Laughs and Levity: My Favourite Comedy Films

Lately, with the days being dreary and cold and life very busy, the last thing I want to do is read or watch something heavy and depressing. (Anna Karenina, anyone?)  Instead, I’ve been in the mood to add some levity to my days and watch movies that make me laugh.  Here are some of my favorites that make me laugh every time:

Though any of Christopher Guest’s movies make me laugh, my favorite is This is Spinal Tap, the mockumentary about a British heavy metal band.  I remember seeing it in the theatre when it first came out–some people in the audience actually thought Spinal Tap was a real band!  One of the funniest moments in the film is when they want a huge replica of Stonehenge on stage, but instead an 18 inch version of Stonehenge dramatically appears in the middle of a show, versus the 18 foot model they wanted.  And all because they wrote down 18” instead of 18 ‘.  Many other funny scenes in this movie as well–definitely worth watching!

Peter Sellers can be hilarious, but he’s particularly funny in The Party. He plays Bakshi, an extra in a movie who is mistakenly invited to a dinner party for the actors and executives, when really he should have been fired!  The party is held in a fancy home where he inadvertently wreaks havoc all around him.  He floods the bathroom, makes a woman’s wig fall off, falls in the pool and unwittingly causes many other mishaps.

Caddyshack still makes me laugh, mostly because Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield are great in this flick.  Bill Murray’s ‘eating the chocolate bar’ scene is hilarious, and Rodney Dangerfield’s one-liners are great.  When introduced to the judge’s wife, he says of her “Hey baby, you must’ve been something before electricity.”  The humour in Caddyshack might be juvenile, but sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

Lots of Woody Allen’s older movies make me laugh, but none moreso than Manhattan Murder Mystery.  Woody Allen has great facial expressions in this movie, he’s not paired up with an embarrassingly young actress, and there’s some great funny dialogue (for a murder mystery!).  At one point in the movie, his wife (played by Diane Keaton) tells him she needs to go back to her shrink, and he says, “You don’t have to see your shrink, there’s nothing wrong with you that can’t be cured with a little Prozac and a polo mallet.”

A Christmas Story is another movie that always makes me laugh, even though I’ve seen it many times!  The fishnet stocking leg lamp, the Christmas dinner in the Chinese restaurant, the boy getting his tongue stuck on the pole–MANY funny scenes in this flick.  A bit of trivia: did you know that director Bob Clark was Canadian, and that he also directed the horror movie Black Christmas (a far cry from A Christmas Story!)?

If you prefer your comedy in smaller bites, sketch or sitcom comedy might bemore your thing.  I particularly enjoy British comedy.  Little Britain is not for the faint of heart nor politically correct (you’ve been warned!) but has some hilarious characters (the Fat Fighters lady, Bubbles, Vicky Pollard).  Ricky Gervais’ The Office and Extras are very funny as well, and are sure to fit the bill on a dreary day.

If you too are in need of adding some levity to your days, check out the American Film Institute’s list of 100 top comedies of all time. Remember, though, that what’s funny is very subjective.  What I find funny you may find offensive, or not funny at all.  For instance, the movies Dumb and DumberAnimal House and  Slap Shot are on many ‘best comedy’ lists–I hated them!  Same with the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, one of my husband’s favorite movies.  Watching it felt like torture!

What movies make you laugh?

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