In the beginning... there was John Landis. When the highly influential director of comedy Made in USA in the late 70s and early 80s joined forces with a comedian of dazzling career, John Belushi, the result was a movie about university high jinks set around a fraternity and with all the necessary ingredients for mayhem.
A young boy arrives at a camp. A loner, the kid will (luckily or unfortunately) be taken under his arm by one of the monitors. Bill Murray played his first starring part in this nutty accident and bikini-packed summer movie. Directed by Ivan Reitman, with whom Murray would later work, among others, on Ghostbusters.
After reaping laughs on Saturday Night Live, the Blues Brothers Aykroyd and Belushi took the leap to film. Jake Blues is released from jail to find his brother waiting for him. It's not long before they're off on a mission as barmy as it is holy. Landis didn't stop at the starring twosome: he also featured big-name artists like Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
Long before Adam Sandler took to the world of golf with Happy Gilmore, Chevy Chase had already dealt with the subject in this film about a shy youngster who works at a sports complex. The boy's meeting with a rich, diehard skirt-chasing player will unleash an endless chain of disasters.
High-school comedy wouldn't have been the same without this low-budget movie that revolutionised the genre and solidly established itself with two sequels. A group of friends determined to lose their virginity will do everything they can to achieve their goal or, at least, to spy on others as they quench their lust.
What is a nerd? A key figure in the history of comedy. From the fuddy-duddy scientist with bottle bottom specs in Monkey Business to the endearing Napoleon Dynamite. Revenge of the Nerds made this character its reason to be, weaving a tale where the class geeks decide to take charge of their own fate.
Genius and figure of American comedy, the actor and director Albert Brooks put his name to this road movie about a comfortably well-off couple who (to shake off their comfort) decide to travel round the USA in a caravan. Brooks better than anyone portrays the middle-classes through characters in the style of Woody Allen or Larry David.
Being a fresher is an absolute nightmare, and even more so if students at the high-school in question put you through an initiation rite. Richard Linklater struck authority into college comedies with this movie of dark humour and endless characters. A hotbed of talented actors, outstanding among whom are Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich.
A limousine chauffeur falls for a woman he drives to the airport. On realising she's forgotten her briefcase, he sets out with a friend to give it back to her. The Farrelly brothers couldn't have made a funnier debut than this flick packed with fluids, frozen snot and an immense Jim Carrey.
Knocked out of the hockey league, Gilmore turns to golf to get money for his Gran. But what happens when an ice-hockey player enters the terribly correct world of golf? Well, balls and clubs turn into weapons. Like in Punch-Drunk Love, Adam Sandler puts on a display of physical humour with a character always ready to explode.
Listening to the 90s hit "What is Love", brothers Doug and Steve Butabi, night birds who still live at home with mummy and daddy, head for the Roxbury, the club that never lets them in. Will Ferrell bagged one of his great hits with this movie of impossible beats (and g-strings) emulating (the worst) of the 90s.
The Anderson-Owen Wilson (screenwriter on this occasion) tandem hit the sky of teen comedy with this movie about a high-flying student of few friends who meets his perfect partner in eccentricity. Rushmore gave rise to another profitable twosome: Anderson and actor Bill Murray.
There's no need for hangovers to turn Las Vegas into their worst nightmare for a group of friends on a stag outing. The drink flows and one of them accidentally kills a striptease dancer. Laughs and blood in equal amounts for the darkest of recent comedies.
Teenage obsession with sex reaches its peak when Jim has his dirty way with a recently made apple tart in American Pie. The scene resumes the misadventures of a group of secondary school students who decide to lose their virginity before graduating, no matter what it takes.
Hangovers and drugs are the perfect excuse for creating chaos, portraying dimwits and coming up with stupid challenges. And none are quite as off the wall as the one proposed in this film about a couple of dopeheads high on grass who set out on a mad search to find their missing car. One of the most cult films in the cycle.
Long before The Hangover, its creator, Todd Philipps, had established himself in the world of buddy and disaster comedies with this film. Josh and Tiffany have been an item for years. When it's time for university, they both go to a different city. Their long-distance relationship could suffer its first upset if the film of Josh with another girl falls into Tiffany's hands.
The head honchos of the fashion world want a prime minister killed for his plans to end child exploitation. To do it, they corrupt Derek Zoolander, the empty-headed model supreme. A Ben Stiller at his peak makes Zoolander to recent comedy what Armani is to fashion.
Rarely has love hit the heights like it does in this film of exquisite movements and lighting. A lonely man who barely keeps his violence under control is persecuted by the owners of a bogus erotic chat line. His lover for a woman he has just met will give him the strength he needs to fight.
The delightfully mad comedy duo (McKay-Ferrell) bring us this movie of retro shades where Ferrell plays a TV presenter who falls head over heels for one of his colleagues. An extravaganza of gags where Ferrell gives free reign to memorable brute sexuality and exaggerated sentimentalism.
Hero or misplaced pupil? The question weighs heavily on Napoleon Dynamite, a secondary student at an Idaho high school with oversized glasses and thoroughly wavy hair who has few friends but an enormous interior world. One of the independent films to have left the greatest mark at Sundance. As comical as it is sweet.
A hugely famous reporter in his native country, Kazakhstan, Borat lands in the USA with the intention of making a documentary on American customs. His eccentricity and ignorance leave no-one untouched. It only took one man, Sacha Baron Cohen, to shake the foundations of diplomacy with a single film.
There has never been a beginning in recent comedy as side-splitting and politically incorrect as Idiocracy. Idiots have taken over the earth. A soldier and a prostitute will be the only ones capable (?) of saving a world from which primary necessities like water and intelligence have disappeared. Pure irreverence, signed by the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head.
Jane seems to have her addiction for joints under control. At least until the day she eats a whole tray of grass cookies and decides to put herself to the test with a variety of tasks to which she'll continue to apply herself as long as the smile stays on her face. If Kristen Wiig is the new queen of comedy, Anna Faris is its princess.
The sensitivity of Greg Mottola (Adventureland) made itself patently obvious in this movie about the end of adolescence. High-school is over and a group of friends are about to go their separate ways. But first they have to fulfill an almost impossible mission: to get the drink for a party they've been invited to by the girls.
Here, the good-natured boyfriend of How I Met Your Mother plays the part of a young guy dumped by his girlfriend, a TV star. He can think of no better idea than to travel to Hawaii, where his ex is enjoying herself with her eccentric new partner. A film with more comedy than romance, made for and to show off Jason Segel.
Dale arrives at his dealer's house to buy some exciting new marihuana called Pineapple Express. What he doesn't expect is to be the only witness of a murder, to forget his grass at the scene of the crime and to take to his heels with his dopeless dealer. Judd Apatow's mark can be seen in the presence of two of his fetish actors: James Franco and Seth Rogen.
And the father of the most recent comedy said "stop laughing". With Funny People, Judd Apatow froze the smiles on people's faces. A long-standing, irritable comedian has to come to terms with his recently diagnosed cancer, while an aspiring humorist does everything he can to become his new best friend.
Four friends travel to Las Vegas to celebrate one of their stag nights. On wakening the next morning they realise they can't remember what happened and that the groom-to-be has disappeared. The goose with the golden eggs, its limited budget bore no relation whatsoever to its massive box-office success.
It's been years since Drew Barrymore grew out of her part as the little girl in E.T. Today someone to be reckoned with, her directorial debut is a tale of teenage love and forced maturity, where wild women's roller-skating competitions join hands with the sensitivity of Barrymore and of the star of her film, an excellent Ellen Page.
The feminine revolution occurred in late 2011, when comedy said "yes, I do" to women's humour. The new queen of comedy Kristin Wiig earned her crown with this movie about friendship, loneliness and love. Wiig traipses out joke after joke, and her supporting actors with John Mad Men Hamm at their head, are never far behind her.