In honor of America and our love of pratfalls, IFC is hosting a July 4th Three Stooges marathon. The three slapstick buffoons started a revolution of physical comedy, leading to some of the funniest characters in cinematic and television history. This Independence Day, pay tribute to the recent slapstick stars that made comedy visually hilarious.
10. Steve Carell
Steve Carell’s Michael Scott is known for always saying the wrong thing, but he is also known for his hilariously awful impersonations and dance moves. While a lot of Carell’s best moments as Scott are ridiculous one-liners (“Do you think doing alcohol is cool?”), moments such as kissing Oscar and being “Prison Mike” are feats of physical comedic greatness.
9. Tina Fey
Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon has a way with both hilarious zingers and slapstick goddess. A notable moment for Lemon was when she pretended to be a crazy old lady on the subway so no one would talk to her. Wherever Lemon is, we want to go to there.
8. Will Ferrell
There are a lot of Will Ferrell films that exhibit his funny physical side, but Old School is the one that showed the world he was up for anything.
7. Jim Carrey
Carrey is similar to Ferrell in that any number of his movies portray his comedic slapstick (we had a hard time not putting The Cable Guy on the list). Liar, Liar is still one of his finest moments because for most of the entire movie, Carrey is in physical comedy haven. His slips and falls are all so painfully hysterical because of the sordid torture of having to tell the truth… all of the time.
6. Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer for many years was known for her raunchy stand-up and television show, but her film Trainwreck was a perfect combination of insightful witticisms and over-the-top vulgarness. The scene in particular that proves her physical comedy chops is the horrifyingly hilarious almost-sex scene with the intern — Schumer’s character Amy is hilarious in the midst of being drunk, horny, and horrified.
5. Bill Hader
Between SNL and his brilliant performances on Documentary Now!, it’s hard to choose just one moment from this master of physical comedy. But Little Vivvy from “Sandy Passage” is delicately hilarious in her small nuances, such as fidgeting with her sweatpant headdress and musing over memories while putting her fingers to her chin. Hader is also hysterical in a much bigger way as well, such as in Vivvy’s patriotic dance routine, the non-scripted fall through the ceiling and, of course, the terrifying murderous leap to the camera. Comedy’s never been so unnerving.
4. Melissa McCarthy
Speaking of unnerving, while Melissa McCarthy’s Megan Price in Bridesmaids was a scene-stealer with crude lines, her greatest strength in the film was her ballsy physical comedic performance. The most notable and disgusting scene will forever be haunting due to McCarthy’s painful screams and hilariously red face after the gang gets food poisoning. We’ll never go to a Brazilian steak restaurant before a fitting, that’s for sure.
3. Michael Richards
Is there any other character in the history of television that has a more memorable entrance than Kramer? Richards seemed like he wasn’t even trying as Cosmo Kramer, and for that his physical comedy was flawless. Every entrance into Jerry’s apartment was jarring but giggle-inducing. Bigger storylines also played to Richard’s physical comedic strengths, such as when Kramer sets up the hot tub in his apartment. When the hot tub goes cold, Richard’s shivering Kramer causes tear-inducing laughter. “Giddy up!”
2. Steve Martin
Steve Martin is a force of all different kinds of comedy, from silly songs, stand-up and films. The silliest of which, for sure, being The Jerk. Martin’s slapstick carries the movie, the finest scene being when he is shot at while working at the gas station. “He hates these cans!”
1. John Belushi
The top of the list has to be the one and only John Belushi for his go-for-broke performances on SNL and as Bluto in Animal House. The man hardly has any lines but steals the entire show. From chugging a fifth of Jack to smashing a guitar (“Sorry.”) to vivaciously dancing in a toga to giving a passionate, yet historically incorrect, speech, each and every scene was a gem. The masterpiece, however, was the famed cafeteria scene, used by siblings to torture one another for decades to come. “I’m a zit! Get it?”