Comedies about comedians aren’t always the greatest films. They tend to try too hard, without ever being as captivating as a real, live, quality stand-up set. So when a comedy about a stand-up comedian succeeds, it’s not just an accomplishment in the world of movies—it’s also one in the world of comedy.
Chris Rock’s Top Five (out Dec. 12) is the latest film focused on a comedian, and it’s already getting good reviews: The film currently has a 92-percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and EW gave it an A-. But while Top Five is undeniably a comedy, other films about the profession aren’t as clear-cut: Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy and Judd Apatow’s Funny People are more dramatic, contrasting the hilarity of comedians’ work with the darker parts of their real lives.
Whether it’s roaringly funny or not, though, a good film about a comedian won’t try to simplify the profession. Instead, it’ll portray comedy as an art just as complicated and personal as any other—hopefully while making the audience laugh at least a little. Here, on the occasion of Top Five‘s release, are five such films. READ FULL STORY