Ordinarily, when an actor messes up their lines, the camera resets back to where it was and the actor starts again from a few lines earlier. But in less professional instances, one mistake could lead to some fascinating ad-libs and some uncontrollable laughter (allowing fans to see the human side to some movie stars).
Comedy actors get the most out of fluffing up lines. In fact, that’s where they thrive as it gives them more to work with when improvising. But there are also times when dramatic Academy Award-nominated actors screw up and then can’t get rid of their giggles. All of these hilarious outtakes are available to watch on YouTube.
Richard Lewis (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Curb Your Enthusiasm is known for being entirely improvised, as only an outline of each episode is written by Larry David. That means that every actor has to be at the top of their game and prepared for anything. One Curb regular and best friend of Larry David, Richard Lewis, has given fans some of the funniest ad-libs.
But in one scene with Larry and Jon Hamm, Richard was stumped and couldn’t think of what to say next when Jon asked what his girlfriend does for a living. Larry found it so funny that, as he was taking a drink of water at the time, he did a spit take all over the set.
Paul Rudd (Anchorman)
Anchorman is full of classic lines, with Brick often providing the funniest quotes. However, Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) has some great ones of his own too. One of the most memorable lines of the movie is when Brian talks about how he uses the stinking Sex Panther aftershave to pick up women. He says, “60% of the time it works every time,” but when Rudd first tried the line, he totally fumbled it.
Yet, it wasn’t necessarily Rudd’s fault. In the movie, the Sex Panther aftershave rises out of a box on its own, but while shooting it the first time, the mechanism didn’t work and the ear even broke off of the bottle. However, it did lead to some brilliant improv that didn’t make it into the movie, such as Brian explaining that he can’t return it because he got it on the black market.
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Unlike the other movies and TV shows, Breaking Bad isn’t a comedy, and it’s far from it, as it follows a high school teacher who is diagnosed with cancer who becomes a drug kingpin in order to afford his medical bills. But that never stopped Bryan Cranston from goofing around on set. Though Cranston often messed up his lines, more often than not, it was purposeful.
However, in season 2, when Walter (Cranston) gives his iconic monologue about blowfishes to his partner, he calls Jesse “Jeff.” Where Jeff comes from is anyone’s guess, and it’s especially out of the blue because the two characters had been side-by-side for 18 episodes at this point.
Will Ferrell (Eastbound And Down)
It isn’t easy to make Will Ferrell crack, and as he’s one of the quickest comedy actors when it comes to improvising, few others can make him laugh more than himself. But it seems like he gets so much joy out of making other people laugh, as he only messes up his lines when somebody else laughs first.
The funniest example of that is in Eastbound And Down. His character Ashley Schaeffer is telling Kenny (Danny McBride) and Reg (Craig Robinson) a story about how he walked in on his mother and father having sex. But as soon as McBride and Robinson start grinning, Ferrell can’t finish his lines no matter how much he tries.
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Given that she wrote the movie, fans would think it’d be easy for Kristen Wiig to get out her lines in Bridesmaids, but when she’s wasn’t laughing at other characters’ ad-libs, she was saying the wrong names. When Annie (Wiig) is on the phone, the actor accidentally said her own real-life name instead of saying a characters’ name.
The 2011 movie is such a unique comedy, and Bridesmaids totally deserves a sequel, and part of the reason why is because the blooper reel will probably be almost as funny as the actual movie.
Jim Carrey (Liar Liar)
When it comes to Liar Liar, there’s so much procedural law jargon, so it’s no surprise that Jim Carrey fluffs a good number of his lines. The best thing about those ’90s Carrey-led comedies is that the outtakes ran alongside the end credits, so viewers can see them all.
Every slip-up is hilarious, as Carrey, a very vocal and theatrical performer, turns every mistake into an ad-lib. And if he can’t think of anything to say, he simply makes stupid noises and pulls funny faces.
Robert De Niro (Analyze This)
Analyze This sees Robert De Niro playing a caricature of all of his previous roles, as Paul Vitti (De Niro) is a parody of all the gangsters the actor has played in the past. It’s hard to imagine De Niro ever being so relaxed and joking around on set, as all of his characters are so serious, and even in press junkets, he isn’t exactly a joker.
But the outtakes of Analyse This see him improvising and joking around with costar Billy Crystal. And, ironically, in a scene when Paul is attempting to come across as intimidating, De Niro is failing miserably at getting out his monologue, tripping over his words. It just goes to show that even the greatest actors of all time have a bad day at the office.
Tom Cruise (Magnolia)
In Magnolia, Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) is a pick-up artist, and when trying to convince one woman he’s dating that he did everything to try and save her dog, viewers see the rare fun side to Cruise. In the outtake, Cruise screams with laughter midway through the monologue.
The actor couldn’t get past the line, “Hey, Pookie’s in trouble here!” What makes the outtake even better is that it’s fascinating to see that even in the most emotionally exhausting dramas like Magnolia, actors don’t always take themselves too seriously.
Robert Downey Jr. (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer aren’t comedy actors, and far from it, but they could fool any viewer who watches the outtakes of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The two of them mess up their lines so much, but just like the best comedians improvising, they style it out so well.
They give the likes of Will Ferrell a run for his money. At one point, Downey Jr. messes up his line, makes a joke, and then starts rambling in Italian. And it just goes to show that he was acting like Tony Stark long before he was cast in Iron Man.