While many films will cause us to smile, smirk, or even perceive that something theoretically funny is occurring on the screen, it’s rare to find a film that induces genuine laughter. Most supposed comedy scenes cause little more than a rapid passing of air through the nose, or a courtesy chuckle, perhaps. Where are the movies that might actually make us split our seams with true joyous laughter?
Well, here’s a list to get you on your way. These are five late-night comedies to get you laughing so hard you might just burn a few calories in the process.
What is meant by “late-night?” Well, these are the risqué kinds of comedies you may want to wait to put on until after the kids are in bed. Adult themes abound, and viewer discretion is advised.
5. Hot Fuzz
This comedy directed by Baby Driver filmmaker Edgar Wright is one of his lesser-known works, but genuinely still his funniest film to date. Hot Fuzz is actually a companion piece of sorts to a movie preceding it called Shaun of the Dead. While Hot Fuzz skimps on the zombie horror and gore of Shaun of the Dead, it serves twice the laughs and begs to be seen more than once. This is one of those movies which will reveal buried jokes within the plot, guaranteeing new laughs with every viewer get.
Ice Cube’s screenwriting debut is a hilarious portrait of South Central Los Angeles, as told by a guy who lived there. Aside from starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, as well as the late Bernie Mack, Friday is perhaps most famous for spawning the two-word phrase still prevalent in society today “bye Felicia.” Few films are as gut-busting as Friday’s story of Craig and Smokey trying to figure out a way to pay Big Worm before the night is over. If you’re looking for a buddy comedy/stoner comedy crossover, look no further than Friday. Watch it, memorize the best lines, recite them to your friends, your family, or even your sister-in-law’s baby cousin Tracy.
Clerks touts some of the most profane dialogue of any movie in history, so fair warning, but watching Dante Hicks and Randall Graves in Kevin Smith’s debut film is hands-down one of the best comedy offerings of the ’90s. Featuring a hockey game on the roof of a convenience store, a funeral set to be the social event of the season, Caitlyn Bree’s curiously quiet romantic encounter, a man who smells of shoe polish, and no fewer than 37 other unforgettable hilarious moments, Clerks is as funny today as it was nearly 25 years ago.
2. The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is one of the more complex comedies in existence but is still funny upon first viewing. Just the running joke of The Dude’s poor car, which really ought to be put out of its misery, is enough to keep viewers in their seats. But with every subsequent viewing of The Big Lebowski, it becomes more and more obvious that the jokes in this movie run deep, and never stop. Virtually every line in the film is funny, from beginning to end, not to mention the visual comedy. John Goodman’s portrayal of Walter Sobchak, the Vietnam veteran who just can’t stop comparing every situation to Vietnam, is possibly the film’s highlight. A gang of nihilists serves as a set of antagonists in this movie, which for some reason rubs Walter the wrong way. Jeff Bridges, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Steve Buscemi are only a few of the big names that really tie this movie together.
1. Coming To America
Who doesn’t want to at least try eating at a McDowell’s? Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall star in what is probably John Landis’ best film (tied with An American Werewolf In London). An unknown Samuel L. Jackson in one of his earliest roles as a seriously unfriendly robber marks a highlight of the film. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince from the fictional country of Zamunda, who has traveled to America to find a potential bride. Featuring one of the all-time greatest singers in the history of the world, Mister Randy Watson, Coming To America touts some of the funniest moments in movie history, including Eddie Murphy’s nearly unrecognizable transformation into the role of an elderly Jewish man, as well as disappearing into countless other roles within the movie. This marked the first time Murphy played multiple roles in a movie, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.