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

Jim Carrey in Ace Venture

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6. Bea Arthur

She’s not one for silly faces, but oh god, Beatrice Arthur could kill you with a glare so acidic she didn’t even have to deliver the ice burn you knew was coming as soon as she flashed it. From “Maude” to “The Golden Girls” and beyond, her reputation for acerbic sarcasm was so prominent that often all it took was a cut to her deadpan look to get you laughing before she even spoke. We knew she was reacting to her circumstances the same way we would, but she was always quicker on the draw with a one-liner than we ever could. You can see some of that in this montage:

7. Rodney Dangerfield

Some guys have a face for comedy. Rodney Dangerfield was that guy. Taking his name from an old character of Jack Benny’s (another guy who was pretty good with a deadpan look), he didn’t hit it big until he was in his 40s, and the older he got, the wilder those eyes of his became. Rodney almost seemed to exist in a state of perpetual mugging, bristling at every instance of abuse heaped on him by the world that never gave him any respect. He may have often been in rough shape, but he always managed to be all right in time for the show.

8. Amy Sedaris

“Strangers With Candy” introduced most of us to her amazing contorting face, as she managed to hold the distended default look of train-wreck high school dropout Jerri Blank for the entire length of the series. So convincing was it that it was a relief to see her outside of that messed up character and realize that she wasn’t so unfortunate to actually look like that in real life. She just likes being over the top, and that’s the way we like her. You never really know what her face is going to do next.

9. Charlie Callas

This guy was a madman who knocked Jerry Lewis off his chair laughing on “The Merv Griffin Show,” and just had to be put into Lewis’ next film, “The Big Mouth.” Known for his zany sounds than went so well with his goofy faces, Callas would take a pretty standard old joke and throw in so much insanity that it didn’t matter what punchline was coming, if it came at all – the point was watching this weirdo do his signature schtick about a couple of oddball hunters with more tics than you could shake a stick at. Ob-HONK. Ob-HONK. Ob-agoayyy – thweet! THUMP! Observe!

10. Kristen Wiig

She recently ended her much-ballyhooed seven year run on “Saturday Night Live,” and that was chock full of scenery-eating characters seemingly built on funny faces, like Gilly, Penelope, and the weird Lawrence Welk girl, as well as her ace impressions of quirky-faced folk like Drew Barrymore, Suze Orman and the nothing-but-mugging Kathie Lee Gifford. It marks pretty much the first time that a woman was the biggest star on that venerable show, and she earned it by being game for absolutely anything. She’s so good at melting into these strange roles that it’s almost hard to take her seriously playing a relatively normal person, like in “Bridesmaids,” because you’re always waiting for her to slip into some weird sketch-comedy twitch/hook. That’ll come with time, no doubt.

Who do you think has the greatest comedic face? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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