There have been many classic comedies through the history of Hollywood, with several actors emerging as bona fide comedy stars. Unfortunately, the world of the comedy movie is also a dangerous one as many actors overstay their welcome and simply become unfunny.
Even in a world of music streaming, Netflix, online gaming venues like NetBet casino, YouTube, and the internet, movies remain a great unifier of the people. This is especially true of comedies; laughter is truly international and something we can all share. However, these following actors seem to have forgotten how to be funny.
It saddens me that the current generation of moviegoers will not understand just how funny Steve Martin was. He was a titan of comedy, one of the all-time greats and arguably the funniest man alive during the 70s and 80s. First, he was a blockbuster stand-up comedian, one of the first Rockstar funnymen who would sell out packed arenas and sell comedy albums by the millions.
Martin transitioned into film and for the first 15 years as a movie star, he was in excellent form. Indeed, the 1980s saw Martin star in several all-time classic comedies such as The Jerk (perhaps the first “modern” whacky comedy), The Man with Two Brains, Three Amigos, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and… well, the list goes on.
During the 1990s, Steve Martin started to decline as a comedy star and after a mini resurgence in 1999s Bowfinger (which he also wrote), he became relegated to family comedies.
Make no mistake, Martin was once incredibly funny with an air of pathos that made him incredibly likeable. That’s no longer the case as Martin is now more focused on releasing bluegrass albums (he is admittedly a world-class banjo player). Part of the problem is Martin is actually a very serious and, yes, I’ll say it, an unfunny person in real life. As he aged, he shed the whacky image and his “real” persona came to the fore on screen, making him seem boring in his modern roles.
Jeez, what a heart-breaking list this is turning out to be. Like Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd was a comedy titan of the 1980s, churning out classic comedies at an alarming pace. Often contributing as a writer on his early projects, Aykroyd’s comedy home runs include The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, and Trading Places.
After the miss that was Ghostbusters 2, Dan Aykroyd has almost totally failed in comedic roles, with the notable exception of his scene-stealing turn in Grosse Pointe Blank” While the Saturday Night Live Alum has faired better in dramatic roles (Driving Miss Daisy), these have been as a bit-part player.
Like Martin, it can be argued Aykroyd simply outgrew his comic persona and became too serious. In the process, audiences lost one of the most original comedic voices of his generation.
Another former original Saturday Night Live cast member, Chevy Chase’s collapse from comedic giant to laugh vacuum can perhaps be more easily explained. Some would argue he was never funny, but that’s not true because Chase could deadpan better than most and was effortless in his comedic timing.
While not possessing a classic reel like Steve Martin or Dan Aykroyd, Chase does have some much-loved productions under his belt. Among them are the Caddyshack movies, the National Lampoon Vacation trilogy, and Three Amigos.
It seems over the years Chase just stopped giving a damn, and that made him painfully unfunny. And yes, watching Chase try to be funny now is indeed a painful experience. Couple his general apathy with many people not wanting to work with him, then you have a terrible blend of unfunny potential. Chase’s reputation for being a complete jackass is well documented and has undoubtedly harmed his career.
I’ll file this choice under controversial because Mike Myers does not make enough movies to say he has fallen into a complete comedic slump. Indeed, he has only made three movies in the last decade and each of those were small parts in dramatic roles. However, when your last “comedy” was the humor void that is The Love Guru then we feel worried that Myers has lost his touch.
Mike Myer’s has the amazing ability to create hugely successful and culture-defining characters, such as those in the Wayne’s World movies, Austin Powers trilogy, and even the Shrek series. There is still admittedly time for Myers to turn his comedic fortunes around, but for some reason, I am not confident he can do it.
Considering Hollywood’s penchant for reboots it is more likely Myers rolls out a tired re-do of Wayne’s World or Austin Powers before he creates a funny new character.