Movies share a lot in common with the theatre. This includes the types of genres popular with both mediums. Before the emergence of film vaudeville comedy was a dominant element within live shows. However, the problem was that the first movies had no sound. This forced professional comedians to create a new subgenre that emphasised the use of physical humour. It led to the birth of slapstick. Icons such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton helped to popularise it. Interestingly, the lack of dialogue gave silent comedy films a more global reach.

Whilst modern comedies utilise dialogue fairly prominently slapstick is still a major aspect of them. Every year the Guardian publishes reviews about new comedy releases. Whilst the genre has changed greatly over the decades the basic concept has remained the same. The main aim of these movies is to make the audience laugh.

The nature of comedy is extremely broad. It has evolved into a wide range of sub-genres. During the 2000s mockumentaries became popular. These use a distinct style to mimic the aesthetic of documentaries. Some cinemas have also begun to screen stand up comedy shows.