Ever since Iron Man, The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always cast actors with a comedic edge in the lead roles. Whether it’s Parks And Recreation funny man Chris Pratt or Robert Downey Jr., who practically makes a living out of being sarcastic at this point, the MCU loves a hero with a funny bone.
When the Russo brothers were hired to direct Captain America: Winter Soldier, and then went on to direct three more of them, they sprinkled cameos from comedians they had previously worked with throughout all of them. But what has become more and more common as the series presses on is that outright comedians are getting bit-parts, and sometimes even major roles in the superhero films, especially the more family-friendly ones.
10 Ken Jeong
As Avengers: Endgame‘s directors the Russo brothers got their start in the industry by directing several episodes of the sitcom Community, a show that seemingly catapulted a ton of stars, they have regularly borrowed many of the cast members. Ken Jeong isn’t just an actor and a licensed physician, but he’s a comedian too, and he plays the evil Señor Chang in Community.
Ken Jeong’s appearance in the MCU is a blink-and-miss-it cameo, as he doesn’t even have any lines of dialogue whatsoever. Playing the security guard who works at the parking lot that Ant-Man is trapped in, it could be argued that he was significantly underused, as Jeong is an improvisational genius.
9 Tim Heidecker
Tim Heidecker’s appearance isn’t a huge role and is more of a glorified cameo, as he plays the tour guide on the cruise ship who mistakes the giant Ant-Man for a whale in Ant-Man and the Wasp. His acting serves as a reaction to what’s going on and there isn’t much room for him to show off his comedy chops, but Heidecker’s comedy doesn’t exactly align with that of the Ant-Man series.
Being the creator of the bizarre Tim and Eric Awesome Show, the comedian conjures up the strangest skits, whether it’s a group of men trying to induce labor of a woman by dancing or strange caricatures of car salesmen.
8 Martin Starr
Though he’s one of many comedians to feature in Spider-Man: Homecoming, many people forget that Martin Starr first appeared in the very first MCU movie, The Incredible Hulk.
He might be overshadowed by his more famous peers like Jason Segal and Seth Rogen, but like them, Starr is part of the Freaks and Geeks alumni, a short-lived but much loved show from 1999 that was produced by Judd Apatow. The comedian also starred in the hit comedy Silicon Valley alongside Kumail Nanjiani, who will also be entering the MCU in The Eternals later this year.
7 Randall Park
Randall Park was the MVP of Ant-Man and the Wasp, as his performance as FBI agent Jimmy Woo whose primary job is seemingly to make sure Scott doesn’t leave his home is one of the funniest bit-parts of the series. And though his arc wasn’t cleared up in the show, Woo had prominent screen-time in WandaVision too, so it looks like Park is here to stay.
The character was born out of Park’s typically hilarious and overly nice characters that can be seen in Fresh Off the Boat, Parks and Rec and The Office, and his stand-up sets where he often opened for Ali Wong.
6 Taika Waititi
Thor: Ragnarok is maybe the MCU’s funniest movie, so it comes as no surprise that the man behind the camera has a background in comedy. Taika Waititi directed Ragnarok and he even acts in the movie as Korg, the character made out of rocks who becomes Thor’s best friend.
And his history of being a part of the New Zealand comedy troupes So You’re a Man and The Humourbeasts clearly bleeds into the space opera. On top of that, he also directed the immediate cult hit, What We Do In The Shadows.
5 J.B. Smoove
It’s incredible seeing J.B. Smoove in Spider-Man: Far From Home, as it’s essentially the most family-friendly movie in the entire MCU. The only other thing Smoove is particularly known for is his now iconic role of Leon in the HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, who is somewhat of a hype-man of Larry David’s who refuses to move out.
Smoove almost fell backwards into the role as he only auditioned because he was in LA for a funeral, but it was the best thing to ever happen to Curb. And if those events didn’t fall at the same time, Smoove would probably still be doing small stand-up shows with bit-parts in comedy movies.
4 Jim Rash
Briefly appearing in Captain America: Civil War, Jim Rash is another comedic genius that the Russo brothers brought over with them from Community, as he famously plays the dean of the community college, and he’s one of the funniest characters on Community.
Rash hits it out of the park with all of his projects, whether it’s his cameo in Curb Your Enthusiasm or writing the Academy Award winning movie The Descendants, but the jack of all trades first made a name for himself performing sketch comedy with his writing partner Nat Faxon.
3 Hannibal Buress
Being one of the actors fans forgot was in MCU’s Spider-Man movies, Hannibal Buress is yet another comedian in Homecoming. Unlike many of the other comedians, Buress hasn’t dove too far into the acting pool, as he’s still a comedian first and foremost.
He can be seen in Broad City, as well as in The Eric Andre Show as the co-host, and he’s even the subject of a documentary in which he performs every day at the Fringe festival, a comedy festival that takes place all over Edinburgh for 30 days. Even at movie premiers Buress can’t help but pull pranks, as for the release of Homecoming, he sent an imposter to impersonate him instead of showing up himself.
2 Donald Glover
Everyone was introduced to Donald Glover in many different ways, whether it was through his acting in Community or his music under the pseudonym Childish Gambino, but he’s also a pretty terrific comedian, too. He first started as a member of the sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy, and he now has his own Netflix stand-up special.
Considering how the character of Miles Morales is actually based on the actor and comedian, it only seems right that he was present in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Though he didn’t appear in the sequel Far From Home, something tells fans that Marvel and Glover’s work together isn’t over yet.
1 Michael Keaton
Of all the movies in the MCU, Homecoming is jam packed with comedians more than any other, and though many people who saw it might not know it, Michael Keaton, who plays the villain in the movie, started out as a comedian. The former Batman began as a joker in the early 1980s, but it didn’t exactly pan out, career-wise.
Keaton has admitted himself that he wasn’t the best at stand-up comedy, but it isn’t as if things ended badly, as he has become a great dramatic actor, and seeing his compelling performance as The Vulture, nobody would have ever thought he was a failed comedian.
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