I love the Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers. And The Three Amigos makes me laugh a lot, too. There are plenty of good comedy movies now, but they all stand on the shoulders of the comedic greats before them. This is a list of my favorite comedies, but these are from the theater the stage, as opposed to theater the movies.
10 Menaechmi by Plautus – Who knew the old Romans could be so funny? This is a story of identical twins and mistaken identity. I laugh thinking about it.
9 The Country Wife by William Wycherley – A man fakes impotence to get near the women he desires. How is that not funny?
8 The Silent Woman by Ben Johnson – A man schemes to get his inheritance by tricking his rich uncle to marry a man dressed as a woman, and hilarity ensues.
7 Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward – A novelist hires a medium to conduct séance so he can get material for his next book, but the medium conjures the writer’s ex-wife.
6 The Birds by Aristophanes – The quintessential “grass is greener” lampooning of ancient Athens.
5 Tartuffe by Molière – A con man who acts and speaks better than he really is tries to bespoil a family but is found out.
4 Dyskolos by Meander – A young man sees the girl of her dreams, but her father is grumpy old man, so marriage is not so easy to come by.
3 The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – The play is about unimportance, and the triviality of Victorian society.
2 The Barber of Seville by Pierre Beaumarchais – The first and the funniest of the three Figaro plays, which pokes fun at the nobility and points out their foibles.
1 Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare – All of the old bard’s comedies are great, but this is the best. Cross-dressing, mistaken identity, practical jokes, and duel that never quite happens proves the play’s central theme, that some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Some of these will make you laugh out loud, others man create a giggle here and there, but they will all make you smile. If laughter is the best medicine, try a dose of these plays when you need a boost. You may have different comedic plays in mind for your favorite. Make your own list, if you like, but as always, enjoy these.