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Another Top 10 Controversial Comedy Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands

Script written by Michael Wynands

They made a lot of people laugh, but they also made a lot of people angry. From Orgazmo, to The Ringer, to The Dictator, these comedies all managed to stir the pot when they were released. WatchMojo ranks another of the top controversial comedy movies.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+Ten+Controversial+Comedy+Films Special thanks to our user MikeMJPMUNCH2 for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Michael Wynands

Another Top 10 Controversial Comedy Movies

They made people laugh… but not everyone. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Controversial Comedy Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at comedic films that created a stir with their subject matter, or behind-the-scenes drama, prompting public discussion or backlash.

#10: “You Don't Mess with the Zohan” (2008)

For some, this 2008 film was just another mediocre Adam Sandler film. For others, it was comedy touching on far too many politically sensitive issues to be in good taste. Sandler plays Zohanelen "Zohan" Dvir, a legendary counter-terrorist expert from the Israeli Defense Forces who moves to New York City to follow his dream of being a hairdresser. Rob Schneider plays a Palestinian cab driver and would-be terrorist, who’s upset about a lost goat. Meanwhile, Zohan’s ability to bring peace between Palestinians and Israelis was also seen as an insulting oversimplification of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Yeah… you can see where people were getting offended.

#9: “Orgazmo” (1997)

We’re not sure if Matt Stone and Trey Parker have produced anything that hasn’t stirred controversy. In 1997, the creators of “South Park”, “Team America: World Police”, and “The Book of Mormon” released this raunchy sex comedy about a Mormon missionary who winds up working in the porn industry. Its premise alone was enough to offend more conservative cinemagoers and parent groups. Because of the film’s subject matter, the MPAA also awarded it the dreaded NC-17 rating. And though it goes without saying, the religious background of its central character naturally offended people of the Mormon faith.

#8: “The Ringer” (2005)

This film was stuck in development for years and you can understand why. Released at the peak of Johnny Knoxville’s popularity, “The Ringer” sees the backyard daredevil in the role of Steve, a guy who fakes a developmental disability in order to win the Special Olympics. Yikes! Naturally, many people thought the film too controversial to ever make it to theaters, but the producers managed by giving the Special Olympics Committee control over the script in exchange for their endorsement. Despite this endorsement and the inclusion of many developmentally disabled actors in respectful roles, for some, it remained a premise too uncomfortable for comedy.

#7: “Fritz the Cat” (1972)

Nowadays, adult cartoons are commonplace. With the likes of “South Park” and “Rick and Morty” on TV, we’ve learned that cartoons and kid-friendly are far from being synonymous. Such was not the case in the 1970s, and as such, “Fritz the Cat” stirred up some serious controversy. The film took pretty much every aspect of life in the ‘60s to task, and it made viewers and critics uncomfortable, particularly because these challenging adult themes were being tackled by an anthropomorphic cat. Nonetheless, it proved a success at the box office, opening the doors for more adult animated films and series to make their mark.

#6: “Saved!” (2004)

Religion… it’s a tough subject to navigate on film. Trickier still when it's a comedy – even if you get America’s sweetheart Mandy Moore in a leading role. Perhaps it was the contrast of seeing Moore go from a faithful minister’s daughter in “A Walk to Remember” to a Christian school girl wielding faith as her weapon with which to bully her peers. Or maybe it was the film’s general willingness to criticize, but it ultimately got on the bad side of faith-based publications like “Christianity Today”, which took issue with the “lack of balance between hypocritical, judgmental Christians and loving, accepting Christians”.

#5: “Four Lions” (2010)

Where Chris Morris leads, controversy follows. Don’t let the innocent title fool you - “Four Lions” follows a small group of wannabe terrorists who wish to carry out a suicide-bombing mission. To be clear, it’s a satire of extremism, and not the sort of film that’s going to convert any cinemagoers to the cause. But considering the fact that terrorism is at the forefront of international conflict, people were understandably upset that it be made light of – regardless of how well the film actually managed to handle its incendiary subject matter.

#4: “Movie 43” (2013)

Even the way this film managed to stir controversy was weird. Described as the “Citizen Kane of awful”, “Movie 43” features an all-star cast of A and B list celebrities across 14 independent short stories. The problem is, actors were never made aware of the other storylines and the raunchy content with which they would inevitably be connected, albeit indirectly. Actors were convinced, one by one, and over the course of a number of years, to contribute, but when it came together, all of them, feeling duped or simply disinterested, refused to do any promotion. The film, widely described as tasteless and offensive, was panned.

#3: “The Great Dictator” (1940)

When doing a film about a major figure, it’s best to wait until their chapter in history has ended. Charlie Chaplin's takedown of Hitler and fascism, was instead released in 1940, long before the end of WWII and before its horrific legacy was established. To his credit, Chaplin was ahead of the curve – many countries were still technically at peace with Germany in 1940, and so the film’s release sparked controversy and debate. Despite the movie being praised for its bravery, Chaplin would later voice regret for setting a comedy in WWII when the full extent of the atrocities came to light.

#2: “The Dictator” (2012)

Sacha Baron Cohen really made a name for himself as an actor and creator by making people uncomfortable… or downright furious. After the success of the highly controversial “Borat”, and the less impactful, but nonetheless divisive “Brüno”, the Ali G actor followed up with this provocative film, which saw him playing a stereotypical dictator. The film was banned or heavily censored in various Middle Eastern countries. In keeping with his shock comedy approach, Cohen maximized the controversy by promoting the film in character, including a red carpet appearance where he spilled what he claimed where the ashes of Kim Jong-il on Ryan Seacrest.

#1: “Monty Python's Life of Brian” (1979)

Though now considered one of the greatest comedies ever made, in 1979, “Life of Brian” was a religious satire the likes of which the world had never seen, and for which Christianity was not ready. When religious groups protested and called for boycotts, EMI Films pulled their funding, and the movie only got made thanks to Monty Python fan George Harrison stepping in. Bans were put in place and X-ratings established in various areas of the U.K. Other countries, such as Norway and Ireland, banned the film nationwide. Nonetheless, the brilliant satire overcame controversy and succeeded at the box office.

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