Jonah Hill, the tubby star of Superbad and Get Him to the Greek, has decided to cut out the flab. The comedian-turned-actor has reportedly lost 30 pounds ahead of shooting a movie remake of the 1980s TV series "21 Jump Street," just as his friend and frequent co-star Seth Rogen did before filming The Green Hornet. But some worry that a slimmed-down Hill won't be as funny as the chubby version. Do corpulent comedians need to stay that way to get belly laughs? (See the slimmed down Hill)
Yes. Just look at the evidence: Can "going from chunk to hunk" hurt a comedian's career? asks E! Online. "Umm, quite possibly, yes." Consider comedians John Goodman and Drew Carey, both of whom made "not-so-funny appearances" after dropping pounds. If Hill gets too slim, he won't be the schlubby funnyguy we know and love.
"No-flab Jonah Hill: Is weight loss the comedian's curse?"
No. There is nothing funny about obesity: Hill's "button-busting obesity" in Get Him to the Greek was "almost an obstruction to the material," says Hollywood Elsewhere at Opposing Views. The portly comedians of yore — Oliver Hardy, Lou Costello, Fatty Arbuckle — managed to straddle the line between "big-chubby and run-of-the-mill fat." Hill strayed into obesity, crossing the line where "bulk starts to get in the way of the humor."
"Jonah Hill in Get Him to the Greek: Too fat to be funny?"
Hill is not funny because he is fat: Comedians are "frequently reduced to a type," says Donna Kaufman at iVillage, and some — Jack Black, for example — carve a niche playing the "funny, overweight teddy-bear type." That can be difficult to break out of, but Hill isn't there yet. His weight wasn't even mentioned in Get Him to the Greek, so whatever he does next will be just as amusing as his "fat, funny guy schtick."
"Could Jonah Hill's weight loss hurt his career?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Ban PowerPoint!
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
Subscribe to the Week