The funniest comedies we’ve ever seen include satire, deception, kung-fu, “hair gel,” and morons.

Also: These aren’t the sweetest or most romantic or most important comedies — these are, for our money, the funniest comedies. The ones that really made us laugh, and weren’t out to save the world.

Here they are.

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Madeline Kahn Blazing Saddles
Warner Bros.

One of the things we most respect about this Mel Brooks comedy is how hard it kicked open the door for many of the other comedies on this list.

Packed with jokes that would never fly in a modern comedy movie, it tells the story of a Black sheriff (Cleavon Little) trying to protect a town full of people whom his friend the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder, right) describes as “simple farmers… people of the land, the common clay of the New West. You know: morons.”

Co-written by Richard Pryor, it’s a smart mockery of bigotry. And the whole thing is worth watching just to see Mongo punch a horse.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

EMI Films

We had to get Monty Python in here somewhere. This sendup of Arthurian legend films is packed with silliness disguised as intense seriousness, a Python specialty.

It also marks the directorial debut of Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, who shared directorial duties — a practice that seems to lend itself to great comedy movies, as the number of co-directed films on this list will hopefully illustrate.

We love the Trojan Rabbit, the  Knights Who Say “Ni!,” the coconuts, the French Taunter, and especially Eric Idle (above) saying “Message for your, sir!”

The Jerk (1979)

Universal Pictures

Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk isn’t really a jerk at all — sweet-natured and naive Navin Johnson is one of the most lovable protagonists we’ve ever seen, even when he becomes a bigshot.

One could argue that all of The Jerk is just a setup to the kung-fu smackdown that occurs when some nefarious real estate developers loop Navin into their racist business plan. His screamed reaction is politically incorrect and passionately anti-racist at the same time — totally cathartic and naive and beautiful. We love this movie.

We also love The Jerk for finding room for an extended, pointless stretch that features the line, “I’ve heard about this — cat juggling!”

Airplane (1980)


“Oh stewardess? I speak jive,” says Barbara Billingsley in one of the millions of absurdist, anarchic jokes in this parody of disaster movies that plays every situation, no matter how impossible, completely straight.

No other movie has a higher jokes-per-minute ratio, and most of them are good. Some are absolutely brilliant. This belongs near the top of any list of the funniest comedies.

Top Secret! (1984)


David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker followed up their massive hit Airplane! with this very strange comedy movie that is a parody between a cross between an Elvis movie and a war movie. Even Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker consider it a bit of a misfire — there aren’t many jokes at the beginning, and you can’t blame audiences for not understanding what exactly is being satirized.

But the setup is just an excuse for a series of absolutely brilliant sight gags, like the backwards library scene, the moving train station scene, and the tunnel gag. The more you like esoteric and obscure jokes (sorry, Ford Pinto) the more you’ll like Top Secret! This is a movie where you need to constantly watch the background, because there’s almost definitely something ridiculous happening.

We also love the songs, and Val Kilmer’s outstanding performance as the American singer Nick Rivers — though he has said that when he made the movie, he was a little embarrassed to be making something so silly.

One of the things that makes us consider this one of the funniest comedies is that so many people will never get it.

Coming to America (1988)


A spectacular display of Eddie Murphy’s talents, Coming to America comes for everybody of every demographic, and heaven help you if you can’t take a joke. Murphy’s Prince Akeem plays straightman, mostly, to a cavalcade of self-owning weirdos.

The movie presents a version of New York where almost everyone is a scammer on some level — freeing up Murphy and Arsenio Hall to play a barrage of questionable characters.

But the movie has a good heart: Akeem has a fundamental decency whether living the life of a rich man or poor man, and his desire for a true partner keeps us invested through all the lunacy. It’s one of the funniest comedies and one of the most thoughtful.

There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Funniest Comedies
20th Century Fox

Our favorite of the many funny Farrelly Brothers comedy movies is built around Cameron Diaz as the magnetic Mary, whose kindness, cool and beauty make her the obsession of almost every man she meets.

But the one we’re all rooting for is Ben Stiller’s Ted, who survives a harrowing high-school dance disaster involving franks and beans to remain Mary’s most devoted admirer.

The Farrellys once told screenwriter William Goldman that while some people think that bathroom scene is the one that makes audiences root for Ted, they think it’s actually his decision to seek out Mary even after Matt Dillon’s shady P.I., Pat Healy, has lied that she’s living a depressing life.

Also, the hair gel scene (above).

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Dreamworks Pictures

We laughed very, very hard through this movie as we watched it in a theater one night with zero expectations. Its total commitment to self-serious lunacy immediately won us over.

Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is the only reasonable human being in a San Diego news media chock-full of blowhards and buffoons, none more ridiculous than Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy. Standout scenes include the teleprompter showdown, the jazz flute scene, Baxter talking to a bear, and of course the news anchor rumble.

But our single favorite scene may be Brian Fanta (Paul Rudd) musking up. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

Step Brothers (2008)

Sony Pictures Releasing

Ferrell and Anchorman director Adam McKay team up again and enlist John C. Reilly for the story of two very immature grown men, still living at home, who are forced to bunk together when their respective single parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) fall in love.

It’s full of great set pieces, including a “Sweet Child O’ Mine” family singalong led by Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn, but our favorite moment in the whole thing might be Jenkins’ simple plea for silence as his son Dale (Reilly) monologues about the old bull and the young calf.

It’s one of the funniest comedies because it never tries too hard.

Tommy Boy (1996)

Funniest Comedies Tommy Boy
Paramount Pictures

Chris Farley and David Space established themselves as one of our favorite comedy movie duos before Farley’s death cut short their partnership after just two movies — Tommy Boy and the also-funny Black Sheep.

Farley’s earnest sweetness and Spade’s wry cynicism make for a perfect road trip movie filled with jokes we think about every day — fat guy in a little coat, “Why I suck as a salesman,” and “what’d you do?”” especially.

And we couldn’t relate more to the scene that ends with Farley and Spade crying along to the Carpenters’ “Superstar.” We love this movie.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

New Line Cinema

We love the weirdness of Mike Myers’ time-traveling, swinging ’60s spy movie satire: Austin Powers is a gloriously ridiculous character, and the movie is basically a joke delivery system for Myers’ observations about such arcane subjects as henchmen and maneuvering tight parking spaces.

What makes the whole movie work is the excellent Elizabeth Hurley as Austin’s extremely competent modern-day partner Vanessa Kensington. But we’re also all in on the many stupid puns, goofy visual gags, and Dr. Evil demanding the shocking sum of one millllion dollars.

One of our criteria for funniest comedies is smart-stupid humor, and Austin Powers has it, yeah baby.

Office Space (1999)

Funniest Comedies Office Space
20th Century Fox

Is there a more quoted movie in the last 25 years than Office Space? Mike Judge’s masterpiece finds Ron Livingston leading an ensemble cast that also includes the outstanding Gary Cole and Jennifer Aniston and steals its central plot from Superman III.

That’s OK — they own it. It’s all just an excuse for fantastic riffs about TPS reports, pieces of flair, bad cases of the Mondays, and your O face. Though it was initially slept on, audiences who watched it on cable or DVR quickly recognizes it as one of the funniest comedies ever made — especially to people who’ve had the misfortune to work in an office.

Mmmm. Yeah.

Best in Show (2000)

Funniest Comedies best in show
Warner Bros. Pictures

Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, in which Christopher Guest was one of the stars, introduced the rich comic power of the documentary format, but Guest’s 1996 Waiting for Guffman is the movie that made it so ubiquitous for the next decade.

We could have put a lot of Christopher Guest movies on this list, but we gave the edge to Best in Show because of Jennifer Coolidge’s monologue about talking or not talking for hours.

Team America: World Police (2004)


The only movie on this list acted out entirely by dolls, Team America: World Police is a brutal sendup of action movies, Hollywood and jingoism — but it also makes a weirdly compelling case for America to be the police officer of the world.

Besides the many awesome songs and montages — including a song called “Montage” during a montage — the highlight of the film is a rambling monologue about three different body parts that culminates in a puppet blowing chunks.

But then it comes back again in one of the best movie callbacks ever.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

20th Century Fox

We don’t know if we’ve ever laughed harder during a movie than we did during Borat, a savage prank on Americans who foolishly allow themselves to feel superior to the ignorant journalist played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

We love even the throwaway lines: “Not so much,” “king in the castle,” “like a real man.”

And the buying cheese scene that somehow didn’t make it into the movie is one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen. Google “Borat buying cheese.”

Liked This List of the Funniest Comedy Movies We’ve Ever Seen?

Warner Bros.

We bet you might also like these 12 Behind the Scenes Stories of Blazing Saddles (above) or this list of the 13 Strangest Movies We’ve Ever Seen (which could include Top Secret!, now that we think about it.)

And if you have a movie you think should be on our list of the funniest comedies, let us know.

Main image: Elizabeth Hurley and Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, one of the funniest comedies we’ve ever seen.