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Top 10 Funniest Afterlife Comedies

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
The dead have never been funnier than in these afterlife comedies. We’re looking at movie and TV comedies that focus on characters that live, work or pass through the afterlife. Dying is easy, but comedy is hard. MsMojo ranks the best afterlife comedies. Which afterlife comedy tickles your funny bone? Let us know in the comments!

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The dead have never been so funny! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Afterlife Comedies.

For this list, we’re looking at movie and TV comedies that focus on characters that live, work or pass through the afterlife. However, while the Ricky Gervais Netflix series may be called “After Life,” it is not in fact about the afterlife, so you won’t be seeing it here. Also, a SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.

#10: “Miracle Workers” (2019-)

This hilarious comedy attempts to answer a question that’s been plaguing humanity for centuries: what if God gave up on the earth? Starring Steve Buscemi as the Creator, the series is set in the heavens and focuses on Craig, an angel in charge of answering prayers. Along with his new colleague Eliza, the two angels attempt to save the world from destruction. Featuring Daniel Radcliffe as Craig and newcomer Geraldine Viswanathan as Eliza, the show is a quirky and unique examination of the afterlife, with all its departments, memos and staff meetings.

#9: “Death Becomes Her” (1992)

A black comedy starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn and directed by Robert Zemeckis…yes please! This film may not have won over the critics when it was released in 1992, but it took home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects and has since become a cult classic in celluloid circles. The film revolves around two women who drink a magic potion that grants them everlasting life. Unfortunately, the potion doesn’t exactly keep their bodies in tip top shape, requiring them to seek the services of a reconstructive mortician played by Bruce Willis. Streep and company are more than happy to chew the scenery on this bonkers film, playing up their characters darker sides. The result is a devilish, if somewhat nutty comedic romp.

#8: “Dead Like Me” (2003-04)

We’ll give the title of “most unique way to die” to “Dead Like Me”’s George, a sardonic 18-year-old who leaves this plane of existence thanks to a toilet seat sent plummeting to Earth by the Mir space station. And does George get to enjoy a quiet, retirement-like existence in the afterlife? Nope! She’s given a job as a grim reaper, with a quota of souls to collect and everything. Fortunately, she’s got Mandy Patinkin’s Rube to guide her through her adjustment period and offer much-needed wisdom along the way. Sadly, this Showtime comedy-drama lasted only two seasons, but in that time it asked many questions about life, grief and how death affects those left behind as much as those killed.

#7: “Casper” (1995)

Who’d have thought that a live action remake of a cartoon from the 40s would wind up grossing almost $300 million at the box office? The film version tells the story of “Casper”, a ghost who becomes smitten with the daughter of a paranormal investigator he sees on TV. Featuring memorable performances from Bill Pullman and a young Christina Ricci, “Casper” became a favorite of the 90s VHS era, and would ultimately spawn a TV series and multiple video games. “Casper” is first and foremost a family film, but there are enough jokes crammed in to keep the adults sufficiently entertained throughout.

#6: “Defending Your Life” (1991)

Written, directed by and starring comedian Albert Brooks, “Defending Your Life” is a lighthearted take on the age-old question of: what happens after we die? In Brooks’ world, the recently deceased are sent to Judgement City, where their lives are put under a microscope to determine whether or not they’re worthy of advancing to the next stage of existence. The film is an introspective if lighthearted examination of the afterlife, fear, love and heavenly restaurants where you can consume as much as you like and never gain weight! Roger Ebert called the film "funny in a warm, fuzzy way" and we’re inclined to agree, as the film is guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

#5: “Pushing Daisies” (2007-09)

This quirky, short-lived series was noted for its distinct visual style and humor. Developed by “Hannibal” and “American Gods” showrunner Bryan Fuller, “Pushing Daisies” was as inventive a show about death as you could find in the later 2000s. Named one of Time magazine’s Top 10 New TV Series of 2007, the show focused on Ned, a pie-maker who could bring people back to life with the touch of his finger. Unfortunately, playing god has its drawbacks, with the primary one in this case being that Ned’s second touch kills them forever. Dripping in charm and lead by the magnetic Lee Pace, “Pushing Daisies” is one afterlife comedy that was gone too soon.

#4: “Russian Doll” (2019-)

The "Groundhog Day"-style death day time loop has been seen before - notably in the Blumhouse horror comedy "Happy Death Day" - but if you want to see it taken to some strange new places, check out this Netflix original. One of 2019’s hottest shows, “Russian Doll” throws viewers – and protagonist Nadia Vulvokov – into a continuous time loop that always ends with her death and begins with her resurrection. Star Natasha Lyonne slides into leading lady territory with a bang, a sly one-liner and a freshly lit cigarette. It’s the role she was born to play and a character that you can’t help but fall in love with. As Nadia tries to figure out why her life has been turned inside out, viewers are treated to a hilarious analysis of death, friendship and the dangers of staircases. Enjoy your new addiction!

#3: “Beetlejuice” (1988)

We promise not to say this supernatural trickster’s name too many times! The brainchild of director Tim Burton, whose darkly gothic style of filmmaking has led to the creation of some of cinema’s most iconic characters, “Beetlejuice” is about a recently deceased couple who enlist the help of a pesky poltergeist to help drive a family out of their country home. The film is awash in the kinds of bizarre set pieces and oddball characters that have become the director’s trademark. At the heart of it all is Michael Keaton’s titular bio-exorcist, who is equal parts hilarious, surreal and evil. This is one afterlife comedy that should be on everybody’s “must watch” list!

#2: “Forever” (2018-)

From the mind of “Master of None” co-creator Alan Yang and starring “Saturday Night Live” alumni Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, this Amazon comedy has a lot going for it right off the bat. The show revolves around Oscar and June, a recently deceased married couple who discover that the problems they faced on earth have followed them to the afterlife. “Forever” doesn’t shy away from the more dramatic aspects of Oscar and June’s situation, but there are enough laughs to keep it from feeling overly morose. Armisen and Rudolph strike a fine balance between the melancholy of their struggling marriage and the absurdity of their new situation.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

“Here Comes Mr. Jordan” (1941)

“Heaven Can Wait” (1978)

“Ghost Town” (2008)

“Just Like Heaven” (2005)

“The Frighteners” (1996)

#1: “The Good Place” (2016-)

Starring Kristen Bell and featuring a hilarious supporting cast that includes Ted Danson, William Fitzgerald Harper, Manny Jacinto, D'Arcy Carden and Jameela Jamil, “The Good Place” is one comedy everybody should be watching! The show focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Bell), a selfish and morally bankrupt saleswoman who dies after being hit by a truck. However, in a twist of fate she’s sent to heaven instead of hell! The laugh-a-minute sitcom puts a unique spin on the afterlife genre that’s clever and entertaining. Nominated for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy at the 2019 Golden Globes, it would appear that “The Good Place” has cemented itself as one of television’s hottest comedies!

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