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13 Things We Learned About 1980s Funnymen That Made Us Say 'Cool!'

April 29, 2021 3.9k votes 635 voters 40.4k views13 items

List RulesVote up the coolest facts about your favorite 1980s funnymen.

During the 1980s, some of the funniest movies featured the same group of actors over and over. Many of the comedians came from backgrounds in TV, with notable actors like John Candy, Rick Moranis, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd emerging from the Canadian show SCTV.

Others like Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Murray blended stand-up chops with appearances on Saturday Night Live to rise to fame. Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks, perhaps now better known for more serious roles, offered up hefty portions of comedic fare during the '80s, too. 

There are many connections among these '80s funnymen, with some fascinating details to be found about each individual along the way. Check out these facts about some of your favorite '80s comedic actors and vote up the coolest ones. 

  • Photo: Ghostbusters / Columbia Pictures

    Some Of John Candy's And Rick Moranis's Best-Known Performances Were Improvised

    As accountant Louis Tully, the nerdy neighbor in Ghostbusters, Rick Moranis greets guests arriving at a party at his apartment. The entire awkward, rambling commentary about guests Ted and Annette Fleming and their tax situation was, reportedly, almost entirely off the cuff. Director Ivan Reitman offered some insight:

    He wrote that extraordinary speech when he is inviting people to a party at his house and he's walking that incoming couple through. I had the joke of throwing the coat on the dog that's in his bedroom, but that whole wonderful speech... Rick just made all of it up as he was doing it. 

    When John Candy filmed his role in Home Alone during a marathon 23-hour session, director John Hughes gave him a lot of room to make Gus Polanski his own. As the "Polka King of the Midwest," Candy entertained everyone on set, reportedly creating content as he went. Director Christopher Columbus recalled, "The funeral-parlor story, that was all improvised at 4:30 in the morning. We could barely keep a straight face on set just listening to John."


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  • Photo: Trading Places / Paramount Pictures

    The 'Eddie Murphy Rule' Exists Thanks To The Movie 'Trading Places'

    Eddie Murphy starred in Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche, and Ralph Bellamy in 1983. The plot of the movie involved a swap of circumstances between Murphy, a con man, and Aykroyd, a commodities broker. 

    As Aykroyd's character's life falls into ruins, thanks to manipulation by Ameche's and Bellamy's characters, Murphy's character becomes wealthy. Because the crux of the movie revolves around financial malfeasance, Trading Places ultimately became representative of just how dangerous commodities brokering and inside trading could be.

    As a result, the "Eddie Murphy Rule" was introduced into federal legislation in 2010. Thanks to this rule, insider trading using nonpublic information misappropriated from a government source has been banned.

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  • Photo: Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood / American Public Television

    Michael Keaton Was Part Of The Crew On 'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood'

    Michael Keaton, star of 1980s comedies like Mr. MomJohnny Dangerously, and Beetlejuice, worked for public television in Pittsburgh, where he became a resident of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

    According to Keaton, he did a little bit of everything at the job, but got to know Fred Rogers well. Keaton, who described Rogers as "authentically good," also appeared on the show at times and even hosted the 50th anniversary special for Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood in 2021.  

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  • Photo: The Blues Brothers / Universal Pictures

    Dan Aykroyd Proposed To Carrie Fisher During The Making Of 'The Blues Brothers'

    Dan Aykroyd and Carrie Fisher first met in 1978 when she hosted Saturday Night Live. Fisher, then in an on-again, off-again relationship with singer Paul Simon, befriended John Belushi and other members of the cast. Fisher later landed a role in The Blues Brothers, a movie that starred both Aykroyd and Belushi.

    On the set of the movie, Aykroyd and Fisher began dating. According to Aykroyd, "Carrie and I fell in love and during the shoot she moved in with me." He continued: "While in Chicago we obtained blood tests for compatibility... Contemplating marriage, I gave Carrie a sapphire ring."

    Fisher recalled the proposal a bit differently:

    Dan proposed in my trailer. I was choking on a Brussels sprout, and he gave me the Heimlich... a few minutes later, he asked me to marry him.

    The couple broke up soon after. Fisher reconciled with Paul Simon and the two married in 1983. For his part, Akyroyd married actress Donna Dixon that same year. 

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