The comedians themselves actually appeared in some of the superman comic books as fictional characters.
Wheeler and Woolsey were popular comedians in the 1930's. Thelma Todd made two movies with them, COCKEYED CAVALIERS and HIPS, HIPS, HOORAY.
ACTION COMICS #1 introduced Superman, and fictional Wheeler and Woolsey characters appeared in later Superman stories. But Wheeler and Woolsey themselves also appeared on this page in ACTION COMICS #1.
Jimmy Finlayson frequently worked with Laurel and Hardy, and he appeared in some Laurel and Hardy movies with Thelma Todd, such as THE DEVIL'S BROTHER and ANOTHER FINE MESS.
I think that after Lyle Talbot played Luthor in ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN, they tried to make the character like him. The "Empty Doom" of the serial seems to have been the inspiration of "The Phantom Zone" in the comics, but I don't know if they ever said that officially.
Wheeler and Woolsey characters in Superman stories:
Jimmy Finlayson character in JIMMY OLSEN #144: