11 Comedians Who Played The Hell Out of Their Dramatic Role
Comedians are known for their effortless ability to make us laugh until we cry. However, some comedians know how to make us cry without making us laugh. As comedians step from the stage to the big screen many of them star in films or shows where they can show off their comedic wits. They know their niche and stay in that lane.
But every now and then a comedian will take on a role completely out of their comfort zone. They take on dramatic roles that, if done right, introduces their fan base to a new side of their acting abilities. And when it is done right we are all highly impressed and wanting more. While you may have a name or two in your head just by the title alone, check out all the comedians who played the hell out of their dramatic role.
Murphy is known for being a comedic genius. His two stand-ups are legendary and his films always have us in stitches. That is until he starred in Dreamgirls. It was then that we were introduced to an Eddie Murphy who can play another role other than comic relief. He got even more dramatic for his role in Mr. Church (which is a favorite) and as of recently, he gave one of his best performances of his career. Not the best comedy. Not best dramatic. But the best performance of his career with Dolemite is My Name and he was in a dramatic role.
When you speak on Jamie Foxx, you speak on greatness all around. He is a great actor, musician, and comedian. His acting career in the 90s was all comedy roles. But as soon as the 2000s hit, Foxx went dramatic. And while we love him for all his roles, his drama roles take the cake. From Ali to Ray to Django Unchained to his most recent in Soul. Foxx may have started off as a comedian turned actor but he is a top-tier dramatic actor.
When you think of comedians, you can’t help but think of Kevin Hart. For the past 10 years, Kevin Hart seemed to star in all the comedies but it was The Upside that reigns as his best performance to date. And that role was a dramatic role. We were utterly impressed by his talents and hope to see him follow that wave a bit more moving forward.
Mike Epps is notorious for his comedy roles but if you have followed his career from his early days, you slowly see him transitioning into more dramatic roles. His first role that was non-comedic was Sparkle and since then he has taken on more roles dramatic roles. A choice we approve. He has been rumored to star as Richard Pryor in his biopic, a role that would allow him to show off both sides of him as an actor. We hope this does come to fruition.
Jim Carrey got his start on In Living Color, a sketch comedy show from Keenon Ivory Wayans. Since his break on the series, Carrey created a lot of classic films. But if you think his comedies are his best roles, please watch The Truman Show. The movie as a whole is a classic and Jim Carrey played the hell out of it.
Mo’Nique is a comedienne legend. When it comes to comedy, she is great. Her stand-ups, TV shows, and films are all funny because she’s funny. But none of them got her an Oscars, her dramatic role in Precious got her the Oscars. And if you saw the film, you understand why she deserves all the flowers she received for that role. Since then she also played the hell out of her role in Blackbird, which is very underrated.
Pryor is the GOAT. There is no debate that he is probably the greatest stand-up comedian of all time who has many comedy films under his belt. But that didn’t stop him from showing his acting chops in a drama role. The late comedian starred in Blue Collar and Harlem Nights where he didn’t have us laughing and we didn’t mind. We actually appreciated the switch up.
Marlon Wayans is known to make us laugh. Whether it be on his TV shows or in his parody films, Wayans pushes his own boundaries when it comes to his humor that many forget how talented he is as a dramatic actor. Wayans’s role in Requiem for a Dream, which he starred in early in his career, Marlon took us on a roller coaster of emotions as we watched his battle with heroin addiction. Wayans has yet to play a role as intense as Requiem for a Dream since, but we know he has the ability to be a dramatic actor if he felt so inclined.
Between his stand-ups and comedic movies and tv shows, many often forget that Chris Rock can do a 180 from comedy to drama. He first showed off his acting range when he starred as Pookie in New Jack City. He rarely dabbles into that facet of his talents, but he recently introduced us to his dramatic side with his role in season 4 of Fargo on FX. And up next he will continue this acting route with Spiral, an offset of the SAW franchise.
First of all, rest in peace Robin Williams. Robin Williams is a comedic legend with classic comedy films under his belt. His comedy ranges from dark to family and they are all good. However, we can’t just give him credit for his comedy side without acknowledging his dramatic side. From What Dreams May Come to One Hour Photo, mixing in Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting in that mix as well, some of his greatest performances are dramas.
Rudolph who is a staple on Saturday Night Live as well as known for starring in mainly comedy films, surprised us all with 2009’s Away We Go. In the low-budget film about an expectant couple struggling to put down roots, she broke out of her comedic mold for this dramatic performance.