Stand-Up Comics Turned Film Directors

by jzappa | created - 20 Mar 2012 | updated - 20 Mar 2012 | Public

1. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

2. Mike Binder

Self | Creating 'The Upside of Anger'

Mike Binder was born in 1958 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for Creating 'The Upside of Anger' (2005), Reign Over Me (2007) and The Mind of the Married Man (2001). He is married to Diane Murphy. They have two children.

3. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

4. Tommy Chong

Actor | Up in Smoke

Tommy Chong was born on May 24, 1938 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as Thomas B. Kin Chong. He is an actor, known for Up in Smoke (1978), Zootopia (2016) and Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (1980). He has been married to Shelby Chong since 1975. They have four children. He was previously married to ...

5. Louis C.K.

Writer | Louie

Louis C.K. was born on September 12, 1967 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Louis Szekely. He is a writer and producer, known for Louie (2010), American Hustle (2013) and Horace and Pete (2016). He was previously married to Alix Bailey.

6. Billy Crystal

Actor | Forget Paris

Billy Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. He is the youngest of three sons born to Helen (Gabler) and Jack Crystal. His father was a well-known concert promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. His family were Jewish immigrants ...

7. Larry David

Writer | Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David was born on July 2, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Lawrence Gene David. He is a writer and producer, known for Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), Whatever Works (2009) and Seinfeld (1989). He was previously married to Laurie Lennard.

8. Jeff Garlin

Actor | Curb Your Enthusiasm

As a multi-talented comedian who encompasses writing, producing, directing, acting and performing stand-up comedy, Jeff Garlin has honed a successful career that started at Second City in his hometown of Chicago. Influenced by the comedians of his childhood (such as Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, and ...

9. Ricky Gervais

Writer | The Office

Ricky Dene Gervais was born in a suburb of Reading, Berkshire, to Eva Sophia (House) and Lawrence Raymond Gervais, who was a hod carrier and labourer. His father was born in Ontario, Canada, of French-Canadian descent, and his mother was English. He was educated at Ashmead Comprehensive School and ...

Actually a rare example of the reverse.

10. Bobcat Goldthwait

Director | God Bless America

Robert Francis 'Bobcat' Goldthwait, born May 26, 1962, is an American comedian. He is most widely known for his high pitch voice during his comedy acts.

He was born in Syracuse, New York in 1962. He decided on a career as a comedian at an early age and was performing professionally while still in ...

11. Christopher Guest

Actor | This Is Spinal Tap

U.S.-born actor, director, writer, musician, and composer best known for his mockumentaries, poking fun at heavy metal music, small town theatre, dog shows, folk music and film-making itself, Christopher Haden-Guest was born February fifth, 1948, in New York City. His mother, Jean Pauline (Hindes),...

12. Michael Keaton

Actor | Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Quirky, inventive and handsome American actor Michael Keaton first achieved major fame with his door-busting performance as fast-talking ideas man Bill Blazejowski, alongside a nerdish morgue attendant (Henry Winkler), in Night Shift (1982). He played further comedic roles in Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny...

13. Takeshi Kitano

Actor | Zatôichi

Takeshi Kitano originally studied to become an engineer, but was thrown out of school for rebellious behavior. He learned comedy, singing and dancing from famed comedian Senzaburô Fukami. Working as a lift boy on a nightclub with such features as comic sketches and striptease dancing, Kitano saw ...

14. Elaine May

Actress | Small Time Crooks

Elaine May was born on April 21, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Elaine Iva Berlin. She is an actress and writer, known for Small Time Crooks (2000), A New Leaf (1971) and Ishtar (1987). She was previously married to David L. Rubinfine, Sheldon Harnick and Marvin May.

15. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian (Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant...

16. Mike Nichols

Director | The Graduate

He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. He later ...

17. Bob Odenkirk

Actor | Better Call Saul

Robert John Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois, to Barbara (Baier) and Walter Odenkirk, who worked in printing. His ancestry includes German and Irish. He grew up in Naperville, IL, the second of seven children. He worked as a DJ for WIDB, his college radio station at Southern Illinois ...

18. Steve Oedekerk

Writer | Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Steve Oedekerk, the Academy Award nominated multi-hyphenate, has built an extraordinary career, experiencing vast success in writing, directing, producing, acting, stand-up comedy and computer generated animation. He has written and directed films that have grossed over $1.9 billion in worldwide ...

19. Richard Pryor

Actor | Superman III

Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as ...

20. Carl Reiner

Actor | Ocean's Eleven

Carl Reiner is a legend of American comedy, having achieved great success as a comic actor, a director, producer and recording artist. He has won nine Emmy Awards, three as an actor, three as a writer and two as a producer. He also won a Grammy Award for his "2,000 Year Old Man" album, based on his...

21. Chris Rock

Actor | Top Five

Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher.

...

22. Bob Saget

Actor | Full House

Bob Saget was born on May 17, 1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Robert Lane Saget. He is an actor and writer, known for Full House (1987), Entourage (2015) and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). He was previously married to Sherri Kramer Saget.

23. Ben Stiller

Producer | Zoolander

Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry (she converted to Judaism).

It's not surprising that Ben has ...

24. Keenen Ivory Wayans

Writer | White Chicks

Keenan attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but dropped out his senior year to persue comedy full time. His comic influence is Richard Pryor.