While some see comedic actors as not cut out for drama, their performances can become gems

It is said that comedy stems from tragedy, so it is no exaggeration to suggest that a great comedic actor could be an equally great dramatic actor. In fact, many performers have proven this assumption, from Adam Sandler’s tremendous performance in Uncut Gems to the captivating role of Steve Carell in Little Miss Sun. While some would expect skilled comedy actors to have little talent when it comes to serious drama, many delivered phenomenal performances that would rival some of the greatest of all time. When artists subvert expectations in their performances, it shows how creative labels can keep actors from getting big roles in different styles of movies.

While not all of the comedians’ most serious performances are successful, see Amy Schumer in Thank you for your service-others surprised the audience with their impressive dramatic acting. Like Robin Williams in Goodwill huntingsome comedies biggest names prospered and were warmly received by critics and viewers. But that shouldn’t be surprising: comedians and comic actors often make light of their own tragedies or suffering to fuel their comedic work. This, combined with the need for a keen sense of timing and performance awareness, makes many comedic actors particularly adept at working in more dramatic settings. The natural instinct to know when a comedic beat will hit parallels a seasoned actor’s instinct to recognize where a particularly tense emotional beat should land. Many comedy actors also have a deep commitment to their bits, no matter how ridiculous or melancholy the subject matter. Translating that into a dramatic performance creates compelling characters that are often magnetic to watch.

While some fail to transition into dramatic roles, comedic actors seem to do significantly better than one group in particular: musicians. Countless musicians have found their place on the big screen, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes you end up with electric performances like Lady Gaga in A star is born or Justin Timberlake in The social network. These musicians leverage their strengths as stage performers to deliver exhilarating performances on screen. Although they are by no means the same thing, the ability to entertain an audience at a concert may well translate to charming audiences on the big screen. However, for every good transition to Hollywood, there are a thousand bad ones: artists like Taylor Swift in Cats and Adam Levine in Fun dinner for mom maybe should have stuck with working on their next albums. Some musicians, even with previous acting experience, seem almost too famous to play anyone other than themselves – a category that doesn’t really have a comedic equivalent. Ariana Grande’s appearance in Don’t look up and Harry Styles in Dunkirkalthough not necessarily bad, could sometimes distract from the plots of their respective films.

Although many actors can be considered mixed bags, comedic actors generally fare better than dramatic actors in delivering powerful performances against type. With such big roles in multitudes, it’s high time to stop putting performers in creative boxes and put more faith in their varied talents. While seeing an act against their usual type can be a wonderful surprise, imposing unnecessary labels can keep them from stepping up to prominent roles in different genres. Audiences miss out on fresh, innovative performances by artists who are typecast and labeled as funny or serious, rather than a more important trait: talented.