There are very few things that make me laugh. No, let me rephrase. There are very few things that make me really laugh. Out loud, and not just to myself. Laugh so hard that tears come out of my eyes and I have to run to the bathroom. I know that if that happens, I’ve either had a few drinks…or I’m watching something extremely rare:
True comedy that lives up to its genre.
I’m really picky about comedy movies and TV shows. I’ve always preferred sci-fi/fantasy and musicals because to me they’re more visually entertaining. I have to be in the right mood for a comedy. For a comedy to be entertaining, it has to be good. Really good. And it has to be more than funny – it has to be smart. I’m not one for gags or slapstick. For me it’s all about the writing and the delivery.
And, well, sometimes it’s about how many drinks I’ve had. But whatever.
So I’ve compiled a list of scenes from movies or TV that have made me REALLY laugh. If you ever have a really crappy day and need a good laugh, well, this one’s for you.
Movie: Airplane! (1980)
Laugh Attack: The Jive Lady
I’m actually laughing just thinking about this right now. In this scene an elderly woman passenger offers to translate the “jive talk” between two African American passengers, and what comes out of her mouth makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time.
“Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’t want no help, chump don’t GET da’ help!”
Watch the Scene Here (it starts a minute in)
Movie: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Laugh Attack: Family Counseling Speech by Dr. Evil
Well, pretty much every line in Austin Powers makes me laugh, mostly due to Michael Myers as Dr. Evil. He had the best lines in the movie, and his speech during group therapy about his life growing up is hilarious. It’s not just the writing that’s funny, it’s the delivery. If I were to say it, it wouldn’t get a laugh. But when Michael Myers says it? Pure comic genius.
“The details of my life are quite inconsequential… very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum… it’s breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.”
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Laugh Attack:Cameron Frye Contemplates
This is in the top ten of my favorite movies of all time, and pretty much every scene and line in this movie is gold. But the one scene that still strikes me as hilarious after 25 years is when Cameron is trying to talk himself out of going over to Ferris’s house after learning he’s playing hooky. Again, the best part isn’t the actual lines themselves, it’s Alan Ruck’s performance. Totally underrated.
“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. S***”.
Movie: The Jerk (1979)
Laugh Attack: “That’s all I need.”
You want to laugh hard for more than a minute? This scene with Steve Martin where he’s talking to Bernadette Peters about his possessions always makes me laugh because, well, it’s Steve Martin. And I think we’re all kind of like Navin R. Johnson in a way.
“Well, I’m gonna go then. And I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything — except this, this ash tray, and that’s the only thing I need is this! I don’t need nothin’ but this – just this ash tray, and this paddle game. The ash tray and the paddle game – and that’s all I need, and this – the remote control. The ash tray, the paddle game and the remote control, that’s all I need. And these matches. The ash tray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball. And this lamp. That’s right. This paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too! I don’t need one other thing. Not one – I need this – the paddle game and the chair and the remote control and the matches, for sure. Well, what are you looking at? What do you think I am, some kind of a jerk or something? And this. That’s all I need. The ash tray, the remote control, and this paddle game, and this magazine and the chair…I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.” *The dog growls at him* “I don’t need my dog.”
TV Show: Freaks and Geeks (1999)
Laugh Attack: Bill’s Confession
Martin Starr, who played Bill, had some of the best lines on this amazing and unfortunately short-lived series. You never knew what innocent yet hilarious line was going to come out of his mouth, and this “confession” of his is one of those lines I have to rewind every time he says it because it makes me laugh so hard. Yet another underrated actor of our time.
“Remember that time in civics when I had to fart, and it came out, well, a poop? And I had to flush my undies down the toilet? Do you think I wanted to tell you that?”
TV Show: The Office
Laugh Attack: Jim vs. Dwight: Battlestar Galactica
Jim Halpert is always playing jokes on Dwight, and they’re hilarious every time. But this one in particular cracks me up because a) Jim is HILARIOUS and b) I feel Dwight’s pain. There’s nothing worse than someone getting their information wrong, especially when it’s regarding something you love. God, I love this scene.
Jim Halpert: Hey Andy, by any chance did you see Battlestar Galactica last night?
Andy Bernard: No, I didn’t. Is it any good?
Jim Halpert: Actually not. It was really so-so.
Dwight Schrute: Okay…
[Jim threatens with the stopwatch]
Jim Halpert: I mean like all the crazy monsters and stuff, you know like Klingons and Wookiees and all of that…
[Dwight turns to respond, but Jim shows the stopwatch again]
Jim Halpert: I’m sorry, Dwight, did you want to say something?
Andy Bernard: Was that anything like the original Battlestar Galactica?
Jim Halpert: You know it’s weird, it’s practically a shot-for-shot remake.
Andy Bernard: Really? Huh… that’s cool.
Jim Halpert: Yeah, and the story is kinda bland. It’s about this guy, Dumbledore Calrissian, who’s got to take The Ring back to Mordor.
Andy Bernard: Really? That doesn’t sound right.
TV Show: Friends
Laugh Attack: The One Where No One’s Ready
Friends was one of those shows where I can honestly say I laughed during every episode. Yes, the show was huge and mainstream, but it was truly funny and smartly written. I could probably write an entire post devoted just to how hilarious this show was. Chandler and Joey always shared my favorite exchanges on the show, and this one is just one of the many, many laughs that they got. The set-up? Joey is wearing Chandler’s clothes.
Joey: Okay, buddy-boy. Here it is: You hide my clothes, I’m wearing everything you own.
Chandler: Oh my God! That is so not the opposite of taking somebody’s underwear!
Joey: Look at me – I’m Chandler! Could I *be* wearing any more clothes? Maybe if I wasn’t going commando!
Chandler: Ugh UGH!
Joey: Phew! I tell you, it’s hot with all this stuff on. I better not do any – you know – lunges!
Movie: Spaceballs (1987)
Laugh Attack: Combing the Desert
This is a Mel Brooks movie, so obviously I had a lot of scenes and lines to choose from. But the one scene that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it is when the stormtroopers are out “combing the desert” – with a gigantic Ace comb, of course – and when they’re asked if they’ve found anything yet, the one trooper yells back:
“We ain’t found s***!”
(I think this line has become part of my everyday vocabulary.)
Movie: Back to the Future (1985)
Laugh Attack: Dinner at Lorraine’s
Another top ten favorite of mine. The cast and the writing are perfect, as shown in one of my favorite scenes when Marty has fallen out of the tree and is staying at Lorraine’s (aka Mom’s) house for dinner. The whole exchange between the family and him at the table is just an example of the awesomeness of this movie. Set-up: after they’ve talked about how no one has two television sets and what a rerun is, Marty finally has to leave because his “mom” is grabbing his leg under the table.
Marty: I gotta go, uh, I gotta go. Thanks very much, it was wonderful, you were all great. See you all later, much later.
Stella: He’s a very strange young man.
Sam: He’s an idiot, comes from upbringing, parents were probably idiots too. Lorraine, if you ever have a kid like that, I’ll disown you.
Watch the Scene Here (sorry the video is horrible; it’s the only one I could find)
TV Show: Family Guy
Laugh Attack: The entire episode of Wasted Talent
The episode is a parody of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and every single moment of it is hilarious. If you’re a fan of Willy Wonka, you will LOVE this. It after 12 years, it’s still one of my favorite episodes.
“Chumba Wumba, gobbledy goo. Life isn’t fair, it’s sad but it’s true. Chumba Wumba, gobbledy gee. When you poor legs are stiff as a tree. What do you do when you’re stuck in a chair? Finding it hard to go up and down stairs? What do you think of the one you call God? Isn’t his absence slightly odd? Maybe he’s forgotten you. Chumba Wumba gobbledy gorse. Count yourself lucky, you’re not a horse. They would turn you into dog food. Or to Chumba Wumba gobbledy glue.”
There’s a lot of funny stuff out there, but like I said, sometimes it’s hard to come by. What are some of your favorite funny moments?