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The Best Comedic Films of 2011

As we enter awards season, audiences want to strip away artifice, tear down walls, and watch powerful dramas, rife with depth and emotion.

At least that's what studios seem to think.

When weather gets colder, so do the films. But comedy doesn't have to die just because red carpets are around the corner. So before you're fully surrounded by sadness and decay, consider going out -- or staying in -- for a laugh. Joonbug has compiled the top 5 comedies of 2011, and all are available for viewing right now.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Where to Find Extreme Fun In New York

With Turkey Day approaching, it's easy to become a preemptive couch potato. Chilly weather, television marathons, and the far-off smell of tryptophan make it all too tempting. But dust yourself off, pull on a sweater and get your endorphins flowing: there's fun to be had. High-speed, death-defying, thrill-inducing fun. And Joonbug, with its staff of accredited excitement guides, knows just the cure for those autumnal blues. The best part? All of these yips can be found in the New York metropolitan area.

Skydiving

Feeling bored? Static? Still? The simplest cure is to jump out of a plane. While there are no skydiving facilities in the five boroughs, a Zipcar trip puts you less than two hours away from the ride of a lifetime. Skydive Long Island offers some of the nicest views of New York -- the Atlantic Ocean, the Hamptons, and the Twin Forks -- from over two and half miles up. Newbies can get full service for $235, and experienced jumpers can pay $90 for an equipment rental before their $18 "hop and pop." For a first-timer, plan on spending about a half day at the airfield.

CULTURE CLUB
A New Take on "Cloud 9"

When Caryl Churchill wrote "Cloud 9" in 1978, it was a fresh look at age-old questions in Britain about race, gender, and the role of British imperialism around the world. And despite the gender-bending (the main character's wife, an easily-appalled Victorian woman, is played by a man) and race-bending (Joshua, a black African servant, is played by a white actor) called for in the script, director Mo Zhou decided the more straightforward setting of Act 2 could use some flexibility, as well.

In a modernist twist, the second act will shift not to the punk rock landscape of London, but to the gritty streets of 1970s Brooklyn. Zhou, an MFA candidate in Columbia's directing program, hopes the production will shed light on America's own troubled relationship with imperialism.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Must-See Sights When Visiting NYC

Getting tourist tips for your trip to New York can be a lot like sex advice from your parents: lots of warnings of what not to do, but very few examples of fun stuff. Since no one wants to hear this stuff from their parents, Joonbug's New York staff has compiled its favorite sights. Some are tried and true icons, but others might be too off-the-beaten-path for Fodor's. Consider these sights "musts" for anyone looking to experience the Big Apple beyond the Empire State Building.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade. While the Staten Island Ferry might be best (and cheapest) way to see lower Manhattan through the eyes of an Ellis Island immigrant, the air's getting a little chilly for open-air boat rides. For a pleasant walk without the windchill, try the majestic views of Brooklyn Heights, where you can see the Brooklyn Bridge making its way toward City Hall. Turn your back to the water and check out the ivy-covered townhouses that get to call this view home, then head to Grimaldi's, New York's most famed pizzeria, to warm up.

GET THE PARTY STARTED
The NFL Fan's Guide to NYC Bars

New York might be the city of dreams, but it's also a city of transplants. Millions of New Yorkers tune into NFL games on any given Sunday, but only a fraction of them are watching the Giants and Jets. Instead, the city turns into a football-crazed version of the United Nations: fans don their hometown jerseys, travel in packs, and grab pints at local bars dedicated to particular teams. If you haven't found your gridiron gang yet, look no further: Joonbug has assembled a guide to help any fan find his (or her!) home away from home.

Wharf Bar & Brill (587 Third Avenue at 38th Street). Football being a winter sport, it's easy to forget that the sun exists on game day. Luckily, the retractable roof over the Whaf's patio ensures you can get your vitamin D fix in addition to your 30-cent wings.

WEBSITES
The Funniest Twitter Users You've Never Heard Of

Despite its rise to dominance, Twitter still has a lot of haters. If you're one of them, chances are you haven't joined, or worse: you're following the wrong people. Before you can retort by saying, "Listen, my 14 friends and hilarious uncle are all I need in my life," do yourself a favor and follow some really funny people. If the only names that come to mind are Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien, never fear: Joonbug has navigated the treacherous depths of the Twittersphere for its funniest users.

As a New York-based actor, John Early has appeared in Off-Broadway productions with the Atlantic Theater and Pipeline Theater Company. As a Twitterer, he has appeared in a boatload of retweets. In addition to his more absurd, and hopefully fictitious tweets ("You guys I just baked one of my best friends into a pie #freakingout"), the Beyonce wannabe's sexually-tinged proclamations ("Let me hear y'all scream if you're not sure you're a virgin!") should give you a midday pick-me-up of fabulousness.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A Conversation with Elizabeth Olsen

To be with Elizabeth Olsen is to be at once starstruck and nostalgic. Her face, strikingly similar to billionaire sisters Mary Kate and Ashley, brings to mind so many memories of "Full House" episodes and "Brother For Sale" singalongs.

But for someone who has barely arrived on the big screen, she carries herself...well, like a movie star. The easy smile, the gentle complexion, and the trademark Olsen figure (slender, though at 5-foot-seven she towers over her sisters) give her an air of glamor beyond her 22 years.

CULTURE CLUB
Jack the Ripper is Back + Special Giveaway!

After a bone-chilling premiere, "Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Story" is back for another nation-wide screening on Thursday, October 27th. Fathom Events, who imported the docu-drama from the UK, is putting up another double feature for Halloween-hungry fans.

The murders in London's Whitehall district have still never been solved, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of fun facts and creepy conjectures about who the Ripper was. For example, did you know...

  • Jack is credited with five known murders, all of female prostitutes. All but one of these murders occurred in the streets of London, and one of the bodies was found inside the basement of the Metropolitan Police Department.
  • Despite the swarming English press, police managed to keep secret several details of the murders. The crime scenes were so horrific that the cops feared "copycat" killings.
  • The police identified over 400 potential suspects in the case, including doctors, women, social reformers, upset husbands, and a relative of Queen Victoria. A reporter claimed a man named Peter J. Harpick had committed the crimes, but admitted later he had just created an anagram for Jack the Ripper.
  • George Bernard Shaw claimed Saucy Jack was "the greatest reformer of our time" because of the attention he brought to Whitehall's poor living conditions.
  • Police photographed the eyes of Jack's last victim, hoping that her eyes had captured the image of her killer. Needless to say, it didn't work.
V.I.P: VERY IMPORTANT PARTY
DJ Premier Spins at Re:Generation Preview Party

Chelsea Market opened its doors to some of New York's most notorious music talents last night, as film and music buffs gathered to catch a sneak preview of Amir Bar-Lev's new toe-tapping documentary, "Re:Generation."

DJ Premier, listed by The Source as one of "the top 5 producers in hip hop history," appeared alongside the award-winning filmmaker Bar-Lev ("My Kid Could Paint That," "The Pat Tillman Story") in a Q&A before hitting the turntables himself. The invite-only crowd, featuring an eclectic mix of sleek scenesters, hip hop impresarios, and grungy music journalists, was treated to live performances by Premier, rocker and vice presidential nephew Jamie Biden, and DJ pair AndrewAndrew. Hyundai, who sponsored the film, supplied booze, Pop Burger sliders, and tricked-out cars complete with do-it-yourself turntables and video game systems.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Block Party Alert: A Taste of Sheepshead Bay

When you tell people where you live, the last thing you want to hear is "I don't think I've been there. Is it in New Jersey?"

Brooklyn blogger Ned Berke has heard it all, and he's determined to get his Brooklyn neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay noticed. The 27 year-old's local news blog, Sheepshead Bites, has snagged 20 local restaurants to create the biggest tasting this side of the East River. And while organizing restaurant owners can be reminiscent of cat herding, this herd looks delicious.