9. Combing the desert
Movie: Spaceballs (1987)
Oftentimes it's the simplest jokes that work the best. Mel Brooks' sci-fi comedy Spaceballs is filled with high-concept gags, from "Pizza the Hut" to a merchandise-hawking Yoda character. Amidst the loftier jokes, though, rests a brief but awesomely funny sequence that doesn't plum Star Wars as much as it takes a literal representation of an old phrase and milks all of its possible humor.
On President Skroob's (Brooks) orders, Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) orders his men to "comb the desert" in hopes of locating Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga). Six of Helmet's underlings literally drag an oversized black comb across the hot sand. His right-hand man, Colonel Sandurz (George Wyner), asks him, point blank, "Sir, are we being too literal?" "No, you fool," says Helmet, "We were told to comb the desert, so we're combing it."
Helmet asks each twosome if they've found anything yet. The first pair's response: "Nothing yet, sir." The second: "Not a thing, sir." The last, and angriest: "We ain't found shit!"