101 Funniest Screenplays

From their first collaboration, 1977’s The Kentucky Fried Movie, brothers David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams began making trenchant, joke-heavy pop-cultural spoofs, but without polished comedians speaking the lines. Their 1980 classic Airplane! gave the writing team their seriocomic muse in the person of actor Leslie Nielsen. As the uber-deadpan and ever-bumbling Det. Frank Drebin, Neilsen went on to star both in the beloved, short-lived TV series Police Squad! and its cinematic spin-off, The Naked Gun. “We'd watch the old, late-night movies, and we'd talk back to the screen," David Zucker told The Washington Post, describing the origins of their style of comedy. “The breakthrough we had was saying, ‘Okay, we're going to re-create those old movies. But have actors speak lines we would have dubbed.’”