Christmas movies do not necessarily have to be funny, but even in that redemptive tale of a moneylender named Scrooge can you discover bits of humor. Comedy may not be mandated by setting your movie during Christmas, but it is certainly hard to argue that many of the most beloved Christmas movies include great scenes of comedy. But which Christmas movies contain the funniest scenes?
A Christmas Story
It may be a hopeless task to try to find agreement on which parts of A Christmas Story are the funniest. With so many truly hysterical bits of comedy to choose from, the decision on which is the funniest is unquestionably dependent on individual taste and sense of humor. You may choose the arrival of the major award or perhaps Flick’s education on the power science of adhesion. Personally, I think everything comes together most perfectly in Ralphie’s visit to Santa Claus. From the weird kid who likes The Wizard of Oz to crazed elves to Santa’s reaction to Ralph’s desire for a BB gun, this scene is just one big laugh after another.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Another Christmas movie with many terrific moments of comedy is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Miss Piggy fans must wait a long time for her appearance, but once she does, she arrives with an overload of humor that fits both her Piggy persona and her character of Mrs. Cratchit. The opening number that introduces Scrooge is filled with subtle sight gags that you may not catch until the fifth or sixth viewing. The heart of the comedy that drives this version of the overly familiar narrative and sets it apart from every other version is the postmodernist metanarrative in which the Great Gonzo is explicitly forwarded as a character playing Charles Dickens. What makes this underlying element work so well is the additional layer of chemistry between Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat. That chemistry working on the level of metanarrative reaches a comedic height during a conversation between Gonzo and Rizzo that manages to work in Dickens’ eloquent writing, postmodern commentary, a running gag that highlights the nature of the relationship between Gonzo and Rizzo’s characters and, best of all, a brilliant example of how great comedy depends on unexpected juxtaposition in a moment that almost seems to be a case of unscripted ad-libbing when a conversation about jelly beans ends with a kiss from a rat on Gonzo’s epic nose.
The Bishop’s Wife
The Bishop’s Wife treads the thin line separating comedy and drama. Today it would be referred to as a dramedy. The plot of The Bishop’s Wife is certainly the stuff of drama, but individual scenes are clearly the stuff of comedy. Funniest among these individual comedy bits is the scene in which the stuffy and overburdened bishop played by David Niven finds himself quite literally stuck in a chair from which he can extricate himself. The sight of the ever-classy Niven playing the mostly humorless bishop wiggling his hips back and forth with a wooden chair attached like some kind of weird tail is not just the funniest scene in this Christmas movie, but one of the most memorable bits of comedy in any Christmas movie.