There’s a reason we can laugh at certain moments in movies that are so inherently painful and it’s pretty simple to explain: they don’t cross the line between funny and serious. In other words we laugh because the images we’re presented with are something we might have gone through, seen someone go through, or could imagine people going through and coming out okay despite the initial pain the character is experiencing, but since no one is seriously injured it can continue being funny without being tragic. Some movies thrive on slapstick and physical comedy since it enhances the humor and creates something that is light enough for people to laugh at without feeling guilty about the long-term effects that might occur. This is largely because after the moment of hilarity and pain there are no real long-term effects that will prove detrimental to the individual, except maybe a loss of pride. So long as there’s no gruesome injury afterwards it’s usually deemed okay to laugh.
Here are some of the most painful moments in comedy that many upon many people couldn’t help but laugh at. You might think of several more and they’d all be justified, but here’s a few that I managed to come up with.
5. Baywatch – Stuck junk is stuck junk
This one is specifically suited to those born with male genitalia since quite honestly know what it’s like to suffer any kind of injury to our nether regions. Getting your beef and biscuits stuck in such a manner however is something that thankfully a lot of guys won’t ever experience in their lives. Poor Ronnie though is one of those unfortunate, or fortunate, individuals that has people who enough about him to help but still has to suffer the embarrassment of his package being seen by nearly everyone within a fifty-foot radius. On the plus side, he did end up with CJ at the end of the movie, somehow.
4. Scrooged – Ghost of Christmas present
I’ve got to agree fully with Christopher Campbell from Film School Rejects that this is one of the absolute best scenes in the movie since Frank gets the living hell beat of him, and rightfully so in some regards. Carol Kane played the part of the slap-happy ghost of Christmas Present perfectly as she was, back in her day, one of the best possible options to play the aggressive sprite. Frank’s reaction to her is just as perfect since no one enjoys being hurt but will undoubtedly become aggressive in return. It’s a little sad though that this scene doesn’t include the toaster bit when the ghost uppercuts Frank and sends him onto the next leg of journey.
3. The Great Outdoors – Bear jumping on John Candy
It might be hard to find proof of this any longer but there’s a rumor that John Candy actually broke a rib or two when the door was broken down and Bart the Bear came charging in. Obviously the big brown bear was well-trained but his added bulk and Candy’s own conspired to provide the famous actor with an injury that wasn’t exactly planned. The scene did go off without much of a hitch though since before this he had to allow Bart to chase him for about 15 seconds through the woods. There was no CGI back then and a fake bear would have been pushing things a little too far beyond the realm of what people would accept. Painful as it was though this scene was hilarious.
2. Tommy Boy – That’s gonna leave a mark
There are so many painful, funny moments in this movie that it’s hard to get into detail about all of them. But one thing that’s fairly obvious is that Chris Farley was something of a physical comedian and enjoyed getting into the setting and story in a big way. Whether it was collapsing on and through a table, being brained by a heavy piece of machinery, or being smacked across the side of the face by length of wood by David Spade he was one of the best comedians without a doubt that’s ever lived. His passing was a sad and very hard thing for many people to take since it meant that his brand of comedy might never be seen again.
1. The 40-Year Old Virgin – Waxing scene
Derrick Rossignol from Uproxx confirms what a lot of us have been thinking over the years, that Steve Carell really was getting his chest waxed and it wasn’t faked. The pain on his face isn’t an act either, he was feeling it all the way down to his toes it hurt so bad apparently, and the lot of us couldn’t help but laugh. Even better was the fact that he called out “Kelly Clarkson!” when the two didn’t even end up meeting each other until just a year ago. Thankfully she’d been a fan since the movie and was happy to meet him.
Yep, physical pain in movies is great, so long as it doesn’t become anything more gruesome.