Have you ever seen a child fall and then laughed because, well, it was kind of funny? Then you’re probably a jerk. Despite that, laughing is your basic, unrestricted human right and nobody should be scrutinized for it (until the NSA says otherwise, but that’s an entirely different story).
Not everybody’s sense of humor is alike. For that reason, we have sub-genres of comedy, because one comedy does not fit all. Personally, I like a specific type of comedy (no chick flicks — unless Kristen Wiig is in it — or family-friendly films) and my three favorite movies represent this type of comedy. Those movies (in alphabetical order, not in the order of which I like the most) are American Psycho, Forrest Gump, and 50/50; and they each have something in common.
American Psycho is one of the funniest movies ever made. Many people might not like or agree with the fact that this movie is indeed a comedy, but it is the truth. American Psycho is a satire, a parody, a jab (or whatever else you want to call it) at the superficially and materialistically motivated American consumer culture of the late eighties. If you are willing to engage in a little experiment in order to prove the comedic value of the movie, watch the scene where Christen Bale’s character, Patrick Bateman, gives a lecture on “Huey Lewis and The News” while performing this silly, but incredulously believable, little dance number. Pay careful attention to Bale’s facial expressions. Now here’s the catch, I dare you to NOT laugh, don’t even smile at it. It’s almost impossible, even when you factor in the brutal murder he commits right after. This movie pokes fun at everything — life, materialism, murder, pharmaceutical drugs, relationships — and if you don’t find any of the scenes at least a little bit funny, then you’re either taking it too seriously or maybe you just don’t get it, because the only thing not funny about American Psycho is its recent use as a promotional tool for Kanye West’s new album. Now, that was a shame.
Second on my list is Forrest Gump. The one thing Forrest Gump has in common with American Psycho is its ability to comment on such a wide array of topics concerning American life and to do so while making you laugh at things you really shouldn’t be laughing at. If you can recall the scene where Gump offers Lieutenant Dan an ice cream cone, then you might agree that Forrest Gump was a bit on the dark side of humor, seeing how Lieutenant Dan had just lost his legs. My description might not do the humor of the situation any justice, but if you watch the scene, you’ll see the humor in it. Also, the scene where Gump learns of his mother’s impending death is a bit funny (don’t hate me because I laughed), because he responds, “What do you mean, momma?” Now, if you don’t think that’s just a little bit funny, then I don’t know what to tell you. Another notable scene is when Gump prematurely climaxes at the sight of Jenny’s, his one true love, breasts. While this is funny enough, the true hilarity can be found in the facial expression of the roommate. The first time I saw her reaction I laughed so hard that I had to pause the movie just so that I wouldn’t miss any scenes while I caught my breath. While Forrest Gump might be a feel-good comedy (or whatever), one thing is certain: you’ll be laughing at events which would be deemed totally inappropriate to laugh at in real life.
My third favorite comedy movie is 50/50 (and any other film starring Seth Rogan doing what he does best). In my opinion, 50/50 is the most emotional, heart-aching, horrifyingly-true-to-life comedy ever made, and an overall amazing film. As with my last two examples, you may, while watching this film, find yourself laughing at something you would never laugh at in real life, cancer. However, the laughter is not derived from making light of the seriousness of such an illness, but from the reactions to the news of such a serious condition. It’s hard to tell if this makes the humor more or less appropriate, but it’s funny nonetheless. One of my favorite scenes is when Rogan’s character, Kyle reacts to the news of his best friend’s condition by announcing his nausea. Seth Rogan’s unique brand of obscene humor shines brightly in 50/50 because its inappropriateness is in direct contrast to the otherwise solemn mood of the film. Personally, I absolutely love the scene where Kyle catches his best friend’s girlfriend cheating on his bff (who has cancer) and cries out as he captures a picture for evidence, “I f***ing nailed that c**t! Can you believe that?” instantly tainting the integrity of the classy art show he is at. While this is highly immature, it has merit and showcases Kyle’s loyalty and love for his sick friend. If you haven’t seen the movie, do yourself the favor and watch it. You’ll most likely spend the entire duration of the film alternating laughter with attempts to hold back tears.
There you have, three distinctly different movies which will make you laugh at events you might never laugh at in reality. So, the next time you witness a child falling and scraping a knee, don’t feel so bad at the fact that you want to laugh because chances are everyone else might be laughing too. And it’ll probably make the kid a better person in the long run anyway.