A few years ago, a comedian friend of mine told me that she wanted to see a Top 100 Comedy List from me. Well, I LOVE making lists, even though it’s extremely hard. I’ve always been obsessed with lists throughout my life, studying them and trying to watch everything on every list I could find. While I have never thought lists were definitive, as every one is subjective, however I think they are great reference points and do a great job informing people about films they might not have known about, or maybe even get people to revisit a movie they love, or better yet, give a film a second chance because of someone else’s praise.
Anyways, back to me creating a Top 100 Comedy list: At the time, I decided not to work on the list until I see more films so it would be more complete. Well, life is a little too short for that. There are still several movies I need to see. Classic comedies that I probably should see before I make this list (THE THIN MAN comes to mind), but I have decided to make a list anyway. Because I want to.
Now, a little about this list: These are films that I think are the funniest. They have made me laugh more than any other. Now, some of these films may not be the best movies ever made, but they have certainly made me laugh the most. Also, some films that have made the AFI Funniest Film List won’t make mine because I don’t consider than straight up comedies. Films like THE APARTMENT, FARGO, BACK TO THE FUTURE, TOOTSIE, etc. While I love every one of those movies, and would certainly be contenders for my All-Time favorites films, I have seen films that made me laugh harder. Does that make sense?
And finally, the big question: How the heck am I going to rank these films? Well, I don’t think I really can. With the exception of one movie in particular, I don’t think I could rank these in any kind of order. Most of these movies require me to be in a certain mood in order to watch them. So I could like one film better than another on one day, but then the next day I could totally change my mind. So I’m not going to do that. Then I thought maybe I should just do them alphabetically, but that would eliminate the element of surprise. Well, maybe I should do them chronologically, but that could get a little dull. Ultimately, I decided to just do the list in a random order, pretty much like picking movies from a hat (I’m actually going to use the Random Number Generator).
I would like to reveal my list one film at a time. Ideally, I would love to reveal a film every day for the next 100 days, but with all of my “real life” stuff going on, that will probably be impossible. I will promise this: I will have my list done by the end of the year, and I will do my best to try to get one done every day.
The selection of this list was very difficult. I originally had over 300 movies. I had to narrow that down to 100, so there are still several great comedies out there that didn’t make this list.
One more thing: There is one movie that stands out as the funniest film I’ve ever seen, so I will reveal that one last.
So, without further ado….. I present to you:
THE TOP 100 FUNNIEST MOVIES THAT AUSTIN KENNEDY HAS EVER SEEN!!!
100. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) – Directed by Mel Brooks; Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn.
This is about as perfect a comedy as you’ll ever see. Mel Brooks was red-hot, coming straight off of BLAZING SADDLES. How does he follow that crazy film? By making a black and white comedy that is equal parts spoof and loving homage to classic Universal Horror films. Gene Wilder delivers the performance of his career as Frederick Frankenstein, great-grandson of the famous scientist who could bring people back from the dead. Never before or after has Wilder been this good. He is usually wild and crazy, but his performance here seems more nuanced and calculated. I consider it one of the best comic performances of all time. Wilder definitely deserved an Oscar nomination for his work here (he was only nominated, along with Brooks, for the screenplay).
You couldn’t ask for a better supporting cast. Everyone is fantastic here, with each person giving countless moments to shine. Peter Boyle is just outstanding as the monster. Marty Feldman is so good here that it makes one wish that someone other than Brooks knew what to do with him. Cloris Leachman is a hoot as she’s involved with a hilarious running gag (Blucher!!!!!). Teri Garr is just as sexy as she is funny. Madeline Kahn…. well, she’s such a genius when it comes to comedy. And then there’s an uncredited Gene Hackman as the blind man. Seeing this ultra serious actor making a fool of himself here is a real treat to watch.
So you have all these great actors giving the performances of their lives, but then you also have Director Brooks at the top of his game. Easily his best directed film. It looks absolutely gorgeous in black and white, even using some of the same sets and props from 1935’s BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. The film LOOKS like an old monster movie. The jokes come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they’re sexual innuendos, slapstick, or just a play on words…. they’re all laugh-out-loud funny. I would like to mention some highlights of the film, but that would mean I would have to describe every single scene of the film. The entire movie would be a highlight! It’s that good. What I will do is mention a bunch of words and phrases from the film that make me laugh just by mentioning them. If you’ve seen this movie, then you should know what I’m talking about:
“Hump? What hump?”
“Oh sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!”
“I was going to make espresso”
“Not, the third switch!”
There’s just too many to mention!
I’ve seen this movie at least a hundred times (probably way more than that), and it never gets old! It’s a wonderful, iconic comedy. Mel Brooks’ masterpiece!