Last Updated: April 3rd
Comedy in film can be strange and varied. Comedies can be difficult to compare, because sometimes you’re in the mood for something cerebral, and other times you just want to watch people get punched in the nuts. Luckily, we have Netflix at our disposal to help us figure out our fancy.
However, while Netflix has been a revolutionary invention, bringing people countless hours of easily accessible entertainment, it can be a little overwhelming. While there are definitely some gems in the movie sections, you have to dig through a lot of straight-to-DVD sequels and bad indie flicks to find the best comedies to watch. While people have cracked the code for finding the best comedies on Netflix right now, we decided to come up with a list of some of the funniest movies as a starting point in your quest for the perfect Friday night in.
20. Mascots (2016)
For a certain type of comedy fan, the work of Christopher Guest will always be the king. With his regular band of players, like Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara, Guest is the gold standard for improvised pseudo-documentary comedies. With the Netflix original, Mascots, Guest looks to explore the competitive world of professional mascots, and while that may not be a real thing, he imbues the film with the mismatched couples, deadpan delivery, and weirdness that fans have come to expect. While it may not be his best work, Mascots will still scratch that itch that Waiting For Guffman first introduced to your life.
19. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)
Yes, the apocalypse can be funny. As the world crumbles around them, odd (and oddly-compelling) couple Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightly) hit the road to get her home to her family and for him to find his long-lost love. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World may have its moments of profound sadness, but a cavalcade of comedy cameos — T.J. Miller, Gillian Jacobs, Rob Corddry, Amy Schumer, and Patton Oswalt to name a few — also makes it laugh out loud funny. Knightly and Carell have a comfortable rapport, moving from strangers to friends to something akin to lovers over the course of their journey. If you’re looking for your comedy to have a heavy dollop of pathos, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is a safe bet.
18. Magic Mike (2012)
While it would be easy to play the world of male strippers for a cheap joke, but director Steven Soderbergh went for surprising nuance with Magic Mike. Yes, Matthew McConaughey bares his oiled chest and crows at a mob of horny women about whether or not they’re “lawbreakers,” but it takes a turn towards more dark comedy, balancing the gyrating thighs with the downside of easy money, adoring crowds, and a life lived fast. Not only did Magic Mike kickstart the McConaissance, it proved that Channing Tatum had acting chops beyond his dance moves. The ladies of Tampa — and everywhere else — will be eternally grateful.
17. Adventureland (2009)
A sweet take on the classic coming of age formula, Adventureland is a must watch for anyone who has ever felt a little lost. Set in the summer of 1987, the film stars Jesse Eisenberg as James Brennan, a recent college grad who has no idea what he wants to do with his life, so he takes a job at an amusement park in order to kill some time and figure out his life. Eisenberg has never been more appealing as a protagonist, and the supporting cast of Martin Starr, Kristen Stewart, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader are all uniformly excellent. If you’re looking for something small scale and genuine for a Sunday afternoon, Adventureland is a sure thing.
16. The Waterboy (1998)
Remember when we used to like Adam Sandler? Sure, his comedies were never high art, but you still find yourself quoting them to this very day. The Waterboy is the classic example of this comfortable familiarity. Sandler mugs his way through his performance as a football team’s waterboy who gets a shot at playing due to his ability to channel his rage into unexpected prowess on the field, and you’ll find yourself cocooned in the welcoming embrace of 90s nostalgia.
15. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
Anyone who caught Jessica Williams during her tenure on The Daily Show knows that she’s destined for greatness. Despite being so young, she had a confidence, a voice, and a commanding presence that you just can’t fake. The Incredible Jessica James is her first starring vehicle since her time as a correspondent, and it is a true testament to where she’s headed. In a clever look at the life of a struggling playwright who is getting over a breakup, The Incredible Jessica James allows Williams to unleash her fire in the most charming way possible, and she and Chris O’Dowd have an easy chemistry that makes you root for them to make it despite not having a thing in common. Having just come out last year, The Incredible Jessica James is still one of the best comedy movies Netflix has delivered.
14. I Love You, Man (2009)
While it’s hard to believe that the affable Paul Rudd would find himself in a friendless predicament, but as the soon-to-be-married Peter Klaven in I Love You, Man, he finds himself in that very position. Who do you ask to be your best man when you don’t have any friends? Enter Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), Peter’s total opposite who just might help him navigate the often fraught waters of adult friendships. Whether you want to laugh with your buddies or appreciate Bush’s greatest hits, I Love You, Man is a worthy option for your next movie night.
13. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
There are so-called “singletons,” and then there’s Bridget Jones. Between Renee Zellweger’s winning turn as Bridget, a sharp script, and dueling suitors in Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, Bridget Jones’s Diary has all the essential ingredients for one of the best romantic comedies. As your staring down the barrel of your 30s and still find yourself wondering what you’re supposed to be doing with your life, pour yourself a glass of wine (or, hell, drink the whole bottle) and watch Bridget slide down that disastrous firemen’s pole. You might not be inspired to start a journal of your own, but you will definitely be swooning over Firth’s Mark Darcy.
12. Burn After Reading (2008)
Burn After Reading is for people who like their comedy unapologetically mean. Pitch black and filled with irredeemable idiots, Burn After Reading features Brad Pitt as the opportunistic himbo Chad who accidentally acquires the sensitive memoirs of a CIA agent and George Clooney as the inept and unscrupulous U.S. Marshall who is trying to retrieve it. While these two morons may be at the center of the film, scene-stealing supporting performances from Frances McDormand and John Malkovich really elevate this to one of the Coens’ funniest and best films to date.
10. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
The thing about Wet Hot American Summer is that you either love it or hate it. There is no in between. It is the epitome of a cult film: a flop when it was first released, it’s since gained a large following as the impressive cast has gone on to bigger things. Wet Hot nails the flurry of hormones and reprehensible behavior that occurs at camp, while also featuring a talking can of vegetables and the threat of a piece of NASA equipment falling from the sky and obliterating the camp. Still, if you want to see Christopher Meloni do weird stuff in a kitchen and a Paul Rudd act like every girl’s worst high school boyfriend, you’ll probably enjoy a few hours at Camp Firewood. (Both of the follow-up Netflix series are also worth a look.)
10. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson’s style is an acquired taste, but Moonrise Kingdom is easily one of his best. In New England in the 60s, two kids, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), decide to run away together. A hilariously inept manhunt ensues, featuring Anderson stalwarts like Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman. At once a love letter to young love and a reverie on the pain of getting older, Moonrise Kingdom has enough sense and sensibility to overcome the twee. If you’ve ever felt the need to run away from your problems and carve out a new existence using wilderness skills, this is the movie for you.
9. Goon (2011)
Goon proves that a movie about hockey can not only be hilariously profane, but it can also be kind of sweet. Doug Glatt (Sean Williams Scott) is so dumb, but so incredibly nice that it’s impossible to root against him. When it becomes clear that he has a real affinity for punching the hell out of people, he gets recruited onto a semi-pro hockey team as an enforcer. Tired of being labelled the family loser, Doug just wants to find his thing, and it turns out, hockey is definitely that thing. Even those rolled their eyes at Scott’s Stifler shtick in the American Pie movies will be pleasantly surprised at what he brings to the table in this film, an extremely funny twist on the traditional underdog sports tale.
8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Terrible breakups are a universal experience and Jason Segel manages to tap into the deep yet hilarious insecurity that plagues us all in the aftermath. When he’s dumped by his movie star girlfriend, Peter goes on a vacation (and mild stalking) to forget his sorrows (and also cry a lot). Along the way, he discovers a little self-worth, a new lease on life, and love, because even with the gross-out humor, this is still a romantic comedy. A hilarious cameo from Paul Rudd and a scene-stealing turn from Russell Brand make this a romcom that will pass even the pickiest dude’s test for the perfect lazy Sunday movie.
7. Don’t Think Twice (2016)
There is a certain appeal to watching very funny people hang out. Yes, having a plot is all well and good, but if that camaraderie and chemistry is there, where the story goes can almost feel secondary. Such is the case with Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice, a hilarious and insightful meditation on friendship, comedy, and success. When a member of a longstanding improv group gets a taste of SNL-esque success, the rest of the troupe is left wondering if a life chasing the next great joke is really worth it. Featuring stellar performances from Birbiglia, Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, and Chris Gethard, this is a movie for stand up nerds (and I mean that in the best way possible).
6. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (2010)
This indie comedy has quickly become a cult classic, turning familiar horror tropes on their heads in bloody and hilarious ways. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine star as two bumbling-yet-well-meaning hillbillies who get pulled into a nightmare scenario when a group of horny coeds think they’re trying to kill them. In a series of events that escalates in violence, Tucker and Dale try to do the right thing while managing to stay alive in the process. It’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by those looking for an off-the-beaten-path comedy.
5. Bring It On (2000)
Teen comedies are a dime a dozen, but Bring It On is the Queen Bee and you better not forget it. As two rival cheer squads battle it out over stolen routines and upcoming championships, Bring It On is always sharp and never condescending. While some may trivialize the “hardships” facing teenagers, Bring It On instead tries to understand the height of feeling that comes from being young. Every cheer is a chance to fail or succeed in seemingly epic proportions, and that kind of stakes makes the absurdity even more hilarious.
4. Ghostbusters (1984)
There are few comedies that have had the cultural impact of Ghostbusters, leaving a lasting stamp on popular culture for decades. When some out of work scientists discover that ghost are actually real, they open a business sending these pesky entities out of the land of the living. Picking a favorite Ghostbuster says a lot about a person (I’m an Egon lady myself), and the 80s classic has remained in the bedrock of comedy since it’s release. Plus, it’s easily one of the most quotable movies of all time. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it’s safe to say that a world with the Ghostbusters in it is a better one.
3. Trading Places (1983)
Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd were at the height of their powers when they made Trading Places, and this comedy is proof of their combined talents. When a homeless hustler and a high powered broker end up switching lives as part of an elaborate bet, hijinks ensue and justice is served. One part screwball comedy, one part social satire, Trading Places doesn’t fall into a lot of the pitfalls of ’80s comedies. On top of making great jokes, our characters actually learn how to be better people. It’s a classic for a reason.
2. Heathers (1981)
One for the outsiders, Heathers is the darkest of the ’80s teen comedies. While your “teen-angst bulls*t” may not have had a body count, everyone can relate to the constant pressure to be popular that plagues high school hallways. Winona Ryder proves herself to be the ultimate cool girl as Veronica, who takes matters into her own hands in order to destroy a toxic clique. Cynical and more than a little cruel, Heathers changed the game for teen films forever. While Mean Girls may be its spiritual successor, Heathers remains the one Queen Bee to rule them all.
1. Hot Fuzz (2007)
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have teamed up many times (usually with director Edgar Wright) to create almost universal awesomeness, but there’s something about Hot Fuzz that stands above the rest. The film is simultaneously a hilarious parody of and passionate love letter to classic action films and Pegg has never been better than as Nicholas Angel, a London cop forced to take a position in the small village of Sanford. He soon begins to realize that the unfortunate “accidents” that keep happening in town are no accident at all, leading to a bloody standoff between Angel and those who have a truly warped way of maintaining “the greater good.” Made by people who love action films for people who love action films, it’s a comedic masterwork.
Recent Changes For April 2018:
Removed: Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Caddyshack, Wedding Crashers, and Cool Runnings
Added: Wet Hot American Summer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Ghostbusters, and Adventureland