The Five - Workplace Comedies


Written by Brionna Raum

Compiled by Cameron Galvin and Brionna Raum

For most of us out here, there’s something hilariously relatable about a good workplace comedy.

The films we have compiled today excel in taking the often mundane rhythm of the average workplace and giving it a comedic twist. There are so many different types of work environments, but these films capture some of the more classic American workspaces as a canvas for various shenanigans (except when Shenaniganz is the canvas itself @ Waiting). Here are some honorable mentions that still deserve recognition even though they didn’t make it this time: 9 to 5 (1980), Gung Ho (1986), and Horrible Bosses (2011).

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5. High Fidelity (2000)

First on our list we have a great film whose characters work in a used vinyl record store. John Cusack stars as Rob Gordon, the owner of the not-so-successful Chicago record store and our recently dumped protagonist. Throughout the film within the backdrop of his record store, Rob seeks to understand what went wrong in each of his relationships, while pining after his ex-girlfriend Laura. Rob also has a penchant for creating top five lists, which we very much appreciate here, and makes one for his top five breakups as part of his attempts to determine where he’s going wrong. High Fidelity is centered on music, love, and workplace antics.


4. Waiting (2005)

Next up we’ve got Rob McKittrick’s film Waiting, starring Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, and John Francis Daley as employees in the restaurant called “Shenaniganz”. This film will absolutely resonate with anyone who has ever worked in the restaurant business, and hopefully teach a lesson or two to those customers who make an already difficult 8 hour shift even more unbearable. This workplace comedy earned a place on our list because of its ability to hilariously portray the restaurant business and the interpersonal dramas in between. Fun fact: director McKittrick thanks Kevin Smith for making Clerks (next up in out list!), as it helped him believe that his film would become a reality.


3. Clerks (1994)

As promised, next up we have director Kevin Smith’s cult classic film Clerks. Contrary to popular belief, this film was not shot in black and white for artistic purposes, but because of the extremely low budget ($27,575) that Smith was working with. Kevin Smith had personal experience working in a convenience store, and actually shot this film at the convenience store that he worked at for a while. Clerks is a lighthearted, candid picture of the comically un-glamorous life of convenience store workers, and the way that they make life interesting for themselves.


2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

It’s pretty hard to imagine that anyone would make it through a list of workplace comedies without thinking of Will Ferrell’s iconic performance as anchorman Ron Burgundy. Director Adam McKay brings us into the wild world of a San Diego news station, and into the lives of the characters working there. This workplace is probably less familiar to most viewers from behind-the-scenes of the news station, but in a sense, we are all a part of the news as viewers, and this film is great for its ability to imagine the backstage happenings of a news station, and what it might be like to be San Diego’s most beloved anchorman. As we move on to our number one workplace comedy, we remind you, stay classy Arizona.

1. Office Space (1999)

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Our crowning victor today, we’ve got the one and only Office Space from director Mike Judge. Starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, Office Space will make you laugh so hard you might smash a printer (get it? ha). Perhaps the most classic workplace environment of all the films on this list, this film has become a standard for great workplace comedy, and has stood the test of time in terms of comedic longevity. Office Space is full to the brim with unique characters each with their own funny quirks, and will quickly become one of your favorite workplace comedies if you don’t already love it.