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The 10 Most Irreplaceable Performances in Comedy Films

Sometimes a comedy role is such a perfect combination of casting and performance that it's unthinkable for another actor to ever attempt it. Here are the top 10 roles that could never have been and never will be replaced.

#10. Anthony Michael Hall: Weird Science

There are three main types of movie nerds. One is an academic stereotype who doesn't talk much. The second is a hilarious weirdo who would be totally popular if he wasn't in a movie script. In Weird Science, Anthony Michael Hall perfected the third: the nerd whose sexual frustration has driven him insane.

Hall performs in Weird Science like his captured family will be killed if he's not funny. He packs more manic desperation into his lines than a dry-humping seventh grader. He delivers lines in ways that would make Christopher Walken say, "What a strange WAY to deliver your lines."

To be fair, almost every casting decision in Weird Science is irreplaceable. Bill Paxton will never have a more perfect role than Chet, and even after 25 years of filmmaking, this is still Robert Downey Jr.'s greatest moment:

#9. Fred Willard: Best in Show


In Best in Show, Fred Willard plays the color commentator for the Mayflower Dog Show. In just a few lines, he creates a character stupid enough to be confused by everything, but clever enough to fuck with his broadcast partner. He asks inane questions about foreign dog accents, jokes about sex fetishes and you can never tell if the actor next to him, Jim Piddock, is caught off guard by Fred Willard or the character he's playing.

No one else has the ability to make intentionally unfunny jokes work like this. His comic delivery is so natural that I don't think he can prevent it. If Fred Willard was a doctor, it would take him 15 tries to convince you he wasn't kidding about your bone cancer.

#8. Eddie Murphy: The Golden Child

No movie has ever been rescued harder than Eddie Murphy rescued The Golden Child. It's the story of The Chosen One entering a secret world of Tibetan mysticism to rescue a magic boy (played by a girl). The Golden Child script is so simple and racist that its daughter married a black man just to piss it off. Obese people make up better stories when their doctor asks them what they've been eating. The special effects are embarrassing enough to make modeling clay suicidal, and there are more clever plot twists on a dildo's storage instructions. The Golden Child is more disrespectful to Tibet than the People's Liberation Army of China.

What's awesome is that Eddie Murphy thinks it's as stupid as we do. He mocks every line, prop and character he encounters. They could probably release nine hours of deleted scenes where Eddie Murphy turns to camera to tell his agent to fuck himself. No one else could make this mess funny. To give you an idea of how lucky the movie was to get Eddie Murphy, his role was originally going to go to Mel Gibson. That would have been a disaster. Mel Gibson wouldn't have even noticed how ridiculous or racist it was. He took a village of barbarian children seriously in Mad Max 3, and his idea of respecting other cultures is bringing a bottle of scotch into an Ethiopian restaurant and telling the homos to stop Jewing him over a corking fee.

#7. Curtis Armstrong: Revenge of the Nerds

Booger stole every scene in Revenge of the Nerds, but his greatest performance was at the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity party. Booger opens the door for the Omega Mu sorority girls and a parade of homely beasts march past him. His disappointment looks so real that half of them cried when the director called cut.

He starts to close the door, but gets stopped by a giant hand. There's a group of stragglers -- a group of enormous women whose acting reels are used as Bigfoot proof. As each one squeezes past, Curtis Armstrong gets more and more into it. The subtle, unspoken way he transitions from disinterest to eye-fucking should be taught in every theater class. It's nothing short of amazing. If there was a category for it, it would have won the Academy Award for Greatest Performance of an Actor in a Fat Joke.

#6. Alan Rickman: Galaxy Quest

Alan Rickman can pack so much tragedy, rage, injustice and disgust into a single line that you'd swear it was a McRib.

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