Recommendations for truly funny DVDs?
June 17, 2005 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Make me laugh. Please.

My wife and I don't laugh enough anymore. I want to find some truly funny DVDs I can get from Netflix, stuff that'll have us in stitches: sitcoms, movies, standup performances. Anything.

Our tastes: In general, sitcoms leave us cold. (We found Friends unwatchable.) We used to love Seinfeld, especially the first few seasons. We've watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, and mostly think it's hilarious. A close friend recommended Fat Actress to me. We recently watched an Eddie Izzard DVD, and thought that bits of it (especially the cerebral bits) were good. We think we'd probably like Chris Rock. I used to love Bill Cosby as a child. The second and third Black Adder series provided us with lots of laughs. We loved The Office, both the UK and US versions. We aren't easily amused by gross-out humor, nor the likes of Andrew Dice Clay. (Is he even still around?)

We'd like stuff that's intelligent, witty, and perhaps touched with social commentary. Any suggestions?

(Book suggestions are good, too; we're both voracious readers. The Debt to Pleasure is a novel we both found laugh-out-loud funny; Terry Pratchet not so much.)
posted by jdroth to Media & Arts (89 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How about Tanner '88, an HBO miniseries written by Garry Trudeau and directed by Robert Altman. It's available in a Criterion Collection two-disc set.
posted by Prospero at 12:02 PM on June 17, 2005

Here's a whole, very good thread on comic novels on Ask Me.
posted by OmieWise at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2005

Any Mitch Hedberg stand-up performances
The now defunct Home Movies
Arrested Development
The Upright Citizens Brigade
Strangers with Candy
posted by saladin at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2005

Oh, yeah, funny movies:

Mash by Robert Altman is really good and smart, the movie, not the insipid sit-com.

So I Married an Axe Murderer is often good for a belly laugh. Way better than Austin Powers.

Arrested Development is very funny, it takes a little something from The Office. I think it's on DVD now.

I assume you've seen Absolutely Fabulous. If not, that's one to watch, especially the early stuff. Also, Jennifer Saunder's show from before that French and Saunders is on DVD. It's pretty good.

David Cross, who's on Arrested Development, had a show on HBO called Mr. Show that is very funny, but can be uneven in the way that sketch-shows can. There's also a concert video of him that I found unsatisfying because it didn't have enough of his bits in it.

I like smart comedy, but I also found SuperTroopers to be f*cking hilarious. I laughed and laughed.
posted by OmieWise at 12:15 PM on June 17, 2005

jdroth posts "We'd like stuff that's intelligent, witty, and perhaps touched with social commentary. Any suggestions?"

Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister spring immediately to mind.
posted by Gyan at 12:15 PM on June 17, 2005

Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K. People cracking jokes while watching truly bad movies.
posted by JanetLand at 12:16 PM on June 17, 2005

Futurama, Simpsons
Big Lebowski or any Cohen Brothers movies
The Office (British)
David Cross stand-up
Arrested Developement (Fox)
posted by slimslowslider at 12:16 PM on June 17, 2005

A recent tv show I thought was funny: Arrested Development. I also like the canadian show Puppets who Kill.

The only (intentionally) funny recent movie I remember seing is Bad Santa.
posted by rpn at 12:18 PM on June 17, 2005

Withnail and I

not pure comedy, but lots of comedy gold to be mined in the excellent movie

This is Spinal Tap

Books by PG Wodehouse
posted by chaz at 12:19 PM on June 17, 2005

Have you exhausted the films of Christopher Guest, Wes Anderson, and The Coen Brothers?
posted by Kwantsar at 12:20 PM on June 17, 2005

Ah, forgot about Futurama, one of my favourite recent shows. (rumors says a movie is planned soon...). Don't know if its funny for people who aren't geeks though (computer, SF, space, etc).
posted by rpn at 12:21 PM on June 17, 2005

Chris Rock is right on with what you're thinking. Do I need to even mention Chapelle? There's a series called Red Dwarf that you can sometimes catch on PBS on Sunday night that is very funny. Think a humorous Star Trek with low budget effects. It's produced by the BBC I believe. For reasons I have been unable to fathom, A Fish Called Wanda always makes me laugh. I see it at least once a year. I'm curious to see what others post because I have also found Friends and such to be completely un-funny as well as most of the movies touted on Netflix as comedies.

Oh, and Futrama is funny. It sometimes has social commentary and certain characters make me laugh no matter what they say. Family Guy is hot and cold for me as their approach can be a little formulaic. I guess it's back on the air, though so you may want to check it out.
posted by quadog at 12:24 PM on June 17, 2005

You must watch Scrubs! One of the funniest series on tv.
posted by MsMolly at 12:26 PM on June 17, 2005

"I (Heart) Huckabees" is pretty hilarious and probably cerebral enough.
posted by milkrate at 12:27 PM on June 17, 2005

If you still like Bill Cosby, his routine called "Himself" is now available on DVD. My favorite stand-up comedy of all time.
posted by PhatLobley at 12:29 PM on June 17, 2005

Some of the older Peter Sellers films are hilarious, especially Being There and The Mouse that Roared.

I'm also quite fond of Delicatessen, a very dark comedy.

You might also try that old standby, Monty Python's Flying Circus.

On preview: I second the suggestions of Red Dwarf and the Simpsons.
posted by googly at 12:32 PM on June 17, 2005

If you haven't already seem it, you may try Monty Phyton, specially The Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life. There are also all Marx Brothers movies, but specially those that eventually became titles for Queen's albums (A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races). Both have their share of "physical" comedy (that I don't know if you like) but their humor is usually quite smart. On the book side, you probably have already read Douglas Adams (if not, try both the Hitchhiker's series and the Dirk Gently ones). I found "American Gods"very funny (this book is co-authored by Terry Prachet and Neil Gaiman).
posted by nkyad at 12:32 PM on June 17, 2005

Any standup from Lewis Black.
posted by badger_flammable at 12:34 PM on June 17, 2005

Snatch always does it for me. I've yet to meet anyone who was disappointed by that movie.
posted by neilkod at 12:34 PM on June 17, 2005

nkyad: Good Omens is the book co-authored by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman. American Gods are authored by Neil Gaiman, and while very good, not a comedy.
posted by rpn at 12:35 PM on June 17, 2005

rpn writes "nkyad: Good Omens is the book co-authored by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman. American Gods are authored by Neil Gaiman, and while very good, not a comedy."

My apologies - I was really thinking about Good Omens, but as I read both almost together, I think my brain stored them in the same drawer. Sorry.
posted by nkyad at 12:44 PM on June 17, 2005

Some of the suggestions given fit your answers...while some do not (I find friends far more watchable than scrubs.)

I'd start out with all the Bill Maher DVDs

Then, I'd go over to a hidden gem - Michael Moore's the Awful Truth

On the sex/sitcom funny side, I'd suggest both the Office and Coupling (britcoms that have been adapted, neither terribly well to american tv.)
posted by filmgeek at 12:46 PM on June 17, 2005

I second Mystery Science Theater 3000. While the host segments might seem pretty low budget and bizarre, the jokes and riffing during the movies can be pretty hilarious and surprisingly intelligent.
posted by Staggering Jack at 12:49 PM on June 17, 2005

Mind your language (BBC) now on DVD
Carry on laughing (BBC) also on DVD
The Vicar of Dibley (BBC) yet also on DVD
Coupling (BBC) DVD blah blah blah...
...notice a trend here?

Hmm..what else? The Gods must be crazy makes me laugh every single time. So does Superman 3 with Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor

In general though it's my humble opinion that Brit humor kicks ass much more than Am. humor.
posted by ramix at 12:52 PM on June 17, 2005

Freaks and Geeks, my friend. Don't distrust me just because I like Terry Pratchett!
posted by melissa may at 12:53 PM on June 17, 2005

"Office Space" and "Galaxy Quest" were two of the most SURPRISINGLY funny movies of the last decade or so.

(Surprisingly in the sense that I didn't expect to enjoy either one-- especially the Tim Allen vehicle "Galaxy Quest"-- but nonetheless found myself laughing frequently throughout the films.)

Of course, you've probably seen them both, but still.
posted by dersins at 12:56 PM on June 17, 2005

Pretty much any Wes Anderson movie does it for me. They are not wall to wall laugh riots, but each of them does have at least one gut-busting moment. Particularly Rushmore.
posted by psmealey at 12:58 PM on June 17, 2005

Oh, and Grosse Pointe Blank, though I suspect you had to go to high school in the 80s to find that as funny as I found it.
posted by psmealey at 1:00 PM on June 17, 2005

Movies: Blazing Saddles [and other early Mel Brooks like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum], Office Space, any old episodes of The State [sketch comedy, used to be on MTV], Reno 911 [on Comedy Central now] and anyting by the Broken Lizard guys [Club Dread, Super Troopers]. My favorite funny movies which are now somewhat dated are One Crazy Summer and Better Off Dead, two early Cusak films that are just filled with amusing meme-inspiring stupidity.

Books: Bill Bryson [funny travel stuff mostly, one super book about hiking the Appalachian Trail] and Tim Cahill [straight travel/adventure books]. Some people like David Sedaris and some don't, but he's funny and has books on tape also. In that same vein David Rakoff's book Fraud. Farley Mowat is also a sleeper humorist with stuff like Never Cry Wolf and The Boat Who Wouldn't Float. I also laughed like hell at the Adrian Mole Diaries, the first two especially. If you like political stuff, Al Franken and James Carville have political humor books that are smart and funny assuming you at least can somewhat agree with them.

Stand-up: David Cross, Lewis Black, Bill Hicks [sort of dark humor but heavy and good social commentary], Chris Rock, Eddie Izzard [I just saw Circle and it was one of my faves of his] and, of course Dave Chapelle
posted by jessamyn at 1:01 PM on June 17, 2005

As far as stand-up goes, I'll definitely add Dave Attell to that list. He's not as topically smart or clever as Lewis Black or David Cross, but his timing kicks my ass. I have listened to his CD "Skanks for the Memories" more than a few times now, and it still knocks me off my chair.
posted by psmealey at 1:06 PM on June 17, 2005

Another vote for MST3K.

Also, you may want to check out Get a Life, a short-lived Fox sitcom starring Chris Elliott (of Cabin Boy infamy). I know you mentioned you don't normally dig on sitcoms, but this series is so abnormal and absurdist it's hard to explain how it made it to TV in the first place.

Finally, The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature and Never Mind the Pollacks are painfully funny satires on American literature and rock criticism.
posted by cog_nate at 1:09 PM on June 17, 2005

The DVD commentary for Postcards from the Edge. The movie itself is not a great adaptation of Carrie Fisher's book and has serious flaws but the commentary, done by Carrie Fisher, is one of the funniest things I've ever heard. Smart, self-reflexive, bitting, wonderful, and so very funny.
posted by smash at 1:23 PM on June 17, 2005

Sounds like you might enjoy stuff by Whit Stillman and/or Hal Hartley.

Stillman: Barcelona (neither The Last Days of Disco nor Metropolitan seem to be availabe from Netflix, but perhaps you could find them locally if you liked Barcelona)

Hartley: For funny, I'd recommend The Unbelievable Truth and Simple Men.

Rustler's Rhapsody (not by Stillman or Hartley) was pretty witty, too.

Amelie is very clever and quite funny in parts.
posted by bricoleur at 1:25 PM on June 17, 2005

ANd thenk yuo fro ingoring smelling rror abvoe.
posted by bricoleur at 1:30 PM on June 17, 2005

Another vote for Monty Python (Life of Brianand Search for the Holy Grail are classics), Blazing Saddles, and The Gods Must Be Crazy. Try the television series as well.

The Producers and Silver Streak are also fantastic. Trading Places is amusing.
posted by Anonymous at 1:43 PM on June 17, 2005

ooo! and Wallace and Gromit from Aardman Studios! These are the same folks who brought you Chicken Run.
There are three shorts that I find hysterical (The Wrong Trousers, A Grand Day Out, and A Close Shave.
And for all those W/G fans out there - a new feature (Curse of the Wererabbit) is coming this October. I can't wait.
posted by dbmcd at 1:53 PM on June 17, 2005

Here are my votes for DVDs:

The Producers
Which Way Is Up?
Chappelle's Show
Mr. Show
Fishing with John
American Movie
The Best of Insomniac Uncensored
Arrested Development
The Simpsons
Pootie Tang
Kids Say the Darndest Things (dunno if it's on DVD)
Will & Grace (I find them amusing, anyway)
Putney Swope
The Life Aquatic
American Pimp
The Party (with Peter Sellers)
The Gods Must Be Crazy (Parts I and II)
and any of Richard Pryor's performance DVDs

maybe more later if I can think of them
posted by crapulent at 1:59 PM on June 17, 2005

I also think the first season of Scrubs is quite fine. I thought enough of the excellent Denis Miller series The Job that after I rented it from Netflix I bought a copy.

But the best live action comedy series in the past twenty years is Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night, and I'd be happy to call Jerry Seinfeld any time and explain why.
posted by mojohand at 2:04 PM on June 17, 2005

A list, some of which may or may not have been mentioned before:

Spaced (UK, and great if you love pop culture references. From the same people who later brought Shawn of the Dead)
Black Books is another great UK series about a misanthropic Irish bookstore owner.
Monty Python, The Simpsons (of course)
Coupling (The UK version, not the US version!!!!!!!)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Geeky but hilarious)
Father Ted (though not if you are offended by a general mockery of Catholicism)
Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind
posted by synecdoche at 2:18 PM on June 17, 2005

Buster Keaton. Try The Navigator, The General, or Steamboat Bill, Jr.. Any of the features in the Art of Buster Keaton series are at the top of filmed comic genius. Beautiful, sweet, hilarious and (unlike Chaplin) unsentimental.
posted by argybarg at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2005

Word to dersins... I hear you about Galaxy Quest.

"Look around you. Can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

Gets me every time!
posted by clever sheep at 2:37 PM on June 17, 2005

Ooh. I forgot Punch-Drunk Love, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fight Club (very, very smart-funny).
posted by crapulent at 2:40 PM on June 17, 2005

Fawlty Towers
Kids in the Hall
Airplane and Airplane II
SCTV has been coming out in DVD format, but it's a lot more uneven than I remember. Nevertheless, when they hit, it's absolute gold!
The Producers, IMHO, is the funniest movie ever made.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:45 PM on June 17, 2005

Stand-up: Eddie Izzard
Brit-com: The Office or Are You Being Served?
Sit-com: Arrested Development or Scrubs
Cartoon: Simpsons, Futurama, Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Movie: Shaun of the Dead, Office Space, and (IMHO) Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
posted by bjork24 at 2:45 PM on June 17, 2005

...oh -- and Some Like It Hot
posted by PlusDistance at 2:45 PM on June 17, 2005

Sketch show - Mr. Show
posted by bjork24 at 2:46 PM on June 17, 2005

Yet another vote for scrubs. In a similar vein, and if you can find it, Green Wing is well worth a look, although I don't believe it's out on DVD yet.

Bill Bailey's stand up stuff is excellent, and in a similar cerebral/surreal/Britishy style to Eddie Izzard's stuff. Dylan Moran is also very funny, and -not entirely relevantly- also shops in my Tesco.

Red Dwarf is worth a look, but the earlier series are better than the later ones (although, if you're downloading, the episode called 'legion' in series 6 contains a quite astoundingly funny joke concerning a light bulb).

Books-wise, I'd second Bill Bryson and Douglas Adams (although i'm less keen on the Dirk Gently books) and also nominate catch-22, and both of Mil Millington's novels, which are briliant.
posted by Little Bravado at 2:49 PM on June 17, 2005

More votes for Mystery Science Theater 3000, Futurama, and The Simpsons. Also consider Dilbert and The Critic, more animated series on DVD. They're a little dated now, but still have moments of gold in them. The best semi-sitcom you never saw is NewsRadio.

I was watching the NewsRadio DVDs a few weeks ago and I still crack up at it. In one episode the news director of the AM radio station (Dave Foley), the on-air talent (Phil Hartman), and the station owner (Stephen Root) were trying to edit a commercial for the baseball opening day broadcast. The original commercial said "The crack of the bat... the roar of the crowd... join WNYX and the boys of summer for all of the baseball opening day action." They spend the entire episode trying to cut that line for time. Eventually we get to this:
Station owner: "Why can't we just compromise?"
News director: "Because compromise is what gave us 'Join us and the boys of summer for action', which would be fine if we were running a gay chat line."
As for movies, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Bowfinger are two of Steve Martin's best work in recent years (i.e. his non "wild and crazy" years but also not Bringing Down the House or Cheaper by the Dozen). Stripes has a new extended edition out now. Although not comedies in the strictest sense, the Back to the Future trilogy has some great comedy moments.
posted by Servo5678 at 2:53 PM on June 17, 2005

Eddie Izzard absolutely. He is very smart, analytical and makes me laugh until my head hurts.
posted by lois1950 at 3:10 PM on June 17, 2005

Anything and everything touched by Chris Morris:

Brass Eye
The Day Today
Big Train

Why Bother? (with Peter Cook)

He pretty much renders all other comedy obsolete.
More here.

Also, Smack The Pony.
posted by nylon at 3:15 PM on June 17, 2005

Response by poster: Wow. I leave for three hours and come back to lots of great suggestions. Thanks, Mefites.

I should have mentioned that Big Lebowski is one of my all-time favorite films, though it doesn't exactly make me laugh; it keeps me bemused throughout. (On the other hand, I loathe Raising Arizona. Go figure.) My wife hates Lebowski. What does she know?

OmniWise: Thanks for pointing out the comic novels thread. I'm always surprised when book threads escape my notice, but until I have that 24/7 jack into the net, I guess it's going to happen sometimes.

Kwantsar: Have you exhausted the films of Christopher Guest, Wes Anderson, and The Coen Brothers? Actually, yes we have.

Ramix: We, too, find that Brit humor seems more to our taste than American humor. For some reason, a lot of American humor is dumbed down and, worse, telegraphed, thus undermining one of the fundamental elements of humor: the element of surprise. That's not to say we like all British comedies we've seen (Father Ted? Not interested. And Hyacinth BUCKET can bite me.)

re: Galaxy Quest I've never seen it, though I'm familiar with it. The line cleversheep cited — "Look around you. Can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?" — is funny enough that I've already put it near the top of our queue!

PlusDistance: Some Like it Hot is one of my favorite movies. It's my absolute favorite comic movie. That's exactly the sort of stuff I'm looking for. Witty, literate humor. With lots of over-the-top gags. Absolutely hilarious.

Based on the overwhelming suggestions, I will also check out Scrubs, Bowfinger, and a couple of others. I've never seen Arrested Development. There are so many recommendations for it here, that I think it needs to go to the top of my list.

I'd be curious to hear about other standup comedians. (Or is standup dead?) Thanks again, and keep the suggestions coming.
posted by jdroth at 3:18 PM on June 17, 2005

Third (and possibly best) season of Northern Exposure was just released. MST3K seconded - Manos Hands Of Fate. Family Guy. King Of Queens doesn't get much love but is surprisingly good. Especially after the addition of Patton Oswalt.
posted by vronsky at 3:22 PM on June 17, 2005

I agree with almost everything above, and here are some others that may have been missed:

British: The League of Gentlemen (not to be confused with the comic book/movie of the same name plus "Extraordinary") is brilliant dark British comedy and available in a Region 1 DVD set (along with the aforementioned Black Books, Spaced, and The Office).

Not available in R1 are other great British series like Peep Show, The Smoking Room, Nighty Night, and Brass Eye. Bottom line, your best bet for witty dark comedy is to either get yourself a region-free DVD player and an account, or say "screw it, if you're not going to let me buy it, I'm going to steal it", and google the above plus "torrent". (For the record, I've done a bit of both).

American: The Adult Swim lineup lineup of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Brak, Space Ghost, etc is often very surreal and hillarious, although it may be an aquired taste.

Strangers With Candy - along the lines of Get a Life, a bizarre meta-sitcom featuring the awesome Amy Sedaris (sister of David).

Canadian: If you can find the first season of The Newsroom, grab it. In the vein of Larry Sanders/The Office type steadicam workplace comedies.

Also, "Made in Canada" (which I think was released in the US under a different name, which I can't think of) is a similarly biting series set in the offices of a Toronto production company.

Asian: The films of Stephen Chow, most recently Kung Fu Hustle, but before that Shaolin Soccer, and (my favourite) God of Cookery plus many others.
posted by Gortuk at 3:22 PM on June 17, 2005

Johnny English, baby! We watch it almost weekly in my house. Rowan Atkinson as a brave but bumbling secret agent out to foil the plot of megamaniacal "flouncy Frenchman" John Malkovitch, yet still the humor is smart. And it is admirably tightly written, and you won't know whether you're crying because you're laughing so hard or because you feel the pain of the well-intentioned but arrogant secret agent's humiliation.

Warning: there are two brief episodes of unpleasant bare man-butt. Look awaaaay.
posted by leapingsheep at 3:33 PM on June 17, 2005

Check out some Billy Connolly DVDs. He's a world-famous stand up comic. You've probably seen his face in a few movies, since he seems to have moved into acting.

And in a completely different style, if you liked (or even just saw and mildy enjoyed) any of the Kevin Smith movies, there is a DVD set called "An Evening With Kevin Smith", which is a compilation of talks he does at campuses around the USA, and the guy is really funny. (You kind of don't realise from the movies, they're funny in their own, different way). Lots of interesting anecdotes too.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2005

I second crapulent with The Party. Peter Sellers as Hrundi Bakshi is at his absolute peak. The first hour is genius, and then Claudine Longet gets out a guitar, your signal to fast forward whenever Sellers is not onscreen.
Another echo for Bowfinger - Eddie Murphy is excellent.
I'd add the remake of Nutty Professor (if you haven't seen it) - do NOT get the sequel. The family dinner scenes alone are worth the movie. Skip the rest if you like.
Boondock Saints - kind of fun, though dark.
Do not get the Rowan Atkinson Bean movie - if you haven't seen this movie, get the Mr Bean Christmas Special.
O Brother, Where Art Thou is really very good. Not a hootfest but funny and hokey. And I :-X Raising Arizona.
Geez, I'm going to sound stupid but try a Don Knotts double-feature - The Reluctant Astronaut and The Ghost and Mr Chicken. At least The Reluctant Astronaut.
You might want to check out this John Candy on SCTV collection also.
Of course, Best In Show. A Mighty Wind is great for old SCTV fans, but not nearly as good as Best In Show IMO.
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:51 PM on June 17, 2005

Any of Steve Coogan's TV shows are hilarious, particularly I'm Alan Partridge (they've recently started showing it on BBC America!).
Also on the wacky and stupid Brit front was "The Young Ones", I could watch them all day. They've also started showing these on BBC America.
I'll second the Chris Morris shout, particularly "Brass Eye".
Everyone I've ever shown "Stairway to Stardom" to has laughed to tears, if you're into the "so bad it's good", Gong Show-type thing.
Best of Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell (Vol. 1)!
I found "School of Rock" hilarious and very clever.
And seconds for "Mr. Show", Bill Hicks and "Super Troopers".
If you're into dark comedy, "Love Liza" is funny, but also quite sad.
posted by hellbient at 3:57 PM on June 17, 2005

I'll second servo5678's recommendation of NewsRadio. It never got the recognition it deserved for its great writing and terrific ensemble cast. The first two seasons are on DVD. (But avoid the final season if for some strange reason it ever comes out on DVD - they hired Jon Lovitz to replace the deceased Phil Hartmann and it was painful).
posted by TimeFactor at 3:59 PM on June 17, 2005

See if TV Carnage is for you. There's plenty of samples available (Embedded QT).

Previously on the blue. I planned to make an FPP of it when the latest tape came out in April, so I finally paid my $5. Didn't know about the newbie quarantine then.

posted by springload at 4:28 PM on June 17, 2005

There is one piece of stand-up comedy, that has made me laugh more than anything else, ever, and that is Pablo Francisco's appearance on Comedy Central.

It's such a hit among pretty much everyone I know, that I'm actually really really surprised no one here has mentioned it. I mean, I live in Norway. It's never been aired on television here. It's obviously not in norwegian either. Yet I can pull a reference from that show in any conversation and know absolutely for sure that people will get it. Everyone has heard about it from word of mouth, everyone has downloaded it via P2P, and everyone has loved it.

Amazon sells a DVD from a different show (with most of the same bits), which I own and love. It's not quite as good as the Comedy Central appearance, but great still. I really suggest you get either that DVD or the Comedy Central appearance, or both.

I don't know of any way to get the Comedy Central show, other than P2P, and don't know if the legality of downloading TV shows has been determined where you live (although I do have a certain feeling). It's legal over here anyways. Send me an email if you can't find it.

It's worth it. I can't praise Pablo Francisco enough.
posted by cheerleaders_to_your_funeral at 4:32 PM on June 17, 2005

My Cousin Vinny, starring Joe Pesci
posted by yclipse at 4:39 PM on June 17, 2005

24 Hour Party People (film, British)
posted by Tufa at 5:01 PM on June 17, 2005

Albert Brooks' first feature, "Real Life" (1976 I think) is one of the funniest movies ever made, and gets bonus points for anticipating 1) reality TV and 2) the mockumentary. If you can't find it email me and I'll send you a copy.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:53 PM on June 17, 2005

Oh my goodness. I almost forgot about NewsRadio. I loved that show! Did anyone mention Frasier? That seems like your speed, but I'm sure you're already aware of it. Two other shows that I think are incredibly well-written, socially relevant, and funny: The Cosby Show and Sanford and Son. They might not be your type though. Definitely not British. What about David Letterman or Conan O'Brien? I'm sure they have some sort of DVDs out there.
posted by crapulent at 6:09 PM on June 17, 2005

Since you said you like Brit-coms, here are two more that are among my all-time faves:

Good Neighbors (UK title: The Good Life)
Chef! (supposedly on DVD this fall, at long last)
posted by skyboy at 6:17 PM on June 17, 2005

Arrested Development. Please watch this show. It's wonderful.
posted by apple scruff at 6:46 PM on June 17, 2005

I second all the Mel Brooks stuff, if you haven't seen The Producers and Blazing Saddles you should, they both have nice anti-racist messages (though Blazing Saddles has a bit of the gross-out stuff, it also has a good deal of intelligence. Much more than Spaceballs, for example)

Billy Connolly is fun, not as intelligent as Eddie Izzard, but very British. Also very self-deprecating, kinda like Conan O'Brien.

Hmm. The Marx Brothers' Duck Soup is a fun making-fun-of-war movie.

I second anything with Peter Sellers on principle. Even bad Peter Sellers movies are good.

Also, I would assume anyone who likes British comedy has seen copious amounts of Monty Python, but I've been wrong before. At any rate, Do Not Adjust Your Set should be coming out July 26 and everyone here should get it because it has about half of Monty Python (before they were) plus the Bonzo Dog Band.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:16 PM on June 17, 2005

yup, anything Mel Brooks, Absolutely Fabulous (completely laugh-out-loud funny)...lots of good suggestions here. Albert Brooks too--Defending Your Life is very funny.

I'll throw in Judy Holiday movies, and Wonder Showzen, and the South Park movie--Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on June 17, 2005

not exactly a comedy, but "Saddest Music in the World" is pretty funny.
A second for "Bad Santa".
"Mystery Train" is quite funny, as are most of Jim Jarmusch's movies, although again not exactly comedies.
Two more Will Ferrell movies: "Elf" and "Ron Burgundy".
David Cross' "Run Ronnie Run".
"How to Get Ahead in Advertising"
just about anything with Rudy Ray Moore is hilarious, IMO, although it's unclear whether most of it's intentional or not.
posted by hellbient at 8:31 PM on June 17, 2005

"Gumball Rally" is a very funny film, and "It's a Mad Mad Mad World" almost every comic in Hollywood starred in this picture.
posted by hortense at 9:58 PM on June 17, 2005

Plenty of mildly funny suggestions here ... but here is what absolutely made my sides ache with laughter over the past couple years:

Eddie Izzard
The Office -- so funny/painful that I can't watch more than two episodes in a row
League of Gentlemen -- gruesome humor at times but typically limited to one visually nasty shot per episode (e.g. exploding turtle); it's a bit too much at first but give it a shot and you'll be saying "what's all this shouting about" in no time
Both Southpark movies; I don't watch the TV show, and I know the humor is adolescent and even repulsive at times, but it's truly funny material if you pay attention; Team America is also up there but is probably far too obscene for you

Further, beyond "funny", here are a few very very good and entertaining movies out there:
The Velvet Goldmine
collected works of Michel Gondry -- watch both sides of the DVD all the way through; great stuff especially if you love music in general
I agree with hellbient's Stephen Coogan suggestion -- besides 24HPP, his short with Albert Molina in Coffee and Cigarettes was priceless.

Finally, this isn't "funny" per se, but I saw a documentary called Rize at the Atlanta film festival last weekend and it was incredibly entertaining. It's about a new form of hip hop dancing (I know, I know) called clowning / krumping that's sweeping the nation, as they say. Hey you, whitey, don't run off! I'm as white as they get and it was flat out fantastic. Go see it when it comes out in wide release in July.
posted by intermod at 10:19 PM on June 17, 2005

Intelligent comedy + drama = Slings & Arrows, if you can find it (it's an HBO thing).

2nd/3rd/etc The Royal Tanenbaums, though not Life Aquatic, as far as Wes Anderson goes.

And if you find the sex industry ripe for satire at all, Orgazmo is great fun.
posted by dreamsign at 2:18 AM on June 18, 2005

BBC Radio 4 has produced some of the funniest British comedy ever. And you can listen on-line for free! To be honest, there is a lot I'm not familiar with listed at the moment, but at least make sure you check out "Just a Minute". "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" is legendary and should also be heard at least once. Also, look out for Armando Ianucci, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, and Tony Hawks all of whom turn up quite regularly on shows like Just a Minute as well as headlining their own shows every once in a while.

Movie recommendations are harder, you might dig up The Naked Gun which for me is the antidote to modern comedies in that it packs in tons of proper jokes without resorting to endless references to six-months-old pop culture.
posted by teleskiving at 3:06 AM on June 18, 2005

For stand-up: David Cross and Dane Cook. Also a strong advocate of Scrubs. I just watched the first season on DVD and it was hilarious. Family Guy is good, too. And Best in Show is absolutely hilarious.
posted by fabesfaves at 7:31 AM on June 18, 2005

The books of South African writer Tom Sharpe
posted by growabrain at 7:51 AM on June 18, 2005

Wet Hot American Summer.
posted by yesno at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2005

The Lady Eve, according to Time magazine one of the 100 best films evar.

Sullivan's Travels

My Man Godfrey

coming soon on dvd: The Complete Thin Man Collection
posted by matteo at 8:44 AM on June 18, 2005

TIME magazine 100 best films list
posted by matteo at 8:46 AM on June 18, 2005

You might want to get one of these so you can watch all those British DVDs - it converts PAL to NTSC onboard, and has an easy region hack you can find online.

More votes for The Party, Spinal Tap, League of Gentlemen and Father Ted. Also, bear in mind that all Eddie Izzard's earlier performances are only available R2.
posted by forallmankind at 9:17 AM on June 18, 2005

My Blue Heaven (Just saw it recently, so it comes to mind)

Alan Plater can verge on the precious, but he has some good moments if you like slightly offbeat British humor.
The Beiderbecke Affair
The Beiderbecke Tapes
The Beiderbeck Connection

Evelyn Waugh doesn't always translate too well to film, but Scoop and The Loved One are good. John Gielgud does a nice turn as an expatriot trading on his Britishness in Hollywood.

Speaking of Gielgud- John Mortimer's Summer's Lease is a first rate novel and as good miniseries. As video, it has for years been unavailable. If Amazon is to be trusted, it will be out this summer on DVD. If you liked Rumpole, pounce. More mystery than comedy, but Sir John Gielgud's character is a show stealer.

I'm assuming you've seen A Hard Day's Night, but if not, well, you must. Ditto A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, of course. Speaking of Old Rome,
Up, Pompeii is fine if you liked Are You Being Served. Not my taste (though full marks to Frankie Howerd), but I know fanatics.

Getting back to America, any film at all by Harold Lloyd. Most of the Thin Man movies still hold up pretty well.

Last I heard, Dice Clay is playing Vegas, which is plenty far enough away for me.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2005

Cook and Dud! How could I have forgotten?

The original Bedazzled can sag from time to time, but stick with it. The finale in particular, concerning the Blessed St Beryl, is wall holdingly funny.

See also this, this, this, and ultimately, for downloads, this.

(Oh, and they also appear memorably in The Wrong Box (note the writing credits). Includes a nice drunken turn by Peter Sellars)
posted by IndigoJones at 12:27 PM on June 18, 2005

Trailer Park Boys
posted by greasepig at 2:09 PM on June 18, 2005

regarding Stairway to Stardom earlier, I'd like to clarify that I meant to say "Stairway to Stardom, Vol. 2-3". Thanks.
posted by hellbient at 7:25 PM on June 26, 2005

I thought Ali G's show was hilarious.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 9:15 PM on July 10, 2005


But the American censored version sucks. Download the Canadian ones. They're all over the place.


Mr. Show.
posted by loquacious at 9:59 PM on July 10, 2005

Yeah, totally get Galaxy Quest. Disarmingly funny. And Airplane!. While you've probably seen Spinal Tap a million times, get the DVD just for the commentary, which is done in-character by the "band" as if it were a commentary on a real documentary about them. Overcome your "broad, childish humor" gut reaction to the Farrelly Brothers stuff and check them out- there's a surprising sweetness to them, and their gags are consistently laugh-out-loud funny.
posted by mkultra at 8:19 AM on July 11, 2005

Noises Off
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:18 AM on July 11, 2005

Not sure what your sense of humor is, but you might try Joss Whedon's short-lived SF series "Firefly." It's a pretty skillful mix of high drama and laugh out loud hilarity.
posted by brundlefly at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2005

If it's LOLerskates you need, check out the Upright Citizens Brigade. Highbrow, lowbrow, monobrow; this show was way ahead of it's time.
posted by elphTeq at 12:39 AM on July 12, 2005

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