There exists a common stereotype that big men are jolly. In fact, recent research suggests that significantly proportioned people who carry the FTO gene (responsible for keeping some of us larger people large) are less susceptible to becoming depressed. However, we all know that not everyone can be happy all the time. Indeed, some of us big men need to check in with our inner selves to ensure that life’s stresses aren’t weighing us down. Yet, there are some big men whose ability to laugh at themselves and the world has us in stitches. Welcome to the world of Big Men Comedians.
Funny Big Guy: Shane Jacobson
Australia’s own lovable larrikin and extremely funny guy, Shane Jacobsen. This funny big man first shot to national attention with the release of the hilarious portable toilet mockumentary Kenny. In this classic 2006 Aussie spoof, Jacobson delivers such memorable lines as ‘There's a smell in here that will outlast religion’, ‘From the back she looked like a fridge with a head’ and ‘Busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad’. And with that, the film assured its legendary status.
There’s no doubt that Shane is a jack of all trades. As an actor, writer and producer, his knockabout manner, witty performances and great comedic timing underpin his unique ability to create characters that are an instant hit with audiences. Indeed, the 2020 film The Very Excellent Mr Dundee features Jacobson as a Crocodile Dundee impersonator based in Hollywood. Let’s just think about that for a moment: Jacobson, an Aussie, is playing in the role of an American impersonating an Aussie fictional movie character. As Kenny himself would say: ‘Mad as a clown’s c*ck!’
Big guy style: Workwear
Funny Big Guy: John Candy
If you grew up without seeing comedy hits like Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains & Automobiles I feel sorry for you. In order to make up for this impoverished childhood I implore you to make amends immediately. Go ahead and grab yourself a copy of these two classic Candy movies, grab some popcorn and get laughing! Not only was John Candy (1950 - 1994) the quintessential big man comic, he had incredible range as an actor. As well as making us laugh, Candy could also really tug at the heart strings.
Certainly, it was in the aforementioned Planes, Trains & Automobileswhere Candy’s star was set in pop culture immortality. For the uninitiated, the movie tells the story of Neal and Del, an unlikely duo who end up going on an unforeseen cross-country journey together. This odd couple must grapple with the insanity that is travelling during the holidays in order to reach their final destinations. Along the way, they muddle through many and difficult tests, almost die a few times. Together they must rely on their wits to survive. And in typical buddy-film fashion, they thrive. So, with the winter weather just around the corner, why not do yourself a favour and get nice and cosy on the couch whilst watching one of the best winter films of all time?
Big guy style: Winter wear
Funny Big Guy: Chris Farley
Hyperactive. Intense. Force of nature. Just some of the words that come to mind when one thinks about the big man comedy powerhouse, Chris Farley. Born in 1964 in Wisconsin, Farley was naturally a big guy even in his youth. Being the butt of jokes in high school because of his weight, Farley quickly developed a reputation as the most outrageous guy in the room as a coping mechanism.
Farley then channelled his superhuge personality into performance and found the stand-up comedy stage a perfect fit for his larger than life antics. His knack for highly energised physical comedy garnered him on a spot on Saturday Night Live in 1990. Farley then went on to star in several big budget Hollywood comedies. Films like Tommy Boy, Black Sheepand Beverly Hills Ninja were his ticket to the big time. However, it is his role as the angry bus driver in the Adam Sandler flick Billy Madison that, in my humble opinion, best showcases his brilliant comedic timing as well as gift for inventing strange characters.
Sadly, the world lost this big man comedian on 18 December, 1997. Farley tragically lost his life as a result of drug overdose. In memorialising the big man, we should reflect on how he described his approach to stand-up comedy: “You enter strong and you exit strong, and you're going to be OK.”
Big guy style: Suits
By Anthony Cheadle