Last night, I had the pleasure of hosting a couple of wonderful friends for a nice, intimate dinner party. We laughed, we drank great wine, we ate, we laughed some more, we drank some more, and well, you get the picture. This morning, I kept thinking about how much in our lives take place around a dinner table. So many memorable moments in my life have been centered around a meal, either at home or at a restaurant, and you know where I’m going with this- pop culture is no different! There are so many classic scenes set at a dinner table – I bet if you think about it, you could name a few off the top of your head – but today I’d like to focus on the comedic moments.
Let’s start with The Break Up. If you’re anything like me, you may have seen the movie once or twice, but you’ve seen the hilarious dinner scene about a hundred times on YouTube. As a former a cappella gal myself, the earnest attempt on behalf of Richard (John Michael Higgins) to engage the entire family – including the obviously unwilling Gary (Vince Vaughn) – into an a cappella rendition of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is nothing short of comedic genius. His specific instructional requests to each family member are priceless: “Tap tap tappee, tap tap tappee” and “Gary, on the kick drum, come come, on the kick drum…come come” I mean, COME on.
Next there is Meet the Parents. Nobody is better at delivering uncomfortable comedic moments than Ben Stiller (Ricky Gervais and Larry David are close seconds) and when he launches into prayer at Jack’s (Robert Deniro‘s) request you know things are not going to end well. Although he way overdoes it with the prayer, he somehow manages to get through it, but then he proceeds to unravel when he concocts a story about how he lived on a farm and milked a cat (of all animals!) leaving everyone in awe and wondering how that could even be possible. I cringed all the way through the scene, mentally willing him to stop, which obviously didn’t work because he culminates with the line: “You can milk anything with nipples” to which Jack appropriately responds: “I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?” Classic. Funny.
Now, while he has definitely seen better days, Eddie Murphy has and always will be one of the funniest comedians out there. And despite the colossal failure that was Norbit, there was a hilarious, overweight, lovably offensive family called the Klumps. And even the least passionate Eddie Murphy fan is familiar with the dinner scenes in The Nutty Professor where Eddie seamlessly delivers the multiple characters that comprise the family, making each of them more outlandishly funnier than the other. The word “Hercules” took on a whole new meaning for me after that scene, as I’m sure it did for everyone who had the pleasure of watching it.
And lastly, no dinner scene list would be complete without Talladega Nights. When Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) prays to the baby Jesus, “the sweet, tiny little baby Jesus” – because he “prefers the Christmas Jesus” – you can’t help but laugh out loud. He goes on and on about the baby Jesus with his “golden fleeced diapers and tiny little balled up fists,” only to be continuously interrupted by his wife, and father Chip, questioning why he insists on praying to the baby Jesus. But he sticks to his guns and just starts up again by addressing the “Dear 8 lb 6 oz newborn infant Jesus, just a little infant so small and cuddly, but still omnipotent.” And to add to the comedy are his two sons Walker and Texas Ranger (could the names in this movie be any funnier?) who proceed to yell at their grandfather in ways so offensive you can’t help but cheer them on, despite how horribly wrong the whole thing is. To me it’s hands down the funniest dinner scene ever.
Now that you know my favorites, let me know if I’ve left any good scenes out by commenting below. And voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these comedies featuring hilarious dinner scenes is your favorite?
The Break Up
Meet the Parents
The Nutty Professor
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