This weekend, Seth Rogen takes on cancer for a second time with the comedy 50/50. He stars alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a young man that finds out he's living with the disease. The comedy-drama takes a look at the complicated feelings one experiences while undergoing cancer treatment and facing their own mortality.

Sounds like a tough sell in the humor department, but if done with enough heart, the results can be equally hilarious and moving. Here are five films that were bold enough to mix a little levity in with their heavy subject matter.

Funny People

This list doesn't just prove that cancer can be approached in a humorous manner, it also proves that Seth Rogen might actually cause cancer. Perhaps he's unknowingly radioactive like Dr. Manhattan, or maybe he's poisoning soup with Pine Sol like that lady in The Sixth Sense. After appearing alongside a cancer-stricken Adam Sandler in Funny People and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50, it's clear that Rogen could be to blame. Jonah Hill's sudden weight loss is starting to make a lot of sense.

My Life

When father-to-be Michael Keaton is diagnosed with terminal cancer of the kidneys, he decides to videotape himself giving life lessons to his unborn son. He records instructions on how to shave, play sports, use jumper cables, talk to girls, and cook spaghetti. Sadly by the time his son is old enough to appreciate these lessons, VHS is deemed outdated and they are impossible to view. :(

Medicine Man

Not intended to be a comedy per se, Medicine Man is accidentally hilarious. The humor comes from Sean Connery's exasperated performance as a scientist in the Amazon struggling to discover a cure to cancer. He's dealing with some heavy stuff when he blurts out, "I found the cure for the f*cking plague of the twentieth century and now I've lost it. Haven't you ever lost anything Dr. Bronx? Your purse? Your car keys? Well, it's rather like that: Now you have it and now you don't!" There's no not-smirk reaction to that line.


On paper, Stepmom seems like a laugh riot. Not only does it deal with the turmoil of a painful divorce (LOL) and dysfunctional children (yuck yuck), but then it drops the cancer bomb on us out of nowhere. Quit it, you guys. I can't take much more of these comedy stylings. Audiences laughed so hard that it was they who almost needed a kidney transplant.

Terms of Endearment

Though ultimately a very sad movie, Terms of Endearment also functions as a very effective comedy. One of the best comedies, actually. This film from writer/director James L. Brooks, and is said to be part of Judd Apatow's inspiration for Funny People. Be sure to see this. But avoid the sequel. The name of which I will not mention. I will not. I've already said too much.