There’s a long tradition of great “fat guy” comedians. In fact, often times the big men of comedy are some of the funniest and most popular comics of their time. The best skills of these comedians have varied. Whether it was stand up, sketch, or movie comedy, though, these guys have combined to make millions of fans laugh. So this brings up a great question: who are the ten greatest funny fat guys of all time?
This is a hard list to make because some were movie stars, some slap stick, some stand up comics – so a lot will depend on individual tastes, but here’s a list for ten of the funniest “big guy” comics ever. In no particular order:
Chris Farley shot up through the world of improvisational (improv) comedy, and ended up becoming a huge star on Saturday Night Live. This was followed by a short but successful movie career before his tragic death. Farley was known for loud intense characters with a lot of physical comedy, harkening back to the old slap stick days, and his “Best of Chris Farley” SNL DVD was one of the highest selling of all the SNL DVDs.
One of the classic big man comics, straight man Costello would always be paired with thin joking Abbott, and the pairing made comic gold. They were wildly popular, and their most famous verbal gag, “Who’s on First?” regarding a baseball team filled with an infield of oddly named players, is famous to this day and used as an example of miscommunication through fancy word play.
Cedric the Entertainer
Cedric the Entertainer is not only a great big man, but he’s also one of the most popular African-American comics around. Aside from an incredible stand up career that includes several major shows at the famously fickle Apollo Theatre, and several HBO specials, Cedric also has some great film roles. One of the most notable characters is the elder barber Eddie from “Barbershop.”
Anyone who grew up without seeing “Uncle Buck” or “Trains, Planes, & Automobiles” is a poor deprived child who needs to make amends by renting the classic Candy movies. John Candy was a fantastic big man comic, who also had a major role in “Space Balls” and many other extremely popular movies that made him a comic legend on the big screen.
Ralphie is the epitome of a “fat guy comic.” A great stand up comedian, at one point Ralphie weighed nearly 800 pounds. He was first runner up in the reality show “Last Comic Standing,” and also participated in “Celebrity Fit Club.” Ralphie has since had two different specials on Comedy Central and a platinum selling DVD. He’s still a big man, but continues to lose weight to try and get into shape, often joking, “Don’t applaud, I lost an entire fat man and I’m still fat as h–l!” Only in his early thirties, this is a comic who may have many good years left ahead of him.
John Belushi was an absolute star when Saturday Night Live was just beginning, and was the inspiration for later comics such as Chris Farley. His ability to play straight man or crazy slapstick made him a legendary performer, and literally a living legend among movie comics and sketch comedians alike. Famous from Saturday Night Live and a hilarious impromptu imitation of Joe Cocker (while Joe Cocker was singing live) cemented Belushi as one of the great funny men of all time. So which famous Belushi role do you prefer: “Joliet” Jake Blues of the Blues Brothers, or Bluto from “Animal House?”
Iglesias is a young stand up comic who is wildly popular and whose specials have made him famous. He is known for having an incredible range of voice impersonations, as well as for the term “fluffy,” referring to the second highest level of being fat you can get, right before “damn!” So far Iglesias is only a stand up comedian, but his act is fantastic, and given the right situation he may have a shot at more in the future.
Before Abbott & Costello, before Chris Farley & David Spade, there was the all time duo of Laurel & Hardy. The brilliant duo starred in dozens of films, the most lasting being “Babes in Toyland.” The famous catch phrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” comes from their acts, although the catch phrase is often misquoted.
How can you have a top funny fat guys list without perhaps the most famous of the stooges? The Three Stooges were the epitome of slap stick comedy with three morons who could never get it right. Sadly, success destroyed Curly. He began to drink, smoke, and eat excessively, feeling that his shaven head robbed him of his sex appeal.
It’s long past time this man gets the respect he deserves. One of the most well known stand up comedians of all time, Dangerfield also had a fairly impressive movie list. Of course above everything else, Dangerfield was known for never being able to get respect and he built an amazing career off of self deprecating humor. At the top of the list is the best fat guy comic of them all, the very respected Rodney Dangerfield.
Contributor: Shane Dayton