Events, Film, Red Carpet
Nov 12, 2015

WGA SALUTES THE 101 FUNNIEST SCREENPLAYS IN HOLLYWOOD

 

Press Pass LA had the honor of attending the Writers Guild of America’s 101 Funniest Screenplays, an evening with panels and clips honoring outstanding screenwriting at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Hosted by writer/director/actor Rob Reiner, the panel honored screenwriters including Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways), Jon Favreau (Swingers), Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber), David and Jerry Zucker (Airplane, The Naked Gun), Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb (The Jerk), Karen McCullah & Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde), Buck Henry (The Graduate, What’s Up, Doc?), Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire), Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), Daniel Petrie, Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop), George Gallo (Midnight Run) and many more!

While on the red carpet, we were able to speak with some of the most influential comedy writers of our time, and they had a lot of amazingly hilarious and interesting things to say. We first spoke to Karen McCullah, the writer of the smash hit Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon.

Her experience on Legally Blonde was one of the most influential experiences of her life, due to how well it was received and what ended up happening with her career after that huge success. McCullah said, “Since then we have done Ella Enchanted, She’s The Man, The Ugly Truth, The House Bunny, and right now we are doing a reboot of Sister Act and a female version of The Expendables called Expendabelles.” McCullah also said she’s been emailing Witherspoon about putting together Legally Blonde 3, you heard it here first!

Next, we had the pleasure of speaking with Steve Faber, the writer of Wedding Crashers. Faber talked about the long process of writing Wedding Crashers and how it all came to be.  “I wrote 31 drafts, we were literally writing until the film wrapped. Wedding Crashers was a pitch, and New Line was really the only one that wanted it. It was a love story, but between 2 guys, it wasn’t about just chasing girls, it was about cementing friendships.” When asked about how he thinks the film has held up over the past decade, Faber’s response was, “I am told now from this new generation of millennials constantly how much they love it. They go around quoting the movie.”

We then got to speak with the writer  of the Pitch Perfect films, Kay Cannon. Now this woman has had an amazing career in comedy writing, getting her big start in the writers room of 30 Rock, learning from the best of the best. “30 Rock was like going to grad school for writing. Learning story, joke structure, learning from the best, Tina Fey.” When asked about how Pitch Perfect came to be, Cannon told us about her journey of coming up with the idea, to then getting the green light.

“I sang in musicals, but knew nothing about the acapella world, until I was in the writers room at 30 rock and someone made a joke about it and I had no idea that even existed. I thought it would be a great idea to make a film about it, then I got the book “Pitch Perfect” in my hand, and Elizabeth Banks and her husband Max Handelman helped me get the rights to the book, and we sold it at Universal.” Cannon is now deep into writing Pitch Perfect 3, and is looking to direct in the near future.

Jon Favreau talks about his career in writing before and after the groundbreaking Swingers.

Jon Favreau talks about his career in writing before and after the groundbreaking Swingers.

After speaking with Cannon, we got to speak to Michael Elias, the writer of one of most epic family comedies of our time, The Jerk. When asked about how the film has transformed through time, Elias had a fantastic response. “It is a film adults like to show their children, children really enjoy watching this film with their parents. Kids discover their parents have a real sense of humor and they like that.” Next, Elias is shifting gears and is working on an elizabethan drama about Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright and poet who was also a spy for the english secret service.

Next, we spoke with Dale Launer, the writer of My Cousin Vinny and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. We asked Launer how he thinks his films have held up over time, especially My Cousin Vinny, he said, “I think the film has held up well through time because the story was kind of based on the real process of an actual procedure. It has actually held up as example in law school, and it shows up in at least one exam at Harvard. Though its a comedy, all of the court proceedings are more real than any other movie.”

We then had the amazing opportunity of talking to one of the biggest names in Hollywood today, Jon Favreau. He was being honored at the event for his work on Swingers, which he wrote and starred in early in his career.

“I always hoped I would be able to make movies, I kind of took advantage of whatever doors opened and I learned a lot reading scripts acting for auditions, then I tried to write my own. Then when Swingers came out I was seen as a writer, then was getting hired to do a lot of rewrites, and every step of the way making a living, you are learning, because you are working with people more experienced than you, and you are seeing projects develop, some fail, and some not get made, and so I think it is just a matter of how much time you spend. All of these skills are related to storytelling, and knowing how to tell a story is the basic skill of all of these art forms, how to tell a story and keep them interested,” he explained.

Annie Hall topped the list of 101 Funniest Screenplays of all time.

Annie Hall topped the list of 101 Funniest Screenplays of all time.

The list of amazing screenwriters we were able to speak with was astounding, as was the panel itself.   Following the red carpet, the evening consisted of about six panels moderated by Rob Reiner, talking with screenwriters on the list of the 101 Funniest Screenplays.

Each panel focused on a different type of comedy; Buddy movie/Rom com, Classic Comedy, etc. The panel even recognized several films that did not make the list but were close, such as Legally Blonde, Pitch Perfect, and What Women Want. The full list is below, including each film’s rank and credited screenwriter.

 

  1. Annie Hall

Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman. 1977, UA

 

  1. Some Like It Hot

Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A. L. Diamond, Based on the German film Fanfare of Love by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan. 1959, UA

 

  1. Groundhog Day

Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, Story by Danny Rubin. 1993, Columbia

 

  1. Airplane!

Written by James Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker. 1980, Paramount

 

  1. Tootsie

Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal, Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart. 1982, Columbia

 

  1. Young Frankenstein

Screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Screen Story by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, Based on Characters in the Novel Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. 1974, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. 1964, Columbia

 

  1. Blazing Saddles

Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger, Story by Andrew Bergman. 1974, Warner Bros.

 

  1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin. 1975, Cinema 5

 

  1. National Lampoon’s Animal House

Written by Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney & Chris Miller. 1978, Universal

 

  1. This Is Spinal Tap

Written by Christopher Guest & Michael McKean & Rob Reiner & Harry Shearer. 1984, Embassy

 

  1. The Producers

Written by Mel Brooks. 1967, AVCO Embassy

 

  1. The Big Lebowski

Written by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen. 1998, Gramercy

 

  1. Ghostbusters

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. 1984, Columbia

 

  1. When Harry Met Sally…

Written by Nora Ephron. 1989, Columbia

 

  1. Bridesmaids

Written by Annie Mumolo  & Kristen Wiig. 2011, Universal

 

  1. Duck Soup

Story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Additional Dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin. 1933, Paramount

 

  1. There’s Something About Mary

Screenplay by John J. Strauss & Ed Decter and Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, Story by Ed Decter & John J. Strauss. 1998, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. The Jerk

Screenplay by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, Michael Elias, Story by Steve Martin & Carl Gottlieb. 1979, Universal.

 

  1. A Fish Called Wanda

Screenplay by John Cleese, Story by John Cleese & Charles Crichton. 1988, MGM

 

  1. His Girl Friday

Screenplay by Charles Lederer, Based on the Play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur. 1940, Columbia

 

  1. The Princess Bride

Screenplay by William Goldman, Based on Goldman’s Novel of the Same Name. 1987, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Raising Arizona

Written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 1987, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Bringing Up Baby

Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols, Story by Hagar Wilde. 1938, RKO

 

  1. Caddyshack

Written by Brian Doyle-Murray & Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney. 1980, Orion

 

  1. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian

Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin. 1979, Orion

 

  1. The Graduate

Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, Based on the Novel by Charles Webb. 1967, Embassy

 

  1. The Apartment

Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. 1960, UA

 

  1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips, Based on a Character Created by Sacha Baron Cohen. 2006, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. The Hangover

Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore. 2009, Warner Bros.

 

  1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell. 2005, Universal

 

  1. The Lady Eve

Screenplay by Preston Sturges, Story by Monckton Hoffe. 1941, Paramount

 

  1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off *TIE

Written by John Hughes. 1986, Paramount

 

Trading Places *TIE

Written by Timothy Harris & Herschel Weingrod. 1983, Paramount

 

  1. Sullivan’s Travels

Written by Preston Sturges. 1941, Paramount

 

  1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Written by John Hughes. 1987, Paramount

 

  1. The Philadelphia Story

Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, Based on the Play by Philip Barry. 1940, MGM

 

  1. A Night at the Opera

 

Screen Play by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, From a Story by James Kevin McGuinness. 1935, MGM

 

  1. Rushmore

Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson. 1998, Touchstone/BV

 

  1. Waiting for Guffman

Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy. 1996, Sony Pics Classics

 

  1. The Odd Couple

Screenplay by Neil Simon, From the Play by Neil Simon as Produced on the Stage by Saint-Subber. 1968, Paramount

 

  1. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

Written by Jerry Zucker & Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Pat Proft, Based on the Television Series Police Squad! Created by Jim Abrahams & David Zucker & Jerry Zucker. 1988, Paramount

 

  1. Office Space

Written for the Screen by Mike Judge, Based on the “Milton” Animated Shorts by Mike Judge. 1999, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Big

Written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross. 1988, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Screenplay by John Hughes. 1983, Warner Bros.

 

  1. Midnight Run

Written by George Gallo. 1988, Universal

 

  1. It Happened One Night

Screenplay by Robert Riskin, Based on the Short Story by Samuel Hopkins Adams. 1934, Columbia

 

  1. M*A*S*H

Screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr., From the Novel by Richard Hooker. 1970, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Harold and Maude

Written by Colin Higgins. 1971, Paramount

 

  1. Shaun of the Dead

Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright. 2004, Focus (Universal)

 

  1. Broadcast News

Written  by James L. Brooks. 1987, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Arthur

Written by Steven Gordon. 1981,Orion

 

  1. Four Weddings and a Funeral

Written by Richard Curtis. 1994,Gramercy

 

  1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy *TIE

Written by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. 2004, Dreamworks

 

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Dumb and Dumber *TIE

Written by Peter Farrelly & Bennett Yellin & Bob Farrelly. 1994,New Line

 

  1. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Written by Mike Myers. 1997, New Line

 

  1. The General

Written by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, Adapted by Al Boasberg and Charles Smith. 1926, United Artists

 

  1. What’s Up, Doc?

Screenplay by Buck Henry and David Newman & Robert Benton, Story by Peter Bogdanovich. 1972, Warner Bros.

 

  1. Wedding Crashers

Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher. 2005, New Line

 

  1. Sleeper

Written by Woody Allen  & Marshall Brickman. 1973, United Artists

 

  1. Galaxy Quest

Screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon, Story by David Howard.1999, Dreamworks

 

  1. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Screenplay by William and Tania Rose, Story by William and Tania Rose. 1963, United Artists

 

  1. Best in Show

Written by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy. 2000, Warner Bros.

 

  1. Little Miss Sunshine

Written by Michael D. Arndt. 2006, Fox Searchlight

 

  1. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone & Pam Brady. 1999, Paramount

 

  1. Being There

Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski, Inspired by the Novel by Jerzy Kosinski. 1979, United Artists

 

  1. Back to the Future

Written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale. 1985, Universal

 

  1. Superbad

Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg. 2007, Columbia

 

  1. Bananas

Written by Woody Allen, Mickey Rose. 1971,United Artists

 

  1. Moonstruck

Written by John Patrick Shanley. 1987, MGM

 

  1. Clueless

Written by Amy Heckerling. 1995, Paramount

 

  1. The Palm Beach Story

Written by Preston Sturges. 1942, Paramount

 

  1. The Pink Panther

Written by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards.1963, United Artists

 

  1. The Blues Brothers

Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis. 1980, Universal

 

  1. Coming to America

Screenplay by David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein, Story by Eddie Murphy. 1988, Paramount

 

  1. Take the Money and Run

Screenplay by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose, Story by Jackson Beck. 1969, Cinerama

 

  1. Election

Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Tom Perrotta. 1999, Paramount

 

  1. Love and Death

Written by Woody Allen. 1975, United Artists

 

  1. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels *TIE

Written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning. 1988, Orion

 

Lost in America *TIE

Written by Albert Brooks & Monica Johnson. 1985, Warner Bros.

 

  1. Manhattan

Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman. 1979, United Artists

 

  1. Modern Times

Written by Charles Chaplin. 1936, United Artists

 

  1. My Cousin Vinny

Written by Dale Launer. 1992, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Mean Girls

Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. 2004, Paramount

 

  1. Meet the Parents

Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg, Story by Greg Glienna  & Mary Ruth Clarke. 2000, Universal

 

  1. Fargo

Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. 1996, Gramercy

 

  1. My Favorite Year

Screenplay by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg, Story by Dennis Palumbo. 1982, MGM

 

  1. Stripes

Written by Len Blum & Dan Goldberg and Harold Ramis. 1981, Columbia

 

  1. Beverly Hills Cop

Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr., Story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr. 1984, Paramount

 

  1. City Lights

Written by Charles Chaplin. 1931, United Artists

 

  1. Sideways

Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett. 2004, Fox Searchlight

 

  1. Broadway Danny Rose

Written by Woody Allen. 1984, Orion

 

  1. Swingers

Written by Jon Favreau. 1996, Miramax

 

  1. The Gold Rush

Written by Charles Chaplin. 1925, United Artists

 

  1. The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek

Written by Preston Sturges. 1944, Paramount

 

  1. All About Eve

Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Based on the Short Story and Radio Program “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr. 1950, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Arsenic and Old Lace

Screenplay by Julius Epstein & Philip G. Epstein, Based on the Play by Joseph Kesselring. 1944, Warner Bros.

 

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums

Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson. 2001, Touchstone/BV

 

  1. Mrs. Doubtfire

Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, Based on Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. 1993, 20th Century Fox

 

  1. Flirting with Disaster

Written by David O. Russell. 1996,Miramax

 

  1. Shakespeare in Love

Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. 1998, Miramax

Written by: Samantha Davidson