Harley Pasternak helped these comedic actors slim down and tone up. (Getty Images)
I was flipping through Yahoo.com this week, and was blown away by a recent photo of my favorite comedian—and star of The Hangover movie franchise—Zach Galifianakis. Zach, an old friend, has recently trimmed down big time, and looks like a different person. He’s told the press, “I was having a lot of vodka with sausage…delicious, but bad for you.”
Over my career, I’ve helped many comedic actors trim down and tone up, from Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Seth Rogen (Green Hornet) to Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street) and Paul Rudd (I Love You Man). Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) and Jack Black (Goosebumps), and found myself getting an ab workout from laughing my way through our sessions. However, some people think comedians become “less funny” when they slim down.
Many of Hollywood’s favorite funny people have been fuller figured. From current box office stars Kevin James, Melissa McCarthy, and Rebel Wilson to the late John Candy, John Belushi, and Chris Farley, audiences seem to love comedic pounds. But why do some of us laugh less when rotund funny people decide to become healthier funny people?
Sometimes called the “Joe Piscopo Effect” in the entertainment industry (in reference to the very funny SNL actor who became a bodybuilder and lost some fans in the process), many comedians find themselves at the receiving end of a lot of negative feedback when they lose weight. A scene from one of my favorite shows, 30 Rock, comes to mind when Alec Baldwin’s TV executive character, Jack Donaghy, is commenting on an actress’s weight gain: “She needs to lose 30 pounds or gain 60. Anything in between has no place on television.”
Some comedians like Carrot Top (who now looks like an NFL running back) and Joe Rogan (mixed martial artist) have taken their physiques to an even more extreme fit look, and have polarized some of their core audiences. I, of course, applaud anyone who decides to eat well and exercise. Being healthy doesn’t make someone less funny, talented, or entertaining. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do you think?