Although they might be funny, you can't always trust a comedian. The job of a comedy actor seems relatively straightforward; it's to make people laugh. Many people can build a fabulous career out of tickling their audience's funny bones, and plenty of actors are content to work like that for their whole lives. However, a few decide to branch out and do other things for the sake of trying something different and showing what else they can give.
Throughout the history of cinema, there have been some outstanding dramatic performances by comedy actors. Some great examples include Robin Williams in 'Good Will Hunting', Whoopi Goldberg in 'The Color Purple', Bill Murray in 'Lost In Translation' and more. But, what's even more eye-catching is when they trade in their heroic comedian cards for villainous ones.
Whether they play them as charismatic and goofy antagonists, energetic and volatile personalities or go down an even darker route, there's tonnes of evidence to suggest that comedians can play phenomenal villains. The following performances are flawless examples of comedy performers trading in their funny hats and choosing to scare your pants off instead.
10. Rodney Dangerfield - Natural Born Killers
Distinguishing between hero and villain in 'Natural Born Killers' isn't easy, as there are no real heroes in the violent flick. Still, although the movie follows two messed-up lovers (Mallory and Mickey) on a killing spree, it's easy to look at Mallory's father as the movie's most prominent antagonist, which makes the casting of Rodney Dangerfield all the more shocking.
Any unfamiliar with Dangerfield's work in movies like 'Back to School' or 'Caddyshack' will likely still recognise his iconic voice, as it was synonymous with classic '80s comedy. The goofy and energetic comedian was an icon of the industry and pulled in a brilliant part here.
This performance is most memorable because it's a shocking perversion of the image you associate with Dangerfield. His casting was perfect, as all of his scenes are presented like a typical family sitcom, which Dangerfield is best known for. Despite the comedy visuals, his actions are horrifying as he physically, mentally and sexually abuses his daughter.
Watching him mistreat Mallory is horrifying, and the family-friendly comedy presentation makes it even more despicable. His appearance in the film may be fleeting but it's disgustingly memorable.