The Funniest South African Comedies


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

This section is for comedies from South Africa. 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.

Funniest South African Comedies sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending)

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The Gods Must be Crazy DVDThe Gods Must be Crazy
      1980 | South Africa | Laughs: 8.6 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 7.3
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Xi, a bushman of the Kalahari desert, leaves his family on a mission to the end of the world. On his way, he meets a scientist, a school teacher, a guerilla mob and other inhabitants of southern Africa. This beautiful film with a carefully-crafted plot starts out like a National Geographic program. As the story takes shape, laughs get more and more frequent. In the 1980s, this film was sometimes said to patronize indigenous Africans—perhaps because it was made by a white South African. With a distance of thirty years, I found the movie very gentle. The sequel is nearly as good. In a sense, The Gods Must be Crazy is the South African version of Crocodile Dundee, another southern hemisphere comedy that it predates by six years. (Last viewed: Dec 1980 July 2010)

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The Gods Must be Crazy 2 DVDThe Gods Must be Crazy 2
      1989 | South Africa | Laughs: 8.6 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 6.9
      wikipedia | who was involved?

We meet Xi the bushman again as he goes on another mission—this time, to find his children. The plot is not as complex as that of the original movie (it mostly stays in the tracks of a truck), nor is it as funny, but the movie is cute and pleasant to watch. (Last viewed: Aug 1989 July 2010)

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Funny People Uys DVDFunny People
      1977 | South Africa | Laughs: 8.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 6.4
      who was involved?

South African candid camera classic by Jamie Uys, the director of The Gods Must Be Crazy. When it first came out, I howled in the theatre. On second viewing 23 years later, some of the situations still give me a hard laugh that makes some of the longish bits forgivable. Most of the scenes are obviously dubbed, and some seem to use actors rather than a hidden camera. The slightly patronizing tone of the (often dislikable) crew towards blacks also has interest for historical reasons. Favorite scenes: the dentist, the steak and fries, the camera shop. (Last viewed: Apr 1982 May 2010)

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Animals Are Beautiful People posterAnimals Are Beautiful People (a.k.a Beautiful People)
      1974 | South Africa | Laughs: 4.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.3
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This documentary about animal life in arid regions of South African countries is narrated with a lot of light humor. The images are also sometimes quite funny. But the draw of the film, more than forty years on, are the feats performed by animals, many of which feats I found hard to believe.

Some indigenous people are described in a way that many will find dismissive. Certainly the filmmakers didn't seem to think it was worth including them in the credits. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if at the time the film's attitude to indigenous people would have come across as benevolent.

The soundtrack was on the heavy side, and I found the movie a bit long, but overall it's an interesting historical piece with many good moments, some funny, others educational. (Last viewed: Mar 1980 November 2015)

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Material posterMaterial
      2012 | South Africa | Laughs: 4.0 (Broken Comedies) | imdb: 7.3
      who was involved?

When he takes up stand-up comedy, the son of a fabric store owner upsets his touchy father. I thought this movie was a comedy, but it spends more time on the drama side. In fact by the end my ears were hurting from the excessive use of violins. The lead actor and his buddy carry the movie part of the way, but the editing was appalling and I only kept watching out of cultural curiosity. It's a shame as the decent reviews had led me to hope for a good laugh. (Last viewed: October 2015)

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White Wedding posterWhite Wedding
      2009 | South Africa | Laughs: 3.0 (Light-Hearted) | imdb: 5.8
      wikipedia | who was involved?

A vast distance away from Cape Town, where his wedding is schedule for the end of the week, a man runs into a number of obstacles as he and his best friends tackle the long drive. This was a light-hearted movie rather than the laugh-out-loud comedy I was hoping for, but I enjoyed it all the same. Having never visited South Africa, I found the movie culturally fascinating. After watching a number of movies that depict the country grimly, it was a nice change to see people go about their lives with none of the usual stress—only the unusual stress of their wedding risking to fall apart. (Last viewed: October 2015)

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