About this column:

(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:


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97. THE NAVIGATOR (1924) – Directed by Donald Crisp & Buster Keaton;  Starring Buster Keaton and Kathryn McGuire.

About 15 years ago I went through a Buster Keaton phase and watched all of his Silent comedies.  When I got to this movie, THE NAVIGATOR, I didn’t think too much of it.  Compared to his others, I thought it paled in comparison.  Well, after I watched it a second time about a year later, I changed my mind.  I don’t know what my problem was when I first saw this, because now I think this is easily one of Keaton’s very best films.

Keaton plays a rich snob who has nothing better to do than ask his neighbor to marry him.  When she refuses his hand, he decides to go on a cruise all by himself.  Well, through circumstances that are too complicated to get into during this short capsule review, Keaton and his neighbor end up on the same ship alone as it drifts away to sea.  Since they’re both filthy rich, neither of them has ever had to take care of themselves, so between the two, they must figure out a way to survive.

After about a 10 minute setup, which has a few amusing moments, the film really takes off once they reach the ship.   Keaton takes complete advantage of the premise by putting in gag after gag after gag.  The first moment that has Keaton and the girl realize that they’re both on the ship together is nothing short of comic genius.  They both hear someone else on the ship, so they keep running up and down the different levels as they constantly miss each other.  The timing is impressively precise and obviously took many rehearsals to execute just right.  Other highlights include the first day on board as the two try to make themselves a meal, which doesn’t work out.  Then there’s a follow-up scene that takes place days later as we see that Keaton has created a uniquely elaborate system for making a meal, which involves some imaginative inventions.  There’s also a hilarious lengthy sequence that has Keaton and the girl trying to find a nice, quiet, and dry place to sleep.  All of these sequences feature several sight gags upon sight gags.

The film climaxes as Keaton and the girl single-handedly take on a bunch of cannibals from a nearby island as they try to take over the ship, using a bunch of fireworks.  Is this really politically correct?  Of course not.  Is it brilliantly funny? Absolutely.  It was 1924 people!  Lighten up!

Out of all of Keaton’s films, with the exception of THE GENERAL, this one seems to have the most thought put into its many gags and situations.  Whether it’s performing a pratfall, or making a subtle facial expression, Keaton gives it his all.  Even Kathryn McQuire shows a bit of comic timing as the girl.

THE NAVIGATOR is a text-book example on how to execute slapstick and sight gags.  I would say that this film, even more so than THE GENERAL, is a perfect introduction to the films of Buster Keaton.


 Number 100

Number 99

Number 98


Categories: Austin Kennedy, Special Reports and Rants, THE TOP 100 FUNNIEST MOVIES THAT AUSTIN KENNEDY HAS EVER SEEN

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