The ten best comedies of all time

Just for discussion, of course.

The list excludes:

Duck Soup
The Big Lebowski
Blazing Saddles
Spinal Tap
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Life of Brian
Borat

That said, I’m OK with leaving in There’s Something About Mary, Airplane and Ground Hog Day.

Honorable mention:

Bananas
Take The Money and Run
Ace Ventura
The Royal Tenenbaums
Night at the Opera
Animal House
Napoleon Dynamite
The Naked Gun
The Producers (original version)
The Mask

43 thoughts on “The ten best comedies of all time

  1. The hardest I have ever laughed in my life was when my brother said: “His watch, Grandma. He’s looking for his watch.” As the old cliche goes, you had to be there. But it involved one of the movies on the list.

    My family was all together at my parent’s house. My grandmother, then in her 80’s, told my sister she had heard There’s Something About Mary was very funny and that she would like to watch it. My sister replied, “Oh it’s available on pay per view, I’ll put it on.” To say that it is awkward to sit next to your grandmother on the couch and watch that movie is an understatement. My grandmother was by almost any definition, a saint (the definition she didn’t meet was of course she hadn’t died and gone to heaven yet). She not only never swore, she went to church every single day until failing health made that impossible. My grandfather walked out on his family when my mother was 4-years-old and my mom never saw him again. But because my grandmother was a devout Catholic, she not only never remarried, to the best of anyone’s knowledge she never even went on a date. That is the woman I was sitting and watching “There’s Something About Mary” with.

    The most awkward part was of course the hair gel scene, or more accurately the scene just before that. After Ben Stiller finished masturbating and started looking around for the ejaculate, my grandmother says “What’s he looking for?” My brother than replies “His watch, Grandma. He’s looking for his watch.” I laughed so hard I stopped breathing and almost fell off the couch. I really miss my grandma. She will have been gone 15 years this March. While I have much doubt about the existence of God, I have no doubt whatsoever that if God does exist my grandmother has met the final definition of sainthood.

  2. Also left off:
    1.Ghostbusters
    2.Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    3.What We Do in the Shadows (for a more recent movie.)

    I’m not a big fan of Duck Soup. I grant that the mirror scene is one of the best physical comedy scenes of all time and the film also has one of the best verbal comedy scenes of all time, but the rest of the movie is an odd mix.

    I’m sure some of this is also cultural differences. Obviously it’s not the fault of the movie that it’s dated, but it’s kind of three movies in one. In addition to the main story, it also has a musical component that comes out of nowhere, and for most of the time, Harpo Marx is basically in his own movie. I wouldn’t have such a big problem with that necessarily, except his scenes are essentially pro-rape.

    I gather that might have been some kind of trope back then, but that doesn’t make it any less dated or creepy.

    Of course, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton also made excellent physical silent comedies. It’s not necessarily the funniest, but I highly recommend Chaplin’s Modern Times.

    1. Chaplin is a genius in so many ways, a really clever, inventive performer, but I’ve seen everything he’s ever done, and I’ve never been tempted to laugh.

  3. Definitely a troll list without much thought put into it. I won’t add to the list just say that the criteria should include 1. memorable lines 2. Re-watchability 3. timeless themes

  4. This list is crazy it left out one of if not the funniest movie ever with Steve Martin and John Candy. One of the funniest lines ever. Those aren’t pillows when they both wake up and John tells him his hands are between 2 pillows and they are between Steve’s ass cheeks. This is nonstop laughing. The movie Planes Trains and Automobiles hands down one of the funniest movies ever.

    1. I re-watched it recently, and it was very funny, but my favorite John Candy movies are Splash and the underrated Summer Rental.

  5. So basically no one knew how to make good comedies before the last 30 years or so? Wrong.

  6. Any all-time top 10 comedies list which includes TWO zombie comedies hasn’t really raised its sights terribly high.

    1. They didn’t even include the correct zombie comedy in their top 10.

      Army of Darkness is the greatest movie ever made.

    1. Good point, but what have you got? “101 Reykjavík” was the first one I thought of and it’s funny but it’s not like, Oooh watch your back, “Sleeper”.

      1. Comedy is sensitive to language and cultural differences.

        I thought Klown was very funny and also very uncomfortable to watch at times.

        1. It also depends what state you are in at the time, I’ve watched what i thought were great comedies when parting with mates on re watching fall very short.

          1. And vice-versa. I was really lukewarm about The Big Lebowski the first time through, but when I re-watched it, I thought it was sheer genius.

  7. Any comedy list that includes Zombieland but excludes Blazing Saddles is clickbait and should be ignored.

  8. I prefer “Young Frankenstein” to both “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles”, although all three are very funny.

    I like “Horse Feathers” better than “A NIght at the Opera”, although once again, it’s close to a toss-up.

    I am very glad Woody Allen’s early work gets a mention.

    I have not seen “Borat” or Napoleon Dynamite” so I will not question them.

    I would like it if Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr” and/or the “The General” were on the list somewhere, but many people find silent movies to hard to relate to once they become grown-ups. I guess this could be a list of sound comedies, but it’s a shame to start qualifying what is funny. It goes without saying there should be a couple of Chaplin’s movies here. I got to Harold Lloyd too late in life to judge properly.

    “The 20th Century” is very funny to me. I mean the movie with Carole Lombard and John Barrymore, not the actual century, of course.

    Oh, Steve Martin’s “L.A. Story” is also a favorite of mine.

    1. I like LA Story a lot, but never found it that funny. Because my taste in comedy is kind of low-brow, I did consider placing The Jerk on the list.

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