The Funniest American Comedies


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

This section is for comedies from the USA. 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 American Comedies sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending) / page 8 of 25

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The Freshman DVDThe Freshman
      1925 | USA | Laughs: 5.7 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.5
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Harold Lloyd wants to be popular in college. Not as funny as Safety Last, but cute and innocent, with two funny scenes: football practice, and the big football game. (Last viewed: September 2009)

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Sons of the Desert DVDSons of the Desert
      1933 | USA | Laughs: 5.7 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.6
      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: 7.6
      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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Laurel & Hardy Shorts DVDThe Finishing Touch and Other Laurel & Hardy Shorts
      1928 | USA | Laughs: 5.6 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.3
      wikipedia | who was involved?

The humor in most Laurel & Hardy shorts rests on Hardy getting poked in the eye, and that doesn't really make me laugh. However, five of these shorts stand above the rest (no pun intended). The first, Liberty, is on my list of funniest comedies ever, and will keep you laughing into your golden years. The four others bear watching once:
The Finishing Touch, where Laurel and Hardy are hired to finish building a house;
Hog Wild, for the scene where Hardy balances at the top of a ladder;
Them Thar Hills, where the pair goes camping in a caravan; and
Tit for Tat, where they open an electrical shop and run into trouble with the neighboring grocer, whom they had already met in Them Thar Hills. (Last viewed: July 2010)

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The Hangover DVDThe Hangover
      2009 | USA | Laughs: 5.6 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 7.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Edit (2019)
I watched The Hangover again after ten years and stand corrected. The movie aged well, stands to be watched again, and is one of the most memorable movies of the decade — even though it's far from the funniest on the pure measure of laughs.

I find it both significant and delightful that several of the actors involved went on to have successful careers in various genres. Seeing all of them once again at their peak is a treat, something that of course could not be said or anticipated in the original review.

Zach Galifianakis has created a strong body of work in comedy. Bradley Cooper has disgraced himself by directing a film in which he presents a psychopath killer as a hero — and the scary part is that many lapped it up. Boo, Mr Cooper, you won't catch me watching one of your movies again. Ed Helms seems to have disappeared from comedy features, and I miss him. Paul Rudd was never in The Hangover to start with (what was I thinking all this time?) but he probably should have been.

Watching the movie today, I loved how it incorporates secondary characters: there are several strong ones, but you don't see too much of them. Many people were probably left feeling they could have had more of Heather Graham, Mike Tyson, Ken Jeong, Bryan Callen, Jeffrey Tambor. I particularly appreciate that today, considering that by now I've watched several movies where there was definitely far too much of some of these guys.

On the first watch, I don't think I enjoyed the way the movie was cut. This time it didn't bother me at all, and I found the pacing excellent, with barely a missed beat in the whole story.

I'm sure you're already aware of this movie, which has now become a classic: hope you enjoy revisiting it as much as I did.

Original Review (2009)
The morning after a bachelor party, three men wake up in a Vegas room. There's a tiger in the bathroom and a baby in a closet. They don't remember a thing from the night before, and the bachelor has disappeared. Occasionally foul but never revolting—enough laughs to keep you watching once. Don't bother with the sequel.

(Last viewed: Sep 2009 December 2019)

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      1982 | USA | Laughs: 5.6 (Watch Once) | imdb: 6.2
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

Porky's is a movie about the obsession that lives in the underpants of male high-school seniors. It is probably the daddy of films such as American Pie, but I found it to be a lot funnier. I laughed quite a few times, partly by contagion, as the actors laugh a lot too. Although Porky's has a lot of graphic language, it doesn't feel excessive as in today's common swear-a-thons. Some of the scenes (as the one on the poster) are almost shocking in their audacity for the mainstream film medium. And yet it all feels natural, probably because it is. If you are allergic to adult themes, skip this. Otherwise, this piece of film history is well worth a watch. (Last viewed: July 2012)

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Funny People DVDFunny People
      2009 | USA | Laughs: 5.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 6.3
      who was involved?

A comedian at the top of his career (Adam Sandler) hires a comedian who is starting out to write jokes for his stand-up show. He has cancer but recovers midway through the movie, so we get a whole second film as a bonus. Not only did this movie make me laugh several times, it had a strong plot with characters that behave like real people (well, mostly).

After watching Funny People a second time nine years later, I feel that this movie is an underrated little gem.

First off, the cast is spectacular. Adam Sandler has some funny bits — and some that flop, but that's the role, a thankless one. Seth Rogen is at his best. Jonah Hill is thrown in as a two-pack bonus. Several of the supporting actors made a name for themselves as comedians during the following years, such as Aubrey Plaza and Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation. Torsten Voges (someone I'd never heard of) is funny as a humorless German doctor. Jason Schwartzman and Leslie Mann are perfect for their roles and keep the smiles going. Eminem has a short but terrific intervention. And as a late treat in the final part of the movie, we're introduced to a new character played by Eric Bana, who featured in The Castle, perhaps the best Australian comedy of all times.

There is a prescient joke about Robin Williams slitting his wrists (at around 19'40" on my tape, during Rogen's first stand-up set). There are many other things to like. Are there some things to dislike? Yes. But overall, this is a really special film which I hope I remember to watch again ten years from now.

(Last viewed: Jan 2010 July 2019)

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Masterminds posterMasterminds
      2016 | USA | Laughs: 5.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 5.8
      wikipedia | who was involved?

An armored car driver gets seduced into robbing his employer. The cast is excellent and the script gives them plenty to work with. One of the legacies of Meet the Parents is that it is always a pleasure to revisit Owen Wilson as a jerk. The movie entertained us and gave us a few laughs: don't let the low imdb rating put you off, this is a decent little comedy. (Last viewed: June 2017)

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Palm Springs posterPalm Springs
      2020 | USA | Laughs: 5.5 (Chuckle) | imdb: 7.4
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This movie was a great surprise. I knew nothing about it when I started watching and hesitate to spoil the premise—although it comes out so early in the film that it shouldn't do too much harm to reveal that the plot loosely relates to that of Groundhog Day.

As with most films in the comedy genre the comedic part decreases sharply in the second half, but I still found the whole thing refreshing and enjoyable.

Give it a try!

Edit: on second viewing two years later, I still love that movie. One of the best comedies of the decade.

(Last viewed: Jul 2020 September 2022)

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Old School DVDOld School
      2003 | USA | Laughs: 5.5 (Chuckle) | imdb: 7.1
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

A thirty-year-old rents a house on a college campus. His buddies bully him into starting a fraternity. On first viewing (2011), I stopped there (about half an hour into the film) as it seemed to me that the movie kept getting worse every minute. Eleven years later, a trusted friend raved about the movie, and I thought I'd give it a second chance.

And indeed that time it made me smile a lot. The first time around, I must have assumed it was one of these raunchy comedies for horny young males, but it was much tamer than that. There was even a cute love story.

In short, give it a try.

(Last viewed: Apr 2011 November 2022)

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Wet Hot American Summer posterWet Hot American Summer
      2001 | USA | Laughs: 5.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 6.6
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

This film takes place over the last day at Summer camp in the 1970s. I was glad to discover it as it was probably the funniest Summer camp movie I've seen. The humor is all over the place: some of it slapstick, some of it quite dark, some of it plain crude. The movie happens to feature many faces who became well-known in comedy in the next decade. I can't say that I laughed a lot, but I was entertained and would watch it again ten years from now. In the same theme, you may want to check out Meatballs and Heavyweights. (Last viewed: June 2015)

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The Man Who Knew Too Little DVDThe Man Who Knew Too Little
      1997 | USA | Laughs: 5.4 (Watch Once) | imdb: 6.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

If you're a die-hard fan of Bill Murray, you'll want to watch this movie once, if only for the last scene, where Bill's Cossack dance draws laughter in the burlesque tradition of old Chaplin movies. Other than that, the plot is only moderately engaging and occasionally funny. In the rather narrow "spy who doesn't know he's a spy" genre to which this film belongs, my first choice would be The Tall Blond Man With a Black Shoe. (Last viewed: December 2011)

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Ghostbusters DVDGhostbusters
      1984 | USA | Laughs: 5.4 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.8
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

If you're crazy about Bill Murray and you can still stand the theme music (can you believe they used to play this in night clubs?), watching this 80s classic once won't hurt you, and you'll laugh a few times. (Last viewed: September 2009)

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The Other Guys DVDThe Other Guys
      2010 | USA | Laughs: 5.4 (Watch Once) | imdb: 6.6
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Two cops from the C-list find themselves tackling a case that involves powerful and dangerous people. The film has occasional action scenes that I found loud, unnecessary and unpleasant. Apart from that, I enjoyed its offbeat humor and characters. For instance, one of the cops, who is portrayed as a nerdy, unattractive character, turns out to be living in a luxurious villa with a bombshell wife, who he keeps describing as plain. Will Ferrell (who is usually a tad too loud for my taste) shined as an accountant-cop, a role that kept him in check. His partner balanced him well. And it was a good surprise to see Steve Coogan from the British show I'm Alan Partridge. (Last viewed: July 2012)

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Dodgeball DVDDodgeball: A True Underdog Story
      2004 | USA | Laughs: 5.3 (Watch Once) | imdb: 6.7
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

To stay in business, the owner of a gym enters his handful of staff and clients into a dodgeball competition. A few laughs make this worth a watch despite the weak plot and characters. (Last viewed: May 2011)

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