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The 10 Funniest Performances In Judd Apatow Movies | ScreenRant

Big-screen comedies rarely develop into broader franchises, but the genre found a behind-the-scenes star when Judd Apatow took over Hollywood in the mid-to-late 2000s. As a writer, director, and producer, Apatow built up a company of recurring actors that include beloved cast members like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Paul Rudd.

RELATED: The 10 Best Comedy Movie Performances Of The 2010s

Some of the greatest comedy movie performances of the past two decades have appeared in Apatow-mounted productions. From Will Ferrell in Anchorman to Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, these are the funniest characters and performers from Apatow movies.

10 Danny McBride As Red In Pineapple Express

Seth Rogen and James Franco brought their impeccable chemistry from Freaks and Geeks to the big screen in their stoner action-comedy Pineapple Express, but the movie’s standout performance is Danny McBride as pot dealer Red, the middleman between the heroes and villains.

The running gag with Red is that he’s seemingly invincible. He gets shot, stabbed, and beaten and still manages to survive to the end credits. In a star-making supporting turn, McBride nails the delivery of his absurd dialogue without missing a beat.

9 Andy Samberg As Conner4real In Popstar

The Lonely Island’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of the only box office bombs in the Apatow oeuvre, and it’s a real shame it didn’t find a wider audience because it’s one of the best comedies in recent memory and arguably the funniest music mockumentary since This is Spinal Tap.

The movie is filled with terrific supporting performances from the likes of Sarah Silverman and Tim Meadows, but Andy Samberg anchors the movie in one of his best roles as Conner4real, a spoof of every pop star from Justin Bieber to Katy Perry who tries and fails to launch a successful solo career after his boy band breaks up.

8 Kristen Wiig As Annie In Bridesmaids

Kristen Wiig co-wrote the Oscar-nominated script for Bridesmaids, with Annie Mumolo as a starring role for herself. Her lead character Annie is painfully relatable, as her life is falling apart at the same time her best friend Lillian is getting hers together.

Annie is easy to root for because everyone has been there. She has a bunch of memorable moments, courtesy of Wiig, like attacking the giant cookie at the bridal shower and causing a disturbance that gets her plane grounded.

7 Jonah Hill As Seth In Superbad

According to Vulture, when Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg began work on their Superbad script at the age of 13, Rogen intended to play the lead role that was named after him. However, since the movie didn’t get made until Rogen was in his 20s, he’d aged out of the role and had to play Officer Michaels instead.

RELATED: Superbad: 10 Things It Got Right About Being A Teenager

The Seth character might’ve been named after Rogen, but Jonah Hill proved to be so perfect that it’s impossible to imagine anybody else playing the part. No one can make blind rage as funny as Hill. His line deliveries are so unforgettable that many of them have become popular Superbad memes.

6 Steve Carell As Brick Tamland In Anchorman

Steve Carell was a big part of Apatow’s takeover of film comedy. He starred in Apatow’s directorial debut The 40-Year-Old Virgin and co-wrote the script with him. While his performance in that movie was hilarious, his greatest turn in an Apatow production was playing Brick Tamland in Anchorman.

Brick is the dimmest member of Ron Burgundy’s news team (which is saying a lot, since that team includes Champ Kind, Brian Fantana, and Ron himself), and Carell’s hilariously naive, childlike line readings avoided the clichés of the “funny idiot” trope and make Brick feel unique.

5 Leslie Mann As Debbie In Knocked Up

In Apatow’s sophomore directorial effort Knocked Up, the storyline of Ben and Alison’s unexpected pregnancy is juxtaposed against Alison’s sister Debbie and her husband Pete, who similarly faced an unexpected pregnancy years earlier and are now married with two kids.

Both Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are hysterical in these roles, but Mann in particular stands out as an exasperated mom going through a midlife crisis. Scenes like her rant at the nightclub doorman and all the times she insults Ben behind his back exemplify the character’s biting wit.

4 Adam Scott As Derek In Step Brothers

Adam Scott proved he can play a sweet, likable character with his turn as Ben Wyatt on Parks and Rec, but he also proved he can play a grade-A D-bag with his turn as Brennan’s unbearably cocky younger brother Derek in Adam McKay’s Step Brothers.

The character gets a perfect introduction as he sings “Sweet Child o’ Mine” in the car with his family and criticizes his wife’s singing throughout her entire solo before nearly crashing while he’s trying to “save” the performance. Scott continues to bring the same level of hysterically exaggerated pompousness to all of Derek’s subsequent scenes.

3 Will Ferrell As Ron Burgundy In Anchorman

Adam McKay and Will Ferrell brought the uniquely absurdist sensibility they honed at Saturday Night Live to the hysterical Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The movie is filled with non-sequiturs and cutaways, so it relies on Ferrell’s lead performance to pull it all together.

RELATED: 5 Ways Ron Burgundy Is Will Ferrell's Best Character (& 5 Alternatives)

Ron was conceived as a satirical caricature of chauvinistic ‘70s newsmen, but Ferrell brings other dimensions to the role on-screen. Ferrell established himself as one of the few performers who can make overacting work with scenes like his “glass case of emotion” meltdown.

2 Christopher Mintz-Plasse As Fogell In Superbad

While Seth and Evan’s quest to acquire alcohol for a house party provides plenty of laughs, Superbad’s B-plot involving their friend Fogell spending the night hanging out with a pair of cops is arguably even more compelling.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse initially plays Fogell, better known by his fake ID’s name “McLovin,” as a quintessential geek. However, he slowly sheds his dorky image over the course of a fateful night by tackling drunken offenders and shooting stop signs. Mintz-Plasse plays this transformation beautifully. By the end of the movie, he’s the badass he claimed to be at the beginning, and Fogell is arguably the funniest character in the film.

1 Melissa McCarthy As Megan In Bridesmaids

The Academy tends to ignore raunchy comedies, but Melissa McCarthy was more than deserving of her Best Supporting Actress nod for Bridesmaids. In an ensemble filled with hilarious performers, McCarthy is the clear standout as wildcard Megan.

She steals every scene she’s in, whether she’s flirting with a fellow plane passenger she suspects of being an air marshal or keeled over a sink with food poisoning screaming, “LOOK AWAY!”

NEXT: Bridesmaids' 10 Funniest Scenes

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