Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets in Comedies That Make the Movie Funnier
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
And you thought these films couldn't get any funnier! For this list, we're looking at real-life filming details that add to our overall enjoyment of the movie moments in question. Our countdown includes “The 40-Year Old Virgin”, "Bridesmaids", "Meet the Fockers", and more!
Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets in Comedies That Make the Movie Funnier
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets in Comedies That Make the Movie Funnier.
For this list, we’re looking at real-life filming details that add to our overall enjoyment of the movie moments in question.
Which of these gave YOU a good chuckle? Tell us in the comments!
#10: Steve Carell Actually Got His Chest Waxed
“The 40-Year Old Virgin” (2005)
Steve Carrell outdid himself with this scene - one of the most hilarious and memorable of his career. Watching Andy get his mane of chest hair painfully removed is nothing short of comedic gold. Carell’s performance is absolutely masterful … because, of course, it was 100% real! The only person he has to blame for the anguish he experienced is himself, as he was the one who insisted they use his real chest hair. Director Judd Apatow shot the scene in one take using five cameras, so the reactions you see on screen are entirely genuine. It would appear that the old adage “great art comes from great pain” is legit.
#9: Jeremy Renner Broke Both His Arms During a Stunt
Acting can be a tough gig, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Just ask Jeremy Renner, who broke both his arms while performing a stunt for the movie “Tag”. The stunt required Renner to fall with a stack of 20-foot-high chairs, ultimately landing safely on the ground. The problem? Renner fell but the rigging failed. With their star seriously banged up, the production had to get creative. So they outfitted Renner with a pair of green screen sleeves to cover his casts and added a set of computer-generated arms in post-production. So for part of the movie, Renner’s arms aren’t even his own!
#8: Four Murray Brothers, One Movie
Working with family can be a tricky endeavor – especially on a film. However, when said family members have this many acting credits between them, it can definitely make the job more manageable. Such was the case for Bill Murray who, along with his three brothers Brian Doyle-Murray, Joel Murray, and John Murray, appeared in the 1988 Christmas comedy, “Scrooged”. In the film, Brian plays Bill’s father (in a flashback), John plays his brother (no surprise there), and Joel plays a guest at a party. Now that’s what we’d call a family affair!
#7: Fake New York City
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)
Director Edgar Wright is known for cramming his highly stylized films with mountains of Easter eggs, inside jokes, and pop culture references. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is no exception and features a great film industry gag that likely flew over the heads of most viewers. The film, which takes place in Toronto, was actually shot there – making it somewhat of a rarity, as many films shot in Toronto use it as a stand-in for New York City. Wright references this fact during Scott’s fight with Lucas Lee; having Scott fly through a fake New York City backdrop only to reveal the city of Toronto on the other side. Our hats go off to anyone who noticed this on their first viewing.
#6: Fear of Roller Coasters
“Knocked Up” (2007)
“Knocked Up” opens with the ultimate “dude” montage. Seth Rogan and co. smoke, stage boxing matches, have dance-offs, and ride roller coasters. The latter proved particularly difficult for actor Jay Baruchel, who is deathly afraid of roller coasters. Before shooting began, he told director Judd Apatow he would appear nude in a later scene if he didn’t have to go on the ride. Apatow initially agreed, but later reneged on his promise, forcing Baruchel to join his co-stars on the roller coaster. Something tells us Jay Baruchel didn’t have to work very hard to achieve the look of pure terror he sports in the scene.
#5: The Fake McDonald’s Scene Was Shot in a Wendy's
“Coming to America” (1988)
This film sees Eddie Murphy playing an African prince who travels to America in search of love. All told he plays four different characters in the film, something he’d continue to do for many years thereafter. A running joke throughout the film is that Murphy’s character works at a clear-cut McDonalds rip-off called McDowell’s. Apparently McDonald’s didn’t have a problem with the joke, but in the end all of the McDowell's scenes were shot inside of a Wendy’s restaurant. The irony of passing off a disused Wendy’s as a McDonald’s copycat certainly makes
“Coming to America” a heck of a lot funnier.
#4: The Spaghetti Scene Was Shot Twice
In this classic Christmas comedy Will Ferrell plays an elf who travels to New York City in search of his father. The film goes to great lengths to demonstrate how little Buddy knows of the real world, with the scene in which he eats a disgusting mixture of spaghetti, maple syrup and candy for breakfast, perfectly illustrating his fish-out-of-water status. It turns out that the concoction tasted just as gross as it looked; Will Ferrell was forced to shoot the scene twice after having thrown up on the first attempt. We said it before and we’ll say it again, acting can be a tough gig.
#3: Melissa McCarthy Intentionally Dressed Like Guy Fieri
While she’d been in the industry for years prior to its release, “Bridesmaids” was unquestionably Melissa McCarthy’s breakout role. She even received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Pretty impressive for a character who dresses like Guy Fieri. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, McCarthy quipped that she modelled her character’s appearance after the celebrity chef, going so far as to try and “convince them to let me wear short, white, spiky hair.” While this didn’t come to fruition, you can spot McCarthy’s character wearing the oversized, short-sleeved dress shirts Fieri is known for, and copying his habit of wearing his sunglasses on the back of his head.
#2: Ed Helms Has a Fake Tooth
“The Hangover” (2009)
Waking up with a nasty hangover is never easy but waking up with a nasty hangover AND a missing tooth would be downright terrifying. Such was the case for Ed Helms’ character in “The Hangover”, who awoke minus an incisor. Well, it turns out that no CGI was needed for this particular scene, as Ed Helms was actually born without that tooth. He received a dental implant in his teens and was able to remove it in order to shoot the scene in question. Who would have thought that the ability to remove a tooth on command would come in handy?
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions:
Hugh Grant & Colin Firth’s Fight Scene Was Improvised, “Bridget Jones's Diary” (2001)
This Totally Explains Their Lack of Coordination
Mistakenly Repeated Line, “Zoolander” (2001)
Kudos to David Duchovny for Rolling with this One
The Catalina Wine Mixer Is a Real Thing, “Step Brothers” (2008)
The Film Inspired the Event, Which Has Been Going Strong Since 2015
The Film Inspired a Toilet-Training Tool for Cats, “Meet the Parents” (2000)
We Hope Mr. Jinx Got Royalties for That
Every Word Was Scripted,“The Big Lebowski” (1998)
Every “Man” & “Dude” Was in the Script
#1: Focker Is a Real Name
“Meet the Fockers” (2004)
One of the funniest parts of “Meet the Parents” was Greg’s unusual family name. So naturally it was used as a major selling point for the sequel, even landing in the title. However, this proved more difficult than the filmmakers had anticipated. In order to use the name, the MPAA (the organization in charge of film ratings) requested that they prove “Focker” was a real last name. Well, it turns out Focker is a real name shared by a number of families (primarily in Canada). To celebrate this fact, the studio decided to hold a “Focker Family Reunion” contest, with 25 Fockers receiving an all-expenses paid trip to Universal Studios in Florida. Some Fockers have all the luck.