VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
From comedy to drama, these actors can do it all. For this list, we'll be looking at actors who are masters of comedic and dramatic material. Our countdown includes Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Tom Hanks, and more!
Top 10 Actors Who Can Make You Laugh and Cry
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors Who Can Make You Laugh and Cry.
For this list, we’ll be looking at actors who are masters of comedic and dramatic material.
Which of these versatile performers has made you laugh and cry? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Jennifer Aniston
Since she starred on one of the most popular and beloved sitcoms of all time, we all know that Jennifer Aniston can make us laugh. And even outside of “Friends”, Aniston proved her comic worth in films like “Horrible Bosses” and “We’re the Millers.” She’s also been able to bring us to tears while doing funny roles. Longtime “Friends” fans can remember a couple of occasions where Rachel got us choked up. Throughout her career, Aniston has also had us shedding tears with heartfelt turns in movies like “Cake” and shows like “The Morning Show”. The fact that she earned multiple awards for mostly comedic work on “Friends” and a SAG award for drama proves she has range.
#9: Ryan Gosling
We’re willing to bet most moviegoers know this actor from his famous turn in the 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook”. After making many of us cry, he achieved a new level of fame that allowed for a greater range of roles than he’d ever had before. Gosling delivered intense performances in movies like “Drive”. That same year, he showed off his comedic chops in “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. Gosling’s career has enjoyed a nice balance from there. He’d go from leaving us in stitches with “The Nice Guys” to delivering a quiet intensity in “Blade Runner 2049”. And we can’t leave out his hilarious “SNL” work either. No matter what genre Gosling chooses, it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll give it his all.
#8: Will Smith
Many 90s kids found themselves laughing along with Will Smith while he starred on“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. But fans also knew he was capable of bringing dramatic weight when the episode called for it. Since Smith was so good at balancing both elements, it’s no wonder that most of his movies let him showcase his range. His Mike Lowery character has made us smile, cry and everything in between across the “Bad Boys” films. The same can be said for Smith’s role as Agent J in the “Men in Black” franchise. While Smith often brings comedy to projects, he can tone it down for his dramatic material. His Oscar-winning turn in “King Richard” stands as one the best displays of his talent yet.
#7: Steve Carell
For Carell, we really don’t have to look any further than “The Office”. Much more than just a comedy, the long-running show was about people and relationships. Carell was able to mine the laughs and tears from audiences as Michael Scott. Being at the center of the show’s best dramatic and comedic moments was definitely hard to do. Fortunately, the show wasn’t a one-off either. Carell continued to crack us up in films like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and brought us to tears in impactful dramas like 2018’s “Beautiful Boy”. We also can’t overlook his well rounded work in the “Despicable Me” franchise. Carell can truly inspire whatever emotions he wants in any medium.
#6: Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler has surprised many over the years with his ability to act in dramatic roles, with films like “Punch-Drunk Love” and “Reign Over Me”. His heavily dramatic turns definitely deserve praise. However, there’s no denying that Sandler became a fan favorite because of his comedy. From “The Wedding Singer” to “Big Daddy” and beyond, we’ve come to expect laughs as big as the personalities of the characters he plays. That’s not to say that he doesn’t sneak in dramatic turns to his funniest movies too. Raise your hand if you cried during the airplane serenade in “Wedding Singer”. If that didn’t do it, how about when Sandler’s Sonny has to say goodbye to a kid?
#5: Melissa McCarthy
From her breakout role in “Bridesmaids” to her numerous other comedic performances, Melissa McCarthy has been making us cry with laughter for years. But that’s not the only tears that she’s capable of inducing. In 2018, McCarthy got to fully display her dramatic abilities in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”. During this stirring film, she plays a writer who tries to get ahead with an elaborate lie. McCarthy truly blew us away with a raw and realistic performance, one that earned her a well-deserved Best Actress nomination at the Oscars. Since she also got a nomination for “Bridesmaids”, it’s clear the Academy fully recognizes her abilities.
#4: Meryl Streep
With a career that has already spanned six decades, it’s pretty fair to say that Meryl Streep has done it all. From “Sophie’s Choice” to “The Bridges of Madison County,” Streep has made us wipe away more tears than almost any actor ever. Unsurprisingly, she’s got plenty of accolades to back up her dramatic prowess. When Streep isn’t casually dropping iconic performances in straight drama, she’s shown off her comedic side. Her comedic timing as Miranda Priestly was perfection in “Devil Wears Prada”. And Streep went even further to make us laugh for “Mamma Mia!” Is there anything she can’t do?
#3: Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks really got going in the 80s with major comedic turns in movies like “Splash” and “Big”. But by the time the 90s came rolling in, Hanks’ dramatic skills were on full display. Between 1993 and 94, he had back-to-back Best Actor Oscar wins for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”. And let's not forget that this is an actor whose relationship with a volleyball in “Cast Away” made us both laugh out loud and cry like babies when Wilson floated away. Speaking of inanimate objects we care about, we definitely have to mention Woody. We had to prepare to laugh and fall apart every time he got in the booth to voice that layered cowboy.
#2: Jim Carrey
After crushing numerous comedy sketches on “In Living Color”, Jim Carrey’s career really took off in 1994 with “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”. For the next three years, he ruled the comedy landscape thanks to hits like “The Mask” and “Liar Liar”. There was certainly evidence that he could handle serious material underneath those iconic roles. However, we’d argue that “Truman Show” is where it became apparent he was every bit as good in drama as he was in comedy. From there, Carrey could bounce back between genres without missing a beat. We tried to keep our eyes dry for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Years later, we ate up his hammy performance in “Sonic the Hedgehog”. Carrey’s energy produced yet another iconic character.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Hits Like “Ghost” Let Her Provide Comic Relief & Tears
A Comedy Superstar for Decades Who Can Also Handle Dramatic Material Like “Dreamgirls”
Does It Get Anymore Opposite Than “The Remains of the Day”& Sibyll Trelawney?
In Movies Like “Bernie”, Funnyman Black Actually Kills In More Ways Than One
#1: Robin Williams
As one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time, Robin Williams could always make us laugh. The energetic performer was a true force of comedic nature. Whether he was dressing up like an old lady or voicing a blue genie, Williams knew exactly what to say and how to say it so we’d laugh. And his talent to draw in an audience wasn’t limited to comedies either. Robin’s charisma and endearing nature was put to brilliant use in films like “Dead Poets Society.” Years later, his mostly dramatic turn in “Good Will Hunting” earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Williams completely deserved it by giving us a performance that made us feel practically every emotion possible.