Top 10 Controversial Comedy Films

Written by Q.V. Hough These movies stirred the pot in pursuit of some good laughs! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Most Controversial Comedies! But what will make the top spot on our list? Will it be "Borat", "The Interview", or "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut"? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to MikeMJPMUNCH2 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+Ten+Controversial+Comedy+Films
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By challenging the norms of “good taste,” these flicks struck a nerve with the general public. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 controversial comedy movies.

For this list, we’re focusing on popular movies that made people angry, curious or both by pushing the boundaries of what people deemed acceptable.

#10: “Tropic Thunder” (2008)

Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, this comedy places egotistical, fictional actors in a wartime setting. And so, the lines are blurred in “Tropic Thunder,” as the meta conflict becomes real. Disability advocates found the “Simple Jack” character to be highly insensitive, even if it was meant to parody method-acting clichés. In addition, Robert Downey Jr. received heavy criticism, as his contrived character appears in “blackface” – a questionable choice even when one considers the fact that it was intended to further drive home a satirical point. Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, “Tropic Thunder” more than doubled its 92 million dollar budget at the box office.

#9: “The Producers” (1968)

At the time of this film’s release, Mel Brooks was known mostly as the co-creator of “Get Smart.” For his directorial debut, he released a polarizing film with a uniquely controversial sense of humor about two producers who put on an Adolf Hitler musical. Unsurprisingly, “The Producers” started many a conversation - many took issue with the risks Brooks had taken, particularly the ethnic jokes, while others found value in the social commentary. Although Brooks’ film didn’t make a huge splash at the box office, it earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and its legacy has continued to grow, eventually spawning a 2001 Broadway adaptation and a 2005 remake.

#8: “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

For his third feature, Mel Brooks used a popular movie genre to deliver accessible laughs for mainstream viewers. But, not everybody appreciated the in-your-face comedy. Traditionally, a Western film comes with expectations. For “Blazing Saddles,” however, Brooks flipped the script and offered a relentless barrage of situational humor - from its high-octane campfire scene to Mongo’s physical confrontation with a horse, it keeps the audience reeling. Despite the naysayers, “Blazing Saddles” received critical and commercial acclaim. It has since become an iconic American film that some, but not all, herald as a work of comedic genius that was unafraid to challenge and mock the ingrained racism of the western genre.

#7: “Dogma” (1999)

In this Kevin Smith flick, two renegade angels look for a way back to heaven. To do so, they need to bend the rules a bit, thus challenging religious norms. Needless to say, Christian groups protested the film, as “Dogma” pokes fun at religious traditions left and right, including some fundamental concepts like god being infallible. People of faith were so incensed by the film’s blasphemy that Smith reportedly received multiple death threats. While you can argue with the ethics of the film, the cast’s talent is harder to deny, as it included Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock and Salma Hayek among others.

#6: “Pink Flamingos” (1972)

Featuring the so-called “filthiest person alive,” this film originally announced its intentions with a blunt tagline: “an exercise in bad taste.” Using a 10-thousand dollar budget, director John Waters relies less on traditional storytelling and focuses more on inciting reactions from viewers. From beginning to end, “Pink Flamingos” tackles a variety of sensitive subjects, whether it’s violence, sexuality or the climactic scene in which a Drag Queen literally eats dog poop. The film targeted a specific demographic and ultimately achieved cult status given the transgressive style of Waters’ filmmaking, not to mention his unique sense of humor.

#5: “Sausage Party” (2016)

With a story by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Jonah Hill, this film strays about as far as cinematically possible from the animated tradition. “Sausage Party” takes aim at family-friendly studio comedies, featuring a talking sausage that experiences an existential crisis. In other words, Frank discovers the truth about life beyond the supermarket. While a graphic orgy scene and heavy profanity rubbed some viewers the wrong way, it was the pre-production drama that came to light after the film’s release that created real controversy. Details emerged that animators were forced to work overtime without pay under threat of being blacklisted in the industry.

#4: “Team America: World Police” (2004)

It’s hard to imagine 2016’s “Sausage Party” getting made had this film not come along to warm up audiences first. Directed by South Park’s Trey Parker, “Team America” takes aim at macho American patriotism while poking fun at numerous celebrities. The film consists only of puppets, who not only get quite violent but also sexually active too. A particularly graphic sex scene between the hero, Gary Johnston, and his love interest, Lisa Jones earned the movie an NC-17 rating before edits were made to lower it to a more manageable R rating. The film proceeded to entertain and offend many with its crude humor and satirical take on partisan politics.

#3: “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (1999)

Based on the popular Comedy Central series, this film addresses its well-documented censorship issues head-on. In the theatrical adaptation of the TV cartoon, director Trey Parker offers meta-commentary on modern culture, mixing in references to religion, war and parenting, all communicated with blunt humor and foul language, of course. Even Canada becomes a scapegoat, leading to a famous musical number that ultimately received an Oscar nomination for “Best Original Song.” By pushing back on touchy issues, the “Bigger, Longer and Uncut” version of “South Park” naturally received heavy criticism. That being said, it also received mostly positive reviews.

#2: “Borat” (2006)

Starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, this mockumentary investigates how people view the world around them - with hilarious yet controversial results. Many of the subjects criticized “Borat” for its tricky premise, while others found the ethnic characterizations to be offensive. The fish-out-of-water narrative allows Cohen to challenge subjects with his situational comedy, but even some of the scripted events caused a stir, most notably the naked wrestling match between Borat and his producer Azamat. In 2009, Cohen pressed cultural buttons once again with “Brüno,” a film whose stereotypical lead, despite being intended for satirical purposes, failed to connect with many in the LGBTQ community.

#1: “The Interview” (2014)

Like many controversial comedies, this film made headlines for its sociopolitical undertones. But it’s the behind-the-scenes narrative that makes “The Interview” unique within pop culture. It’s based on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a story beat that didn’t go unnoticed by the government. Not only was the release delayed, but a Sony Pictures hack by a group with alleged North Korean ties further added to the drama, forcing producers to cancel theatrical screenings - and forcing President Barack Obama into the narrative as well. And so, “The Interview” incited a real-life international conflict, proving that the world has become more connected than ever before.
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