Reign of Laughter
Compiled by Emily Feimster
Hollywood titans Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg got a rude surprise recently, when their The Terminal opened - and was trounced at the box office by a silly little Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn picture about grown men who play a schoolyard game. Dodgeball brought in $30 million its opening weekend, Terminal $18.7 million. Pundits came up with various theories to explain this aberration. We think it can be chalked up to an over-stressed public's need to laugh. Now!! At times like these, comedy is more important than ever. It just might be that an idiotic expression of Will Farrell's is worth more today than a Tom Cruise act of derring-do. With that in mind, we present our list of the 20 Funniest People in Hollywood:
|1. Will Ferrell |
He made a name for himself on Saturday Night Live with dead-on impersonations of President George W. Bush and Inside the Actors Studio's James Lipton. He is now one of the most sought-after comedians in the business.
|Inside scoop: During his audition for SNL, Ferrell told Esquire magazine that he brought in a briefcase of fake money to impress executive producer Lorne Michaels. I was gonna open it and start stacking piles of money on his desk. 'Lorne, you can say whatever you want, but we all know what really talks. And that's cold, hard cash. Now, I'm gonna walk outta here. You can take the cash if you want. Or not.' And then just leave and not come back. |
|2. Ellen DeGeneres |
She has won over millions of fans with her HBO standup comedy special, her voice in Finding Nemo, and now her new Emmy winning talk show, Ellen.
|Quotable quote: My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is. |
|3. Chris Rock |
Censors would have a field day with Rock's HBO comedy specials but that's one of the reasons he is so popular with his fans. And who can resist his token phrase, pootie tang?
|Quotable quote: It's my real name. My mother's name is Rose Rock. It was the worst name as a kid to have. They called me Piece of the Rock, Plymouth Rock, Joe Rockid, and Flintstones. Now they call me MISTER Rock. |
|4. Jon Stewart |
People have finally begun to embrace his sarcastic, sardonic, and incisive sense of humor. He just signed on for four more years on the Daily Show so fans will continue to get more than a mouthful.
|5. Adam Sandler |
He has been a household name for years with the hysterically funny movies Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, and Happy Gilmore. His songs like Lunch Lady Land and the Hanukkah Song ain't half bad either.
|Inside scoop: During his audition for SNL, Sandler made suggestive moves on a chair and had Lorne Michaels laughing so hard that he was hired on the spot.|
|6. Conan O'Brien |
He's considered by many college students and insomniacs to be a God of late night television with the jokes he makes at his own expense. He can lighten any mood by shining a flashlight under his chin as he predicts the future.
|Memorable moment: When he barked and panted at super-model guest Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.|
|7. Larry David |
His dark, witty humor has made him one of the richest comedians in this business. He co-created Seinfeld and his new show Curb Your Enthusiasm has been an enormous success.
|Inside scoop: He was a writer on Saturday Night Live for one season in 1975. In that entire season, David got only one sketch that he had written on the air, and it was the last sketch of the night.|
|8. Dave Chappelle |
Chappelle's Show is one of the most watched programs on Comedy Central where he takes making fun of people to a complete new level.
|9. Jack Black |
He's a natural stoner and his absurd comments while keeping a serious face makes him a favorite among viewers. Not to mention, his two man band Tenacious D has developed a cult following.
|Quotable quote: On his love scene with Gwyenth Paltrow in Shallow Hal. It was just strictly professional. It was like a doctor or a carpenter plying his trade. I received no pleasure whatsoever.... I requested 32 takes for the perfection of the craft.|
|10. Mike Myers |
"Austin Powers," need we say more? Okay, how about "Shrek" and "Wayne's World"?
|Quotable quote: "As a people, the English find male partial nudity and cross-dressing to be very funny. It's definitely a color on our palette, and I follow in that tradition."|
|11. Amy Sedaris |
Although she has not reached super stardom, she is gaining more and more recognition from shows like "Strangers with Candy" and hilarious guest appearances on late night talk shows.
|12. Jim Carrey |
Clearly he's got a few screws loose but his outlandish sense of humor keeps people coming to the box office.
|Quotable quote: "Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they're eating sandwiches."|
|13. Tina Fey |
As the head write of "SNL," she has broken down major barriers of the largely male dominated show.
|Quotable quote: "According to a new study, women in satisfying marriages are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than unmarried women. So don't worry lonely women, you'll be dead soon."|
|14. Ben Stiller |
He has mastered the art form of playing ridiculous characters and making them so funny that you can't help but laugh out loud. Think "Zoolander" and "Dodgeball."
|15. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone |
What can you say about these guys? They've caused more controversy than all of these comedians put together but their show is dang funny.
|16. Molly Shannon |
Who can forget her infamous "SNL" skits and kicking her leg up as Sally O'Malley, shouting, "I'm 50!"?
|Memorable moment: Sticking her hands in her armpits and then smelling them while playing Mary Katherine Gallagher.|
|17. David Letterman |
He single handedly changed the face of late night television with his irreverent sense of humor and off the cuff remarks.
|Quotable quote: "You know, they don't give these shows to chimps!"|
|18. Bill Murray |
He had us laughing on his early days of "SNL" and he's clearly still got it with "Lost in Translation."
|19. Wanda Sykes |
She has been called "one of the funniest female stand-up comics" by her peers and in 2003 was honored by being one of the nine comedians chosen to host the Emmys.
|20. Eddie Murphy |
He reigned as the controversial king of stand up for years and although he has toned down his act, he still keeps us rolling with more family friendly films like "Shrek."
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