Comedies from the 1930s


The laughDB database is dedicated to the funniest comedy movies, stand-up comedy and TV series.

This section is for comedies from the 1930s. By default they are presented starting with the ones ranking highest on the laugh-o-meter, but you can also sort them by year, title or IMDB rating.

Movies from the 1930s sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending)

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Block-Heads DVDBlock-Heads
      1938 | USA | Laughs: 8.1 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 7.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Brought back from the trenches twenty years after the war, Stan Laurel enters the apartment of his old friend Oliver Hardy on the day of his first wedding anniversary. Everything goes delightfully wrong. The funniest Laurel & Hardy movie I've watched, by far. I like that this film is not as violent as most others by Laurel & Hardy, films whose humor largely relies on Oliver getting hurt. (Last viewed: February 2010)

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Sons of the Desert DVDSons of the Desert
      1933 | USA | Laughs: 5.7 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This is supposed to be one of Laurel & Hardy's funniest feature films (with Way out West and Block Heads), and it's worth a watch, if only for historical reasons. Two men lie to their wives to travel to Chicago for the national convention of their men's club, "Sons of the Desert". There's not a lot to make you laugh, but there's a lot to make you smile. I guess thick caricatures have had their day in the sun—maybe we've moved a bit past that. I did laugh in the last minute, when you see the different fate that awaits the two husbands. As Stan explains, "honesty is the best politics". (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Way Out West DVDWay Out West
      1937 | USA | Laughs: 5.7 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Two companions travel to a pioneer town to find the daughter of a deceased miner and give her the deed to her father's gold mine. They get swindled by an unscrupulous couple. Produced by Stan Laurel, this film is probably one of the best "Laurel & Hardy" features (though far behind Block Heads). There is not much to laugh at, but there is lots to make you smile, from the cute music scenes to the flying mule and the ignitable thumb. I also appreciate that it is not as violent as most Laurel & Hardy shorts. Only an hour long, worth a watch. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Horse Feathers posterHorse Feathers
      1932 | USA | Laughs: 2.4 (Chuckle) | imdb: 7.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

A college's new dean must redeem the battered institution by winning a football game.

Every once in a while, I break down and watch a Marx Brothers movie in the hope that it will be the one that finally makes me laugh and helps me recapture my childhood awe of that comedic quatuor. This one was pleasant and made me chuckle, but no laughs.

I liked that the movie was short and that the whole cast looked like they were having a good time. But the humor relies on the same five kinds of jokes (puns being the main one) and that formula just doesn't work for me. In fact, I challenge anyone born after 1960 to point to an actual Marx Brothers sequence that makes them laugh out loud today — as opposed to when they first watched the movie as a twelve-year-old.

This takes nothing from the movie's quality: it is fun, well put together, and I'm sure it was hilarious when it first came out.

(Last viewed: January 2019)

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Dizzy Doctors DVDThe Three Stooges: Dizzy Doctors
      1937 | USA | Laughs: 0.5 (Don't Bother) | imdb: 7.9
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Some comedy ages poorly as culture evolves. This comedy short, one of the highest ranking of the three stooges, features no humor other than people getting poked in the eye or bumped on the head. It's resolutely unfunny but serves a purpose: after seeing this one, you know you never need to watch another Three Stooges again. (Last viewed: March 2013)

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