Top 10 Actors Who Started Their Careers as Stand-Up Comedians

Actors all want to be musicians, musicians all want to be actors, and comedians are usually content to be miserable neurotics. The advantage of working out neurosis on stage is that it can be a great training ground for channeling emotion in front of an audience who aren’t shy about giving you instant feedback. In his autobiography, “Born Standing Up,” Steve Martin expounds on the idea of how his stand-up days helped mold him into the actor, writer, and musician he is today. That got me thinking about other stand-ups who’ve turned out brilliant acting performances, and can claim to be Actors with a capital A.

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Steve Martin’s ‘The Jerk’ is still funny 26 years later

Steve Martin drags his dog in 'The Jerk'
Steve Martin drags his dog in ‘The Jerk’

Watching the first few minutes of The Jerk I came to a funny realization — I’d never seen the movie unedited before. Although the film is nearly as old as I am, viewing this 26th Anniversary Edition was the very first time I’d seen it completely intact, with all the cursing and in a widescreen presentation.

All my life I thought the dog’s name was actually, “Stupid”.

Anyway, Steve Martin made his big screen debut with this film, which he developed from one of his stage acts. The story follows a white man named Navin who grew up with a black family, and has never felt like he quite fit in — he has no rhythm, loves Twinkies, and… well, is white.

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‘Father of the Bride: 15th Anniversary Edition’ proves Steve Martin film still has charm

[rating=4]Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams, Martin Short, George Newbern
Director(s): Charles Shyer
Writer(s): Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer

Steve Martin (l.) and Diane Keaton watch their daughter, Kimberly Williams, marry George Newbern in 'Father of the Bride'
Steve Martin (l.) and Diane Keaton watch their daughter, Kimberly Williams, marry George Newbern in ‘Father of the Bride’

When Father of the Bride first came out, I thought it was a funny movie. I like Steve Martin, and together with his Three Amigos co-star Martin Short, the two are hilarious. But seeing the movie now, 15 years later and now a father myself, the film took on a different feeling for me.

I don’t have a daughter, but I felt more of a connection to Martin’s George Banks. That fatherly connection, being able to relate to his feelings for his child, the difficulty in having to let her go.

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