'The Office' Cast Proves That Comedians Make the Best Dramatic Actors

Yahoo Contributor Network

There's an old adage in the performing arts: Comic actors often make the best dramatic talents. An actor who can make people laugh is often surprisingly good at making them cry. Some people say that comedians understand sadness better than most people. (Perhaps that's why some of entertainment's most famous comedians have battled depression and addiction over the years.)

As it turns out, the undisputed comic talents who have appeared on "The Office" have also churned out some surprisingly moving dramatic performances. Here are some prime examples of the dramatic work that "The Office" stars have produced over the years, despite the fact that most people only see them as comedians.

Steve Carell

Best known as the original "Office" boss Michael Scott, Steve Carell has appeared in plenty of feature films over the years. And while many of the films were comedic, such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Dinner for Schmucks," his other film roles have real pathos and drama. Most notably, he played a suicidal Proust scholar in "Little Miss Sunshine" and a widower in "Dan in Real Life." He also played the doomed Dodge Petersen in the apocalyptic film "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World."

Amy Ryan

Best known to fans of "The Office" as HR rep Holly Flax, Amy Ryan's resume is packed with heartbreakingly beautiful dramatic performances. She was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her supporting role as Helene McCready in "Gone Baby Gone." In addition, Amy Ryan appeared on "The Wire" as Port Authority Officer Beadie Russell. She was also the female lead in the war thriller "Green Zone."

In addition to TV and film, her dramatic chops were honored with two Tony Award nominations: One for her role as Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and one for her portrayal of Sonya in "Uncle Vanya."

Ed Helms

To be fair, Ed Helms is still mostly a comedian. Having cut his teeth as a "Daily Show" correspondent, he's best known for his role as Andy on "The Office" and for his role in the "Hangover" trilogy as Stuart Price. But even in his funniest films, he manages to handle sad, dramatic, and pensive scenes with real authority and gravitas. In movies like "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and "Cedar Rapids," he can bring the melancholy while also bringing the funny.
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