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The 10 best comedy muggers, from Jim Carrey to Kristen Wiig

Jim Carrey in Ace Venture

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Sometimes, comedy is very clever wordplay. Sometimes, it’s a fart. Sometimes, it’s a carefully crafted misunderstanding building to an embarrassingly awkward revelation, and other times, it’s a caustic one-liner perfectly timed. Then, there are those occasions when someone’s face can make you laugh without saying anything. It can be a reaction to that clever wordplay, a response to a fart, or the instant of that revelation about what’s actually going on in a situation, and it can even just be straight-up clowning around. Whether it’s rubber-faced mugging or withering glares, some comic actors can sell you on the funny without a word. Let’s take a look at ten of the best comedy faces of all time, in no particular order.

1. Jim Carrey

Let’s get this one out of the way, as he tends to be the first guy you think of when you think about wacky faces. The “Ace Ventura” movies were certainly an exercise in crazy contortionism, but his time on “In Living Color” and even his old stand-up act showcased just how rubber-faced this rubberface really is. It’s just amazing what this guy can do with his mug, not to mention the rest of his body, in the service of a laugh.

2. Lucille Ball

Oh, there was so much to love about Lucy, not the least of which was her ability to bring an audience – hell, a nation of “I Love Lucy” viewers to laughter with nothing but a look. Wide-eyed realizations about misunderstandings she’d had with Ricky or crazy hijinks with Fred and Ethel, she could bring that comedy home with her face just as much as with her famously husky voice. Here’s an example of how talented she was without the use of words.

3. Jerry Lewis

You wouldn’t have had Jim Carrey without Jerry Lewis. He was the wildly zany madman to Dean Martin’s unflappable cool cat, and that made them one of the most legendary comedy teams of all time, starring in movies, television and even comic books. Lewis eventually became popular enough to soar off on his own as a comedy icon. Take a look at this selection from the old Colgate Comedy Hour, when his face is constantly contorting as he wreaks havoc with the cameramen and all the behind-the-scenes folks. You can’t not laugh at this guy.

4. Marty Feldman

Some faces are just so strange that just their mere existences can elicit a startled laugh. Feldman was a brilliant writer and performer, but his most memorable trait came from the Graves’ ophthalmopathy he was afflicted with that caused his eyes to protrude and be misaligned. Rather than let this hold him back, he turned it into a career in show business – most memorably as Igor in “Young Frankenstein.” He was a contemporary and colleague of the Monty Python crew, co-writer of the famous “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch for “At Last the 1948 Show,” and he did a great deal of non-verbal comedy – such as this sketch, wherein he channels Harpo Marx.

5. Bill Cosby

You want mugging, Mr. Cosby will give you mugging. One of the most enduringly creative stand-up comedians of all time, still working hard and getting it done today nearing the age of 75, The Cos has had one of the most malleable mugs you’ve ever seen on television, and it’s on full display whenever he sits down with a microphone to tell some stories to audiences full of appreciative people. It’s also immortalized forever on one of the most popular TV sitcoms ever, Ye Olde “Cosby Show,” which you can see for yourself in this clip of Heathcliff Huxtable relating the saga of his daughter’s crappy car.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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