17 Movie Stars Who Started Out as Stand-Up Comedians (PHOTOS)

Laura Anastasia | Mar 5, 2016 Movies
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  • Eddie Murphy


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    Murphy's stand-up routine as a teen helped land him a spot on Saturday Night Live. His comedic chops served as a springboard into acting. Norbit aside, the Oscar-nominated actor has carried great movies, including Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming to America. 

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  • Woody Allen


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    Allen started doing stand-up comedy while still a high schooler. In his 50-plus-year career since, the writer and director has proven his talent acting in front of the camera, including in Annie Hall, opposite Diane Keaton. 

  • Robin Williams


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    As a stand-up comedian, Williams was known for his improv and his speed -- both of which continued to benefit him when he took up acting. Williams aced countless films including Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Hook, and Mrs. Doubtfire. He won a best supporting actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting in 1998.

  • Chris Rock


    Image via Paul A. Hebert/Press Line Photos/Corbis

    Rock is famous for his no-holds-barred stand-up, but the comedian has also had success on the silver screen, with movies including I Think I Love My Wife, Grown Ups, and Head of State. Rock also hosted the 2016 Academy Awards.

  • Ron Perlman


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    Perlman's been banking on the big (and small) screen for nearly 40 years, including on hit show Sons of Anarchy. His attempt at stand-up comedy earlier in his career wasn't nearly as successful. 

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  • Billy Crystal


    Image via Paul A. Hebert/Press Line Photos/Corbis

    Crystal worked as a stay-at-home dad by day and stand-up comedian by night in the 1970s. Despite his comedic successes, he is perhaps best known for his performance in the iconic When Harry Met Sally, not to mention City Slickers and Mr. Saturday Night. 


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