13 Student Films and Other Early Works of Comedy Legends

13 Student Films and Other Early Works of Comedy Legends

A short film is the perfect way to showcase your work without breaking the bank, and since new film festivals and competitions seem to pop up daily, there are countless ways to get the right pair of eyes on it. That’s what these comedy filmmakers figured out at an early age. They thought, “Hmm, it seems as though Hollywood bigwigs aren’t going to entrust me with millions of their dollars to direct a full length movie,” so they got proactive and just made a little somethin’ somethin’ themselves.

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Comedy’s top filmmakers had to start somewhere, and their early works show glimpses of what would become their trademark styles. The shorts shot on film deserve an extra shout out, because the time and money that had to be invested in those bad boys was no joke. So you kids with your iPhones and your $30 LED lights better be grateful for the speed at which you can bang out a short. The larger productions of these student films, shorts, and early works may not have paid off in the moment, but they definitely got the ball rolling for these 13 now-legends of comedy filmmaking.

His early short shows glimpses of that Hot Fuzz style.

CRACKED EDGAR WRIGHT'S EARLY SHORT DEAD RIGHT P In 1993, at 18 years old, he shot his first foray into the cop genre on Super VHS. Не used his classmates as the cast, and it was shot in his hometown Wells, Somerset (where he'd later shoot Hot Fuzz).

Youtube / IMDB 

You don’t really think of Mitch Hedberg as a filmmaker, but here we are.

CRACKED MITCH HEDBERG'S FILM LOS ENCHILADAS! Не wrote, directed and starred in this very low budget movie that he funded himself. It starred Maria Bamford, Marc Maron, and Dave Attell, was edited by Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar, and premiered at Sundance in 1999.

Youtube / IMDB 

Before The Puffy Chair, there was This is John.

CRACKED THIS IS THE DUPLASS BROTHERS' THIS IS JOHN. Shot on their parents' home video camera, it was famously made for $3 (the cost of a fresh blank tape.) The 7-minute film stars Mark Duplass, and was accepted at Sundance in 2003.


The first “Digital” shorts were actually shot on 16mm.

GRACKED ADAM MCKAY'S DIGITAL SHORTS. WS Long before directing huge Hollywood movies like The Big Short and Don't Look Up, his very first director credits are the very first Digital Shorts for SNL in 2000 and 2001. Не called them his training ground for directing.


This relatively unknown comedy got the ball rolling for Broken Lizard.

CRACKED BROKEN LIZARD'S PUDDLE CRUISER. TROU 2 2 CLER Before Super Troopers, Broken Lizard's first film was a college movie filmed at Colgate University (the group's alma mater.) It premiered at Sundance in 1996.


Do yourself a favor and DON’T google GG Allin.

CRACKED TODD PHILLIPS' CRUST PUNK DOC. ECiO I CiNE LIFE SUCKS sput FAST In 1993, while studying film at NYU, his documentary Hated featured GG Allin, the grimiest, most controversial figure in punk history. The student film won an award at the New Orleans Film Fest and was released in theaters, and on DVD.


An inspiring filmmaker’s tale of an inspiring filmmaker.

CRACKED CHRISTOPHER GUEST'S THE BIG PICTURE. Before his directorial hits like Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind, he directed The Big Picture in 1989. It starred Kevin Bacon as a film school graduate trying to navigate Hollywood.

IMDB / Nathan Rabin 

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