Can you imagine what dinner was like at the Wayans household in the 1980s? You probably had Keenen Ivory Wayans doing his Mike Tyson imitation, while Damon developed his Homey the Clown or Men on Film schtick, and then the babies of the family, Shawn and Marlon Wayans, were developing the comedic timing that would go on to serve them well in movies like White Chicks, Little Men, and the Scary Movie movies.
The Wayans might be the largest comedic family with members in Showbiz history (and probably the only where all those members were on the same show, In Living Color), but they are definitely not the first. Comedy is in the genes for a lot of famous families. Read on for the six funniest families:
6. Smothers Brothers
Not a lot of Cultist readers are familiar with the work of the Smothers Brothers, but that doesn't make them any less important. In the 60s their The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was one of the most popular shows around and they used comedy to make fun of racism, presidents, and Vietnam.
Screw the Fockers, the Stillers are much funnier. Everybody knows Ben and his string of blockbuster comedies, but father Jerry has carved out his own niche for decades and in the past two decades he's been the most eccentric character on television -first as George Costanza's father in Seinfeld and then as the father-in-law from hell in King of Queens. Jerry's wife and Ben's mother, Anne Meara, and daughter Amy Stiller also get laughs for a living.
It's not the quantity of funny that matters, it's the quality. At one point Lloyd Bridges was a serious actor, but then he found his true calling in Airplane! and Airplane II: The Sequal as Steve McCroskey. He had two sons, Jeff and Beau, who are known for their serious roles but anybody who played "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski has to be credited as a comedy genius.
Luke, Owen, and lesser known Andrew, have been comedy heavyweights in recent years. Owen usually plays zany characters (Zoolander, Meet the Parents, You Me and Dupree), Luke's comedy forte is usually as the straight man put in awkward circumstances as in Old School. Above is a clip from Owen and Luke's debut picture, Bottle Rocket.
Who knows how great brothers James and John Belushi could have been together in movies and television had the latter not died so young (33). Even so, he still had a career filled with success from Saturday Night Life, Animal House, and the Blues Brothers. James has also had a successful movie and sit-com career, and he even toured as one of the Blues Brothers.
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The best thing about John Cusack is his range and scope of his comedic abilities. He's the most successful actor to come out of the 1980s comedy hits like Sixteen Candles, The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead, and, of course, the iconic Say Anything. As he aged his comedy became more intelligent and he gave us High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank, and Being John Malkovich. Still, he's not afraid to throw in a Hot Tub Time Machine, every now and again. His sister, Joan (who starred along with him in many of those earlier films, including Grosse Pointe Blank, above) is an underrated comedic character actress who has been nominated for an academy award.
See the Shawn and Marlon Wayans at the Miami Improv (3390 Mary St., Miami) from Thursday through Sunday. Tickets cost $35, and there's a two drink minimum. For more information visit www.miamiimprov.com.