The serious side of funny people
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Ben Stiller( John P. Johnson / Artisan Entertainment )
Funny resume : His sketch comedy on The Ben Stiller Show, bringing Reality Bites to Generation X, and writing, producing, directing and starring in hits such as Tropic Thunder.
Serious turn: The 1998 biopic Permanent Midnight. Stiller starred as Jerry Stahl, a rising star in the television world who landed writing jobs with thirtysomething, Moonlighting and Alf. As Stahls career took off so did his heroin habit, and it wasnt long before his life began to unravel.
Did it work?: Yes. While he can play silly (think Something About Mary and Heartbreak Kid), Stiller has a streak for serious too. In fact, its surprising he hasnt taken on more serious roles since.