10 Glasgow Comedy Festival comedians pick their favourite films
Which funny films make the comics laugh the hardest? We asked some to find out
With the Glasgow International Comedy Festival just around the corner, Brian Donaldson caught up with 10 comedians and asked each of them what they favourite big screen comedies were.
Hardeep Singh Kohli – Annie Hall
There is something about Annie Hall (1977) that is beyond exquisite. Woody Allen re-wrote the rules about romantic comedies with this movie. It's tragic, beautiful, postmodern and simply very, very funny. Some may argue that there are funnier films in terms of pure comedy. I would argue that comedy based on reality, such as Annie Hall, is the sort of comedy you carry with you forever. There is no more insightful, more heart-breaking, funnier scene than the ‘lobster’ moment.
Òran Mór, Glasgow, Fri 13 Mar.
Mark Nelson – Blazing Saddles
My favourite comedy film of all time is Blazing Saddles (1974). My granddad first showed me it when I was about 12 and I had no idea what half the jokes were about. I did however find the farting campfire scene the funniest thing in the world. Since then I have grown to love the film which at the time really pushed boundaries in terms of jokes. And at 34, I still think the fart scene is the funniest thing in the world.
The Stand, Glasgow, Sat 14 Mar.
Scott Agnew – Smokey and the Bandit Part 3
For me, it’s Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983). Yes, you read that correctly, the third instalment of the Bandit series that hardly has the Bandit / Burt Reynolds in it. The whole movie focuses on the Smokey, played by one of my comedy heroes, Jackie Gleason (sitcoms and The Simpsons probably wouldn't exist without him). In itself, it's a terrible movie, but it showcases Gleason's acting and comedic talent. His bullying, overbearing way with his onscreen son, Junior, is hilarious viewing and endlessly quotable.
State Bar, Glasgow, Sat 14 Mar.
Julia Sutherland – Withnail and I
My favourite comedy film of all time is Withnail and I (1987): hands down. I must have watched it a hundred times, and I normally can't watch a film more than once. It's so beautifully written and endlessly quotable; despite the plot sounding like a Carry On-style farce, the actual tone of the film is gloriously bleak, which really appeals to me. Paul McGann adds to the melancholy perfectly, Richard E Grant is phenomenal and the late, great Richard Griffiths gave a hilarious yet touching performance. Oh, and it's also got its own drinking game …
Yesbar, Glasgow, Fri 20 Mar.
Craig Hill – What's Up, Doc?
My all-time favourite comedy film is the 1972 classic, What’s Up, Doc? It’s about a sharp, smart, wise-cracking cookie American girl who accidentally creates trouble wherever she goes. There are four identical suitcases in the same hotel all being pursued by someone and the mix-up results in comic chaos. A slapstick comedy crammed full of great ideas, executed brilliantly and an absolute lesson in editing and writing comedy. It seems like every device to make people laugh is being used to the point where the whole film is almost about comic timing.
Òran Mór, Glasgow, Fri 20 & Sat 21 Mar.
Liam Williams – Four Lions
Naming my favourite comedy film is as difficult as naming my favourite song, but right now mood and circumstance incline me to give props to Four Lions, the 2010 Chris Morris film about a band of inept suicide bombers. All religions should be subject to mockery, but simple goading gets boring very quickly. That’s not true of Four Lions. Its characters are human. It maintains a patient respect for them even as it shows their fundamentalism to be ridiculous. Morris himself said that it’s more satisfying to sit with your satirical target for a while, and not just to go ‘you’re an arsehole, you’re an arsehole and you’re an arsehole’.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Sun 22 Mar.
Andrew Doyle – Clue
I suppose my fondness for Clue (1985) is sentimental. I watched it when I was seven years old and adored it. Then a few years ago a friend of mine held a ‘Tim Curry curry night’. We started with Clue and it still made me laugh. Farce is so difficult to pull off, but this one works. Madeline Kahn is hilarious as ever (especially her reputedly improvised speech in the last of the film’s three endings), Eileen Brennan is perfectly cast as the gauche and flustered Mrs Peacock, and if you do not understand the importance of Tim Curry then you are clearly beyond redemption.
Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow, Fri 27 Mar.
Viv Gee – The Blues Brothers
I have to say The Blues Brothers (1980). I loved the deadpan of Jake and Elwood. It was worth watching just for the scene where they cause the KKK [editor: Illinios Nazis 'I hate Illinios Nazis'] to jump off the bridge. Then there’s the moment when they arrive in Chicago to play their concert: they've travelled 106 miles, with a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes in the dark and wearing sunglasses, they rush onto the stage and the whole audience just stares at them. I felt like that in Berwick-upon-Tweed once.
Yesbar, Glasgow, Fri 27 Mar.
Bob Slayer – Killer Bitch
My favourite film has to be Killer Bitch (2010). I say 'has to be' because although it's a truly terrible film it's the only one that I am in! The idea behind it was a pretty good one: Collect together a whole bunch of cult figures in one film and maybe their combined worth would make up for not having a real star. So you have a cast that includes UK bareknuckle boxing champion Stormin' Norman Buckland, celebrity gangster Dave Courtney, Mr Nice aka Howard Marks and a lady dubbed the Black Widow due to the fact she killed three of her husbands in order to claim the life insurance. I snuck in as an assassin along with a Japanese band I managed. Unfortunately no one checked to see if any of this cast of idiots could actually act.
The Griffin, Glasgow, Fri 27--Sat 29 Mar.
Mark Thomas – The Blues Brothers
It depends what mood I am in: it could be The Blues Brothers. Belushi was at his prime and it has James Brown, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin in it. Put that with a car chase that is so ridiculous it’s stunning and the quotable lines, and yeah, it's in the top five. (read Mark Thomas' extended answer)
Mark Thomas played Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 10--Thu 12 Feb.