What’s better than one really funny person in a movie? Two really funny people in a movie! Specifically, comedy duos. There has been many a comedy movie built around duos, oftentimes in a series of films. Back in the day, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby made a career out of their act across their “Road to…” series. We have compiled a list of the funniest comedy film duos in history. These films have to be in some way a two-hander. It can’t just be two really funny performances in the same movie. It also can’t be part of a larger ensemble than just the two stars. Sorry, “Ghostbusters,” “The Hangover,” and other such films. Let’s get to our favorite funny twosomes!
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby
Let’s start with the two names we already mentioned. Hope and Crosby traveled the globe for a series of movies that saw them (and usually Dorothy Lamour) getting into scrapes and adventures. Hope is thought of as a comedian (and Oscars host), of course, but Crosby kept up every step of the way, be it in Morocco, Bali, or another locale.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
During World War II, the duo of Abbott and Costello were the most popular entertainers in the world. They are the ones who popularized the “Who’s on First?” bit. They met Frankenstein, the Mummy, and The Invisible Man. Their films were often a bit silly, especially later on, but they have their fun moments.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
The classic comedic dynamic is the wacky character and the straight counterpart. In the Rat Pack, Martin was more of the wacky side, often playing a lush who was always half in the bag. However, when he was combining forces with the rubber-faced, ludicrous energy of Lewis, he had no choice but to play it straight. If not for Martin, Lewis’s antics could have gotten too excessive.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
One of the earliest duos to find success, Laurel and Hardy were a study in contrasts in many ways. They began working as a duo on-screen so early their first films were all silent shorts. However, their career carried on for decades, delighting fans of slapstick humor and helping to bring the comedy duo as a concept to the big screen.
Rob Brydon and Steven Coogan
When they made a biopic of Laurel and Hardy, Coogan played Stan Laurel. He has his own double act in films going, though. He and his friend Rob Brydon have made a few movies where they play skewed, heightened versions of themselves on various trips. Mostly they bicker and do impressions. If you are a fan of Michael Caine impressions, no duo is better for you than Brydon and Coogan.
Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong
Is their style of humor for everybody? It’s safe to say it isn’t, but when it comes to stoner comedy, Cheech and Chong are the godfathers and the vanguards. They made several movies together, and while they aren’t all good, they have been staples for a certain audience that loved this combo. Their legacy has definitely not gone…up in smoke.
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor
They didn’t work together in “Blazing Saddles,” though that was the original plan (and Pryor wrote on the script). However, Wilder and Pryor still made a few comedies together. Both guys were high energy but in different ways. If you wanted an actor who could build to a high-strung freakout, you hired Wilder. If you wanted a fast-talking wise guy who could wind him up, you hired Pryor.
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey
Granted, this is based on only two movies, but they are decided popular movies so we definitely had to include them. Myers and Carvey brought their “Saturday Night Live” characters, Wayne and Garth, to the big screen for “Wayne’s World” and its sequel. They are the two best “SNL” films, and that’s something that is not likely to change. Wayne and Garth’s dynamic was vital to the success of the movies. We’re not worthy, indeed.
David Spade and Chris Farley
Farley and Spade were kind of like a Gen X version of Laurel and Hardy, and not just due to body type. The energy of these two performers couldn’t have been any different. Spade is all deadpan snark. There wasn’t a pratfall Farley wasn’t willing to take in order to try and get a laugh. The combo worked wonders in “Tommy Boy,” and “Black Sheep” is not without its moments. When a duo is so successful they get to reunite for a movie that isn’t a sequel it’s hard not to include them.
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter
Excellent! Reeves and Winter would have made this list a couple of years ago off the strength of the first two Bill and Ted movies. Then, they reunited 20 years later to make “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Despite the long delay, the movie turned out pretty well, and it seemed like the two were having fun, which made it fun to watch.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
This one is only for the kids of the ‘90s, because if you were older than that then, or not really old enough to watch TV or movies yet, you missed out on the Olsen Twins’ reign. For a generation, though, they churned out movies that saw the sisters getting in safe, family-friendly adventures. They tried their hand at aging up their fare a bit with “New York Minute,” but it didn’t quite hit, and soon after both sisters would be retired from acting.
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell
This is a movie list, so we can’t really consider “Kenan & Kel” too much. It’s really just about “Good Burger,” but they had honed their act working together on TV for years. “Good Burger” is better than it has any right to be. This is a bit of a shout out to the ‘90s kids again, to be fair, but also a choice born out of the fact that probably unsurprisingly, Hollywood has given us a lot of comedy duos that are two white guys, and we wanted some diversity for this list.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Speaking of two people who aren’t white guys, Fey and Poehler have tremendous chemistry together. They get people interested in watching the Golden Globes! They are both in “Mean Girls,” though their dynamic is not on display there. However, you can see it in action in both “Baby Mama” and “Sisters.”
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
We will forgive them for “Holmes & Watson.” Not every comedy can be a hit. They gave us “Step Brothers” and “Talladega Nights.” Ferrell is arguably the biggest comedy movie star of his generation. Reilly is a great dramatic actor, but he likes to get silly as well clearly. They both excel at going all out, which in their best moments leaves moviegoers rolling in the aisles.
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
This is, of course, based on the dynamic between Chas Tenenbaum and Eli Cash in the searing family dramedy “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Or, you know, not. While that’s a great movie, it doesn’t really fall into the comedy duo category. On the other hand, there’s “Zoolander” and “Starsky & Hutch.” Wilson also pops up in the “Night at the Museum” movies to have fun with the duo’s dynamic. Let’s just try and forget “Zoolander 2” happened.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
Pegg and Frost began working together on the cult British sitcom “Spaced.” Then, Pegg and director Edgar Wright broke into the mainstream with “Shaun of the Dead,” which was the first Pegg and Frost project. From there, they made “Hot Fuzz” and “End of the World.” In recent years, they’ve done less work together, but they did reunite to make the alien comedy “Paul.”
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau
This is a dynamic that spanned generations. In the ‘60s they were making films like “The Odd Couple” and “The Fortune Cookie.” Then, in the ‘90s, they ended their career-making comedies together like “Grumpy Old Men” and “Out to Sea.” They worked together one last time in 1998, fittingly making “The Odd Couple II.”
Lucille Ball and Bob Hope
That’s right, Hope is doing double duty on this list. It’s not so much about him as it is wanting to get a comedy legend like Ball on here as well. While she’s mostly affiliated with her former husband Desi Arnaz – and they did make one movie together – Ball actually made more comedy films with Hope than the man who brought Ricky Ricardo to life. Are they necessarily famous comedies? No, but they were two legends doing a double act that is one for the comedy lovers to check out.
Dıck Powell and Myrna Loy
You would think there would be more characters who are married couples that are successful double acts. And yet, we have to go back to the ‘30s for Powell and Loy. The two starred as Nick and Nora Charles in the “Thin Man” series of films. These mystery movies are built on the chemistry between Powell and Loy. Nick and Nora and fun and playful, and they keep the energy up between the murder mystery beats.
John Cho and Kal Penn
In a way, Cho and Penn are their generations Cheech and Chong. Well, in terms of starring in a series of stoner comedies. Their acting skills are a little more eclectic and impressive than Cheech and Chong. Well, Chong at least. Cheech has done some good stuff! Anyway, we’re getting distracted from shouting out Harold and Kumar, who went from wanting to go to White Castle to doing so much more, usually with Neil Patrick Harris in tow.
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock
Yes, this is based on one film, but again, female duos haven’t gotten as many chances to repeat themselves on the screen. Also, some of those films aren’t very good. “The Heat,” though, is definitely good, and it’s built entirely on the comedy double act of Bullock and McCarthy. It’s a classic buddy cop situation. Bullock is straight-laced. McCarthy is brash and plays by her own rules. We wouldn’t mind a sequel in the slightest.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
Wiig and Mumolo co-wrote “Bridesmaids” together, which is a classic ensemble comedy. They also have one really funny scene together on an airplane. The writing of “Bridesmaids” is a little bit of why we are including them. They have now also starred in a new film called “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” If it’s successful, we expect to see more Wiig and Mumolo comedies.
Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
This is based effectively on one film, “His Girl Friday.” However, Grant and Russell have maybe the best dynamic of any comedy duo in a movie in that one. “His Girl Friday” remains an all-time great comedy and the epitome of the screwball comedy. Grant was a master of that genre, but Russell more than keeps her own. If the Oscars liked to reward comedies, she would have won for this film. If you want to see what a comedy duo can do when firing on all cylinders, watch “His Girl Friday.”
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne
As we said, Grant was something of the king of the screwball comedy. Dunne, though, may have been the queen. A five-time Oscar nominee for Best Actress, Dunne and Grant worked together in two classic screwball comedies: “The Awful Truth” and “My Favorite Wife.” Dunne was nominated for an Oscar for the former.
Ice Cube and Chris Tucker
Maybe you would include Tucker and Jackie Chan as a comedy duo for the “Rush Hour” films. Well, we aren’t a big fan of those movies. Instead, let’s shout out Tucker’s work alongside Ice Cube in the “Friday” movies. Cube does gruff well. Tucker is a classic loudmouth. It’s fair to say that “Friday” was vital to the careers of both Ice Cube and Tucker, and if they hadn’t had each other to play off of, who knows what might have happened?