TV Actors Who Went From Comedy To Drama

These actors nailed roles in completely opposite categories.

TV Actors Who Went From Comedy To Drama

The old adage goes that comedy is tragedy plus time but on TV actors tend to do one or the other. Its become perfectly acceptable for a dramatic actor to dip into comedy now and again, but its much more challenging for a TV comedian to go the other way.

Howie Mandel


In the early 1980s, the stand-up comedian and game show host went for what he thought was a sitcom audition, amazed at how unfunny the script was. Mandel was right as he was reading for gritty medical drama St. Elsewhere, where he stunned naysayers as Dr. Wayne Fiscus until 1988.

Bryan Cranston

Drama 1

Before becoming the quintessential TV anti-hero Walter White in AMC crime drama Breaking Bad, Cranston was known as a sitcom actor with a recurring role in Seinfeld and lead in Malcolm in the Middle. Cranston was always as dramatic as he was funny, and never forgot how to do comedy!

Katey Sagal


She went from playing sitcom wives and mothers in Married with Children and 8 Simple Rules to a mass-murdering biker gang leader in Sons of Anarchy, with the voice of a one-eyed alien in Futurama bridging the gap. Quite a reinvention, yet the versatile actress took it in her stride.

Louis C.K.

Drama 4

It’s no surprise that the legendary stand-up is now pursuing dramatic movie roles, as his FX sitcom was been more dark, twisted and sad than comic on balance. Never a natural sitcom star, C.K. has developed so much as a TV actor over the past few years…”it’s not even funny.”