The best comedy movies 2019: The top 10 funny flicks you can stream in Australia
Got an ailment? Feeling down? They say laughter is the best medicine. These shows prove it.
Laughter is awesome. It decreases stress hormones, gives your abs a mini-workout and increases immune cells. Also, if you're especially good at it, laughter can be an effective means to unexpectedly empty one's own bladder. Fair warning: you'll be doing a fair amount of this as this list is the absolute crème de la crème of comedy. So go and get... uh, streaming...
1. Shaun of the Dead
- Year: 2004
- Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis
Dear squeamish lovers of comedy, you're about to get red on you. One part obvious piss-take of George A. Romero's horror classic and another part unromantic comedy on the run, Shaun of the Dead is the film that put Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on the map. The former is the titular Shaun, a stuck-in-a-rut loser who's recently been given the shaft by his long-suffering girlfriend. The latter is Ed, a loveable, weed-dealing moocher who's anchoring him down. Despite his on-point orangutan impressions, he's not the companion you'd want around when the zombie apocalypse arrives.
It does, of course, and what follows is a mum and ex-girlfriend rescue mission (step-dad: optional) that's extremely tightly written. Case in point: the foreshadowing in Ed's pub crawl line of “we'll have a Bloody Mary first thing, have a bite at the King's Head, have a couple at The Little Princess, stagger back here and BANG! Back at the bar for shots.” Brilliant and hilarious, Shaun of the Dead only gets better with multiple watches.
2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
- Year: 2004
- Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell
The life of a 1970s newsman was characterised by swanky bell bottomed suits, pungent Sex Panther cologne, named testicles and power-moustaches. These great men told whole cities what they needed to know and were kind of a big deal. However, nobody was more important than Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), a filter-less, scotch-swilling chauvinist who found himself on a collision course with equal opportunity and aspiring newswoman Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Despite Ron's best efforts to stay classy, progress triggers an inter-office battle of the sexes that gets out of hand quicker than a boisterous jazz flute performance.
Honestly, this directorial debut of Adam McKay, former head writer for Saturday Night Live and founder of the Upright Citizen's Brigade, is one hell of a first effort. Ferrell improvs incredibly with a supporting cast most notably made up of Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd. Better yet, it's cameos aplenty when a who's who of comedians suit up as rival newsreaders . It's the best no-holds-barred, bring-a-trident street rumble ever committed to film.
- Year: 1980
- Cast: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Julie Hagerty
We know what you're saying. “A spoof disaster movie that was made in 1980 is still worthy of a best comedy list? Surely you can't be serious!” Yes I am. And don't call me Shirley. The nonsensical madness of Airplane! endures as one of the funniest films ever made. You don't have to take my word for it, either – scienticians have done the research and discovered that this movie delivers roughly three laughs a minute. Yep, it out-chuckles every other comedy film on this list.
And how could it not with the deadpan deliveries of Dr Rumack (Leslie Neilson) and the amphetamines-driven advice from ground controller Lloyd Bridges? Not to mention the hilarious misunderstandings of a cockpit crew made up of Roger, Victor and Oveur, plus an inflatable auto-pilot with a manual inflation nozzle on his belt line. Don't delay. Buy a ticket and hop aboard an uproarious laugh-fest filled with quotable lines and bizarre slapstick comedy. The only downside: this isn't a movie about gladiators.
4. Coming to America
- Year: 1988
- Cast: Paul Bates, Eddie Murphy, Garcelle Beauvais, Feather
You know what? There was a time when an Eddie Murphy billing meant wall-to-wall laughs, guaranteed. At the height of his powers, he made Coming to America by reuniting with John Landis, director of the hilarious Trading Places. This time around Murphy slides into the polo boots of African prince Akeem, a monarch who's never tied his shoes (nor wiped his backside) but is rebelling against his arranged marriage. Akeem's father, Mufas -er... James Earl Jones orders his son and his faithful retainer Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to travel to the US to sow some royal oats. Secretly, Akeem decides to go undercover as an average joe in order to meet his own bride. His destination: Queens. Natch.
Murphy playing it straight as an excitable and overly friendly Prince who's navigating the worst part of New York is a comedy goldmine. Highlights include Akeem and Semmi having rude awakenings with the American dating scene and gainful employment. This was also the first movie where Murphy leveraged his talent for disguises and caricature. The end result is pure Sexual Chocolate.
5. Monty Python's Life of Brian
- Year: 1979
- Cast: Terry Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam
Skewering both the good book and Hollywood's Cecil B. DeMille's obsession with epic religious films, Monty Python's Life of Brian is still an all-time classic. Our tale begins in Judea during the year 33 AD and focuses on Roman attempts to bring law and order to a populace obsessed with messiahs, cross-dressing and stoning one another for blasphemy. Amid all of this chaos, Brian Cohen, an unassuming nobody, is swept up into the new-religion madness around him. Before you can say Biggus Dickus (or possibly Incontinentia Buttocks), he's gone from innocent stable boy to suspected agitator on the fast track to Golgotha.
As always, the absurd scripting and impeccable comedic timings of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin carry this whole thing. Key moments include an optimistic crucifixion sing-song, a speech-impaired Pontius Pilate, and a straightforward stoning gone wrong (thanks to a bunch of overzealous men pretending to be women pretending to men).
6. Monty Python's The Holy Grail
- Year: 1975
- Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam
Those nutcase Pythons waste no time in setting the scene for something that's equal parts absurd and amusing – The Holy Grail has, without a doubt, the most side-splitting (and possibly Swedish) opening credits of any film ever. From there you'll get a positively surreal retelling of the legend of King Arthur, filled with violent slapstick moments, anachronistic weirdness and stunt horses made from coconut halves.
Even to this day, The Holy Grail is an incredibly quotable affair. You really need to watch this to understand the cultural touchstones that are the Knights Who Say Ni!, using aimless flatulence or the parentage of hamsters to taunt people, and why multi-limb dismemberment is merely a scratch. By the end you'll also learn to fear rabbits and shall bear witness to the best cop-out plot resolution of all time.
7. National Lampoon's Animal House
- Year: 1978
- Cast: John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon
Behold, the movie that both catapulted director John Landis to the big time and was the catalyst for a hundred other frat comedy movies. Our scene is the 1962 campus of Faber College, PA, and our incredibly unlikely heroes are incoming freshmen Larry "Pinto" Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent "Flounder" Dorfman (Stephen Furst). After finding themselves rejected by the WASP elite Omega fraternity, their Plan B – which is more of a Plan Z – is pledging to Delta. Basically, this fraternity is a wretched hive of nerds and villainy who are out to party hard and repay their so-called betters in the crudest ways possible.
Forget his work on Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, this is the career high for late-great writer/director Harold Ramis. Likewise, John Belushi delivers one of his funniest performances ever as Bluto, a slobbish cross between Harpo Marx and the Cookie Monster. The success rate on gags remains incredibly high in Animal House and there's a reason why it's one of the top grossing comedies of all time and the precursor to romps like Police Academy, Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds. Enrol with confidence today.
8. The Hangover
- Year: 2009
- Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha
A what-happens-in-Vegas bucks party gets completely and utterly out of control, resulting in a desperate race against time (and roofies) to find Doug the groom in 48 hours. The unlikely triumvirate of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis must put their hungover heads together and trace back with what little clues are available. One of them is missing a tooth, there's a naked dude in the boot of their car and somebody locked a tiger in the bathroom of their penthouse suite. Sherlock would be stumped with this one, folks, and this is all assuming their best friend hasn't already been murdered by crystal meth tweakers. (In which case they're shit outta luck.)
Forget the cookie-cut sequels that Old School director Todd Phillips shamelessly spun out after this original. Focus on this almost-perfect nucleus with its well-paced script, hilarious interplay and the best Phil Collins cover by Mike Tyson you're ever likely to hear.
9. Old School
- Year: 2003
- Cast: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven
Director Todd Phillips successfully revived the Animal House formula here with a tale of three 20-somethings trying to recapture their drunkest, stupidest times. Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) decide to trade in responsible adult life for a just-off-campus house that can be converted into a fraternity. Cue: a bunch of potential-pledge kidnappings, parties involving Snoop Dogg and the rediscovering of a party-pig alter-ego called “Frank the Tank”.
Much like its National Lampoon inspiration, the gags here are rooted in the misfit nature of a hodge-podge frat that's comprised of losers, middle-aged burnouts and elderly retirees who shouldn't be KY wrestling with naked girls. True to formula, all the fun draws the attention of an evil Dean of Students who's in need of a merciless pranking. Possibly by calling him a stupid-head from a nearby payphone. Or they could roll him up in carpet and push him off a bridge.
10. Hot Fuzz
- Year: 2007
- Cast: Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Robert Popper
Here's the 411, folks: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the ultimate duo, both on screen as buddy cops and as a pair of incredibly talented co-writers. This time around they mercilessly take the piss out of big budget Hollywood action films by setting one in the leafy, boring village of Sandford. Newly assigned Constable Nicholas Angel (Pegg) can't shake off his workaholic Londoner ways and sees criminal conspiracies at every turn. Hoping to get to the bottom of... probably nothing at all, he enlists the “help” of bumbling local cop Danny Butterman (Frost).
Like in their last film, Shaun of the Dead, Pegg and Frost waste no scene or line in this tightly crafted murder mystery (trust me, the amount of foreshadowing here is insane). Likewise, the interplay between the tightly wound Angel and his Bad Boys-obsessed sidekick is incredibly one-liner rich. Hot Fuzz is basically a Where's Wally of top Brit comedians, too, which makes this film extra arresting.
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