Movie studios were still releasing big-budget comedies in 2013, so we had a lot to choose from. Early 2010s comedy movie queen Melissa McCarthy scored twice in 2013 with hits Identify Thief (with Jason Bateman) and The Heat (with Sandra Bullock). 2000s comedy heavyweights Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn teamed up to wreak havoc in The Internship. And Seth Rogen got behind the camera for a big fat Apatow reunion with apocalyptic comedy This Is the End. Far from perfect, but it’s great fun watching a bunch of Hollywood idiots play themselves at the end of the world. Plus, it has Wolf of Wall Street’s Oscar-nominated Jonah Hill! If you’ve ever wanted to see Michael Cera impaled by a lamppost, this is the movie for you.
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The Letterboxd pick: The Grand Budapest Hotel
The candidates: Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, The Interview
The ComedyNerd pick: Neighbors
Hey, we love Wes Anderson but Grand Budapest Hotel is a movie full of whimsy and gentle chuckles, not belly laughs. We’ll include The Interview here because it’s not often a movie comedy can piss off one of the world’s nuttiest dictators. 22 Jump Street is almost as funny as the original, which was pretty damn funny. We’re heading over to the Neighbors, maybe the only movie ever to unlock the comedy potential of Zach Efron.
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The Letterboxd pick: Inside Out
The candidates: Get Hard, Spy, Trainwreck
The ComedyNerd pick: Spy
We’re going to say this once: We love Pixar and all of the Pixar wannabes, but for the purpose of this exercise, we’re not counting kiddie animation. We’re including Get Hard because the pairing of Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell sounds inspired, even if it doesn’t deliver. Trainwreck could win most years, likely a career highlight for Amy Schumer and the movie that got LeBron James Space Jam 2. But our winner is Spy, our pick for the best solo-starring vehicle that Melissa McCarthy has ever had.
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The Letterboxd pick: La La Land
The candidates: Central Intelligence, Bad Moms, Ghostbusters
The ComedyNerd pick: Central Intelligence
OK, Hollywood, your reluctance to release big-screen comedies is going to make it tough from here on out. Fanboys pummeled Ghostbusters for all the wrong reasons: The idea to use Wiig, McKinnon, and McCarthy was fantastic, but the execution was all wrong. Bad Moms used its all-lady cast to better advantage, but we’ll choose Central Intelligence for its realization that The Rock can actually be hilarious. Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart is the funniest big guy/little guy combo since Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny DeVito.
Related: 2016’s ‘Ghostbusters’ Is Still A ‘Ghostbusters’ Movie, Sony
The Letterboxd pick: Lady Bird
The candidates: Thor: Ragnorok, The Big Sick, Girls Trip
The ComedyNerd pick: Girls Trip
Yeah, Thor: Ragnorok is a superhero movie but it’s also funnier than 75% of the movies on this list. The Big Sick deserved its Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay, but it feels more aligned with Lady Bird with its heartfelt, gentle laughs. The 2017 winner is the outrageous Girls Trip, the last box-office blockbuster comedy and a starmaker for Tiffany Haddish.
Related: The 20 Most Insane Things That Happened In 2017
The Letterboxd pick: BlacKkKlansman
The candidates: Eighth Grade, Game Night, The Spy Who Dumped Me
The ComedyNerd pick: Game Night
Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade found laughs in the embarrassments of adolescence. The Spy Who Dumped Me was just OK, but we’re always down for a Kate McKinnon/Mila Kunis team-up. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams take the 2018 crown with this twisty-turner comedy that works as a surprisingly good mystery.
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The Letterboxd pick: Parasite
The candidates: Good Boys, Dolemite is My Name, Booksmart
The ComedyNerd pick: Booksmart
Good Boys is an overlooked gem, a Superbad for sixth-graders. Eddie Murphy made a raunchy, triumphant, and long overdue comeback in Dolemite. But our favorite is Booksmart, a savvy update of teen comedies like Fast Times and Say Anything about two good girls who finally decide to give zero Fs, if only for one night.
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The Letterboxd pick: Soul
The candidates: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Palm Springs, Bill and Ted Face the Music
The ComedyNerd pick: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Bill and Ted is no comedy masterwork, but seeing those guys showing up with the same dopey haircuts made us smile. Andy Samberg gave us another clever twist on Groundhog Day with a streaming comedy that helped get us through the pandemic. But it was Maria Baklova’s Oscar-nominated hilarity that made Borat Subsequent Moviefilm our favorite of 2020.
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The Letterboxd pick: Don’t Look Up
The candidates: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del-Mar, Free Guy, Bad Trip
The ComedyNerd pick: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del-Mar
Tough year for comedies. Bad Trip was a good one for Eric Andre fans, but that was never going to find a mainstream audience. Ryan Reynolds charmed again in Free Guy, a flick that was as much about action as it was about laughs. But Barb and Star gave us what we came for: Jokes, jokes, and more jokes.
Related: 2021 ComedyNerd Cup: Girls5eva, Bowen Yang, and Bo Burnham
The Letterboxd pick: Turning Red
The candidates: Jackass Forever, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
The ComedyNerd pick: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
We’ll keep the list short since most of 2022’s comedies have yet to hit theaters or streaming. If you’re a fan of punches to the groin, Jackass Forever probably kept you in stitches. But we won’t be surprised if Nic Cage’s amazing comeback comedy isn’t the best one of the year when all is said and done.
For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:
Trailer Park Boys: 15 Behind The Scenes Facts
Comedian Garry Shandling Thought His Phones Were Bugged (And He Was Right)
That Time A Renegade Mule Changed Comedy History
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Top image: Lionsgate
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