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Comedy Genius

A season of side-splitting film and TV, at BFI Southbank, on BFI Player and at venues across the UK.

October 2018-January 2019

The BFI will stage the UK’s greatest ever celebration of film and TV comedy this winter; from boundary-pushing writers and performers who say the unsayable, to silent slapstick heroes of the past and disreputable and anarchic voices of the present, this season will celebrate the best-loved works of comic genius, with an array of talent taking part throughout the season.

The UK-wide celebration will feature a three month season at BFI Southbank involving the best and brightest comedy stars, writers and directors, including headline events with Jennifer Saunders, Tracey Ullman, Lenny Henry, John Landis, Jo Brand, Sandi Toksvig, David Walliams, Henning Wehn and Nish Kumar, as well as the casts and crews of The Young Ones, Nighty Night, The Real McCoy and People Just Do Nothing.

Comedy Genius will also feature the UK-wide re-release of the all-too-relevant 9 to 5, which the one and only Jane Fonda will introduce live at BFI Southbank in October.

Events across the country will include everything from The Great British Holiday Weekender at Pontins Holiday Camp in Brean Sands — which will celebrate hilarious holidays gone wrong, with screenings of Withnail & I and Sightseers as well as other entertainment — to Barbershops and Black Comedy Legends, a series of immersive pop-up barbershop installations inspired by Desmond’s enabling participants to watch iconic episodes of the classic sitcom, as well as a national tour of Black comedy films to venues across the UK.

In partnership with the Film Audience Network

BFI Southbank

  • Comedy Genius

    Comedy Genius

    From October through January we have tons of side-splitting film and TV for you, whether you like your comedy straight-up, slapstick or smutty.

Explore the comedy genre

  • 10 great screwball comedy films

    10 great screwball comedy films

    Emerging in the 1930s, screwball comedies were a wild new strain of fast-talking farces involving battles of the sexes and a world forever on the brink of chaos. Here are 10 of the best places to start.
    Thursday 12 February 2015

  • Why 1992-2002 was the golden age of the black romantic comedy

    Why 1992-2002 was the golden age of the black romantic comedy

    For one glorious decade, from Boomerang to Brown Sugar, a wave of American movies provided all-too-rare examples of aspirational black characters being successful and falling in love on screen.
    Tuesday 6 December 2016

  • The General: the greatest comedy of all time?

    The General: the greatest comedy of all time?

    No comedy came higher in Sight & Sound’s Greatest Films of All Time poll than Buster Keaton’s 1926 classic The General. But it wasn’t high enough…
    Thursday 23 January 2014

  • 10 great French comedy films

    10 great French comedy films

    There’s never been a better time to celebrate the French comic tradition. Liberté, égalité, hilarité!
    Thursday 21 April 2016

  • 10 great comedy films of the 21st century

    10 great comedy films of the 21st century

    As the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival rolls in to blow away the January blues once again, we decided it was time to take stock of some of the 21st century’s finest, funniest achievements in film comedy.
    Thursday 22 January 2015

  • The recipe for the Marx Brothers’ greatest comedy: Duck Soup

    The recipe for the Marx Brothers’ greatest comedy: Duck Soup

    Which special ingredients make the Marx Brothers’ breakneck satire Duck Soup one of the very best comedies Hollywood has produced? And how much credit should we give its director?
    Friday 16 January 2015

  • Chaplin’s first masterpiece: The Vagabond

    Chaplin’s first masterpiece: The Vagabond

    The sublime run of comedies Charlie Chaplin made for the Mutual company show an artist developing complete control of his medium. They include his most moving film of the time.
    Tuesday 2 June 2015

  • 10 great comedies about history

    10 great comedies about history

    Tudor England gets a ribbing in the new film from the team behind TV’s Horrible Histories. The story of Shakespeare’s lost years, Bill joins a sparkling tradition of historical farces in which the past is a funny country.
    Thursday 17 September 2015

  • 10 great romcoms starring people of colour

    10 great romcoms starring people of colour

    Why do romcoms only ever feature white people falling in love? This list rounds up the finest examples of English language romantic comedies that break the trend.
    Thursday 12 November 2015

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