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The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

Updated September 18, 2020 13.0k votes 1.6k voters 82.4k 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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  • Mel Brooks1
    457
    106

    Mel Brooks

    Age: 94

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

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    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)

  • Harold Ramis2
    326
    94

    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)

  • Charlie Chaplin3
    273
    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)

  • Coen Brothers4

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

  • Terry Jones5
    196
    82

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

    BirthplaceColwyn Bay, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

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

  • John Hughes6
    254
    89

    John Hughes

    Dec. at 59 (1950-2009)

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

    BirthplaceLansing, Michigan, United States of America

    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)

  • Rob Reiner7
    222
    78

    Rob Reiner

    Age: 73

    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)

  • Billy Wilder8
    171
    71

    Billy Wilder

    Dec. at 96 (1906-2002)

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

    BirthplaceEurope, Poland, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Central Europe, Sucha County

    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)

  • Edgar Wright9
    295
    93

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

    BirthplacePoole, United Kingdom

    NationalityEngland

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

  • John Landis10
    212
    96

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

    BirthplaceChicago metropolitan area, Illinois, Chicago, United States of America, United States

    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)

  • Buster Keaton11
    109
    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)

  • David Zucker12
    140
    54

    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)
     

  • Terry Gilliam13
    149
    46

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

    BirthplaceMinneapolis, USA, Minnesota

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

  • Ivan Reitman14
    200
    86

    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)

  • Blake Edwards15
    104
    33

    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)

  • Robert Zemeckis16
    101
    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)

  • Woody Allen17
    223
    139

    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)

  • Wes Anderson18
    166
    93

    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)

  • Mike Judge19
    143
    72

    Mike Judge

    Age: 58

    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)
     

  • Frank Oz20
    113
    45

    Frank Oz

    Age: 76

    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)

  • Judd Apatow21
    201
    119

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

    BirthplaceContiguous United States, New York, United States of America, United States, with Territories

    NationalityUnited States of America

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

  • Kevin Smith22
    218
    137

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

    BirthplaceRed Bank, New Jersey, United States of America

    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)

  • Adam McKay23
    145
    80

    Adam McKay

    Age: 52

    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)

  • Chris Columbus24
    119
    50

    Credits (Film)Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Adventures in Babysitting, Nine Months, Stepmom

    BirthplaceSpangler, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
    Home Alone (1990)
    Only the Lonely (1991)
    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
    Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
    Nine Months (1995)
    I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)

  • Frank Capra25
    83
    36

    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)