They say a hero is only as good as his villain, and you could say something very similar about movies; that they are only as good as their antagonist. So when a comedy tries to be funny, it certainly helps if it has a villain that can be menacing but also make the audience laugh.
Luckily, there have been plenty of these villains throughout movie history, from those who are stupid Adam Sandlermovies like Shooter McGavin’s Happy Gilmore, to those of Disney’s animated classics like Yzma from The Emperor’s New Routine.
Say Her Name Three Times – Betelgeuse from ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988)
Tim Burtonit’s a scary comedy beetle juice is about the spirits of a deceased couple and how they engage an evil spirit called Betelgeuse when they fail to scare off the insufferable new owners of their old farmhouse.
The main character, played with manic energy by Michael Keaton, is as scary as it is hilarious. Eccentric, sassy, and often downright cruel, he’s a completely unpredictable character and it’s always nice to wonder what he’s going to do next. His larger than life personality is a big part of which makes beetle juice such a fun Halloween watch.
The real winner today is the city of Portland – Shooter McGavin from ‘Happy Gilmore’ (1996)
A budding hockey player named Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) discovers he has the most powerful golf course in history, so he joins the PGA Tour to earn enough money to save his grandmother’s house. Unfortunately, he catches the attention of Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), the favorite to win the round.
Happy Gilmore is part of Adam Sandler’s most beloved classicsand that’s largely thanks to the character of Shooter, who has become the most iconic part of the film over the years with his haughty attitude and weak insults.
The Unwitting Masters of Slapstick – Harry and Marv from ‘Home Alone’ (1990)
Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) may have been very good burglars, but we may never know for sure, since they were unlucky enough to run into Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin). In by Chris Columbus Christmas classic Alone at homethese two men try to rob the house of a rich family, but they fail to thwart the traps of the cunning kid who defends his house.
It’s hard not to laugh at all the ways Kevin’s contraptions prevent burglars from succeeding in their quest. Pesci and Stern nail every scene they’re in, slapstick or otherwise.
There’s Always Time for the Desert – Yzma from ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ (2000)
The Emperor’s New Routine had one of the most tumultuous productions of any Disney movie in the history of the studio. Thankfully, it all culminated in an incredibly fun and delightfully simple comedy. An emperor is transformed into a llama and must reclaim his throne with the help of a kind-hearted peasant.
The villain behind Kuzco’s misfortune is Yzma, played by Eartha Kitt in one of the best voice performances of any animated film. She’s theatrical and over the top, and watching how her elaborate plans unfold is comedic gold.
May the Fourth Wall Break With You – Black Helmet from ‘Spaceballs’ (1987)
by Mel Brooks space balls could very well be the funniest parody film ever made. In it, a ragtag team must save a princess from the infamous Black Helmet (Rick Moranis).
A laughable parody of Darth Vader, from his ridiculous outfit to his hilarious attitude, Dark Helmet is a completely threat-less villain and all the better for it. Moranis is perfect for the role, and he makes the antagonist one of the most memorable in all of comedy, thanks to scenes as comedic as one of the best fourth wall breaks you’ll ever see.
He’s His Own Man Now – The Motherf*cker from ‘Kick-Ass 2’ (2013)
The Kick ass The films are the story of a high school student who becomes a superhero when he has no powers, no abilities, or even a good motivation. Despite his incompetence, the first film sees him become the vigilante he dreamed of becoming after killing a prominent crime boss.
The crime boss’ son was Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who, in the second film, dons his mother’s gimp costume and sets out to recruit a team of villains to take down Kick-Ass, taking the name The Motherf*cker. His cowardice, incompetence, and childish behavior make it nearly impossible not to make him laugh.
Don’t Mess With Him, He’s A Crazy Mofo – Dr. Evil From The ‘Austin Powers’ Trilogy
There is hardly a more quoted villain than Dr. Evil, the main antagonist of the Austin Powers films, which are hysterical parodies of James Bond and other spy films of the genre.
Played by Mike Myers, which also plays Austin and a few other characters from the trilogy, Dr. Evil is a hilarious parody of Bond villains. His absurdly elaborate plans, silly monologues, cartoonish personality, and amusing lineup of sidekicks make him the hilarious villain that he is.
He Needs Better Guards – Pontius Pilate from ‘Life of Brian’ (1979)
The Monty Pythons Brian’s life is a hilarious comedy about an average Jewish man named Brian (Graham Chapman) who, through a series of ridiculous events, begins to be praised as the Messiah despite his best efforts to avoid his followers.
The biggest threat to Brian’s quest for a relaxed life is not his devotees but Pontius Pilate (Michael Pallin), a pompous Roman ruler who is impossible not to laugh at. One particular scene where he talks about a friend whose name sounds suspiciously like a certain vulgar term was nearly impossible to shoot. Palin and the extras struggled to keep a straight face.
No inanimate object is safe from him – Harry from ‘In Bruges’ (2008)
Martin McDonagh is a master of dark comedy, and perhaps none of his movies are as funny as In Bruggeabout hitmen Ray (Colin Farrel) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), who are awaiting orders in Bruges, Belgium, a place where Ray is less than happy to be.
Ralph Fiennes plays Harry’s rude boss, Ray and Ken, who must take matters into his own hands after the two disobey his orders. He doesn’t get much screen time, but whatever few scenes he has in the film, he absolutely flies with his aggressive attitude and questionable moral code.
The Villain Who Dared to Laugh at Hitler – Adenoid Hynkel from ‘The Great Dictator’ (1940)
Charlie Chaplinthe quasi-prophetic comedy of the great dictator warned the world of the dangers of tyrants like Hitler and Mussolini through the filmmaker’s slapstick gags. It’s the story of a Jewish barber who looks like Adenoid Hynkel, the dictator of Tomania.
Hynkel is a direct parody of Hitler, and Chaplin has a lot of fun with the role. The villain is ruthless, cruel and devoid of any form of empathy, but imbued with the irresistible, funny charm that only Chaplin could achieve. He is arguably the funniest antagonist cinema has ever seen.
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