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The 10 Most Irreplaceable Performances in Comedy Films

#5. Vanilla Ice: Cool As Ice

This film was the result of an avalanche of unfortunate decisions. We'll never see anything like Cool As Ice again. It was based around such a rapidly fleeting concept of cool that by the time it hit theaters, it was less of a culture shock to walk in on a slave auction. After they finished this story of Vanilla Ice as himself the motorcycle crimefighter, there was enough unintentional comedy that they had to give irony a producer credit.

You have to hurry when you're making a movie like this, so for most his screen time, Vanilla Ice is dressed in different sacks of unwanted pajamas. It seems his only direction was "be your coolest!" so he moves like a drunk alien driving a Fonzie robot. He delivers lines in a dodgy hip-hop accent that sounds like a New Kid on the Block doing a dramatic reading of a bottle of Afro Sheen, and he's such a bad actor you can't tell if he's trying his best or crying inside. In 1991, my grandmother gave me a dinosaur birthday card that had more longevity and toughness than Vanilla Ice's image, and we should consider ourselves lucky that such strange filmmakers preserved that image forever.

#4. Paul Rudd: Wet Hot American Summer

Paul Rudd attacks every scene of this movie with the soul-crushing apathy of a hitchhiker handjob. I've listened to my girlfriend explain a dream for an hour, and I can't even approach the hilarious level of disinterest Paul Rudd shows when he watches a camper drown or suddenly shoves a kissing girl off his mouth. Paul Rudd is so good at playing a dick boyfriend that Rihanna ducks when she watches Wet Hot American Summer.

#3. Bill Murray: Ghostbusters

Almost any Bill Murray role fits on this list, but Ghostbusters is one of the most lovable movies ever made, and 90 percent of that is Bill Murray's fault. If you actually look at the character of Pete Venkman, he's a borderline sex offender who uses electrical torture as a punchline. He tells presumably-dicked representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency that they have no dicks. He mocks the spirits of the dead in a world where he knows they can hear him. If Bill Murray wasn't a comic genius we'd probably be asking why someone made a movie out of some script they found on death row.

#2. John Belushi: Animal House

It's incredible that 30 of the funniest seconds in movie history was just written down as "EXT. NIGHT - BLUTO warily approaches DEAN WORMER'S office." John Belushi's legendary character resonated through the biomorphic field that connects all drinkers. Whenever you're drinking with more than six guys, one of them has been training his whole life to be John Blutarsky. John Belushi partied so hard that if you breastfeed your baby on his grave it grows a tail.

#1. Leslie Nielsen: Airplane!

Leslie Nielsen was an impossible combination of deadpan and cartoon. One might argue about some of the names on this list, but Leslie Nielsen has actually been proven to be irreplaceable. When the creators of Airplane! went on to make movies without Nielsen as the lead, they ended up committing international crimes against comedy. If you put a toddler in front of Scary Movie 4, it will grow up only being able to laugh when it murders.

Airplane! was a ridiculous concept. On paper, more than half the script is jokeless, and it was cast almost entirely with actors who had no comedy experience. And through this strange set of circumstances, the world discovered that Leslie Nielsen could read you a parking ticket and get a laugh. Some of the jokes he saves in The Naked Gun movies should be verified by the Catholic church as miracles. For example, he once looked up a woman's dress, told her she had a nice beaver and he was talking about a taxidermy prop. If he can make that hilarious, surely you have to consider him for comedic sainthood.

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