I don't want to say that Check Please! is funny, but I laugh whenever I see it, so it must be.
Most of Noel Coward's plays are really funny.
I'm drawing a blank on contemporary plays. I know I've seen some that are hilarious, but at the moment I can't think of them. I hate when that happens.
As a sidenote, I had the role in the third act of Plaza Suite by Neil Simon a couple of years ago when it was presented by our community theatre, the laughs were non-stop, and at one point the audience laughed so hard and so long that I was deathly afraid that the lady and I were going to forget where we were at. I never saw that happen before. I was told afterwards by a good number of people that it was the funniest play ever produced at our little theatre, and this theatre has produce a LOT of classic comedy plays and farces.
Not certain that Acts I and II of Plaza Suite are all that funny, and I'm not a huge fan of Neil Simon in the first place, but there's no question that Act III of that play is very funny.
a local theatre did "greater tuna" many years ago & i thought it was hysterical. several years later, i saw the originators of the show perform it & it wasn't nearly as funny. perhaps they had done it so often that they had lost the "knack" of it.
"the mystery of irma vep" is also pretty funny.
much of the fun of both of those shows comes from the fact that just 2 performers play several parts & the quick changes, when done well, are very entertaining.
"the foreigner" is a classic.
i'm not much for traditional farces but "lend me a tenor" is pretty good.
The "funniness" of a play is as good as the performers. I have seen shows that were funny and then shows that were FUNNY!!!!!!
I still laugh out loud when I read The Odd Couple.
But the funniest performed show I have ever seen was Larry Shue's, The Nerd, on Broadway directed by Charles Nelson Reilly, who was a brilliant director. My girlfriend at the time and I almost had to leave at intermission because our sides and stomachs were hurting so much. We agreed to stay,promising to call 911 if we had a heart attack or something, and it was worth it because it got even funnier. But it was soooo painful to lungs and stomach and facial muscles. I thought I might actually convulse. Both of our stomach muscles hurt for days. I might have well has been in a boxing ring for five rounds.
I was then very sorry I missed Anthony Heald in Shue's, The Foreigner. I heard he and it were brilliant.
The second funniest was Michael Frayn's "Noises Off" again on Broadway. Brilliant comedy, both physical and verbal.
And there was Noel Coward's "Present Laughter" starring and directed by George C. Scott, also on Broadway, that introduced Nathan Lane to a wide audience. Scott was another great director.
Lend Me A Tenor, again on Broadway, totally surprised me at how funny it was. Again, a wonderful production.
I laughed out loud when I read "Jitters" another backstage comedy, by David French. I was on a plane, and I think people thought I was nuts. (Thank god this was long before 9-11!) I seldom laugh out loud like that when alone or in public - occasionally when I read "The Onion" - but I could not keep decorum. I saw it years later in a production in LA and that production did not live up to its potential on paper when on that plane. It is a verbal "Noises Off."
Interesting that three of the five plays mentioned are about the theatre. I hope that means we really do love to laugh at ourselves rather than at others!
I saw a production of "The Odd Couple" last year that was not all that funny. I had seen a couple of very good ones before. Again, it depends on the production/casting, directing, etc.
i saw "the thirty-nine steps" in boston before it went to nyc & it was great! i really like those super-theatrical pieces where performers play numerous roles & there's lots of fun, inventive, creative stage-craft.
Have to agree with imr and Noises Off. Definately the funniest thing I have ever seen in the theatre.
We did the female version of The Odd Couple a few months back at our little theatre. The read through had us in stiches and it was very successful on the stage, though I think some of the jokes came at too fast a rate for some of the audience.
I haven't seen The Nerd, I don't think it gets performed much in the UK, but it's worth checking out.
Last edited on Thu Jul 24th, 2008 08:46 pm by muncy
I also must agree with Noises Off. I read it in high school and then got the chance to see it a few years later. I have never laughed so hard in an audience.
I'll agree with The Nerd, as well. I was in a cutting from it (we only did Act I) at our little local theatre, and a week before our performance we were still stopping rehearsal because the entire cast was laughing so much. Luckily we managed to compose ourselves for the actual performance. I still haven't seen or read the full play.
Thank you all, on reading your posts, they give some great suggestions for possible productions Santiago Stage.
Noises Off our company produced in 2010, I played Freddy/Phillip/The Sheik, some said it was the the funniest thing they had seen in a long while. Certainly one of the funniest Santiago Stage has produced in its 40 year history. But Act 3 is a bit of an anticlimax after the madness of act 2.
Funny plays... Perfect Wedding and What the Butler Saw are two where many in our international audience laughed.
I have to add: Christopher Durang's "Baby with the Bath Water" is insanely funny. At a non-professional production, I had tears coming out of my eyes from laughing so hard! (I will say that they were very deft performers in a good production-- but still, the play itself is hysterical!)