A Bloated History of the Movie Fat Suit


At some point between Orson Welles and Tyler Perry, America turned against the fat suit. (Witness this spring’s debate over January Jones’s use of one on Mad Men.) If we had to pinpoint the exact moment when it transitioned completely from costume to comedic prop, we’d say it was upon the release of Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor. But if Sherman Klump was the originator, Madea is the perpetuator. Tyler Perry has won millions of fans and just as many haters by strapping on a fat suit in at least half a dozen recent movies, the latest of which hit theaters this weekend. That makes this the perfect time to reflect on the fleshy prostheses that have entertained and annoyed so many, as well as to ask professional weight guesser and comedian Frenchie McFarlane how much these artificially inflated characters weighed.