Being a successful stand-up comic may get you the lead in a situation comedy, but as Ray Romano is only the latest to find out, it doesn’t necessarily translate to big screen success.
In the early days, there were a few vaudevillians like W.C. Fields who made a few successful movies. Recently, Robin Williams has probably been the most successful. Billy Crystal has had a pretty good run, but he can’t “open” a movie like Tom Hanks, or even Meg Ryan, could.
Off the top of my head, only Williams, Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis come to mind as being well known for their comedy routines who were “big stars” when it came to movies. Even George Burns had to wait until he was in his 70s to find movie success. Jackie Gleason had some decent dramatic roles, but he was more of a sketch comic. Ditto (in my opinion) for the Marx Brothers and Eddie Murphy.
It seems that more often, even an extremely successful standup (Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Bill Cosby, George Carlin) can’t make that success translate to movies.