Hollywood Comedy Movies – From Charlie Chaplin To Jim Carrey

Comedy movie started long back in the 1900. The first movie to be produced was by Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope of his assistant Fred Ott in Record of a Sneeze. This could also be considered the first to show comedy aspect of the movie.

Comedy films began to appear more during the era of silent films, prior to the 1930s. These comedy movies were originally based on visual humor. The prominent figure that we all know as Charlie Chaplin was one of the famous clown-style actors of the silent era. It was through Charlie Chaplin that the Hollywood comedy movies became famous and soon came the Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

Then in the 1920s came another trend of animated cartoons. They were the most popular Hollywood comedy movies of the time. The several popular characters of that era were Felix the cat, Krazy Kat and Betty Boop. However, the popularity of these movies was hindered due to lack of sound and color.

The end of 1920s, the Hollywood comedy industry marked a change brought about by the introduction of sound into the movies. This has allowed the industry to create dramatic new film styles and use verbal humor. These films were soon replacing silent movies. These films used dialogue of comedians such as the W.C Fields and the Marx Brothers. Charlie Chaplin was the last comedian to have acted in the silent films, and his films during 1930s were devoid of dialogue, although they did employ sound effects.

When the United States entered into World War II, Hollywood movies changed its course to themes related to the conflicts and Hollywood comedy movies portrayed more on military themes. The war era experienced a boom, where restrictions on the traveling made nearly a quarter of the money spent was on attending movies.

In the 1950s, the interest shifted where the TV became the focus of adult social situations on family oriented comedies. During this time the release of Hollywood comedy films declined. The 1960s saw an increasing number of broad, star-packed comedies. In 1970 Hollywood comedy movies reflected the anti-war sentiment, which was prevailing then. Amongst the leading figure of this time were Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. They wrote, directed and appeared in their hilariously funny and witty movies.

In the 1980s the gag based comedy Airplane, a spoof of the previous decade disaster film series was released and Hollywood comedy movies paved its way for more of the same including Top Secret and the Naked Gun film. The popular comedian of this time included Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Jim Carrey, the Canadian actor and a comedian came into Hollywood comedy movies in the late 1980s where he won the role in Damian Lee Canadian skiing comedy, Copper Mountain.

The most popular Hollywood comedy movies were of John Hughes, which includes Ferris Buellers Day Off and Home Alone series of 1990s. The later films focused more to family audience, this was a revival in comedy movies. The spoof comedy movies remain popular till date.

Another development in the Hollywood comedy movies was the use of gross-out humor, which is usually, aimed at younger audience in films like, There is Something about Mary, American Pie and many more. This trend of gross-out movies continued with adult oriented comedies picking up the box office till date.

Different Types of Comedy Movies

It is an undeniable fact that the first movies, which were silent movies, were all comedies. These movies had good happy endings and propagated the theme of good winning over the bad. They placed much emphasis on humor and as such they siphoned great interest among the young and the old alike. With the passage of time, the lighthearted comedies gave way to more important social and political satires.

These movies helped people to understand the prevailing conditions through humor and wit. For example, in the well-liked film, ‘comedy of manners’, much emphasis was based on the manners and mannerisms of the social class. It was highlighted by the witty and catchy dialogues. Swapping gender roles in some films like ‘Tootsie’ also created humor and was adored by the audience.

Spoof or parody deals in making fun of, or dealing in a humorous way the plots and themes of the earlier classic films. They treat the subject by employing a wide sense of sarcasm, mockery, etc about the scenes of the old popular films. It is sometimes found that the audiences enjoy these spoofs better than the original movie! Some of the glaring examples of these sorts of movies are ‘Blazing saddles’, ‘Airplane’, etc.

Black comedies are those movies that deals with subjects that are taboo and are not discussed openly in the society. It also includes subjects like war, death, murder, suicide, etc in a satirical way. Though, it is filled with witty dialogues and fun plots, they are able to make the audience realize their follies in the way they deal with some sensitive topics in the society. Some of the most popular black comedies are, ‘War of the Roses’, ‘Keeping Mum’, etc.

The different genres in comedy include the Action comedy, Comedy horror, Fantasy comedy, Sci-fi comedy and Military comedy.

Best Comedy Movies of All Time

Here are the Best Comedy Movies of All Time! This is my own list I have built over the years, yours may differ, but I believe these are the best comedy movies of all time.

Airplane!
I’m going to start with a quote, “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”

Animal House
John Belushi’s exploding zit will go down in history.

Vacation
Too many things to mention for this one, how about “Honky Lips”.

Caddyshack
Chevy Chase and Bill Murray together create comedy movie magic.

Ghostbusters
Was just talking about this movie the other day with some friends, the Stay-Puft Marsh Mellow Man was one mean ghost.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“Bueller, Bueller, Bueller”. I must have seen this movie 20 times on my beta max player.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High
The synergy between Spicoli and Mr. Hand, you can’t buy tension like that.

The Big Lebowski
Dude, of course this movie is on the list, Jeff Bridges is The Dude!

There’s Something About Mary
Possibly the Farrelly brothers greatest film, it is in contention with Dumb and Dumber.

Dumb and Dumber
Yep, you guessed it, in contention with There’s Something About Mary.

Christmas Vacation
I have to say that Eddie made this movie, Clark was great, but it was Eddie who made it a classic.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
I almost couldn’t believe someone could be so funny when I saw this, I had to see it over and over again.

The Jerk
The Jerk made Steve Martin a comedy icon, this movie will ALWAYS be on the list.

The Hangover
My most current favorite. This movie was being talked about by everyone I know before I saw it. So when I actually did see it I knew exactly what they were talking about, Vegas baby! Maybe the best part – the still pics at the end.