Laughter in the library: film and television comedy resources

Find out more about the wide range of film and television comedy resources available in the BFI Reuben Library.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” — Mel Brooks

We take our comedy very seriously here at the BFI Reuben Library. If you’re looking for some background reading on the film you’re about to see, a contemporary newspaper review, or a script in order to hone your one-liners, we’re here to help. Here’s just a small sample of the most recent publications we have on our shelves, but there’s plenty more to be discovered, both in the library and online.

Learn about the history of comedy

Silent Comedy

We have a range of critical analyses of comedians’ work

Read about the lives of your favourite comedy personalities



Don’t have time to read a book? Try an article

The library has thousands of articles and newspaper cuttings, both physically and digitally. You can find vintage news articles about Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Trading Places and Nine to Five through BFI Collections Search, or you can access our vast, international collection of film journals and magazines:

  • Terrero, Nina (2016). “Inside the black comedy boom.” Entertainment Weekly, 15/04/2016, issue. 1410, p. 11-12
  • Richards, Stuart (2016). “Divine dog shit: John Waters and disruptive Queer humour in films”. Senses of Cinema, Sept 2016, issue. 80, p. 1-20
  • Walters, James (2008). “Making light of the dark: understanding the comedy of His Girl Friday”. Journal of Film and Video, Fall/Winter 2008, issue. 60, vol. 3-4, p. 90-102

Whatever your level of interest, the BFI Reuben Library holds one of the largest collections of written material about film, television and moving image in the world. We’re international in our focus and our collection dates back to pre-cinema. We can advise you on searching and accessing our collections during opening hours here at BFI Southbank, so do pop in and visit us during the Comedy Genius season.

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