You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AFI sets up next punchline: century’s 100 funniest pix

CBS to bow special in June

In what may be its most controversial list yet, the American Film Institute’s next CBS special will count down the 100 funniest films of the century.

CBS will air the three-hour special “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Laughs” in June. Gary Smith and Frederick Pierce will executive produce the special, and Smith will also direct. Duo exec also produced the 1998 special “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies” and this year’s “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Stars.”

AFI has sent ballots to 1,800 entertainers, critics, historians and execs to pick from 500 films nominated by AFI historians. Responding to past controversies, this year’s ballot also includes a spot for five write-in choices, up from just one previously.

Appreciating comedy

AFI chose comedy because it’s an “unappreciated storytelling area,” said director and CEO Jean Firstenberg.

“This is a subject matter that isn’t taken seriously” as a highly regarded genre, she said. “It doesn’t get much recognition when awards time comes around.”

Jurors are being asked to judge a film on how funny it is (“an experience greater than the sum of its smiles”) and its overall legacy.

AFI execs actually hope to repeat the controversy surrounding its first two lists, which were applauded by some and trashed by others. Because humor is more subjective, AFI expects the new list will receive additional scrutiny.

“We were really thrilled with the reaction to the first two years,” Firstenberg said. “We welcome the passionate controversy that has been the result of these programs. We feel empowered in a sense to continue this celebration.”

“100 Movies” averaged 11.2 million viewers, and “100 Stars” picked up 11.1 million for CBS. Both specs pulled an 8 Nielsen household rating and 14 share.

More Film

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    Brian Tyree Henry Breaks Out Big in Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

    The final days of filming writer-director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” were dedicated to moments that foreshadowed its entire plot: Having run into the recently incarcerated Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) on the streets of Harlem, the struggling artist Fonny (Stephan James) invites his friend back to his apartment for [...]

  • Ryan Coogler Black Panther Variety Feature

    Ryan Coogler to Receive Directing Honor at Palm Springs Film Festival

    Variety will honor director Ryan Coogler at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 4th as part of the annual 10 Directors to Watch Brunch at the Parker Palm Springs. The brunch is presented by AT&T. The “Black Panther” director will receive the annual creative impact in directing award. Previous recipients of this award [...]

  • Ventana Sur: 10 or So Takes

    Ventana Sur: Drilling Down on This Year’s Edition

    BUENOS AIRES —  11 takes on the biggest Ventana Sur yet, in initiatives and initial business announcements: 1.CANNES’ MOST DARING MOVE? Over the last decade, film festivals two biggest growth roadmaps have run through strengthening their industry heft, aiding an ever more challenged independent film business, and to morph into all-year-round structures. The Cannes Festival [...]

  • Ian Schrager Ian Schrager, New York,

    Studio 54 Co-Creator Ian Schrager Wants to 'Set the Record Straight'

    In the 1970s, Studio 54 was the epicenter of New York nightlife. With wildly theatrical sets, a guest list of celebs, and jet-setters that included everyone from Andy Warhol to Grace Jones, and a pulsating disco beat, the nightclub helped define the Me Decade. But its reign was short lived. In 1980, founders Steve Rubell [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content