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Top 10 Career Defining Comedies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Newman Da Vinci created Madonna of the Rocks, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, and Hollywood’s funniest produced these comedic works of art. Join as we countdown our picks for the top 10 Career Defining Comedies. For this list, we’re taking a look at movie comedies that are most associated with a certain actor. Special thanks to our users Gani Ibraimi or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Sean Newman

Top 10 Career Defining Comedies

Da Vinci created Madonna of the Rocks, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, and Hollywood’s funniest produced these comedic works of art. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Career Defining Comedies.

For this list, we’re taking a look at movie comedies that are most associated with a certain actor. While many people on our list have had long, fruitful careers, they’ll always be best remembered for their hilarious work in these iconic movies.

#10: Chris Farley                
“Tommy Boy” (1995)

Chris Farley ruled “Saturday Night Live” in the early 90s before his transition into feature film. In true rags to riches fashion, he went from a van down by the river to an executive job at Callahan Auto in this comedy. Farley was perfectly suited to play an unintelligent, yet endearing man-child who sets out to save his father’s company. The road trip comedy’s formula was nothing new at the time, but Farley’s energetic take on his character ensured that film was a cult classic that stands the test of time. Unfortunately, his untimely death cut short his promising career, but we’ll never forget this sidesplitting performance.

#9: Leslie Nielsen             
“Airplane!” (1980)

It was only a matter of time before the disaster film genre was exploited. We’re just thankful it was lampooned so masterfully in “Airplane!,” which also launched Leslie Nielsen’s comedy career. Nielsen was once a respected dramatic actor, but it’s likely he’ll go down in history as the straight-faced funny man who knows how to turn a phrase. Although his character isn’t even the main focus of this story’s narrative, he made us laugh out loud more than enough times to elevate him to the upper echelons of comedy. 

#8: Bill Murray         
“Groundhog Day” (1993) 

Whether he’s busting ghosts or pursuing equally ominous golf course gophers, Murray delivers time and time again on his promise to make us laugh. “Groundhog Day” stands out as Murray’s career-defining comedy because it’s not only hilarious, but also unique. Murray plays a cynical and misanthropic meteorologist who finds himself trapped in a loop where he relives the same day over and over again. This allows him to play out hysterical scenarios that have no negative consequences day in and day out. Each February, we’re love to snuggle up underneath a blanket and enjoy this classic comedy.

#7: Ben Stiller         
“Zoolander” (2001)

Fashion icons are rarely noted as intelligent and down-to-earth. This concept was the spark for this movie about a dim-witted model who can only turn left, but does one hell of a blue steel. There’s also a plot to assassinate Malaysia’s Prime Minister, but the fashion “walk-offs” and “breakdance” fights tend to overshadow the movie’s narrative. Ben Stiller expertly fits the role of Derek Zoolander and ensures our laughter with his ridiculousness. It wasn’t the first or the last comedy he’s starred in, but it has a special place in our hearts.

#6: Adam Sandler                  
“Happy Gilmore” (1996)

Before he was sweeping the Razzies, Sandler was the king of childish comedy. Most notable perhaps, is this 1996 flick about an aspiring hockey player who discovers he has a penchant for golf. Happy’s tough guy mentality makes him a fish out of water in a world of calm, collected golfing professionals. And, while he’s loud and impish, he’s ultimately charming. We admittedly left the theater feeling skeptical about nursing homes, but our belief in Sandler’s ability to make us laugh was reaffirmed. We’re willing to pretend “Grown-ups 2" never happened if Sandler just brings Happy back!

#5: Peter Sellers           
“The Pink Panther” (1963)

Sellers’ ability to do physical comedy made him the Charlie Chaplin of his time. This is shown most notably and memorably through his performance as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, a bumbling French detective who is tasked with preventing the theft of a priceless diamond known as the Pink Panther. Clouseau’s heart is always in the right place, but he never seems to be able to land on his feet… pun intended. A slew of sequels and remakes capitalized on the success of this smash hit, but none could satisfactorily recreate the magic of Sellers’ laugh-out-loud performance.

#4: Eddie Murphy                  
“Beverly Hills Cop” (1984)

While we’ve seen multiple “SNL” stars on our list today, Murphy gets bonus points for being a lone beacon of hilarity during the sketch comedy’s dark ages. He then went on to prove his prowess in feature-length comedies that pleased critics and audiences alike, solidifying his legacy with this movie about a wisecracking Detroit Cop who travels to California to avenge his friend’s murder. It’s a prime example of action and comedy merging flawlessly. “Beverly Hills Cop” is an entertaining stroke of genius that still holds up today, proving that Murphy is one of the best out there at what he does.

#3: Jim Carrey           
“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994)

This movie shows us that some of the greatest comedies aren’t always well received by critics. 1994 was a breakout year for Jim Carrey, who delivered impressive performances in both “The Mask” and “Dumb and Dumber.” However, it’s a certain pet detective that officially made him a household name. After the Miami Dolphins’ mascot is kidnapped just two weeks before their Super Bowl showdown, Ace is called upon to save the day. Fart jokes ensue, a classic Halloween costume materializes, and we’re reminded that juvenile humor can still leave us in stitches.

#2: Mike Myers                  
“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997)

Myers will forever be associated with Austin Powers, a British Spy who is cryogenically frozen for 30 years to help save the world. Since he not only plays the roles of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil but also wrote the screenplay, it’s clear that Myers put his heart and soul into this franchise. Whether it’s an “SNL” guest appearance by Dr. Evil, or a cringe-inducing Austin Powers impersonation by one of your friends, it’s nearly impossible to forget about Myers’ definitive classic. One thing we can all agree on is that it was truly shagadelic, baby. 

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

John Belushi           
“The Blues Brothers” (1980) 

Robin Williams              
“Aladdin” (1992) 

Jack Black                  
“School of Rock” (2003) 

Zach Galifianakis           
“The Hangover” (2009) 

Sacha Baron Cohen                   
“Borat” (2006)

#1: Will Ferrell        
“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)

Any movie with Ferrell’s name on it is certain to be a colossal and hilarious romp. But “Anchorman” is one of the most quoted movies of all time, one of the funniest movies of the 21st century, and debatably the crowning achievement of Will Ferrell’s renowned career. He stars as Ron Burgundy, San Diego’s finest news anchor. Evolving social norms lead to trouble at the office, and of course hilarity ensues. From the look of things, Will Ferrell will keep us laughing for years to come, and we can only hope he reaches the heights of comedy mastery shown here once again.

Do you agree with our list? What comedies do you find most career defining? For more hilarious Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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