Summer is the perfect time for easy viewing, and there’s plenty of comedic options available free to stream in full on the Chinese web – no torrents or VPNs required. Even better, your viewing choices go far beyond mediocre American sitcoms. We've picked our favourite comedies that you can watch for free from Chinese video sites. All you need to do is click on the link, sit back and enjoy the show.
Stephen Chow; Hong Kong 2004
Stephen Chow’s stylishly directed 2004 kung fu parody might be the best Chinese comedy of all time. The Hong Kong comedian serves as director, co-writer and star of this action-comedy about a hustler who ends up in over his head after pretending to be a kung fu master. The film’s presented in its Mandarin version without English subtitles, but even if you don’t speak Chinese you can still appreciate the movie’s cartoonish verve, excellent staging and wonderfully executed slapstick sight gags.
It’s hard to think of a film with faster dialogue than Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell play a divorced editor and reporter who trade barbed quips at a speed that would put most bullet trains to shame. The film’s clever lines and breakneck pace make it about as good as screwball comedies get, with a nice proto-feminist focus on working women to boot.
A reliance on cross-dressing is usually a sure sign that a comedy is aimed at the lowest common denominator, but this movie is the exception. Billy Wilder’s film about a couple of musicians who hide out from the mob by disguising themselves as members of an all-girl band is justifiably regarded as a classic. The jokes are sharp and knowing without seeming smarmy, and the film is blessed with top-notch performances from Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and even a surprisingly amusing Marilyn Monroe. It also boasts what is arguably the best final line in all of film. We're not telling you, you'll just have to watch to find out.
Terry Jones; UK 1979
British comedy troupe Monty Python has produced a lot of quotable and hilariously silly work, but none more so than their 1979 religious satire Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The film garnered a ban in some countries for its irreverent story of a man in ancient Judea who’s constantly mistaken for Jesus Christ. There’s much more to this movie than blasphemy, though, with highlights including some still very relevant satire and even an impromptu UFO abduction.
Mel Brooks; USA 1974
Blazing Saddles is frequently stupid and full of jokes that many would find racist, sexist, homophobic and objectionable in other ways. None of that matters when Mel Brooks’ gleefully offensive western parody is so funny. The film throws in every conceivable joke possible to mock the racism of both the Old West and modern America. To say this movie has a gag a minute would be underselling it.