comedians from the 1980s

Comedians from the 1980s: Laughter Through Decades

Comedy performers have been delighting audiences for over a century, and the 1980s brought forth a new wave of comedic talent. This era introduced us to some of the funniest and most iconic comedians in history, whose humor continues to resonate with audiences today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Comedians from the 1980s brought a fresh and unique style of humor to the entertainment industry.
  • Stand-up comedians from the 80s gained widespread popularity and became comedic icons of the decade.
  • These vintage comedians left a lasting impact with their legendary performances and comedic brilliance.
  • The 80s comedy stars showcased their talent through a variety of mediums, including movies, sitcoms, and live performances.
  • Their retro humor continues to be celebrated and cherished by comedy enthusiasts worldwide.

Lily Tomlin’s Harsh Deadpan Style Of Humor

Lily Tomlin, known for her harsh deadpan style of humor, made a significant impact on 80s comedy. Her unique comedic approach, characterized by a dry delivery and quick wit, captivated audiences and solidified her status as a comedic icon.

Tomlin starred in several comedy movies throughout the 80s, showcasing her comedic talent and versatility. One of her notable films was “Big Business” (1988), a hilarious comedy about mistaken identities and corporate mishaps. Tomlin’s ability to deliver deadpan lines with perfect timing added an extra layer of humor to the film.

Another memorable comedy in Tomlin’s filmography is “All of Me” (1984), where she gave a side-splitting performance alongside Steve Martin. This movie, directed by Carl Reiner, featured Tomlin as a wealthy woman whose soul inadvertently enters Martin’s body. Her impeccable comedic timing and physicality brought the character to life, earning her critical acclaim.

In addition to her success in film, Tomlin also made waves with her one-woman stage comedy, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.” The show, written by Jane Wagner, showcased Tomlin’s immense talent as she portrayed multiple characters with wit and charm. Her ability to seamlessly transition between different personas while weaving together poignant and humorous moments made the performance a must-see for comedy enthusiasts.

Lily Tomlin’s Harsh Deadpan Style Of Humor

Film Year
Big Business 1988
All of Me 1984

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Unintentional Comedy

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the iconic action star of the 80s, is widely known for his larger-than-life roles in movies like The Terminator and Predator. However, what many people may not realize is that Schwarzenegger also showcased his comedic side during this decade. One notable film that allowed him to unleash his unintentional humor was Twins, where he starred alongside Danny DeVito.

In Twins, Schwarzenegger played the role of Julius Benedict, a genetically engineered superhuman who discovers he has a long-lost twin brother, Vincent, played by DeVito. The movie provided a perfect platform for Schwarzenegger to deliver hilarious one-liners with his unmistakable Austrian accent. His unique combination of physicality and comedic timing made Twins a standout comedy of the 80s.

Despite his action hero persona, Schwarzenegger’s ability to bring humor to his performances added an unexpected layer to his characters. His unintentional comedy in movies like Twins left audiences laughing and endeared him to fans around the world. Schwarzenegger’s foray into the world of comedy proved that he was not only a formidable action star but a versatile actor capable of delivering laughs as well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Unintentional Comedy

Film Description
The Terminator Schwarzenegger’s breakout role as a cyborg assassin provided the perfect mix of action and unintentional humor.
Twins Playing the role of Julius Benedict, Schwarzenegger’s unintentional comedy shines as he navigates life with his unlikely twin brother.
Predator While known for its intense action, Schwarzenegger brings his own brand of unintentional humor to the role of Dutch, a commando leader facing off against an alien hunter.

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be best known for his action-packed roles, but his foray into comedy in the 80s proved that he had a knack for making audiences laugh. Whether it was his unmistakable accent, his physicality, or his delivery of hilarious one-liners, Schwarzenegger’s unintentional comedy added an extra layer of entertainment to his films and solidified his status as a versatile performer.

Eddie Murphy’s Breakout from SNL to the Silver Screen

Eddie Murphy, a talented comedian who rose to fame through his standout performances on Saturday Night Live, successfully made a transition from the small screen to the silver screen in the 1980s. Known for his incredible charisma and comedic talent, Murphy starred in several iconic comedy movies that left a lasting impact on audiences.

One of Murphy’s breakout roles was in the action-comedy film 48 Hrs., where he played a wise-cracking convict. This movie showcased Murphy’s ability to deliver hilarious one-liners and established him as a comedic force to be reckoned with. He followed up this success with another hit comedy, Trading Places, where he starred alongside Dan Aykroyd and demonstrated his versatility as an actor.

Coming to America, a romantic comedy in which Murphy portrayed an African prince searching for true love in New York City, further solidified his status as a comedic star. This film showcased Murphy’s ability to play multiple characters and showcased his incredible range as an actor. Additionally, Murphy’s role as Axel Foley in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise elevated his comedic status to new heights, with his witty banter and charismatic persona winning over audiences worldwide.

Eddie Murphy’s talent and comedic genius made him a beloved figure in 80s comedy. His ability to captivate audiences with his humor, charm, and memorable performances set him apart from his peers and solidified his status as one of the greatest comedic actors of his time.

Bill Murray’s Journey from SNL to Comedy Legend

Bill Murray, another Saturday Night Live alum, solidified his status as a comedy legend in the 80s. Known for his dry humor and quick wit, Murray captivated audiences with his memorable performances in a variety of comedy movies.

One of Murray’s breakout roles came in the film Stripes, where his comedic talent shone alongside his co-star Harold Ramis. This military comedy showcased Murray’s ability to deliver hilarious one-liners with impeccable timing.

Another iconic movie in Murray’s repertoire is Caddyshack. In this golf-themed comedy, Murray played the eccentric greenskeeper, Carl Spackler, stealing the show with his over-the-top antics and unforgettable quotes.

Ghostbusters is yet another film that contributed to Murray’s comedic legacy. His portrayal of Dr. Peter Venkman, a quick-witted and sarcastic ghostbuster, made him a fan favorite. Murray reprised this role in the sequel, Ghostbusters II, further solidifying his status as a comedic icon.

Murray’s Unique Brand of Comedy

“I’m not trying to be funny. To me, that’s how I play it, and the funny stuff comes out.” – Bill Murray

Murray’s journey from SNL to comedy legend was shaped by his natural comedic instincts and his ability to effortlessly adapt to different roles. Whether he was playing a military recruit, a golf-obsessed groundskeeper, or a ghostbuster, Murray had a unique ability to make audiences laugh while also bringing depth to his characters.

His performances in movies like Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and its sequel showcased his range as a comedic actor. Murray’s deadpan delivery, improvisational skills, and ability to find humor in even the most mundane situations endeared him to audiences worldwide.

Murray’s impact on the comedy genre cannot be overstated. His ability to make audiences laugh while also connecting with them on a deeper level set him apart from other comedians of his time. With his unique brand of comedy, he carved out a place for himself in the comedy hall of fame.

Movie Year Role
Stripes 1981 John Winger
Caddyshack 1980 Carl Spackler
Ghostbusters 1984 Dr. Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters II 1989 Dr. Peter Venkman

Steve Martin: A Multi-Talented Comedy Icon

Steve Martin is not only a comedian but also an actor, musician, and writer. His diverse talents and humor have made him a legendary figure in the comedy world. In the 1980s, Martin starred in several iconic comedy movies, captivating audiences with his unique brand of humor.

One of Martin’s most memorable 80s films is “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a comedic masterpiece co-starring John Candy. The film follows two mismatched travelers who embark on a chaotic journey to get home for Thanksgiving. Martin’s impeccable comedic timing and chemistry with Candy made this film an instant classic.

Another standout performance by Martin in the 80s was in “Three Amigos,” a hilarious comedy about three silent film stars who mistake a real danger for a film production. Martin’s physical comedy and wit shone through in this film, creating countless laugh-out-loud moments.

The Man with Two Brains


In “The Man with Two Brains,” Martin plays a neurosurgeon who falls in love with a brain in a jar. This offbeat comedy combines Martin’s signature humor with a touch of absurdity, making it a fan favorite.

“Parenthood” is another notable 80s film in which Martin showcases his comedic brilliance. This heartwarming comedy explores the ups and downs of family life, with Martin’s character adding a lighthearted touch to the story.

Finally, “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” is a unique film in which Martin stars as a detective who interacts with characters from classic film noir. This cleverly crafted comedy seamlessly integrates Martin’s scenes with footage from classic movies, creating a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Steve Martin’s contributions to 80s comedy movies are unforgettable. His multi-talented artistry and ability to make audiences laugh have solidified his status as a true comedy icon.

Steve Martin 80s Comedy Movies

Chevy Chase’s Physical Comedy and Deadpan Humor

Chevy Chase, one of the first megastars of Saturday Night Live, made a mark in the comedy world with his unique blend of physical comedy and deadpan humor. Known for his impeccable timing and expressive face, Chase captivated audiences with his hilarious performances throughout the 80s.

One of Chase’s most iconic roles was in the comedy film National Lampoon’s Vacation, where he played the bumbling and well-intentioned father, Clark Griswold. The movie showcased Chase’s ability to deliver both slapstick and subtle humor, earning him praise from critics and audiences alike.

In Fletch, Chase portrayed the quick-witted and sarcastic investigative journalist Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher. His deadpan delivery and sarcastic one-liners made the character memorable and established Chase’s reputation as a comedic genius.

Spies Like Us, another 80s comedy film starring Chase, showcased his comedic versatility. Playing opposite Dan Aykroyd, Chase brought his signature physical comedy and wit to the role of a bumbling government agent, creating comedic chemistry that kept audiences laughing.

Throughout the 80s, Chevy Chase solidified his status as a comedic icon with his memorable performances. Whether he was stumbling through hilarious mishaps or delivering dry, deadpan dialogue, Chase’s unique blend of physical comedy and deadpan humor left a lasting impact on the comedy landscape of the time.

Chevy Chase’s Memorable Films of the 80s:

Film Year
National Lampoon’s Vacation 1983
Fletch 1985
Spies Like Us 1985
Three Amigos! 1986

Michael J. Fox: From Family Ties to Back to the Future

Michael J. Fox was one of the most beloved actors of the 80s, known for his charming on-screen presence and comedic talent. He first rose to fame with his role as Alex P. Keaton in the hit sitcom Family Ties. This portrayal of a young Republican in a liberal family endeared him to audiences and earned him three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

However, it was Fox’s iconic role as Marty McFly in the blockbuster film Back to the Future that solidified his status as a 80s pop culture icon. The time-traveling adventure-comedy became a massive hit, earning over $380 million at the box office worldwide. Fox’s endearing portrayal of a teenager navigating the past and future captivated audiences and made him a household name.

In addition to Family Ties and Back to the Future, Fox also showcased his comedic talents in other 80s films, such as Teen Wolf. This supernatural comedy showcased Fox’s ability to blend humor and heart, as he played a high school student who discovers he is a werewolf.

Michael J. Fox

The Back to the Future Sequels

The success of Back to the Future led to two sequels, Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. These films continued the time-traveling adventures of Marty McFly and his eccentric inventor friend, Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd. The sequels further solidified Fox’s status as a comedic leading man and allowed him to showcase his versatility as an actor.

Although Fox’s career spans beyond the 80s, his contributions to comedy during that decade are iconic. His portrayal of lovable characters like Marty McFly and Alex P. Keaton left a lasting impact on audiences and cemented his place in 80s pop culture.

Jamie Lee Curtis: A Brilliant Comic Genius

Jamie Lee Curtis is not only known for her iconic roles in horror movies, but she also showcased her incredible comedic talent in the 80s. One of her most memorable comedic performances was in the classic film A Fish Called Wanda. Curtis’s portrayal of the cunning and hilarious Wanda earned her widespread acclaim and a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Her ability to seamlessly transition from intense horror films to hilarious comedies demonstrates her versatility as an actress and her innate comedic genius.

In addition to A Fish Called Wanda, Curtis delivered another brilliant comedic performance in the action-comedy film True Lies. Playing the role of a bored housewife who unknowingly becomes entangled in a web of international espionage, Curtis’s comedic timing and physicality brought laughter to audiences worldwide. Her chemistry with co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger added an extra layer of humor to the film, making it a beloved classic.

“Jamie Lee Curtis’s comedic performances in films like ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and ‘True Lies’ left audiences in stitches and solidified her status as a brilliant comic genius of the 80s.”

With her impeccable comedic timing and ability to bring laughter to any role she takes on, it’s no wonder that Jamie Lee Curtis became a Golden Globe winner and a beloved figure in the world of comedy. Whether she’s fighting for her life in a horror movie or making us laugh until our sides hurt in a comedy, Curtis continues to prove that she is a true comedic icon.

Table: Jamie Lee Curtis’s Iconic Roles in Horror Movies and Comedy Films

Horror Movies Comedy Films
  • Halloween
  • Prom Night
  • Terror Train
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • True Lies
  • Trading Places
Other Notable Films
  • Freaky Friday
  • Blue Steel
  • Perfect

Rodney Dangerfield’s Hilarious Performances

Rodney Dangerfield, renowned for his self-deprecating humor and signature catchphrase “I don’t get no respect,” was a comedic force to be reckoned with in the 1980s. With his unique delivery and quick wit, Dangerfield brought laughter to audiences through his unforgettable performances in films like Caddyshack, Back to School, and Easy Money.

In Caddyshack, Dangerfield stole the show with his portrayal of the eccentric and boisterous Al Czervik. His larger-than-life personality and hilarious one-liners injected a dose of comedic energy into the film, earning him rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike. Dangerfield’s performance in this cult classic solidified his status as a comedy legend.

Another standout role for Dangerfield was in the comedy film Back to School, where he played Thornton Melon, a self-made millionaire who enrolls in college to support his son. His comical antics and unforgettable one-liners had audiences in stitches, showcasing his talent for physical comedy and perfect comedic timing.

In the film Easy Money, Dangerfield played Monty Capuletti, a man who is desperate to inherit a fortune but must change his wild ways in order to do so. His relatable character and hilarious performance made the film a hit and further cemented Dangerfield’s status as one of the most beloved comedians of the 80s.

Table: Rodney Dangerfield’s Iconic Comedy Roles in the 1980s

Film Year Role
Caddyshack 1980 Al Czervik
Back to School 1986 Thornton Melon
Easy Money 1983 Monty Capuletti

Rodney Dangerfield’s comedic genius and unmatched ability to make people laugh continue to be celebrated today. His hilarious performances in Caddyshack, Back to School, and Easy Money have left an indelible mark on the world of comedy, ensuring his place in the pantheon of comedic greats.

Leslie Nielsen: The Master of Deadpan Comedy

When it comes to deadpan comedy, Leslie Nielsen was a true master. Known for his dramatic roles, Nielsen embraced the art of deadpan humor in the 80s, leaving audiences in stitches with his impeccable timing and delivery.

One of Nielsen’s most iconic films of the decade was Airplane!, a hilarious parody of disaster movies. In this classic comedy, Nielsen played the role of Dr. Rumack, delivering his lines with a straight face while chaos unfolded around him. His deadpan performance added an extra layer of absurdity to the already outrageous comedy.

Nielsen’s talent for deadpan comedy wasn’t limited to the big screen. He also starred in the TV series Police Squad!, a short-lived but beloved show that served as the inspiration for the popular Naked Gun film series. In both the TV show and the movies, Nielsen’s deadpan delivery and comedic timing were at the forefront, earning him a dedicated fanbase and solidifying his status as a comedic genius.

Leslie Nielsen’s deadpan comedy performances in Airplane!, Police Squad!, and The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad! remain legendary in the world of comedy. His ability to keep a straight face while delivering hilarious lines is unmatched, making him the master of deadpan humor in the 80s.

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