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The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

Updated September 18, 2020 12.9k votes 1.5k voters 80.9k views120 items

Titans of comedy! These kings of clowning are the best comedy directors ever to make side-splitting movies. This list includes film directors that specialize in hilarious slapstick, comedy-dramas, directing their own work, or just know how to capture perfect comedic timing. The prove comedy may be tough, but they're tougher, earning a spot among the top comedy directors in the entire world of film. 

This list includes frequent Hollywood collaborators like the Farrelly Brothers (known for Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary, among others) and Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, responsible for Airplane!, one of the funniest movies of all time. This list of the funniest directors spans the history of the big screen, starting with Charlie Chaplin, who made his first silent movie in 1921.

Vote up the directors with the most successful comedies under their belts or who just make you laugh the most!

You might also enjoy this list of rom-com directors.

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  • 1
    Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    451
    101

    Mel Brooks

    Age: 93

    Credits (Film)Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Producers (1968)

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    The Producers (1968)
    Blazing Saddles (1974)
    Young Frankenstein (1974)
    Silent Movie (1976)
    History of the World, Pt. 1 (1981)
    Spaceballs (1987)
    Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

  • 2
    Harold Ramis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    325
    93

    Harold Ramis

    Dec. at 70 (1944-2014)

    Credits (Film)Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Caddyshack (1980)
    National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
    Groundhog Day (1993)
    Multiplicity (1996)
    Analyze This (1999)
    Year One (2009)

  • 3
    Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
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    102

    Charlie Chaplin

    Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

    Credits (Film)Modern Times, The Great Dictator, City Lights, The Gold Rush

    BirthplaceWalworth, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

    The Tramp (1915)
    The Kid (1921)
    City Lights (1931)
    Modern Times (1936)
    The Great Dictator (1940)

  • 4
    Terry Jones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    194
    75

    Credits (Film)Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life

    BirthplaceColwyn Bay, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, Wales

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
    Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983)
     

  • 5
    Coen Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

    The Ladykillers (2004)
    Burn After Reading (2008)
    A Serious Man (2009)
    Hail, Caesar! (2016)

  • 6
    John Hughes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    249
    90

    John Hughes

    Dec. at 59 (1950-2009)

    Credits (Film)Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Planes Trains & Automobiles, Weird Science, Uncle Buck

    BirthplaceMichigan, USA, Lansing

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Sixteen Candles (1984)
    The Breakfast Club (1985)
    Weird Science (1985)
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
    Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
    She's Having a Baby (1988)
    Uncle Buck (1989)
    Curly Sue (1991)

  • 7
    Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    220
    76

    Rob Reiner

    Age: 72

    Credits (Film)When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
    The Princess Bride (1987)
    When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
    Rumor Has It... (2005)
    The Bucket List (2007)

  • 8
    Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    170
    70

    Billy Wilder

    Dec. at 96 (1906-2002)

    Credits (Film)Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, The Apartment, The Fortune Cookie

    BirthplaceSucha Beskidzka, Poland

    NationalityUnited States of America, Austria-Hungary

    Sabrina (1954)
    The Seven Year Itch (1955)
    Some Like It Hot (1959)
    One, Two, Three (1961)
    Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)

  • 9
    Edgar Wright is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    297
    91

    Credits (Film)Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

    BirthplacePoole, Eurasia, South West England, United Kingdom, Dorset

    NationalityEngland

    Shaun of the Dead (2004)
    Hot Fuzz (2007)
    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
    The World's End (2013)

  • 10
    David Zucker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    139
    50

    Credits (Film)Airplane!, The Naked Gun, The Naked Gun 2 1/2, BASEketball, Top Secret!

    BirthplaceMilwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Airplane! (1980)
    Top Secret! (1984)
    The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
    The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)
    BASEketball (1998)
    My Boss's Daughter (2003)
     

  • 11
    John Landis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    208
    97

    Credits (Film)Animal House, Trading Places, Coming to America, ¡Three Amigos!, The Blues Brothers

    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
    Animal House (1978)
    The Blues Brothers (1980)
    An American Werewolf in London (1981)
    Trading Places (1983)
    Spies Like Us (1985)
    ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

  • 12
    Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    107
    34

    Buster Keaton

    Dec. at 71 (1895-1966)

    Credits (Film)Sunset Boulevard, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

    BirthplacePiqua, Kansas, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Our Hospitality (1923)
    The Three Ages (1923)
    The Navigator (1924)
    Sherlock Jr. (1924)
    Seven Chances (1925)
    Go West (1925)
    Battling Butler (1926)
    The General (1927)
    Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

  • 13
    Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    149
    43

    Credits (Film)Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Life of Brian

    BirthplaceArea code 218, Minneapolis, Area code 612, United States of America, United States

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

  • 14
    Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    225
    137

    Credits (Film)Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, What's Up Tiger Lily?, Husbands and Wives, Bullets Over Broadway

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)
    Annie Hall (1977)
    Manhattan (1979)
    A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
    The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
    Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
    Husbands and Wives (1992)
    Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
    Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
    Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
    Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
    Match Point (2005)
    Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
    Midnight in Paris (2011)
    To Rome with Love (2012)
    Blue Jasmine (2013)
    Café Society (2016)

  • 15
    Blake Edwards is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    102
    29

    Blake Edwards

    Dec. at 88 (1922-2010)

    Credits (Film)Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, 10, The Return of the Pink Panther

    BirthplaceTulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
    The Pink Panther (1963)
    The Great Race (1965)
    The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
    The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
    Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
    10 (1979)
    S.O.B. (1981)
    Victor Victoria (1982)
    Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
    Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)
    That's Life! (1986)
    Son of the Pink Panther (1993)

  • 16
    Ivan Reitman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    202
    87

    Credits (Film)Ghostbusters, Stripes, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Dave

    BirthplaceKomárno, Slovakia

    NationalityCanada, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia

    Meatballs (1979)
    Stripes (1981)
    Ghostbusters (1984)
    Twins (1988)
    Ghostbusters II (1989)
    Kindergarten Cop (1990)
    Dave (1993)
    Junior (1994)
    Fathers' Day (1997)
    No Strings Attached (2011)

  • 17
    Wes Anderson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    169
    92

    Credits (Film)Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Bottle Rocket (1996)
    Rushmore (1998)
    The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
    The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
    Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
    Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
    Isle of Dogs (2018)

  • 18
    Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    97
    25

    Credits (Film)Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Back to the Future (1985)
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
    Back to the Future Part II (1989)
    Back to the Future Part III (1990)
    Death Becomes Her (1992)
    Forrest Gump (1994)

  • 19
    Mike Judge is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    144
    73

    Mike Judge

    Age: 57

    Credits (Film)Office Space, Idiocracy, Beavis and Butt-head Do America, Extract

    BirthplaceGuayaquil, Ecuador

    NationalityUnited States of America, Ecuador

    Office Space (1999)
    Idiocracy (2006)
    Extract (2009)
     

  • 20
    Frank Capra is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    86
    33

    Frank Capra

    Dec. at 94 (1897-1991)

    Credits (Film)It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

    BirthplaceBisacquino, Italy

    NationalityItaly, United States of America

    It Happened One Night (1934)
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1946)
    You Can't Take It with You (1938)
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

  • 21
    Judd Apatow is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    195
    118

    Credits (Film)The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40, Funny People

    BirthplaceFlushing, New York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
    Knocked Up (2007)
    Funny People (2009)
    This Is 40 (2012)
    Trainwreck (2015)

  • 22
    Adam McKay is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    144
    81

    Adam McKay

    Age: 51

    Credits (Film)Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Eastbound & Down, The Other Guys

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
    Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
    Step Brothers (2008)
    The Other Guys (2010)
    Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

  • 23
    Frank Oz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    108
    45

    Frank Oz

    Age: 75

    Credits (Film)Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Little Shop of Horrors, What About Bob?, Bowfinger

    BirthplaceHereford, England

    NationalityUnited States of America, England

    The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
    Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
    What About Bob? (1991)
    Housesitter (1992)
    In & Out (1997)
    Bowfinger (1999)
    The Stepford Wives (2004)
    Death at a Funeral (2007)

  • 24
    Kevin Smith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History
    213
    142

    Credits (Film)Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

    BirthplaceRed Bank, New Jersey, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Clerks (1994)
    Mallrats (1995)
    Chasing Amy (1997)
    Dogma (1999)
    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
    Clerks II (2006)
    Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

  • 25
    Farrelly brothers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

    Dumb and Dumber (1994)
    Kingpin (1996)
    There's Something About Mary (1998)
    Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
    Shallow Hal (2001)
    Stuck on You (2003)
    Fever Pitch (2005)
    The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
    Hall Pass (2011)
    The Three Stooges (2012)
    Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

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