'Inglourious Basterds' Star Brad Pitt: Superstar Actor Or Offbeat Comedian?

by Jett Wells

Funny might not be the first word you think of when you think of Brad Pitt, but don’t fool yourselves. He’s hilarious. That’s main thing I took from Quentin Tarantino’s "Inglourious Basterds," in which the actor plays the bloodthirsty Lt. Aldo Raine. In retrospect, Pitt’s frequently been a funny guy playing serious roles. Only in his most recent roles has he really experimented with satire and overt comedy.

To honor Pitt’s comedic edge, we’ve compiled a list of the highlights. Some of the picks might seem odd, but each role has pockets of punchy gags. Just take a look at this moment from "Inglourious Basterds" and tell me it's not funny:

Tyler Durden, "Fight Club"

Brad Pitt works beautifully with Chuck Palahniuk’s dark wit in "Fight Club." Tyler Durden’s rigid and bleak outlook on society informed his hilariously mischievous behavior, such as the terrible acts he perpetrated on an innocent pot of soup. The funniest Tyler Durden moments were his night jobs, such as the aforementioned soup... "seasoner" or the creative projectionist for a family-friendly movie theatre. It is hilarious listening to him explain how he splices lewd imagery into a movie reel without the audience noticing. With Palahniuk’s dark humor and Pitt’s delivery, the two form a hysterical duo.

Detective David Mills, "Se7en"

"Se7en" is a deeply disturbing thriller about a seven deadly sins-obsessing serial killer, but Brat Pitt as Mills had some funny moments that I’ll never forget. In a scene where Mills and Morgan Freeman's Detective William Somerset try to dissect how the villain thinks, Mills barks at Somerset: “He’s a nut-bag! Just because the f--ker’s got a library card doesn’t make him Yoda!” Pitt plays Mills as badass city cop with a chip on his shoulder, which means plenty of funny one-liners.

Mickey O’Neil, "Snatch"

Pitt as Mickey O’Neil, the pikey Irishman, is the most colorful character in Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" with his erratic behavior and unintelligible dialect. The core of O’Neil’s humor is his total disregard for his body and the joy he takes in hurting people. With his knockout right hook, he’s an unstoppable bareknuckle boxing machine, and a little bit psychotic as well. Just listening to him talk like an Irish chipmunk is a riot, especially since he already sounds like an Irish chipmunk.

Rusty Ryan, "Ocean's Eleven"

Pitt’s best gags as Rusty Ryan in "Ocean's Eleven" come out of his interactions with co-star George Clooney as Danny Ocean. The two complement each other well. They strut with swagger and style, but also they finish each others sentences and pick on each other like bratty siblings... or an old married couple. The humor isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but their chemistry on screen is charming and giggle-worthy. Pitt’s humor as Rusty Ryan is mostly in his disguises and snarky expressions; in many ways he's the "wild and crazy guy" to Clooney's "straight man" (relatively speaking).

Chad Feldheimer, "Burn After Reading"

This is the closest Pitt has ever come to doing straight comedy. He was ridiculous as Chad Feldheimer, the dimwit gym-rat in "Burn After Reading." Every character in the Coen Brothers’ political farce is outrageous, but Pitt steps up his game as a goofy moron who misguidedly tries to blackmail a spy novelist. His interactions with John Malkovich are truly memorable. Slapstick humor is something Brad Pitt never does, but in this case it is delightfully awkward.