Ear­li­er this week, Saul Auster­litz wrote about his recent author tour and five not-as-ter­ri­ble-as-you-think movies. He has been blog­ging all week for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ings Vis­it­ing Scribe.

One of the trick­i­est aspects of writ­ing my book was fig­ur­ing out how to struc­ture it. After tin­ker­ing with a vari­ety of approach­es, I set­tled on 30 chap­ters, each ded­i­cat­ed to a sin­gle film­mak­er or per­former whose body of work I con­sid­ered to be sig­nif­i­cant to the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can film com­e­dy. These 30 selec­tions were joined by about 100 addi­tion­al short entries on com­ic fig­ures sig­nif­i­cant enough to deserve a men­tion, if not quite mer­i­to­ri­ous enough to earn a chap­ter of their own. 130 direc­tors and actors seems like a lot, and I got to include most of the peo­ple I want­ed, but as I expect­ed from the out­set, read­ers and review­ers have often been most inter­est­ed in dis­cussing the exclu­sions. (That is, after all, a sig­nif­i­cant part of the plea­sure of assem­bling a list, and what is a book about film oth­er than a bulked-up list of movie sug­ges­tions?) I’ve enjoyed the dis­cus­sions, kept them in mind, and pon­dered who else might deserve inclu­sion. (Sec­ond edi­tion, anyone?)

Here, then, are a hand­ful of per­form­ers and direc­tors who just missed the cut.

Steve Carell

The time between com­ple­tion of a book and pub­li­ca­tion makes for strange gaps, includ­ing the exclu­sion of Steve Carell. With the one-two-three punch of Din­ner for Schmucks, Date Night, and ani­mat­ed hit Despi­ca­ble Me, 2010 was the year that con­firmed Carell as one of the most suc­cess­ful come­di­ans of the moment. I exclud­ed him first time around because I felt that, even tak­ing into account the bril­liant 40-Year-Old Vir­gin and Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine, Carell had too short a film resume to war­rant inclu­sion (his vaunt­ed tele­vi­sion run as The Office’s Michael Scott notwith­stand­ing). 2010’s parade of hits has meant that Carell must be acknowl­edged as a con­sis­tent­ly fun­ny per­former. Carell can be a wiz­ard­ly come­di­an, but the roles he has tak­en on have not always ade­quate­ly reflect­ed his mas­tery of a cer­tain brand of goofy lassitude.

Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis

Super­star, or flash in the pan? I wasn’t entire­ly con­vinced by The Hang­over, but this past sea­son of Bored to Death, HBO’s sub­lime­ly stoned com­e­dy series about New York neu­rotics (what up, Brook­lyn!), gives me hope for Gal­i­fi­anakis’ future. Audi­ence felt that It’s Kind of a Fun­ny Sto­ry wasn’t, but Gal­i­fi­anakis’ pup­py-dog indie charm may be enough to pro­pel him to a more last­ing star­dom nonetheless.

Dan­ny Kaye

One of the fun­ni­est come­di­ans of the 1950s not named Jer­ry Lewis, Kaye built his career on such light-heart­ed bur­lesques as A Song Is Born and The Court Jester, where he played a carnie pos­ing as a court jester to take on an imposter king. Kaye made a career out of his bug-eyed expres­sions of pan­ic and con­fu­sion. If Gary Coop­er was the absent-mind­ed pro­fes­sor to a T in Howard Hawks’ Ball of Fire, Kaye was a more-than-suit­able replace­ment in A Song Is Born,” Hawks’ musi­cal update of the same mate­r­i­al. Like Lewis, and oth­er writ­ers and per­form­ers of rough­ly the same era, like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, Kaye was a prod­uct of the Catskills — a Borscht Belt come­di­an trained by the tough audi­ences of mid­dle-class Jews on vaca­tion, con­vinced they were being swin­dled out of their hard-earned dol­lars. After that, enter­tain­ing Amer­i­ca was a breeze.

Leslie Nielsen

I includ­ed the ZAZ team of Jer­ry Zuck­er, Jim Abra­hams, and David Zuck­er, the bril­liant­ly sopho­moric trio respon­si­ble for Air­plane! and The Naked Gun tril­o­gy. ZAZ were mas­ters of laugh-out-loud idio­cy, and one of their most daz­zling strokes of genius was under­stand­ing the untapped com­ic poten­tial of stol­id 1950s lead­ing men like Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and more than any­one else, the recent­ly deceased Leslie Nielsen. Nielsen had been a most­ly undis­tin­guished dis­tin­guished gen­tle­man in for­get­table fare, best known for the sci-fi gem For­bid­den Plan­et, before the ZAZ boys cast him in Air­plane!” Voila — F. Scott Fitzgerald’s dic­tum about there being no sec­ond acts in Amer­i­can life was instant­ly void­ed, with Nielsen find­ing renewed vig­or as a ludi­crous lead­ing man, lead­ing an off-key ren­di­tion of the nation­al anthem, or dis­rupt­ing a court­room by for­get­ting to unclip his micro­phone before head­ing to the bathroom.

Saul Auster­litz is the author of the recent­ly pub­lished Anoth­er Fine Mess: A His­to­ry of Amer­i­can Film Com­e­dy.

Saul Auster­litz is the author of four pre­vi­ous books, includ­ing Just a Shot Away and Sit­com. His work has been pub­lished by The Boston Globe, The New York Times Mag­a­zine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Slate, and the Los Ange­les Times. He is a grad­u­ate of Yale and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of writ­ing and com­e­dy his­to­ry at NYU.