10 best iPhone apps for making you laugh

10 best apps for making you laugh
If you're a fan of David Mitchell, his Soapbox video podcast series will hit the spot

There's comedy genius to be found in the App Store, and we've spent a pretty enjoyable week rounding up the very best of it for you.

We've tried to cover all the bases, ranging from comedy classics to cult hits. We've included silly crowd pleasers through to thoroughly adult fare such as Viz Profanisaurus Das Krapital.

It's not all one-liners, though - some of these apps aren't funny in themselves, but allow you to create hilarious things to share, such as brilliant photography app OldBooth. Some apps lend themselves well to stimulating post-work drinks conversation, while others will have you desperately trying to suppress giggles on the train home.

Some apps feature memorable TV characters and comedy actors, so you can look forward to the excitable, manic wit of Harry Hill and the foul-mouthed, caustic opprobrium of Malcolm Tucker, both of them brilliantly in-character in their fantastically imagined apps.

In rounding up these apps, we've not worried too much about the price, but with all of these apps landing at well under the £10 mark for the lot, and each one guaranteed to produce at least one solid belly laugh each, there's little reason not to donk them all on your iPhone or iPad immediately. You and your funny bone can thank us later. Have fun!

01. Malcolm Tucker

Price: £3.99
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Malcolm tucker

Comedy creations like Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, make us proud to be British. The foul-mouthed political puppet master is a highlight of Armando Iannucci's The Thick Of It, and Malcolm Tucker: The Missing Phone centres on the contents of Tucker's misplaced phone.

The result is a treasure trove of foul-mouthed email, audio memos and voicemails, all written around the time of the closing of the last series, as Tucker wrestles with gradually losing his grip on power, and eventually his job.

His email inbox is our favourite, featuring missives and conversations between Tucker and his staff as he attempts to save them with political strategy, professional spin-mastery and threats of physical violence.

There's Tucker's magnificent manifesto for dealing with the press (Point one: "Don't point. It's rude and it will lead to a photograph in which it looks like you are giving a Nazi salute."), plus the political high-flyer's SMS archive, including sadistic texts to answer service AQA ("What is the sharpest knife in the world and where can I get a really big one?" Answer: "Your number has been blocked.").

All of the skullduggery, backstabbing and inept attempts at horse-trading that the TV show plays for laughs are here. People email each other attack memos, which are either deliberately or accidentally forwarded to the attackee, and all the tools of the trade - PDF and .DOC attachments, plus incriminating images - are included for your enjoyment.

Another highlight is the assortment of voicemails - left by Tucker himself, asking for his phone back, dense cabinet minister Nicola Murray (played by Rebecca Front) and freshfaced upstart Ollie Reeder, voiced by Chris Addison. There are also no small number of voice memos to enjoy - the app might be the most expensive here, but there's a vast amount to savour, much of it perfect for dipping in and out of when you have a spare moment.

As befits a phone belonging to a political head honcho, the app is a very busy place, pushing a stream of new voicemails and emails to your Home screen within the first few hours of you downloading the app. There's even a story arc, which unfolds as Tucker attempts to trace his phone by wheedling, cajoling and threatening his terrified crew, as new emails, voicemail and texts arrive on the phone.

One of the funniest plot twists is spin-doctor Tucker's attempts to find himself a career beyond politics. The first chapter of his book is rejected for libelling Michael Crick and Angus Deayton, and he delivers a potty-mouthed rejection of an approach from the BBC trying to interest him in hosting a chat show. Much - if not all - of the humour requires a working knowledge of the show's cast, so this will be a frustrating place to start if you've never seen The Thick of It or In the Loop, the film of the TV show.

If you're already a fan, though, this offers a huge amount of fresh laughs - it's the way a companion app should be done, and the perfect thing to tide you over until the new series next year. A no-brainer for those already familiar with the show, and the perfect sofa companion for those embarking on the first season.

02. Viz Profanisaurus

Price: £1.49
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch


Simultaneously the least appropriate, rudest and arguably the funniest app in this group. Viz Profanisaurus has been offering appallingly rude double entendres for years, and this cheap app - Viz Profanisaurus Das Krapital - rounds up 12,000 of them for your viewing displeasure, allowing you to describe bodily functions, anatomical features and intimate acts with more accuracy than ever before.

Just how rude is it? We tried at length to find a definition suitable for reproduction in Tap! and failed miserably. This is not for the easily offended. For everyone else, though, the Profanisaurus is a gloriously profane guide to swearing, allowing you to skip randomly through definitions, or, if you've got something specific in mind, there's a text search box, plus an exhaustive A - Z list.

You can mark entries as favourites, and there's the World Top 10. For the socially minded, the Profanisaurus also includes the ability to post entries to your Twitter and Facebook feeds, although those who are friends with their gran or boss should probably think twice about using this feature.

All in all, this is worth every penny of its £1.49 asking price, is laugh-out-loud funny, and is totally unworthy of a place in a family magazine like Tap!

Download it at your own risk, and come up with a plausible explanation to offer to your colleagues when they ask what you're laughing so hard at.

03. The Onion

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

The onion

The Onion, the US's finest satirical news source, has been keeping the Tap! team amused and distracted for years. So it's a shame that the excellent website is now buried behind a paywall that blocks non-subscribers after five visits in the same month. Luckily for iOS users, though, this excellent official app allows you to skirt around it.

It's essentially an iPad magazine, although it's available on the iPhone and iPod touch as well (the iPad version is called The Onion Tablet, while the iPhone/iPod touch app is simply named The Onion).

The grid-style layout on the front page will be familiar to users of apps such as The Guardian or The Daily - a main story with a big image, then a host of smaller stories, infographics and videos. Navigation is reasonably quick, if a touch jerky at times.

Once The Onion app has downloaded the week's content from the site - of which there's a decent amount - you can read it whether you're online or not, which makes it useful for comedy fans without a mobile data connection. But certain features, such as video, take a while to download.

At its heart it's still The Onion, which means it's satirical US genius at its best, and the app rolls in almost the same amount of content as the physical US-only newspaper. The text stories in it are cuttingly sharp, and the infographics are high-resolution and hilarious.

The star of the piece, though, is the spoof video reports, aping the 24-hour news networks with a constant churn of ridiculous stories. Production values in these videos are first-rate, but this isn't a case of form over content - virtually every joke lands perfectly, giving you plenty of scope for thoroughly embarrassing yourself on the train by spluttering coffee over the tray table.

This is perfect for anyone running out of patience with proper newspapers, and all for the utterly compelling price of absolutely free.

04. OldBooth

Price: £1.49
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch


There must be real money to be made in enabling your iPhone to edit pictures to make people look younger, but for comedy value, OldBooth is a superb image editor.

Snap a front-on picture of a friend, place their face into one of OldBooth's old-timey image masks, and hey presto: a picture rendered as though they had been photographed in the '60s. Silly hair and weird clothes are the order of the day, but with around 30 different image masks included, there's plenty of fun to be had. You can take photos in the app, and to help line things up perfectly, OldBooth overlays your chosen mask on top of the viewfinder.

If you're working with an existing pic, pinching to zoom your image to the right size and rotating it is perfectly smooth, while the ability to alter the brightness and contrast of your original image makes it easy to produce surprisingly convincing results.

If the supplied masks simply won't do for you, a pair of In-App Purchases (69p each) allow you to add a handful of extra effects from the '20s or '80s. Good, clean fun.

05. Alan Partridge

Price: 69p
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Alan partridge

Aha! Following a fall from grace, hapless egomaniac Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) is working at a Norfolk radio station, and the result is comedy gold.

Alan Partridge Mid Morning Matters supplies a soundboard from the series of internet shorts, plus a dose of home-made jingles (our favourite being 'What is Alan firing his friend's air rifle into?'). There's also a random shake feature, in which a soundbite is picked out at random.

The videos are the stars of the app - ten-minute clips set in a recording studio, each one a perfect study of a man whose ego threatens to collapse in on itself.

Content is magnificent; it's just a shame that the videos have to be streamed online. Unlike in Mitchell's Soapbox or Harry Hill's Little Internet Show, there's no option to download videos to watch later.

06. David Mitchell's Soapbox

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad


This is the first of two appearances by Peep Show's David Mitchell in this roundup - an indicator of the man's ability to tickle us.

Each Soapbox is a three to four minute diatribe on a random subject - Mitchell sounds off on the futility of marathon running, his annoyance at people ordering coffee in busy pubs and the unnecessary expense of foreign stag dos. It's a little like listening to a good friend in a pub, assuming your good friends are award-winning comedy writers.

The videos are magnificently produced, and can be streamed directly or downloaded in higher quality, although on anything smaller than an iPad you're unlikely to notice a difference.

Best of all, these genuinely funny weekly rants are all free, with a season's worth of short sound clips thrown in as a bonus, plus another season's worth available as an In-App Purchase. A must-have for fans of Mitchell and good jokes.

07. Peep Show (The Quotatron)

Price: 69p
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Peep show

Is Peep Show the funniest thing on British TV? We're inclined to think it is. So although Peep Show (The Quotatron) isn't exactly a multimedia tour-de-force, containing as it does around 50 audio quotes from two of the most twisted, tortured and funny characters committed to TV, it more than compensates by being extremely funny.

Well, most of the time, anyway. Given the rich treasure trove of quotes at the app creators' disposal, a few of them are a little too short of context for our liking. But there's certainly enough to amuse, and while the bundled memory game doesn't make a huge amount of sense, it's a decent time-passer.

A smattering of video wouldn't go amiss, but for those who don't get their fill of Peep Show from the app (possibly the idea), each quote comes with a link to the relevant episode in the iTunes store.

08. Harry Hill Little Internet Show

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Harry hill

Channel Flip made Harry Hill's Little Internet Show as well as David Mitchell's Soapbox. The app layout and production values of the two-to-three-minute sketches are all roughly the same, but the humour varies wildly as the big-collared comic finds himself in manic scrapes, whether it's helping out his mate Adam (a tree), or attempting to hide Susan Boyle in a cupboard.

As with Soapbox, clips can be streamed if you've got a network connection, or downloaded if you're a stickler for quality, and the app alerts you when a new episode is released - although season one has just finished.

Videos are nicely produced, and although it's sponsored by AOL, pre-roll advertising is kept to an unobtrusive minimum. Our only complaint is the lack of sharing options - given that the videos can be streamed over the internet, the ability to post them to your Facebook wall would be a great addition. Other than that, this is a superb freebie for fans of Harry Hill.

09. Atomic Fart Free

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Atomic fart free

We feel bad about this one: Tap! lasted precisely 10 issues before covering a fart app. But when it comes to making people laugh, the passing of gas has been funny for millennia, so it's nice to see technologists embracing the lowest form of humour.

And embrace it they have, with Atomic Fart capable of serving up a bevvy of disgusting but funny wind sounds, from The Aftershock to the Duck Stepper in the fart list. And there's even a fart drum set. You can set your iOS device up to become a space-age whoopie cushion as well, either by setting up a countdown or opting to have it detect nearby movement before letting rip.

There's even Bluetooth capability within the app, allowing you to serve up naughty noises on the iOS devices of (consenting) nearby users.

10. Fawlty Towers Soundboard

Price: 69p
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Fawlty towers soundboard

Fawlty Towers Soundboard mines such a rich seam of source material, it's shooting into an open goal. Still, the presentation of this keenly priced collection of sound clips is pleasingly on-message, and there's a strong selection of clips. Including, of course, Basil not mentioning the war.

Choose the clips you want to listen to by selecting a favourite character (Basil, Sybil, Polly, the Major and Manuel all get their own categories). Giving your iPhone a shake from the app's main screen will play a random one. You can also opt to play all the clips in a random order, giving the screen a tap to move on to the next one.

That's about it - no sharing options and no video reduce the app's appeal somewhat, although as with The Quotatron there are links to Fawlty Towers on iTunes. Still, listening to Basil breaking down, cracking up and abusing his staff is timeless.


First published in Tap! Issue 11

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Dave is a professional photographer whose work has appeared everywhere from National Geographic to the Guardian. Along the way he’s been commissioned to shoot zoo animals, luxury tech, the occasional car, countless headshots and the Northern Lights. As a videographer he’s filmed gorillas, talking heads, corporate events and the occasional penguin. He loves a good gadget but his favourite bit of kit (at the moment) is a Canon EOS T80 35mm film camera he picked up on eBay for £18.