I love comedy. I like joking around and laughing. I genuinely believe that humor is one of the greatest concepts ever made. Reality isn’t all serious and gloomy, people also want to have a good time and laugh. We all need to laugh every now and then in order to get us through this thing called life. It’s why I always have a soft spot for comedy movies. It’s easy to make a bad one, but a great comedy movie will always stick with you. So why not give you a list of my favorite comedy films? Let’s get started.
With Friday, Ice Cube (along with DJ Pooh) intended to make a lighthearted hood movie that wasn’t so menacing and he succeeded. Friday follows the shenanigans of Craig and Smokey, played by Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, on a single Friday in South Central LA. They sit on Craig’s front porch and get high, interact with different characters, and have to dodge the wrath of a drug dealer who Smokey owes money to and Deebo, the neighborhood bully. You know a comedy is good when you can still quote it years later and it’s still funny. To this day, Friday still has fire quotables. “It’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got shit to do.” “How the hell you get fired on your day off.” “Lord have mercy! The lord is my shepherd, and he knows what I want!” “You ain’t got no sugar? DAMN! Y’all ain’t never got two things that match. Y’all got Kool-aid, no sugar, peanut butter, no jelly, ham, no burger. DAMN!.” “My grandmama gave me that chain.” “You got knocked the fuck out!” And don’t forget that this is where “Bye, Felicia” came from. Funny how that quote became a meme 20 years later. And there’s one other quote from John Witherspoon’s character that really resonates: “You win some, you lose some. But you live. You live to fight another day.” It’s not a funny quote, but it’s still pretty good. Friday’s success led to two sequels (neither as good as the original) and a garbage MTV animated series, plus a fourth movie that has yet to happen.
Mel Brooks is best known for his spoof movies, whether it’d be The Producers, Young Frankenstein or Spaceballs. For me, Blazing Saddles is his best work. It’s a satire of a lot of Western movies that were popular in the early 20th century and made fun of the absurd racism that plagues them. For one, it portrays a black man who becomes the sheriff of an all-white town. The way they frame a lot of the race jokes in Blazing Saddles was clever, showing the racists as ignorant idiots. It’s like a well-written Looney Tunes movie if Bugs Bunny was black. Like a lot of Mel Brooks’ movies, this movie is nonstop jokes and gags and many of them land. Hell, in the climax of the movie, they literally break the fourth wall. Granted, not everything in that film holds up since it is from the 70s, but I still enjoy it regardless. There’s people who say that Blazing Saddles could never be made today and they’d be right, but not for the reasons that they think it would. Lindsay Ellis explains this way better than I could in this Twitter thread.
Next up is Superbad, a teen comedy about two dorky teen who goes to a house party in the hopes to get laid. Now, this isn’t anything we haven’t seen in other teen movies, but Superbad stands out among the crowd for a few reasons. One is that it’s written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who have been sitting on this movie since they were teens and they based it off of their experiences. Another thing that makes this movie work is the performances, especially from Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, who were excellent. They’re perfect at portraying awkward teens pretending to be cooler than they really are. Christopher Mintz-Plasse was also great as their friend Fogell or McLovin. Seth Rogen is also in this movie as a police officer and I enjoyed the scenes with him and Bill Hader. If you have to watch at least one teen comedy in your life, Superbad is an essential.
I won’t be discussing the 2016 film. No, I want to solely focus on the 1984 original. Ghostbusters is pretty much one of those iconic films that defines the 80s and for good reason. It was a perfect blend of comedy, action, and horror. It was one of the first comedy films to have elaborate special effects and a lot of it still holds up to this day. There’s a lot of standout performances in the film, but Bill Murray shined the most with his deadpan style of humor. And I’ve already talked about how great the theme song from Ray Parker Jr. is, so we don’t even need to go there. Ghostbusters became such a huge success that it spawned a franchise that includes two cartoons, sequels and remakes, and several video games. Still, neither of them live up to what started it all.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is an adaptation of the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley and it follows the titular character facing off against his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes. I fucking love this movie. I like how it’s visual style takes a lot from video games. Hell, the entire premise is framed like a fighting game. The humor is more fast-paced where the jokes hits you at a million miles per hour. The main character is a bassist of a garage band, so music also plays a part in and compliments the narrative. Oh, yeah, and several actors from other comic book movies are in this: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Brie Larson. I once tweeted that this film was criminally underrated and I still stand by that statement until I die.
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT
At some point, I was gonna talk about this movie. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is produced by Touchstone Pictures, a division of Disney where they throw their more adult-oriented films, and it takes place in a world where cartoon characters (or Toons) coexists with people. We follow Eddie Valiant, a detective who has to solve a murder mystery where Roger Rabbit is accused as a suspect. Because his brother was killed by a Toon, Eddie isn’t in the mood for laughs, which makes him the straight man to the wackiness of Roger Rabbit and other characters. One thing to note is how they manage to put cartoon characters in the real world and make it look like they’re there, all of this before CGI and it still holds up. With that, you get cameos from several famous classic cartoon characters from different studios. Seriously, what other time will you ever see Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and Daffy Duck interact with one another? And who could forget one of the most terrifying reveals in cinema history courtesy of Christopher Lloyd’s Judge Doom?
I imagine that a lot of kids were shitting bricks when this was out in theaters. This film was one of the things that actually led to the Disney Renaissance. Seriously.
21 JUMP STREET
I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t seen the original series that this film is based on, so I don’t know if it’s faithful or not. Regardless, 21 Jump Street is one of the most hilarious comedies of the decade for me. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play two police officers who go undercover as high school students in order to find and bust a drug dealer. It’s directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, so there’s a lot of self-referential humor in the absurdity of the situation that our main characters are in. Both Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great chemistry as they relive their high school years, for better or worse. Ice Cube was hilarious here, even if he’s just playing an angry black guy. The sequel, 22 Jump Street, doubles down on everything that made 21 great and it was just as funny.
THE BLUES BROTHERS
Now for another 80s classic, The Blues Brothers. John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd are on a mission from God as they set out to save the orphanage they were raised in by reuniting their old band together and put on a performance raise money while evading police, the army, and even Nazis. Not even joking about that last part. There’s car chases, crashes, explosions, and everything. The fact that those two didn’t die during all of this is nothing short of amazing. The music sequences are great as we get performances from James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, etc. So, yeah. Blues Brothers is a great movie. Stay away from Blues Brothers 2000. It sucks.
COMING TO AMERICA
With Eddie Murphy ready to make a comeback in movies in the time I’m posting this, talking about one of his movies feels right. In Coming To America, Akeem Joffer is the prince of the African nation Zamunda and he travels to New York City to search for his future wife. Eddie Murphy was great. Anybody who says he was never funny, point them to this film as a rebuttal. Not a single beat is missed. They do the fish-out-of-water thing when Akeem and his friend Semmi (played by Arsenio Hall) are in New York and they’re getting used to the customs. There’s also James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair, who play the King and Queen of Zamunda. Funny enough, those two would eventually voice Mufasa and Sarabi in The Lion King. Coming To America is another example of Eddie Murphy at his peak. As I’m typing this, a sequel is in production, which I’m not that excited for since it’s been so long.
ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
The final movie I’ll be talking about is Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. This takes place in the 70s and is about a famous news reporter in San Diego who has to deal with a new female reporter, played by Christina Applegate. I love how they make fun of the news culture and the sexism behind it. Will Ferrell was hilarious and so was the rest of the cast. This is another movie with quotable lines that people still utter to this day. A good handful of memes came out of this film. 15 years later and it’s still considered to be one of the greatest comedy films ever. Nine years later, they did a sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. It wasn’t good. Still doesn’t take away from the original.
And those were my favorite comedy movies. What are your favorites? Comment below and let me know. Here are some of my other favorite comedy movies.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Half Baked
- Monty Python And The Holy Grail
- 22 Jump Street
- Hot Fuzz
- The Mask
- School Of Rock
- This Is The End
- Mean Girls
- Napoleon Dynamite
- National Lampoon’s Animal House
- Home Alone
- Step Brothers
- Beverly Hills Cop
- Wayne’s World
- How High
- Harlem Nights