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Five Young Stand-Up Comedians Who Should Become Movie Stars
Because we never want to see Kevin James ever again.
By Jonathan Horowitz
This Friday, 30 Minutes or Less opens, starring Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, and some other comedic all-stars. Casting actual proven stand-up comedians is a nice change of pace for Hollywood, where sometimes, chubby men and beautiful women who curse are often mistaken for comics. Here are five other up-and-comers we’d like to see become movie stars.
1) John Mulaney
John Mulaney is an intelligent, charismatic, and self-deprecating comedian who talks a bit like he’s a 1930’s radio announcer. If you believe him, sometimes he gets black-out drunk and wakes up with more money than he started with, and once, he shattered the morale of an entire diner by playing "What’s New Pussycat" on the jukebox eight times in a row. He’s already been picked up by SNL as a writer and has appeared on "Weekend Update" with some of his own material. It’s about time Hollywood gave him a shot — think Colin Hanks, only likeable and funny.
A joke of his we like: My parents have been married for thirty-four years now, but my Dad will still do this thing where he’ll try to sell us on our mom. I’ll just be sitting there and my Dad will lean in and be like, “Hey, ya know who’s a great lady? Your mother.” It’s like, yeah, we’re all on board — we all love mom. You don’t have to advertise for her. Though, it’d be weirder I guess, if he named someone else. If he was like, “Hey, ya know who’s a great lady? Whoopie Goldberg.
2) Jamie Lee
Jamie Lee is self-deprecating, witty, cute… and not afraid to crack a rape joke. In other words, she's everything Hollywood needs. She hosts an awesome standup night, pops up on CollegeHumor, and has a delightful Twitter feed. This season, she was a finalist in NBC's Last Comic Standing. All of which is pretty amazing, especially when you consider her "Google" problem, which frankly puts Rick Santorum's to shame. (Stupid Jamie Lee Curtis.)
The aforementioned rape joke: When I’m walking home late at night, and there’s a man coming towards me, and I start to have the adrenaline rush, and I’m like, “There’s a chance, that I could get attacked." And then he passes me, and 99% of me is just, “Phew,” totally relieved. But then there’s that twisted 1% that’s like, “Well! I didn’t need your rape anyway!”
3) Hannibal Buress
Hannibal has been compared to the late comedic cult-hero Mitch Hedberg because of his laid back delivery and demeanor, but he’s not aping any one's style. What Hannibal lacks in fatal drug addictions, he makes up for in well-crafted, hilarious points of view on everyday life — taking a small incident or idea and teasing it out into an entire entertaining scene. He’s already writing at the top level for 30 Rock and SNL, but his voice and personality are his greatest assets, and it’s about time he gets to deliver the jokes that he’s writing. Also, it’s tough to beat his rant on why he didn’t cry at the end of Up.
A gem from his standup: We got interns at the job. You can just tell them to do stuff. You gotta be nice, though. I had this cat fax something. I handed him a couple of pages, and I handed him another page. I said, "Hey man, fax something for yourself, too."
4) Bo Burnham
If there’s one thing Adam Sandler taught us, it’s that musical comedy sells, even if you just rhyme “turkey” with “lurkey.” At twenty-years old, Bo Burnham turns his high-school experiences into wordplay with hilarious results. He’s clever, cynical, sexually frustrated, egotistical, young, and very self-aware. As you’re laughing at him, you might wonder if you actually like him — and whether he actually likes you. It’s this edge that makes Bo interesting and why Hollywood would benefit from his services. He’s not a goofy, happy, quip-and-wink protagonist; he’s a sarcastic, self-conscious antagonist who trails off and mumbles his own choruses because he knows you heard the joke already the first time.
A couple of his lyrics: And having sex is like math homework / I do it best when I'm alone in my bed / And squaring numbers are just like women / If they're under thirteen just do them in your head.
I love you like kings love queens / Like a gay geneticist loves designer jeans / I need you like New Orleans needs a drought / Like Hitler's Father needed to learn to pull out / And I want you, yeah, like a lawyer / Mathematician wants some kind of proof / And I want you, yeah, like JFK wanted a car with a roof…”
Photo By Mike Carano
5) Morgan Murphy
The thing about perky, peppy, female comedic leads is that they aren’t funny. Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Katherine Heigl, and Sandra Bullock — these are all people who have been in alleged comedies in the past year, and they miss the basic truth: great abs aren’t hilarious. In fact, being popular and sexually active during your formative years seems to make you unfunny. Comedy is what the rest of us learned so we could get laid in high school.
With her low-energy, misanthropic persona, Morgan Murphy could easily be mistaken for Steven Wright — especially when she’s rocking her big hair. She has a deadpan delivery, and depressive sense of humor — she likes to joke about womanizing, suicide, and giving girls roofies just to shut them up. Fortunately for us, her misery is the kind that welcomes company.
Some of her classically dark humor: Hey, if you are driving and you hit a dog, is it appropriate to get out of the car and say, ‘Yo… why you all up in my grill, dog? ...I got an electric car recently — they suck, sack of shit — they’re terrible, they don’t work. I know they don’t work because I was in my garage last week for ten hours trying to kill myself… all I did was sit there, until the battery ended up dying. Then I was jealous of the battery.