10 Greatest Comedy Couples, Pt. 2

plug-socket-costumeYesterday I began a list of ten great comedian and comedienne collaborations (or just plain dynamite romantic comedy couples). With Steve Carrell and Tina Fey starring for the first time in Date Night, two comedic actors who have single-handedly keeping NBC’s primetime television afloat, I thought it was warranted.

If you didn’t read part one, it’s here.

While the first five catered a bit more to famous rom com couples, the top five feature one-time duos and frequent co-stars who could do it all: comedy, romance, drama and most of all, created memorable characters. Many are Oscar winner  who have some of the best reputations in Hollywood history.


5. Gene Wilder & Madeline KahnGene-Wilder-and-Madeline-KahnFilms Together: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder is one of the great comedians of the 1970s and other than “Willy Wonka,” he is best remembered for his roles in Mel Brooks’ comedies, two of which co-starred Madeline Kahn, also a two-time Oscar-nominated movie star. The two were hysterical together in both western spoof Blazing Saddles, where Kahn played the seductive cabaret performer Lily von Shtupp and Wilder played Jim, the fastest gun in the West, literally. The same year they found even wider success in Young Frankenstein. Two of cinema’s most beloved comedies makes them a duo hard to beat.

4. Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaineApartment_lemmon_maclaine_smallFilms Together: The Apartment

Jack Lemmon deserved a spot on my list and the only time he was equaled by an impressive female lead was in Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, The Apartment, co-starring a young Shirley MacLaine. Both were nominated for Oscars in this terrific comedy that dared to take infidelity head-on and brought two instantly lovable characters to the big screen in C.C. Baxter and Fran. Of all his neurotic characters, Baxter was Lemmon’s finest and MacLaine was never as funny (though pitiable) on the big screen.

3. Walter Matthau & Barbara StreisandhellodollyFilms Together: Hello, Dolly!

When two comedic forces hit each other head on, a film like Hello, Dolly! happens. Criticize the musical all you want, but not its two leads, Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau. Streisand, the attention-demanding spotlight-stealer takes on Matthau, the stubborn slob who downplays everything. They are two of the most celebrated comedians sharing the screen who couldn’t be more opposite in their ways. Together, they work like a charm. If Streisand has been more actress than singer, there’s a chance we would have seen much more of them together, but “Dolly!” is all we get.

2. Woody Allen & Diane Keaton1280_annie-hall-thumb-540x360Films Together: Sleeper, Love and Death, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Manhattan Murder Mystery

A different kind of comedic couple, but a hall-of-fame pair no less. Woody Allen and his first muse, Diane Keaton, were an incredible combination in the ’70s, introducing Allen’s fantastical realism to the world with down-to-earth yet sometimes high-brow humor. Keaton’s free-flowing soul was the perfect balance to the neurotic and off-the-wall characters Allen always played. If Allen ever decided to stop making films about 30-somethings without successful love lives doing some bizarre soul-searching and decided to appear on camera one last time with Keaton, movie-lovers everywhere would be in line right away.

1. Cary Grant & Katherine Hepburncary-grant-philly_lFilms Together: The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, Sylvia Scarlett

It wouldn’t be right not to end with a classic couple and none were more classic than Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Four films was relatively low for movie pairs of the ’30s and ’40s, but nearly every one is a classic. Grant’s charm and humor with Hepburn’s distinct voice and the way she carried herself — a couple never butted heads yet fit so perfectly together like these two did on camera. Hepburn played strong women, Grant played playboys, the warring gender roles made the romance all that more appealing when they took the screen together in those days. Romance and wit have never been equalled quite that same way, though others on this list have come very close.

Hopefully at the least, this gave you some great ideas of films to watch. Also, feel free to comment with some of your personal favorite co-ed comedy duos.


  1. Kudos for the excellent details, It was just what I was looking for, and extremely helpful.

  2. Stephi Davis says:

    I’ve Always Loved “Gene Wilder” and I miss Madaline Kahn. She left us at a very young age….Also, Gilda Radner who was married to Gene..My All Star Fav’from SNL (+ the whole cast back then, They were the VERY VERY BEST of SNL, EVER… And Always will be!)gal! I saw her up in New York on stage and read her book she wrote after she passed away. Love her so much….They both are probably laughing it up in Heavens Home!!! You brought alot of Great Smiles and Fun into all of our lives!….Also, John Belushi, Bill Hartman,….etc ~God Love them! Love to you all~

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