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Top 10 Comedy Actors of the 1990s

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by QV Hough They're the last comics standing of the pre-Internet era. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Comedy Actors of the 1990s. For this list, we're scouring Hollywood history to find the funniest comedic actors who ever graced a screen. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by QV Hough

Top 10 Comedy Actors Of The 1990s

They’re the last comics standing of the pre-Internet era. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 comedy actors of the 1990s.

For this list, we’re scouring Hollywood history to find the funniest comedic actors who ever graced a screen. We’re focusing on performers from both feature films and television, but have decided to exclude talk show hosts and voice actors. Incidentally, comics like Chris Rock didn’t make the cut, as they are known for their stand-up routines. This is part of a series of videos spanning the decades.

#10: Roseanne Barr
1952 -

After appearing on both Carson and Letterman in the mid-‘80s, this circuit comedian was offered the role of Peg Bundy on “Married with Children,” but thanks to the success of an HBO special, Roseanne Barr was given her own ABC sitcom. With a no-nonsense attitude and feminist ideals, Barr’s character welcomed a variety of personalities to her blue-collar circle while introducing America to the realities of the present day. Barr’s artistic vision combined with the show’s sharp yet hilarious jokes made her slice of comedy even more special.

#9: Whoopi Goldberg
1955 -

Born Caryn Elaine Johnson and raised in New York City, this veteran performer kicked off the decade by playing an enigmatic gypsy in the tearjerker “Ghost.” Fortunately for her, audiences not only cried from heartbreak but also cried from laughter thanks to her captivating and Academy Award-winning performance. A 1992 role as Sister Mary Clarence established Goldberg as one of the premiere comedy actress of the mid-’90s; in fact, Whoopi reportedly became the highest-paid film actress after reprising that famous character alongside a young Lauryn Hill in 1993. She would later help Stella get her groove back, but Whoopi Goldberg was always the main attraction.

#8: The Wayans Family

When it comes to sketch comedy in the ‘90s, there was nobody more significant than this Manhattan family. With Keenen Ivory and Damon Wayans as the original innovators, the FOX series “In Living Color” not only launched the careers of future Hollywood stars, but also the careers of their own siblings Kim, Shawn and Marlon. Their streetwise sense of humor and hysterical impressions allowed each to establish their own comedic persona, and from 1995-99, both Marlon and Shawn took their talents to the WB for yet another acclaimed television series. Their chemistry was natural, and their hard-working hustle paid off.

#7: Adam Sandler
1966 -

If you saw this man’s film debut in 1989, you probably wouldn’t have thought he’d be the biggest movie star in America just a few years later. Like most great comedians, Adam Sandler paid his dues with stand-up routines and creative versatility by not only writing sketches for “Saturday Night Live” but also becoming one of their most promising new cast members. His musical ability was fully utilized in classic Weekend Update routines, and after a couple of lowbrow cult classics, Sandler reached mainstream America with the dramedies “Big Daddy” and “The Wedding Singer.” His style is often parodied, but Sandler had that something special to set himself apart from the pack.

#6: Rowan Atkinson
1955 -

Throughout the early ‘90s, this British icon dominated television screens as a lovable buffoon named Mr. Bean. With almost no dialogue whatsoever, Rowan Atkinson managed to create a universally-loved on-screen persona while tipping his hat to the silent era. While it remains his most cherished performance, this master of physical theatre has also shown an impeccable dry wit that manages to slay anyone who shares a scene with him, where he’s playing a vicar, a police officer, a secret agent or one of the many descendants of a man named Blackadder.

#5: Martin Lawrence
1965 -

Film buffs may remember this vibrant comic as Cee from Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” and it was this star-making performance that opened up the doors to a whole array of feature films. Martin Lawrence dominated the screen in “House Party,” and offered Eddie Murphy some Confucius-like love advice in “Boomerang.” Lawrence’s entire ‘90s filmography warrants a place on our list, especially his appearance in the “Bad Boys” franchise. But the cherry on top is most certainly his work on the self-titled FOX sitcom from 1992 to 1997. The theme song is iconic in itself, and the vastly underrated series was a staple of ‘90s comedy.

#4: Chris Farley
1964 - 1997

Some comics take their time setting up a joke, but some knock you over the head from the get-go. When Chris Farley enteredthe scene on “Saturday Night Live,” everybody knew it, because he would be huffin’, puffin’ and probably knockin’ over a few tables. His physical comedy was second to none, and upon leaving SNL after a five-year run in 1995, he released two ‘90s classics with his frequent comedy companion David Spade in “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.” With ten film credits to his name before his untimely passing in 1997, there was probably no other comedian that took full advantage of every moment like Chris Farley.

#3: Mike Myers
1963 -

Shortly before Chris Farley arrived at “Saturday Night Live,” this Canadian had already established himself on the NBC program through a variety of absurdist characters. But it was one longhaired slacker and his goofy pal that spawned two box office blockbusters with “Wayne’s World” and its 1993 sequel. His odd physical movements, breaking of the fourth wall and magnetic style also ensured that his groovy James Bond spoof would become a cultural phenomenon. Equipped with a guy-next-door demeanor, Mike Myers elevated his craft by selling comedic personas that audiences could truly root for while losing themselves in laughter.

#2: Robin Williams
1951 - 2014

Already a comedic legend by 1990, this intellectual whirlwind brought unrivaled originality and energy to each and every role. One of the busiest actors of the decade, Robin Williams challenged both himself and audiences with dramedies like “The Fisher King” and “Patch Adams” while going all-out with pure comedies like “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage.” But it was in 1997 when he teamed up with a couple of aspiring filmmakers by the names of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck that he produced one of the finest performances of the decade; a role tinged with a little drama, a little comedy and tons of heart that earned him an Academy Award.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Will Smith
1968 -
- Nathan Lane
1956 -
- Phil Hartman
1948 - 1998
- John Goodman
1952 -
- Rob Schneider
1963 –

#1: Jim Carrey
1962 -

After a few lukewarm big screen performances in the ‘80s, this innovative Canadian reinvigorated his screen presence by joining forces with the Wayans family on “In Living Color,” and all hell broke loose in the world of comedy because there was a new sheriff in town. With surreal characters like “Fire Marshall Bill,” Carrey transferred that boundless energy and creativity to cinema soon enough. With hits like “Dumb and Dumber,” “Ace Ventura” and “Liar Liar,” Carrey’s charisma was impossible to ignore, and with each remaining year of the decade, he cemented himself further as one of the most bankable comedy actors of the ‘90s.

Do you agree with our list? Who is your favorite comedy actor of the ‘‘90s? For more mind-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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