15 Great Comedies That You Probably Haven’t Seen

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Though not as much in recent years, comedy has typically been a huge draw at the box office. Some—if not most—of the highest-grossing films of all time have comedy elements. The numbers from The Avengers to Furious 7 to Minions prove that comedy is a major player with movie-going audiences. 

With these big tent-pole films replacing traditional comedy in many audiences’ minds, it can be easy to see how some great comedies can slip through the cracks. This list looks at some of the best comedies you may have overlooked. From old favorites to hidden gems to recent releases, these laugh-a-minute romps will indeed have you splitting your sides with laughter!

1. Freddie Got Fingered (2001)

Photo Credit: New Regency Productions.

Riding off of the success of the eponymous Tom Green Show, actor/comedian Tom Green was given $20 million by 20th Century Fox to write and direct a gross-out comedy in the style of the Farrelly Brothers. Instead, they got a singular and strange comedy about Gordy (Tom Green), a man in arrested development, traveling across the country to try and get his cartoon produced by a major animation company. Though panned by critics and audiences at the time of its release, the film has aged exceptionally well, playing now like a parody of the comedies Adam Sandler was making around the same time. Crass and crude, this thing has plenty of laughs for those who can handle its childish humor.

2. Joe’s Apartment (1999)

Photo Credit: Geffen Pictures.

Produced by MTV, this live-action/stop-motion hybrid follows the titular Joe (Jerry O’Connell) as he settles into his new apartment after making the long trek from Iowa to New York. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that he’s become roommates with an army of walking, talking, and singing roaches. As unpleasant as this may sound, the film makes you root for the roaches, who slowly learn to befriend their new human roommate. On top of being hilarious, the film offers several showstopping stop-motion musical numbers, as well as an incredible lead performance from Jerry O’Connell. Check this one out!

3. Monkeybone (2001)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Riding high off of the success of his 1993 masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas, Henry Selick decided to use his cache on this body-horror-comedy about a cartoonist named Stu (Brendan Frasier) who’s sent to purgatory after being killed in a car accident. Once there, however, he realizes he’s become part of a conspiracy formulated by his cartoon creation, Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro), to take Stu’s life. Crass and clever in equal measure, this underseen gem from the great Henry Selick is well worth seeking out.

4. Freaked (1993)

Photo Credit: Chiodo Brothers Productions.

Alex Winter—of Bill & Ted fame—writes, directs, and stars in this dark comedy about an actor’s transformation into a mutant freak after getting trapped in a circus by a deranged carnival barker. Filled with excellent practical effects and more jokes per minute than any comedy you’ve seen, this vanity project is worth seeking out if you can tune your mental radio to match this film’s bizarro frequencies.

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5. Observe and Report (2009)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This dark comedy, written and directed by Seth Rogen and collaborator Jody Hill, stars the former as a disgruntled mall cop who will stop at nothing to bring a flasher to justice. Filled with hilarious supporting performances from comedians including Anna Faris, Michael Pena, and Danny McBride, this film was unfairly dismissed at its release due to the release of the similarly plotted and relatively light-hearted Kevin James movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Over one decade removed from its original release, this plays like a razor-sharp satire of socially maladjusted young men.

6. Stuck on You (2003) 

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

The Farrelly Brothers’ high-concept comedy follows two brothers, Bob and Walt Tenor (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear), who have been conjoined since birth. Problems arise, however, when Cher invites them to her television show in the hopes of getting it canceled, only to find that the opposite occurs. A surprisingly tender film about the nature of brotherly love, this slapstick comedy is worth the price of admission. 

7. Very Bad Things (1998)

Photo Credit: Initial Entertainment Group.

This dark comedy follows a group of men traveling to Las Vegas for a bachelor party when one of them accidentally kills a sex worker. Hilarious and horrific in equal measure, this film plays, in hindsight, like a vicious critique of the dude-bro culture that would arise on websites like Reddit. Some may call it tasteless, but you may call it entertainment.

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8. Cabin Boy (1994)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

After the rousing success of their Fox show Get a Life, comedians Adam Resnick and Chris Elliott crafted a rousing epic comedy that paid tribute to 1930s adventure films and the Saturday morning cartoons of their youth. The film follows an annoying young sailor’s journey after boarding the wrong ship. Full of dazzling action sequences and beautiful special effects, this thrill ride still packs a punch thirty years later.

9. Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Photo Credit: Star Thrower Entertainment.

Aubrey Plaza’s first starring film post-Parks and Recreation, this comedy follows a woman’s journey to becoming an Instagram influencer after her mother’s death. Like some other films on this list, this one only gets better with age as modern social media culture satire becomes even more prescient with each passing day.

10. Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films.

This Zak Efron and Robert DeNiro two-hander follows an uptight lawyer who drives his grandfather to Florida for Spring Break. The film harkens back to classic 80s sex comedies like Porky’s and Screwballs. It’s an old-school comedy for the modern age.

11. Death to Smoochy (2002)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

This big-budget romp, directed by Danny DeVito, follows a children’s performer named Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams), who gets fired and replaced by wannabe children’s performer Smoochy (Edward Norton). As the latter rises to superstardom, the former attempts to assassinate him and reclaim his rightful place as the king of children’s TV. Beautifully directed by DeVito, this film proves that even the most absurd comedic premises can be well-crafted.

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12. Monkey Business (1952)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Howard Hawks’ screwball comedy follows Dr. Barnaby Fulton (Cary Grant), who’s developing a serum that will prevent aging. After an accident in the lab, Barnaby and his wife, Edwina (Ginger Rogers), begin acting like children as calamity ensues around them. An underrated gem by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. This also marks one of Marilyn Monroe’s earliest film roles.

13. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka! (1988) 

Photo Credit: United Artists.

The Wayans Brothers’ parody of the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s follows Jack Spade (Keenan Ivory Wayans), an army veteran who declares a one-man war on Mr. Big (John Vernon) after finding his brother dead of a gold-chain overdose. It’s a gag-a-minute joke machine that never lets up until the film’s closing credits. As an aside, this film would get The Wayans Brothers the job of creating the iconic In Living Color.

14. Get Crazy! (1983) 

Photo Credit: D & P Productions.

Maybe the most jokes anyone’s ever attempted to cram into one movie, this musical epic follows a concert promoter’s attempt to throw the biggest concert of all time to save a community theater.  Hilarious stuff!

15. Top Secret! (1984)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Hot off the success of 1980’s Airplane!, the team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker decided to make this goofy World War II-set comedy about an American rock singer who travels to East Germany to fight for an underground resistance movement. Featuring some of the most surreal gags in any mainstream film, this rip-roaring comedy will satisfy any fans of Airplane or The Naked Gun. 

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