Top 10 Comedy Movies You’ve Never Seen

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Take it from me, trying to expand your cinematic horizons is usually a bad move. It can lead to tedious conversations with boring people who use the word ‘seminal’ a lot, as well as viewing films – not movies – that feature such annoyances as subtitles, Swedes and a heavily accented Meryl Streep.

But going beyond the usual suspects of mainstream mall flicks for laughs, is a different story. There is, after all, only so much mileage you can from another former SNL star vehicle about a lovable dork saving the soccer team/office/world and winding up with a way-out-of-his-league girlfriend.

The following subtitle-free movies should be kept in mind when you’re hungry for laughs but have lost your appetite for another helping of Adam Sandler.

10. A Face in the Crowd

Andy Griffith stars as a thuggish-but-lovable lush who takes a dizzying ride from beloved good old boy to corrupt power broker. It’s hard to imagine anyone besides Griffith bringing to vivid life this dim-witted confederate charmer. But then anyone who’s survived the last eight years may recall a certain confederate charmer’s performance that (accidentally) rivals Griffith’s in comedic intensity.

9. Confederate States of America

This Mockumentary images that the south had won the civil war and persuaded its northern neighbors to give the institution another go. Slavery in the 21st century! What an endless font of laughter that would be!

Yeah, I admit that CSA’s premise didn’t sound like a recipe for an evening of laughter, but somehow it won me over with its deadpan style and democratically applied mockery.

8. Flirting with disaster

Remember the Ben Stiller movie about a neurotic newly hitched man and his quest for parental approval? Sure, Meet the Parents packed a few chuckles, but 1996’s Flirting with Disaster followed a similar blueprint to mint more and deeper laughs, without forcing you to endure an uncomfortably miscast Robert DeNiro.

7. Love Serenade

Comedies doesn’t get quirkier or more deadpan than this quiet Australian charmer from director Shirley Barrett. The laughs sneak up on you in this subtle story of two sisters who make the mistake of falling for a local disc jockey blessed with the charisma of a cactus.

Unfun fact: the bizarre final scene filmed atop a silo resulted in the death of stuntman.

6. Boeing Boeing

This surprisingly clever and fast-paced romp through a tangled web of international romances will satisfy the most voracious appetite for screwball silliness without subjecting us to cornball romance. Tony Curtis plays the role he was born to play – the smooth-talking lothario – while an uncharacteristically subdued Jerry Lewis proves he can garner laughs without falling over the furniture.

5. Kentucky Fried Movie

If you’re too young to recall the strange forgotten era known to historians as  ‘the seventies’ some of KFM’s gags will likely slip through the cracks. Among the bits that still hold up are: the Bruce Lee parody ‘a Fist Full of Yen,’ and the blaxploitation take-off
‘Cleopatra Schwartz.’ The creative  team behind this comedic hodgepodge – director John Landis and screenwriters David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker – have since become rich beyond their wildest dreams making movies that you’ve actually heard of, seen and wet your pants laughing at.

4. Schizopolis

How weird is Schizopolis? Schizopolis tells the tale of Fletcher Munson a corporate drone for a Scientology-like self-help organization called Eventualism. It has no opening or closing credits. Oh, and it features a psychotic exterminator named Elmo Oxygen who goes around the town seducing lonely wives and taking photographs of his genitals. It’s either the weirdest comedy I’ve ever seen or the funniest weird movie I’ve ever seen.

3. Fear of a Black Hat

Fear of a Black Hat is to hip-hop what Spinal Tap is to rock – a laugh-laden mockumentary that spares none of its genre’s pretensions. For ‘Fear’ that means poking fun of the rap world’s excessive fondness for violence, misogyny and bling-bling. It helps if you’re a fan of the genre, but also helpful is the belief that the realm of hip-hop could use some skewering.

2. After Hours

Yes, Martin Scorsese can make a comedy – albeit quite possibly the darkest comedy in the history of motion pictures. But between the shrieks of horror the laughs do come in great abundance. Before our protagonist escapes a Dante-like series of hellish circles, he encounters such laugh-inducing obstacles as a violently applied Mohawk haircut, a death he gets accidentally blamed for and being stolen by Cheech and Chong.

And weird stuff happens too.

1. American Movie

Does a documentary count as a comedy? It does when the subject is a strange and delusional filmmaker whose ratio of talent to drive is hilariously unbalanced. Add to that a ragtag supporting cast of overachieving underdogs (including the ’96 Green Bay Packers!) and you’ve got a gently mocking tale that Hollywood couldn’t equal if it tried.

Written by David Copper


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15 Comments

  1. This is a very good and bizarre list with some hidden gems, and some I need to watch for sure. A Face in the Crowd is a masterpiece by Kazan, should be seen by all, but this is the first time I've ever seen it labelled as "comedy"! Sure it has Andy Griffith, but his primal angst scream is much more appropriated for this film than his cornball radio hokum in the film's beginning. Patricia Neal is superb, maybe her best role, and a very young Walter Matthau also shines in a dramatic part! Great choice – as great as "Fear of a Black Hat" is as a satiric title, poking fun at Public Enemy's "Fear of a Black Planet" album.

  2. Me and a bunch of friends went to the Midnight Show at our local theatre to see Kentucky Fried Movie.

    It was awesome! I keep trying to explain it (and "Cool Shoes"), to people but they just dont get it.

    After Hours was amazing too, though for some weird reason I always get it confused with "Into the Night".

  3. After Hours was a classic! Great cast and dark humor. I get it mixed up with Into the Night too!!!

    Some of my favorites:

    Amazon Women On The Moon… on the idea of Kentucky Fried Movie

    Brain Donors… a homage to the Marx Brothers

    Severance… a great British slasher comedy

    Feast… horror comedy with tons of gore

  4. Bibliomaniac on

    After Hours was actually one of the movies we studied in a film class I took in college. It was great. I also liked Kentucky Fried Movie and Confederate States of America. I will be adding the rest of these films to my Netflix queue. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  5. go check out the sasquatch gang. i never talk to anyone who has seen that movie but its freakin hilarious! its on the same level of lame as napoleon dynamite but its so much better. its almost painful to watch but if you are in the right mood to see something so lame it will blow your mind this is the only movie that can do it

    • SASQUATCHGANG on

      Dude i saw sasquatch gang yesterday! awesome movie. Never heard of it, seen a trailer, nothing! saw it on netflix and someone commented and said it was like napoleon dynamite so i had to try it. TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! it truly is a hidden gem.

  6. I remember stumbling across American Movie in the vidoe store almost a decade ago with a buddy of mine. We both have a soft spot for terrible B-movies, so we gave it a shot. We proceeded to wet ourselves for the next couple hours. More entertaining than the filmmaker's bizarre drive is the supporting cast – particularly his buddy Mike. His story about the lost acid tabs is possibly the funniest scene in the film.

  7. I think that the best part of the film “Confederate States of America” is how it makes us feel thankful that these things didn’t come to pass. That’s the inherent genius behind it. It makes us proud of black accomplishments in our society.

  8. While I have heard of some of the movies on the list, I admit I haven’t actually seen any of them. I should remedy that and see if I can’t add a few hidden gems to my top comedy movie list.

  9. You’re right, I’ve not seen any of these movies but thanks for the list because I’m bored today and I guess I will go through the whole list XD

  10. Kentucky Fried Movie is a movie most people have seen ….. why is it even on this list? It sells well you can find it at any Walmart, target, basically any retail store carries it, why? because it sells tons of copies, take it off the list

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