Dan Aykroyd is an iconic comedian, actor, screenwriter and musician who has entertained audiences for over 40 years. From his early days on Saturday Night Live to beloved comedy classics like The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters, Aykroyd has left an indelible mark on pop culture.
But beyond his considerable talents and achievements in entertainment, Aykroyd seems to inspire a rare level of devotion and affection from fans. What is it exactly that makes people love Dan Aykroyd?
Comedic Brilliance and Versatility
One of the hallmarks of Aykroyd’s comedy is his ability to adeptly inhabit diverse personalities and characters. On SNL, he created iconic skewed impressions of figures like Jimmy Carter and Julia Child that revealed sharp satiric instincts.
He also conceived uniquely eccentric characters like the wild and wooly Czechoslovakia-born “Super Bass-O-Matic” pitchman. His unpredictable, chameleon-like skills ensured that an Aykroyd sketch or cameo would always bring delightful surprise:
|Iconic Aykroyd SNL Characters
|Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute
|An over-the-top hustler who Bazooka Joe bubble gum was “made for.”
|An absurd consumer advocate who defended dangerous children’s toys.
This ability translated perfectly to Aykroyd’s film roles, where he alternated between intense, dramatic characters and big, bold comedy persona. From his scarily methodical assassin in The Hitman to his lovable schlub in Driving Miss Daisy, Aykroyd could always be counted on to commit completely to roles.
Helped Create Some of the Greatest Comedies Ever
While a fantastic performer in his own right, Aykroyd also has a gifted creative mind that has left a deep imprint on pop culture.
Few remember that he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Driving Miss Daisy and holds a sole writing credit on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
But the projects that secured Aykroyd’s legacy are the iconic comedies he conceptualized and brought to life as both writer and star:
The Blues Brothers
Aykroyd’s brainchild, this raucous Saturday Night Live sketch was expanded into a chaotic, music-filled buddy road trip pairing Aykroyd and John Belushi as deadpan felons “Joliet Jake” and “Elwood” Blues.
The movie showcases Aykroyd’s witty wordplay (“We’re getting the band back together”) while breathing new life into classic blues and R&B tunes.
Aykroyd crafted this supernatural comedy based on his fascination with parapsychology. Starring alongside Bill Murray and Harold Ramis as wisecracking paranormal exterminators, Aykroyd helped turn this offbeat story (originally set in a future dominated by ghosts) into a charming underdog triumph. The movie combined laughs with groundbreaking special effects.
Alongside creative collaborators like Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, Aykroyd starred in this feature film based on their SNL alien immigrant sketches. The Coneheads exemplified his talent for heightening observational, character-based humor into memorable satirical bite.
Unlike some SNL breakout stars, Aykroyd successfully transitioned to Hollywood megastardom without sacrificing his comedic instincts or versatility. The films above not only highlight his silly side but also his shrewd comic worldbuilding.
Endearing Eccentricities and Passions
Part of what makes Aykroyd so beloved lies in his endearing idiosyncrasies and inability to play by Hollywood’s rules. As a star and public figure, Aykroyd has always stayed committed to his intense interests in less mainstream topics:
Parapsychology and Ufology
Aykroyd has a lifelong fascination in these areas (even claiming to have seen a famous mass UFO sighting as a boy). He hosted the outrageously funny Psi Factor TV show exploring paranormal events. His prominent work with groups like MUFON cements his role as perhaps the most famous celebrity ufologist.
The son of a Canadian civil servant, Aykroyd has been an honorary sheriff deputy or police reservist for decades. He takes his ceremonial police work so seriously that he once referred to himself as a “peace officer.”
Vodka and Winemaking
In 2007, Aykroyd founded Crystal Head Vodka, sold in a skull-shaped bottle reflecting his interest in the mystical and paranormal. He also co-owns a winery and distillery in Canada.
Rather than hide these distinctly “uncool” obsessions, Aykroyd openly celebrates them with warmth and humor. This makes his star persona more earnest and human. While many view actors as fake, audiences get the sense that Aykroyd is uncompromisingly himself.
Close Creative Partnerships
While very capable as a solo performer, Aykroyd tended to do his best work collaborating with elite funnymen who shared his comic sensibilities. By all accounts, these creative relationships would fuel higher levels of hilarity and invention.
Aykroyd’s legendary camaraderie with John Belushi produced the Killer Bees skits and The Blues Brothers Movie.
The trio of Aykroyd, Murray and Ramis formed the core of SNL’s original breakout cast while inventing four iconic film comedies that still delight audiences. Aykroyd himself described their rare alchemy:
“It was like a Beatles thing. It all came together in a critical mass and we were all in the right place at the right time with weirdly complementary talents and personas that fit into the national scene.”
Even when appearing separately, you could sense their collaboration elevated everyone’s work.
This ability to synergize creative energies for everyone’s benefit is central to Aykroyd’s appeal.
Dedication to Charity and Public Service
While possessing superstar fame and fortune, Aykroyd has modeled civic responsibility and selflessness over his long career. He has shown supreme dedication to charity and public service efforts, actively campaigning for causes close to his heart.
Campaigning for Law Enforcement
Drawing from his law enforcement fixations, Aykroyd served for years as a Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy in Harahan, Louisiana. He also joined a bipartisan lobbying effort with unlikely ally Alec Baldwin urging Congress to renew a 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund supporting first responders.
Supporting People with Disabilities
Aykroyd has volunteered significant time serving people with developmental disabilities. His family donated $1 million to help build Angela’s House, which supports people with these needs. Moved by his niece’s struggles with autism and Tourette’s, he has also given generously to Advance, an Australian center conducting autism research.
Promoting African-American Culture
Beyond celebrating black music heritage in The Blues Brothers Movie, Aykroyd donated his Oscar nomination fee to the late Reverend Henry Griffin’s East Coast Gospel Academy of Music—credited with influencing Aykroyd’s own musical tastes growing up.
Aykroyd uses his fame proactively, shining a spotlight on important causes and marginalized groups. Rather than chasing celebrity perks, he leans into community leadership roles where he can create positive impact. That inspirational commitment keeps fans rooting hard for Aykroyd.
Dan Aykroyd emerged from the original SNL cast as creative dynamo capable of conjuring up some of the most riotously funny yet incisive entertainment of the late 20th century. Both as an actor and writer, he built an impressive comedic resume including iconic turns in Ghostbusters, Trading Places and Caddyshack.
But Aykroyd also forged uniquely endearing connections with his audience. His sheer exuberance and committment when diving into roles demonstrated a rare joyfulness and zeal. Rather than chasing movie star status, he spent his clout uplfiting emerging comedians and supporting meaningful causes. And he resolutely let his geek flag fly regarding unconventional pursuits like UFOlogy – daring fans to embrace their own eccentricities.
That combination of creative brilliance, unselfconscious authenticity and big hearted, humanitarian focus helps explain Dan Aykroyd’s lasting hold over the popular imagination. As an entertainer guided by childlike wonder rather than cynicism, Aykroyd forged comedy alchemy while embodying the finer parts of the human spirit.
What was Dan Aykroyd’s breakthrough role?
Dan Aykroyd first rose to fame as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1975. Some of his most iconic early roles on SNL included hosting “Weekend Update” news segments and playing the widowed Julia Child in cooking show sketches.
What was Aykroyd’s closest collaboration?
Outside of his SNL colleagues, Aykroyd’s closest creative partnership was with John Belushi. Their electric chemistry produced The Blues Brothers act and film. Sadly, Belushi’s 1982 death devastated Aykroyd and temporarily derailed his career.
Why did Aykroyd pursue the Ghostbusters concept?
Dan Aykroyd first wrote Ghostbusters based off his lifelong obsessions with parapsychology and the paranormal. The original script took place in a scary future world overrun by supernatural beings. Director Ivan Reitman helped shift Ghostbusters more into a comedy direction.
How did Aykroyd meet his wife, Donna Dixon?
Donna Dixon first met Dan Aykroyd when she appeared as a villainess in the 1983 comedy Doctor Detroit, which Aykroyd starred in. The two hit it off immediately and married the following year, going on to have three daughters together.
What businesses does Aykroyd own currently?
Dan Aykroyd oversees several business ventures including his Crystal Head Vodka distillery and a line of wine called Dan Aykroyd Wines. He also holds ownership stakes in restaurants like Fingerprints on Long Island. Aykroyd seems as passionate for hospitality as his acting career.