Over the past few decades, there have been many controversial comedy films. In fact, that is what a lot of these movies are most known for. Perhaps the creators used controversy as a marketing ploy to get individuals to see the movie. After all, if a group of people tell us not to see a particular film, that only makes it more appealing to us. In a way, it is a clever use of reverse psychology.
Keep in mind, most of the controversial comedy movies on this list are considered to be satire. In other words, they are not meant to be taken seriously. However, that does not stop people from being offended by the slightest things. Another point that should be made is that old school movies that were considered controversial at the time would be very tame by today’s standards. On the flip side, while we do live in a more open-minded society, we are more sensitive than we have ever been. Not to mention, political correctness is very important in today’s world. In our current world, anything about race or religion has to be said in the most articulate way possible.
This list features a couple of creators and directors who managed to be on this list multiple times. Can you name them? They are actually pretty obvious. Some of these controversial comedy movies everyone knows, and some of these films might not be as popular. Without further ado, here are 10 of the most controversial comedy films ever made.
10 Blazing Saddles
This is the first movie directed by Mel Brooks to appear on this list. Blazing Saddles is a 1974 comedy movie starring Gene Wilder. The film is mainly about an African American sheriff who lives in an all white western town. The film is considered to be controversial because of its racial overtones. Ironically, the movie actually makes fun of bigotry. Not only that, it also parodies Hollywood's cinematic portrayal of the old American West. Since this movie came out in 1974, our society wasn't overly politically correct yet, so backlash wasn't as strong. However, if a movie like this came out today, there would undoubtedly be an uproar. From a historical standpoint, it is considered to be one of the greatest comedy movies of all time.
9 Animal House
Animal House is a 1978 comedy film about the infamous fraternity group, Delta Tau Chi House. The fraternity has violated Faber College’s many rules, and the Dean threatens to shut them down until they get their act together. Fun fact: this film turned John Belushi into a superstar. The movie may be mild by today’s standards, but it did cause some controversy at the time. It is one of the most famous comedies of all time, and it actually inspired the gross-out genre in movies. The film is controversial because it had tons of alcoholism and nudity. Not only that, it glorified both alcoholics and slackers.
8 Tropic Thunder
Tropic Thunder is a 2008 comedy film starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black. Like most of the movies on this list, it is a satire comedy. The main criticism of the movie was the way they portrayed mental retardation. Many disability groups were outraged because the word “retard” was uttered multiple times throughout the film. Some people consider that a derogatory term in regards to people with disabilities. The other controversy was that Robert Downey Jr., a Caucasian actor, painted his face black for his role. Like I said before, the movie is considered satire. Some people overreact to anything that is not one hundred percent politically correct.
Bruno is another mockumentary film that stars Sacha Baron Cohen. The movie is about a homosexual journalist named Bruno Gehrard. The film was actually banned in the Ukraine because of both the strong language and the homosexual nature of the film. Not to mention, many LGBT groups reacted to the film negatively because they felt it just confirmed stereotypes of them. On the contrary, critical reception in Austria was more positive. For the record, Sacha Baron Cohen’s character is Austrian. However, some Austrians showed some opposition to the film, particularly the homosexual aspect of it. Despite some of the controversy, this film is definitely more tame that Cohen’s previous film, Borat.
6 Life of Brian
No folks, I am not talking about the notorious Family Guy episode. This is about the movie, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The film came out in 1979, and is mainly about a man who is born on the same day as Jesus Christ. Not only that, he was born next door to Jesus, and the three wise men mistake him to be their lord and savior. This part alone caused a lot of controversy among religious groups. Many people accused the movie of being blasphemous. Despite all of this, the film was an enormous financial success, and it is considered to be one of the greatest comedy movies of all time.
5 South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park is one of the most popular and successful animated television shows of all time. However, it is also one of the most controversial shows too. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker went full out when they made this movie. In fact, the MPAA originally rated it as NC-17, but eventually, they gave it an R rating. The film holds the Guinness World Record for most swear words used in an animated movie. Besides the incessant swearing, the movie also portrayed Satan and Saddam Hussein as a homosexual couple. Not to mention, there were many images of dead soldiers. Sadly, people were actually more offended about the swear words than the other things seen in the movie.
4 The Producers
The Producers is a 1968 comedy film about two men who want to produce the worst Broadway play ever made. The movie is directed by Mel Brooks, who was already known for directing controversial movies. The film features Adolf Hitler, Nazis and jokes about World War II. That said, Jewish people have every right to be offended by this movie. Keep in mind, the film came out only two decades after World War II. The movie may be considered mild by today’s standards, but people back then were much more conservative. Director Mel Brooks is one of the repeat offenders on this list.
3 Team America: World Police
Yet another controversial movie created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The film was set in 2004, and it parodied the United States Government. Similar to The Interview, this movie is also about North Korea, and its dictator Kim Jong Il. Similar to the South Park movie, the MPAA originally rated this film NC-17. Eventually, they removed a few sex scenes to make it an R rating. The creators criticized the MPAA because they were all right with the incessant violence, but overreacted to the sex scenes. Lastly, many celebrities were lampooned in the movie. Some famous people include: Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, George Clooney and Ethan Hawke.
2 The Interview
The Interview is a 2014 comedy film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. In the movie, Rogen and Franco are assigned to go to North Korea to “interview” North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. However, The United States Government instructs them to assassinate the dictator. When the North Korean Government found out about the movie, they threatened the United States. North Koreans were reportedly outraged about the negative portrayal of Kim Jon Un and obviously, the assassination of him too. To be safe, Sony decided to cancel the official release of the film. Eventually, it was made available to rent on the internet on December 24th, 2014.
1 Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat is a 2006 mockumentary film starring Sacha Baron Cohen. The movies stars a Kazakhstani man named Borat Sagdiyev, who travels to the United States in order to learn more about the American culture. The movie is notorious for its anti-semitism, and portraying Romani people in a negative light. That said, the movie is banned in many Arab nations as well. At the time of the film's release, Kazakhstan’s government denounced the film. Borat Sagdiyev is also portrayed as a misogynist, which caused controversy among many feminists. Despite all this, the movie was a financial success.