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Which classic performers provided the best comic relief?


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This could become a discussion about character actors, but not all character actors excelled at comedy (some mainly provided support in serious, dramatic parts). Also, there are leading actors and actresses that were well-known for work in screwball comedies.

 

Plus, we have performers like Eve Arden who are somewhere in between a character actress and lead. So this could apply to anyone.

 

I particularly want to draw attention to the comic sidekicks in B-westerns. There are so many good ones, from Smiley Burnette to Fuzzy Knight to Pat Buttram.

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For me one of the most endearing things about many of the old Warner Brothers films are the many supporting actors who played in those movies. Watch *The Strawberry Blonde* or *Arsenic and Old Lace* for example to see a lot of great character actors who provide great comic performances. And watching some of The Thin Man movie marathon the other night makes me think of Sam Levene, who played Lt Abrams in two of the films. He played a similar character in *The Mad Miss Manton* with Barbara Stanwyck. There are many more of course. We can compile a long long list here.

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