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The 50 Funniest Movies of All Time

33. The Jerk (1979)

Director: Carl Reiner
Writer: Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, and Michael Elias
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, M. Emmet Walsh, Cailtin Adams, Mabel King, Richard Ward, Jackie Mason
Quotable: "You mean I'm gonna STAY this color?"
Fun Fact: Bill Murray filmed a cameo that was ultimately deleted.

Some premises are comedy gold before a movie is even made. For instance, Steve Martin playing a dimwitted nincompoop who actually thinks he's black just because a black family raised him. If you're not sold already, then your sense of humor must rival that of a corpse. On his quest to start a new life after he learns he's actually white, Steve Martin's buffoonish character encounters a series of strange people and accidental hazards, all packed with an infinite amount of one-liners and memorable gags.

The Jerk set the standard for movies like Dumb and Dumber and Billy Madison. It's the granddaddy of idiot comedy, a subgenre that always makes us feel better about our own intelligence while making us laugh hysterically.

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