The 12 Most Important ’80s Comedies

Coming to America

Photo: Paramount Pictures

48 Hrs. was Eddie Murphy’s first big-screen foray after turning himself into the featured player on Saturday Night Live. And it was unlike anything we’d seen. He wasn’t just hilarious, but heroic as well. What a concept. Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop are both some of the best comedies of all time, and set high bars for subversive slaying. But are any of those Eddie Murphy’s best? No, even though they contain gratuitous nudity. Murphy’s best has to be Coming to America because of one very important reason: the barber shop, where he played a funnier old Jew than a real old Jew. And that may not even be Eddie’s funniest role in those scenes.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Photo: Universal Pictures

Holy crap, if we’re playing by my rules of whittling down film by film per important comedy player, then I have to choose between Chevy’s two leading-man masterpieces: Fletch and Vacation. And though it pains me more than exercise, I’d have to axe Vacation — which, for the record, is based on a John Hughes short story that he wrote for National Lampoon. Though Vacation may have reached a bigger audience, since we’re ultimately talking about how important things are to me, well, I’m not so sure my brother and I could actually communicate without quoting Fletch. And it’s important that we still talk. You know: family.


Better Off Dead

Revenge of the Nerds

Photo: 20th Century Fox

This one defies the norm of whittling down from other films by huge comedic troupes or stars. But perhaps Curtis Armstrong — aka Charles De Mar, aka Ack Ack Raymond, aka Booger — is the tie that binds. Thanks to Booger, and the tremendously inappropriate tone he set, “Nerds” is not just hilarious, but educational as well. Because I, and many other impressionable and horny lads like me, know a whole lot more about boobs thanks to these nerds. Sure, they illegally rigged amoral secret cameras to display those boobs — and bush, don’t forget bush — but hey, it was the ’80s. Because of such memorable boobs, the world was made safe for Bill Gates and his like, and now we have the capital “I” Internet. Now that’s an important comedy.

The Naked Gun

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

9 to 5


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