April 18, 2024

Why Ryan Gosling’s Comedy Skills Deserve More Recognition

Ryan Gosling burst onto the scene in 2004 with his starring role in the romantic drama The Notebook. With his chiseled good looks and brooding charm, he quickly became a heartthrob and leading man. But behind those piercing blue eyes is a sharp comedic wit that often goes unappreciated. Though he’s known for his dramatic work, Gosling has proven himself to be a versatile actor with untapped comedic talent.

The Seeds of Comedy

Gosling got his start as a child actor on The Mickey Mouse Club alongside other future stars like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. He showed flashes of comedic ability back then, often hamming it up in skits. As a teenager, he starred in the short-lived but brilliant series Breaker High, where he played a wacky prankster.

Though he transitioned into more serious fare in films like The Believer and Murder By Numbers, Gosling never lost his funny bone. He showed his knack for physical comedy in the 2002 romance Lars and the Real Girl, where he played a delusional man who strikes up a relationship with a life-sized doll. Critics praised Gosling’s committed and nuanced performance, which balanced humor and pathos.

Dry Wit on Display

In 2011, Gosling reunited with his Notebook director Nick Cassavetes for the gritty crime drama The Ides of March. The film featured Gosling as a cunning political operative caught up in a scandal during a presidential campaign.

Gosling got to flash his dry wit in several scenes, sparring with co-stars like George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In particular, Gosling shined in a sequence where his character faces off with a despised rival played by Hoffman. Their tense conversation is laced with the character’s sarcastic one-liners, showcasing Gosling’s understated comic timing.

Another highlight was Gosling’s appearance on an episode of Conan in 2011. Going against his heartthrob image, Gosling showed up wearing a paisley shirt and bad blond dye job. For his interview with Conan O’Brien, Gosling stayed hilariously in character as a cheesy, alcohol-soaked 1980s football player. The bit allowed him to show off his talent for physical comedy and commitment to a silly premise.

Romancing Comedy in Crazy, Stupid, Love

Perhaps the best display of Gosling’s comedic skills came in the 2011 romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. As a suave womanizer who gives floundering 40-something Steve Carell dating advice, Gosling got to reveal new facets of his comedic ability.

In one memorable scene, Gosling performs the iconic move from Dirty Dancing alongside Emma Stone. Seeing the normally cool Gosling recreating that famous Patrick Swayze lift showed off his willingness to look foolish for a laugh. He also nails Carell’s mannerisms in mimicking his sad attempt at being a pick-up artist.

Throughout the film, Gosling balances humor and pathos, drawing on both his charm and vulnerability. And he and Stone have an effortless, hilarious chemistry, riffing and bickering like a classic comedy duo. Their banter and comedic back-and-forth was a highlight of the film.

Honing His Comedy on SNL

While Gosling has proven he can hold his own against seasoned comedians, he showed he can be the main funnyman when he hosted Saturday Night Live in December 2015. In one stand-out sketch, he played a homeowner who rents a room to some obnoxious aliens. Gosling’s escalating frustration and attempts to reason with the bizarre, tentacled creatures was good for lots of laughs.

He also showed off his singing and dancing skills in a spoof of the film Grease. As a smooth-talking ’50s greaser, he belted out a holiday love song filled with increasingly absurd lyrics. And for the final sketch of the night, Gosling fully committed to playing a flamboyant Santa Claus making an erotic Christmas album. He crooned sexually-charged holiday tunes while slithering around in a revealing St. Nick outfit.

Proving He Can Make Serious Work Funny

While Gosling has proven himself in pure comedies, he’s also adept at finding humor in darker material. In 2011’s dramatic thriller Drive, Gosling plays a taciturn getaway driver who gets mixed up with mobsters. Despite the film’s brooding tone, Gosling injects bits of sly comedy into his scenes.

One of the biggest laughs comes from his character’s bizarre friendship with Bryan Cranston’s mechanic Shannon. Gosling plays their bonding over working on an engine with an unexpectedly whimsical touch. He also offers droll comebacks toAlbert Brooks’ menacing villain Bernie throughout their cat-and-mouse dynamic.

Gosling took a similar approach to finding the humor in the offbeat 2014 fantasy film Lost River. As a down-on-his-luck single father in a decaying Detroit suburb, he got to show a more eccentric side. Scenes of Gosling enthusiastically reacting to his young son’s odd inventions offer amusing moments of levity.

And in 2016’s The Nice Guys, Gosling forms a hilarious mismatched pair with Russell Crowe. As bumbling private eyes investigating a murder, their contrasting personalities play off each other beautifully. Gosling’s dim-witted, hapless character is a terrific foil to Crowe’s short-tempered brute.

Why His Comedy Deserves More Praise

Though he first gained fame as a brooding lead, Ryan Gosling has proven he’s so much more over the years. He has an incredible range that allows him to switch from heavy dramas to smart comedies. His subtle wit, exaggerated physicality, and willingness to look foolish makes him a joy to watch.

Gosling’s comedic skills have often been overlooked, with the focus on his dramatic work and reputation as a heartthrob. But he has shown he can keep up with and sometimes even outshine veteran comedic actors when given the chance. He elevates any comedy material with his magnetic charm and dedication to character.

Hopefully Gosling continues to seek out more comedic roles as his career progresses. Though he can clearly handle serious fare with aplomb, it would be a shame not to see him tap into his funny side more often. As he’s gotten older, Gosling has embraced the humor in life through his acting.

There are still so many great comedy directors that Gosling would make a fantastic pairing with. Just imagine what he could do under the guidance of Todd Phillips, Wes Anderson, or Adam McKay. Or re-teaming with Crazy, Stupid, Love directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa on another farce.

No matter the project, one thing is clear: it’s high time for Ryan Gosling’s undisputed comedy skills to finally get the recognition they deserve. We should think of him as more than just a handsome face. Gosling is a versatile and talented actor who can make us both swoon and laugh. His quick wit and willingness to be goofy proves he’s more than ready for a breakout comedy role. Look out, Steve Carell – you may have some competition for the title of Hollywood’s most lovable funny leading man.

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