Help me identify an actor!
March 22, 2017 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of a comedic actor who may still be active but came up in his 20s in the 1980s or maybe 1990s and who primarily acted in screwball comedies. But I can't think of the name!

Identifying characteristics:

Usually seemed to have a smirk on his face. Like so much that it's annoying.
Black kind of spiky hair. but naturally so, not coiffed to be punk or anything.
I think he had very blue kind of piercing eyes.
Very much a stereotypical "middle class" look.
Kind of a funny voice but not a put-on funny voice like Jim Carrey.
Not Robert Carradine, but played similar roles.
Not Steve Guttenberg either.

posted by mikel to Media & Arts (88 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Curtis Armstrong?
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:11 PM on March 22

Jim Breuer?
posted by kittydelsol at 3:13 PM on March 22

No but I definitely recognize Curtis Armstrong. I don't recognize Jim Breuer at all, and it's not him.

The one I'm thinking of was a leading man type in his movies iirc.

BTW I'm asking because Neil Gorsuch kind of reminds me of a gray-haired version of this guy, particularly in his special tone of voice.
posted by mikel at 3:15 PM on March 22

Probably not the one you're thinking of but when you say "smirk on his face" I think of Tony Roberts.
posted by DanSachs at 3:20 PM on March 22

I'm asking because Neil Gorsuch kind of reminds me of a gray-haired version of this guy

I think Neil Gorsuch kind of looks like Alan Ruck (who's old enough to have gray hair of his own at this point). Blue eyes, to boot. But not a leading man type.
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:22 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]

Alan Ruck?
posted by kittyb at 3:22 PM on March 22

Michael Ian Black?
posted by Think_Long at 3:25 PM on March 22

So close! But no cigar quite yet...

There's a small chance his first name is Robert but that may be more obfuscating than helpful if I'm wrong...
posted by mikel at 3:26 PM on March 22

These doesn't exactly fit, but Ben Stiller, or Michael Ian Black?
I think we need more details, was he short or tall, did he just do movies, or was he also on tv? Would he have been the lead actor, or more of the comic relief guy?
posted by Champagne Supernova at 3:27 PM on March 22

Chris Parnell?
posted by littlesq at 3:32 PM on March 22

John Larroquette who was on Night Court?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:33 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Yes Champagne Supernova I realize that the details I have provided may be too sparse even for AskMe.

Trying to think of additional details - I don't think this actor had anything to do with SNL or any of its offshoots. As I said he was usually a lead actor or among the leads in an ensemble but I can't be sure about the latter.

His movies weren't totally obscure but he was never a huge star like Ben Stiller. His movies were more formulaic franchise comedies iirc.

Chris Parnell seems the closest so far in terms of being a leading man and the overall look. But it is definitely not him.
posted by mikel at 3:37 PM on March 22

He kinda looks like Alan Ruck (aka Cameron from Ferris Bueller) but he does not satisfy the "leading man" requirement.
posted by O9scar at 3:39 PM on March 22

I strongly suspect you're thinking of Andrew McCarthy!
posted by ejs at 3:43 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

have you googled all the Broken Lizard and The State guys to rule them out
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:44 PM on March 22

Mark Harmon?
posted by mama casserole at 3:45 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Michael Paré?
posted by Glinn at 3:48 PM on March 22

Freddie Prinze Jr?
posted by Ftsqg at 3:48 PM on March 22

Broken Lizard and The State are much too recent. This guy was like a half generation earlier. He may be as old as 55+ now.

Glinn - all of those guys are much more famous than the person I'm thinking of .

mama casserole - Mark Harmon is in the age range but it's not him - again, he's way too famous.
posted by mikel at 3:49 PM on March 22

Jeremy Piven? Frank Walley?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:50 PM on March 22

Just name-checking Pauly Shore to rule him out.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:55 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]

Dennis Miller?
posted by 41swans at 3:55 PM on March 22

Jason Bateman?
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:57 PM on March 22

Nope, not Dennis Miller, Pauly Shore, Frank Whaley (nice guess though), or Jeremy Piven.

Now I'm starting to feel bad about asking the question.
posted by mikel at 3:57 PM on March 22

So random, but it's not Neil Flynn is it?
posted by at 3:58 PM on March 22

Dean Cameron? (Summer School, Ski School, Ski School 2) Link is to a Google Image Search for Dean Cameron in Ski School.
posted by Errant at 3:58 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Also probably not Val Kilmer? Probably too famous and not just a comedic actor, but there's Real Genius and Top Secret!
posted by Glinn at 3:59 PM on March 22

Brian Benben?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:01 PM on March 22

Sam McMurray?
posted by littlesq at 4:06 PM on March 22

It may be helpful for you to identify some "screwball comedies" and "formulaic franchise comedies." Even better if you're certain he acted in them.
posted by Karaage at 4:09 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]

Skeet Ulrich?
posted by dilaudid at 4:10 PM on March 22

Tom Hulce?
posted by neroli at 4:14 PM on March 22

Dean Cameron?
posted by Glinn at 4:16 PM on March 22

Robert Hayes?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:27 PM on March 22

Or Judge Reinhold maybe (look at younger pictures).
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:29 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Not blue-eyed, but Jonathan Silverman?
posted by ants at 4:31 PM on March 22

C. Thomas Howell?
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:32 PM on March 22

Seth Green?
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:36 PM on March 22

Robby Benson? Not really smirky, but dark hair, active during the era and named Robby...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:37 PM on March 22

You're not thinking of Andrew Dice Clay are you?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:38 PM on March 22

Rob Schneider?
posted by MandaSayGrr at 4:41 PM on March 22

I was also thinking Andrew McCarthy.
posted by Yorrick at 4:42 PM on March 22

Christian Slater fits the bill.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:43 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]

1980's Patrick Dempsey looks different enough from current-day McDreamy that I have to submit him for consideration.
posted by juliplease at 4:43 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]

Chris Eigeman from all those Whit Stillman movies? Maybe not screwball, but definitely smirky.
posted by jacy at 4:55 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Bob Saget
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:01 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Bobcat Goldthwait was rather smirky with a whiny voice from around that time.
I thought he was pretty annoying, but then 'Shakes The Clown' was a work of genius.
posted by ovvl at 5:06 PM on March 22

And here are some fun lists of That Guy actors to peruse.
posted by juliplease at 5:07 PM on March 22

OK guys - I have clearly not provided enough information, even for this august source!

Dean Cameron is the closest, also Robert Hays. Both of them played in the style of movie I'm thinking of - Ski School, Revenge of the Nerds, Airplane, other college movies from the 80s.

Anyhow - might as well abandon the search before anyone goes crazy.

I'm still going to be following a few threads tonight...

posted by mikel at 5:43 PM on March 22

David Naughton?
posted by dogmom at 5:44 PM on March 22

Yes, it's SNL, but Chris Kattan?
posted by politikitty at 5:44 PM on March 22

Is it not Tim Matheson in Animal House?
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:47 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

If it's more comedy-eyebrows rather than slightly-smarmy-leading-man, maybe Robert Romanus
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:50 PM on March 22

Eric Roberts?
posted by amro at 6:17 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Charlie sheen
posted by unreasonable at 6:19 PM on March 22

Also possible is the other other main guy from Animal House, Peter Riegert.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:22 PM on March 22

He's around far too late and in the wrong kind of movies and impervious to age so we'll never know for sure, but to me Gorsuch looks kind of like an old Paul Rudd.
posted by LionIndex at 6:33 PM on March 22

Maybe Sean Penn? Wasn't he in movies like that in the '80s?
posted by sarcasticah at 6:47 PM on March 22

Griffin Dunne of After Hours and An American Werewolf in London fame?
posted by Champagne Supernova at 6:50 PM on March 22

Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers?
posted by cornflakegirl at 7:29 PM on March 22

Usually when a question like this goes on for a while, there's one key detail that you're misremembering. Like, if you drop the hair colour it could be Anthony Michael Hall, drop the eye colour and it may be Jonathan Silverman, etc. Perhaps you could indicate the level of confidence you have in each of the criteria, so that we're exploring the best variations?
posted by Paragon at 7:39 PM on March 22

tl;dr Judge Reinhold?
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:45 PM on March 22

Bill Pullman?
Bill Paxton?
David Spade?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:06 PM on March 22

Lenny von Dohlen?
posted by the webmistress at 8:08 PM on March 22

Ted McGinley?
posted by Neely O'Hara at 8:27 PM on March 22

Chris Schlatter?
posted by the webmistress at 8:29 PM on March 22

Jon Cryer (aka Duckie) was often smirking.
posted by lisa g at 8:32 PM on March 22

Jackie Earle Haley? The Bad News Bears, Losin' It?
posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:37 PM on March 22

James Spader. He still acts but looks completely different now. He played one of the leads in a ton of ridiculous 80s teen movies and he definitely had dark hair at least some of the time.
posted by fshgrl at 8:41 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Jamie Kennedy? (Scream 1/2/3)
posted by misterbrandt at 8:53 PM on March 22

Frank Whaley
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 PM on March 22

It could also be Bradley Whitford who was in things like Adventures in Babysitting and Revenge of the Nerds II. He's got the spiky hair and the smirk but he definitely still works a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 9:34 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Tate Donovan from 'Love Potion #9'
Fred Savage from 'the Wonder Years' (Brown Eyes though)
Charlie Sheen from mostly the 90s
Patrick Swayze had piercing blue eyes and a mullet in the 80s....
Matt Dillon was in the Outsiders....
Ralph Machio but if you can't remember the original Karate Kid...
Leif Garrett became a trashy reality TV host... but was a prolific 80s brat.
Rob Lowe but waay to famous... do you have DirectTV?
Harry Stanton for weasely looking folks?
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:58 PM on March 22

John Cusack?
posted by Toddles at 10:04 PM on March 22

George Newbern?
posted by Yorrick at 11:14 PM on March 22

Coming at this from a different direction - Best screwball comedies of the 90's - is he in any of those? Or do those set off any memories like, "not this one, but some other one with a [whatever]?"

And the 80s.

(I'm not sure I agree with their definition of "screwball comedy.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:44 PM on March 22

Howie Mandel? No blue eyes, but he looks entirely different now than when he first started doing comedy standup in the early 80's.
posted by moonlily at 2:22 AM on March 23

Charles Rocket?
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 3:01 AM on March 23

Matt McCoy?
posted by imaginary_mary at 3:31 AM on March 23 [12 favorites]


That's him!

Thank you!
posted by mikel at 4:05 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]

Whew, thank Christ. *collapses in chair*
posted by Melismata at 7:50 AM on March 23 [20 favorites]

after 86 comments, can only say "serenity now!"
posted by cluebucket at 3:43 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Matt McCoy is recently seen in a commercial for Hartford Auto Insurance. I knew I knew his face but couldn't remember anything about his acting work.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:40 PM on March 23

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