Movies + TV

George Clooney: The Funniest Man in Hollywood

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Everyone knows that our most debonair leading man is a multi-threat—with the chops to earn nominations for acting (Syriana), writing, and directing (both for Good Night, and Good Luck) all in the same year. And in his latest flick, The Men Who Stare at Goats, with a mustache worthy of Keith Hernandez, he shows he deserves yet another accolade: the funniest man in Hollywood.

Goats may tell the (only slightly exaggerated) tale of a retired soldier from a top-secret army unit that specializes in psychic warfare, but the real story here is Clooney's brilliant zaniness—hamming, mugging, deftly alternating between bug-eyed horror and bone-dry deadpan. In one memorable scene, during a touchy-feely training exercise, he starts rocking out to Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself." Later he goes eye to eye with a barnyard animal in an attempt to kill it with telekinetic energy (hence the title). These are things Michael Clayton would never do.

And it seems that Clooney is giving the serious stuff a rest. In the height of heavy-on-the-gravitas awards season, he takes another light turn this month in Fantastic Mr. Fox and follows it in December with the wry, offbeat Up in the Air, playing a world-weary corporate-downsizing specialist. Enjoy it while it lasts, though: Inevitably, he'll return to his weighty world, and we'll be left to explore his comedic roots on reruns of The Facts of Life.

The Clooney Comedy Primer

Five performances that were—unlike, say, his turn in Batman & Robin—intentionally funny.

Booker Brooks
Roseanne (1988-1989)

Everett
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Jerzy
Welcome to Collinwood (2002)

Miles Massey
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Harry Pfarrer
Burn After Reading (2008)

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