When it comes to film roles, one thing you will consistently notice is that people who come from a background of live stand up comedy can seamlessly play dramatic parts convincingly and to critical acclaim. Look at Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Steve Coogan. When they play dramatic and/or darker characters they garner rave reviews.
Ever thought about that? It’s not something you would think works but it does.
You see, most stand-up comics make observations about life around them, they are extremely observant of people’s mannerisms. Their routines are consistently based on mimicking. Where method actors get into character, these performers do that anyway night after night over a period of years. One other person of note who transitioned successfully was Lee Evans in Funny Bones.
So when a challenging part comes along(Truman Show, One Hour Photo, Philomena) they can get the right low key performance because of their on the job training.
On the flipside when it comes to actors playing comics it’s the opposite. Take for example Lawrence Olivier, he played a comic in a role and was acclaimed for playing the character as awkward. After all, comics are awkward people in real life. When asked about the role he admitted he played it that way because he felt awkward doing the role.
Also, look at someone more contemporary like Seth Rogan. When he played a comic in Funny People aka Unfunny Film he wasn’t convincing as a live act, more like an actor awkwardly trying to play a comic. Well, I wasn’t convinced but Adam Sandler was good as he had a background in live comedy which made his part more interesting.
Next time you watch a film have a think.