couple routine down pat! Off topic, does anyone know why Rob Reiner can’t make good movies anymore?
And for those of you who thought we missed Mike Myers in The Cat in the Hat… you have not seen The Cat in the Hat.
– IAN SOBEL
Ian Sobel is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He enjoys afghan hounds, truffles, and 401k’s, but owns none of these things. In his younger and more vulnerable years his father gave him some advice he’s been turning over in his head ever since: "Plastics." He told him he’d think about it.