Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?

Fun and games, best comedy films, favorite funny films, spoofs parodies farces & satires, what’s funny, laugh-out-loud films, humor,

Comedy is funny. It’s hard to define – a gag for one person may not tickle the fancy of another.

There are also degrees of comedy. Some films that I enjoy – listed as comedies – produce a smile or a small chuckle, but not a full belly laugh.

Make ’em roar, make ’em scream

I’m curious about that all-out, laugh-so-hard-you’ve-got-tears-streaming-down-your-face kind of film that you never forget. Everyone has a handful of those go-to movies. I have five films that without fail, change my mood. On my blue-est day, I turn to one of these films for a laugh-out-loud good time.

In chronological order:

1938 :: Bringing Up Baby

Starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn / Directed by Howard Hawks

Plot in 140: Nerdy Dr Huxley unexpectedly joins forces w/flighty Susan Vance for misadventures involving a missing dinosaur bone & a leopard named Baby.

Why? I saw it for the first time when I was about 10. This screwball comedy begins in a dinosaur museum and revolves around a leopard. It’s funny already and I was hooked. It’s a ridiculous plot along with plenty of slapstick. The timing and chemistry of the leads along with Hawks swift direction make it great. One of the scenes that makes me laugh even thinking about: George (dog) is missing and has buried the intercostal clavicle (brontosaurus bone) – Hepburn is tailing Grant calling out in an alternate chorus: “George” “Baby” “George” “Baby”…

1963 :: The Pink Panther

David Niven, Peter Sellers. Capucine, Robert Wagner, Claudia Cardinale / Directed by Blake Edwards

Plot in 140: Master jewel thief the Phantom > on the hunt for world’s largest diamond. Bumbling French Inspector Jacques Clouseau > sent to catch him.

Why? The film features Peter Sellers’ razor-sharp timing as the clueless Inspector, along with an international ensemble as Europeans jet setters. It’s a farce about a heist, with endless pratfalls, and a great final line, set to Henry Mancini’s iconic soundtrack. Sellers wordless participation and bumbling dance in the après-ski scene during the song. Meglio Stasera, consistently cracks me up.

1982 :: Tootsie

Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Teri Garr / Directed by Sydney Pollack

Plot in 140: Unemployed NYC actor can’t get work. Michael Dorsey will show them all. And he does, except he gets more than he bargains for along the way.

Why? Just thinking about Dustin Hoffman as a woman is laughable. But hearing him utter the line, “They kill their own” does me in every time. The banter between Dorothy/Michael and Sydney Pollack’s character, George – Dorothy is engaged to Les, while Julie thinks she’s is a lesbian and Sandy thinks Michael gay – is priceless. Part social commentary, part mistaken identity, Tootsie boasts a first-rate cast combined with sharp direction, and a terrific script. I’m cheering for Tootsie to succeed and rooting for Michael to figure it all out.

1999 :: Galaxy Quest

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman / Directed by Dean Parisot

Plot in 140: Washed up TV sci-fi actors get the adventure of their lives when they’re mistaken for the real-deal spaceship crew by aliens with an agenda.

Why? A satire of the original Star Trek series with Tim Allen doing a spot-on send up of William Shatner’s James T Kirk. With smart writing and a great cast, the film works because it lampoons the original series, and then uses those very elements that made it endure for over 40 years. One of my favorite continuing gags is crewman #6 (Sam Rockwell) – as the no-name, expendable character. Anyone who loved the original series and even mildly considers themselves a Trekkie will roar – the sci-fi conventions, the quoting from the episodes, and the general confusion between reality and fantasy. Surrender the laughter.

2006 :: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d’espions)

Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, / Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Plot in 140: Suave but arrogant secret agent OSS 117 foils Soviet/British/Belgian/surplus Nazi & fundamentalist plots, bringing peace to the Middle East.

Why? Spy genre mixes James Bond’s pretentions with Matt Helm’s tackiness to great effect. A stylish parody with a well-assembled cast and an on-target script pays homage to Clouseau, Technicolor, and 50s/60s filmmaking. This film had me from the get-go with its the beautiful opening credits and music. Agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath is sent to Cairo, undercover, to head up a poultry business. His complete cultural ignorance should create international incidents, but… Best ongoing gag: De la Bath’s fascination with the light switch and the chickens is hysterical. It’s all very French, in a politically incorrect way, and very funny.

Runners up to the laugh-out-loud 5 > Arsenic and Old Lace, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Some Like It Hot, The Producers, Coming To America, Groundhog Day, and The Freshman.

In honor of awards season, I’d love to hear other favorites. What’s your all time laugh-out-loud favorite comedy?

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4 Responses to “Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?”

  1. lg Says:

    As the song goes, “. . . . my dad says be an actor, my son, but be a comical one. . . . “. In no particular order, the comedies that always make me laugh, chuckle heartily or grin from ear-to-ear from start-to-finish are: Arsenic and Old Lace; Some Like It Hot; Tootsie; Galaxy Quest; OSS117 – Cairo, Nest of Spies; and, Young Frankenstein. Runners-up include: The Producers; The Graduate; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Bringing Up Baby; The Philadelphia Story; and, Something’s Gotta Give.

    Great casting in each and, usually, more than one memorable, quotable line.

  2. Rose Says:

    I would include Airplane, which is so corny. I use some of those lines in my daily activities.

  3. Janet Giampietro Says:

    Absolutely, I forgot about that one, Shirley.

  4. Ellie Says:

    I like your post very much. I’m going to Netflix now to get some of these films which I’ve never heard of. I would add Victor/Victoria.

    You made my day funny!

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