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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Brock Hard

Brockmire’s Guide To Grabbing Life By The D***

Catch up on the full season of Brockmire now.

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“Lucy, put supper on the stove, my dear, because this ballgame is over!”

Brockmire has officially closed out its rookie season. Miss the finale episode? A handful of episodes? The whole blessed season?? You can see it all from the beginning, starting right here.

And you should get started, because every minute you spend otherwise will be a minute spent not living your best life. That’s right, there are very important life lessons that Brockmire hid in plain sight—lessons that, when applied thoughtfully, can improve every aspect of your awesome existence. Let’s dive into some sage nuggets from what we call the Book of Jim.

Life Should Be Spiked, Not Watered Down.

That’s not just a fancy metaphor. As Brockmire points out, water tastes “awful. 70% of the water is made up of that shit?” Life is short, water sucks, live like you mean it.

There Are Only Three Types of People

“Poor people, rich people and famous people. Rich people are just poor people with money, so the only worthwhile thing is being famous.” So next time your rich friends act all high and mighty, politely remind them that they’re worthless in the eyes of even the most minor celebrities.

There’s Always A Reason To Get Out Of Bed

And 99% of the time that reason is the urge to pee. It’s nature’s way of saying “seize the day.”

There’s More To Life Than Playing Games

“Baseball can’t compete with p0rnography. Nothing can.” Nothing you do or ever will do can be more important to people than p0rn. Get off your high horse.

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Especially if you’ve taken someone else’s Plan B by mistake.

Our Weaknesses Can Be Our Greatest Strengths

Tyrion Lannister said something similar. Hard to tell who said it with more colorful profanity. Wise sentiments all around.

Big Things Come To Those Who Wait

When you’re looking for a sign, the universe will drop you a big one. You’re the sh*t, universe.

And Of Course…

Need more life lessons from the Book of Jim? Catch up on Brockmire on the IFC App.

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Oh Mama

Mommie May I?

Mommie Dearest Is On Repeat All Mothers Day Long On IFC

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The cult-classic movie Mommie Dearest is a game-changer. If you’ve seen it even just once (but come on, who sees it just once?), then you already know what we’re talking about.

But if you haven’t seen it, then let us break it down for you. Really quick, we promise, we’ll even list things out to spare you the reading of a paragraph:

1. It’s the 1981 biopic based on the memoir of Christina Crawford, Hollywood icon Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.
2. Faye Dunaway plays Joan. And boy does she play her. Loud and over-reactive.
3. It was intended as a drama, but…
4. Waaaaaay over-the-top performances and bargain-basement dialogue rendered it an accidental comedy.
5. It’s a cult classic, and you’re the last person to see it.

Not sold? Don’t believe it’s going to change your life? Ok, maybe over-the-top acting isn’t your thing, or perhaps you don’t like the lingering electricity of a good primal scream, or Joan Crawford is your personal icon and you can’t bear to see her cast in such a creepy light.

But none of that matters.

What’s important is that seeing this movie gives you permission to react to minor repeat annoyances with unrestrained histrionics.

That there is a key moment. Is she crazy? Yeah. But she’s also right. Shoulder nipples are horrible, wire hangers are the worst, and yelling about it feels strangely justified. She did it, we can do it. Precedent set. You’re welcome.

So what else can we yell about? Channel your inner Joan and consider the following list offenses when choosing your next meltdown.

Improperly Hung Toilet Paper

Misplaced Apostrophes

Coldplay at Karaoke

Dad Jokes

Gluten Free Pizza

James Franco

The list of potential pedestrian grievances is actually quite daunting, but when IFC airs Mommie Dearest non-stop for a full day, you’ll have 24 bonus hours to mull it over. 24 bonus hours to nail that lunatic shriek. 24 bonus hours to remember that, really, your mom is comparatively the best.

So please, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mommie Dearest on IFC and at IFC.com. And for the love of god—NO WIRE HANGERS EVER.

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Breaking News

From Canada With Love

Baroness von Sketch Show comes to IFC.

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Breaking news that (finally) isn’t apocalyptic!

IFC announced today that it acquired acclaimed Canadian comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show, slated to make its US of A premiere this summer. And yes, it’s important to note that it’s a Canadian sketch comedy series, because Canada is currently a shining beacon of civilization in the western hemisphere, and Baroness von Sketch Show reflects that light in every way possible.

The series is fronted entirely by women, which isn’t unusual in the sketch comedy world but is quite rare in the televised sketch comedy world. Punchy, smart, and provocative, each episode of Baroness von Sketch Show touches upon outrageous-yet-relatable real world subjects in ways both unexpected and deeply satisfying: soccer moms, awkward office birthday parties, being over 40 in a gym locker room…dry shampoo…

Indiewire called it “The Best Comedy You’ve Never Seen” and The National Post said that it’s “the funniest thing on Canadian television since Kids In The Hall.” And that’s saying a lot, because Canadians are goddamn hilarious.

Get a good taste of BVSS in the following sketch, which envisions a future Global Summit run entirely by women. It’s a future we’re personally ready for.

Baroness Von Sketch Show premieres later this summer on IFC.

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