27 voters

The Best Movies About Comedians And Stand-Up Comics

Updated October 4, 2019 120 votes 27 voters17 items

List RulesComedic and dramatic movies featuring stand-up comics and comedians as a profession, no documentaries or stand-up specials.

You would think that the best movies about comedians would be funny but more often than not they can be dramatic, sad, or depressing. That is not to say that they don't have funny moments or even hilarious scenes. A lot of the good movies about comedians are character studies of what it means to pursue a career performing in front of live audiences and the unpredictable nature of it all. Many famous comedic actors and TV stars got their start in stand-up comedy which is probably why a few of these movies are a realistic mix of both funny and sad.

Billy Crystal directed and starred in Mr. Saturday Night which covers the meteoric rise and fall of the fictional comedian, Buddy Young Jr. who got his start as a stand-up comic. Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling is a semi-autobiographical film that was also directed by the star, Richard Pryor. You will also find more traditional biopics on this list such as Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman about the controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. If you are interested in movies about female comics be sure to check out Obvious Child, Punchline with Sally Field and Tom Hanks, or This Is My Life which was written and directed by Nora Ephron. But which of these movies is the best? You get to help decide with your votes.

Vote up the best films that explore what it's like to be a stand-up comic, to break into comedy, and the fame that can follow.

  • The King of Comedy
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    Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

    The King of Comedy is an American black comedy film starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis. Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul D. Zimmerman, the film focuses on themes including celebrity worship and American media culture. 20th Century Fox released The King of Comedy on February 18, 1983 in the United States, though the film was released two months earlier in Iceland. The film began shooting in New York on June 1, 1981 to avoid clashing with a forthcoming writers' strike, and opened the Cannes Film Festival in 1983....  more
    • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Martin Scorsese, Joe Strummer, Sandra Bernhard
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Martin Scorsese
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    #253 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#439 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time#620 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

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  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%

    Joker is a 2019 American crime drama film directed by Todd Phillips, based on the DC Comics character. In 1981, a failed stand-up comedian (Joaquin Phoenix) is driven insane, turning to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City....  more
    • Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy
    • Released: 2019
    • Directed by: Todd Phillips
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  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

    Lenny is a 1974 American biographical film about the comedian Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Julian Barry is based on his play of the same name....  more
    • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Gary Morton, Jan Miner, Kathryn Witt
    • Released: 1974
    • Directed by: Bob Fosse
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  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 55%

    Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling is a 1986 semi-autobiographical film starring Richard Pryor. This was the first and only feature film he directed....  more
    • Actors: Richard Pryor, Debbie Allen, Michael Ironside, Carmen McRae, Art Evans
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Richard Pryor
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    #299 of 314 The Funniest '80s Movies#59 of 92 The Best Movies Directed by the Star#12 of 37 The Best Richard Pryor Movies

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