With the release of Jack Whitehall’s new film, TheBad Education Movie, a spin-off from his hit comedy series of the same name, it’s come to my attention that he’s come incredibly far since he was nominated for best newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2009.
He’s not the first to make it onto the silver screen in one smooth one-liner. There have been many other comedians who have even been Oscar nominated, who started on the lowly stages of open mic nights.
Russell Brand is by far the obvious choice of successful comedians turned actors. The star of Arthur, in fact, came fourth, believe it or not in Hackney Empire new act of the Year back in 2000. With perseverance comes success as he debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the same year and his career soon took off with his break-out film role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, achieving him American fame.
National treasure, Bill Bailey has captured the country’s hearts while performing stand-up since 1985. A political figure as well, he’s still best known for his stand-up but he’s not shy to acting a few bits and bobs, playing the endearing clueless dad in Chalet Girl he’s proved he’s a man of many talents and his comedic skills can transfer from stage to screen.
Although not quite silver screen, northern boys, Jason Manford and Lee Mack have shown skill in the acting area. Manford recently took a lead role in BBC drama Ordinary Lies, his first serious acting role since he hit the big time. While Lee Mack, although a comedian first and foremost, became famous with his award winning TV show Not Going Out, which also saw funny woman Miranda Hart rise to fame as the gangly clumsy housekeeper which lead to many more roles.
It seems, however, that only men seem to make the leap from stage to screen with perhaps the exception of Catherine Tate. Now, that’s definitely not because women comedians aren’t talented enough to have a change of career, but perhaps more because the roles are simply not available for them to really be able to show the world all they have to offer.