Let’s be honest, we all need a laugh at the moment. Plus, it’s the season to be jolly, after all, and you don’t always want to be digging into the latest hard-hitting drama or nail-biting thriller. But where to begin with Netflix’s bountiful offering of funny movies? Luckily, we’re here to help – whether you’re looking to laugh out loud or simply snigger a few times, there’ll be something on this list of the best Netflix comedies to watch right now.
There are teen comedies like Easy A or The Half of It, as well as some big comedic names in movies like the Eddie Murphy-fronted Dolemite is My Name. There are also off-beat classics, as well as new Netflix originals like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Read on to find out which are the best Netflix comedies.
The Other Guys
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Goofy, inane, and juvenile; Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s fourth collaboration, The Other Guys continues the silliness streak in arguably their most underrated outing. Ferrell downplays his slapstick schtick this time as Allen Gamble, a downtrodden NYPD forensic accountant paired with Mark Wahlberg’s gung-ho cop Terry Hoitz. Their shared desire for department glory is constantly scuppered by their own shortcomings; Gamble is too humdrum and Hoitz’s claim-to-fame is accidentally shooting Derek Jeter at the World Series.
Despite being so vastly different performers, Ferrell and Wahlberg strangely complement each other. They each double down hard on what makes their characters so ridiculous. Hoitz commits to his histrionics. Gamble to his stupidity. Together their personalities clash, forging some terrific back-and-forth banter that makes the plot – their desperate attempts to bring down Steve Coogan’s billionaire tycoon – much funnier than you’d imagine. Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson take this buddy cop spoof over the top with one of the decade’s silliest cameos.
Deidra & Laney Rob A Train
When Deidra and Laney’s mother, a frustrated box store employee, unleashes holy hell at work and winds up behind bars it’s up to Deidra to figure a way to feed them and their younger brother. The best caper comedies are born from dire situations such as these. That’s the burning idea at the heart of this warm chuckle fest from director Sydney Freeland and screenwriter Shelby Farrell. Deidra's (Riverdale’s Ashleigh Murray) life is upended, making her typical schemes like flipping papers for cash seem humdrum in comparison.
Her ambitious mind now free to explore more extraordinary circumstances, the plot surges forward as she opts to loop her sister into the plan to rob not just a train, but several. What makes this such a winning pic is the sharp, snappy dialogue and its commitment to placing the story in the hands of a racially-diverse cast. Part of Netflix’s more recent foray into edgier teen content, Farrell’s script drops a slew of one-liners that make this comedy both sweet and sharp.
Set It Up
Part of Netflix’s comedy refresh, Set It Up twists every typical romcom trope into something new. Zoey Deutsch and Glen Powell star as Harper and Charlie, personal assistants to two of New York’s busiest execs, played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs. With no social lives, due to their hectic schedules, the underpaid and overworked duo concoct a genius plan; set their bosses up with the hopes of getting some time off.
We’re in the midst of a romantic comedy resurgence if you hadn’t noticed, and Set it Up is one of the very best to emerge. The plot may hit along similar beats – hey, that’s what you *want* from a rom-com – yet it pushes at the boundaries, and breathes some fresh air into the formula. Powell and Deutsch have ridiculous chemistry that’s easy to champion from the minute they join forces.
The Addams Family
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Okay, okay, listen: everyone extols the virtues of Addams Family Values. We’re not here to persuade you otherwise. Granted, the sequel gives the Addams siblings greater screentime and lures in Joan Cusack for a superb piece of underhanded plotting. But let’s not overlook the charm of the 1991 original. From its opening scene, the first one remains a solid family comedy unafraid to source genuine belly laughs from its dark subject matter. Pugsley stealing intersection STOP signs as the family patiently wait to hear the screams? A laugh-out-loud morbid highlight.
But what makes it worth visiting and revisiting is how it balances gross-out gags with its tale of what true family really means, as Uncle Fester’s return to the Addams’ homestead is met with skepticism. Of course, you can’t mention the Addams Family without referencing the twisted romance at its heart. Morticia and Gomez’s marriage certainly pushes the boundary at times. It’s their unashamed desire that prompts many of the movie’s best gags, yet it never fails to highlight the sweetness at the heart of its macabre nature.
The Half Of It
Netflix churns out teen comedies left and right. They’re relatively cheap to produce and tend to garner millions of views. That tactic undoubtedly means many will miss the mark. Alice Wu’s The Half of It gently subverts the romantic comedy tropes Netflix’s existing catalogue relies upon; becoming one of its biggest teen hits. Leah Lewis stars as Ellie Chu, a high-schooler who helps pay her family’s bills by writing papers for her schoolmates.
When a nice-but-dim football player (Daniel Diemer) comes asking for her help writing love notes to Aster, a girl he’s fallen for, Ellie finds herself handling a burgeoning connection to her as well. Outside of its tangled romance, you could easily discount the rest of the film’s compelling components by summing it up only as a queered Cyrano. Wu offers much more than mere teen angst, with laughter and lightness equally as revered.
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Part of ‘flix’s attempt to reboot the rom-com, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a refreshing, lighthearted tale that revolves around the love life of one Lara Jean Covey (Lara Condor). After her older sister moves away to college, Lara Jean’s life changes when five secret love letters she had kept hidden somehow find their way into the hands of their recipients. One of the boys, Peter, enters into a fake relationship with Lara Jean – to wind up HIS ex, and to prove Lara Jean doesn’t fancy her sister’s ex. Confused? You won’t be, but you’ll love the optimism and John Hughes-esque atmosphere.
For a high school rom-com set in 2018, it’s surprisingly light on teen tech. The kids use their cell phones (obviously), but the central conceit here revolves around a surprisingly sweet one – handwritten love letters. The rest of the movie’s charm spirals off from that notion, making this a rom-com likely to leave a lasting impression.
Yes, God, Yes
Alice is a pubescent teenager who goes to Catholic high school and starts.. ehem... discovering her body and her own feelings towards others. You can see where this is going. Natalie Dyer, best know for her role in Stranger Things, plays the charming Alice, who struggles with being a sexual person while in the shackles of her religion. It all makes for a very funny, heartwarming coming-of-age story . An excellent debut from writer-director Karen Maine.
Eric André and Lil Rel Howery star in this road trip comedy, playing two best friends traveling from Florida to New York City so one of them can confess his love for his high school crush (Michaela Conlin), all the while being chased by the other's criminal sister (Tiffany Haddish), whose car they have stolen for the trip. The movie is filmed using hidden cameras and, like André's previous work, there's plenty of surreal comedy and absurd situations. Prepare to be surprised by some very funny and cringe-worthy skits.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams co-star as a pair of small-town Icelandic songwriters who go by the name Fire Saga. Clamoring for the fame and glory that comes from winning the titular music competition, they wind up representing their country through an amusing early sequence that wipes out the actual Iceland team. This hammy send-up of the Eurovision Song Contest plays like an extended Saturday Night Live skit. It manages to avoid the tedium you might expect from that setup by sharing its comedy gold throughout the cast. This isn’t JUST Ferrell’s show.
McAdams brings much merriment via her deadpan deliveries. Yet the best laughs hail from Dan Stevens, who deftly steals the entire movie as ostentatious Russian Alexander Lemtov, keen to sabotage and save the Fire Saga duo. This spoof is ridiculous, runs long, and is responsible for far too many memes yet you’ll be laughing along merrily and thoroughly warmed by the love story at its centre.
Always Be My Maybe
A trio of Asian American talent from Fresh Off The Boat join forces for a thoroughly refreshing love story. Ali Wong and Randall Park, who wrote and appeared in the aforementioned show respectively, co-star as childhood sweethearts who reconvene 15 years later under drastically different circumstances. The fact it’s also directed by Nahnatchka Khan, Fresh’s showrunner, is what shapes this Netflix Original into a feature that’s far better than you’d expect.
Always Be My Maybe skirts barfy saccharine territory despite the homeliness of its story. Wong’s character, Sasha, has struck it big as a successful chef who returns home to San Francisco to help open a new restaurant while Park’s Marcus has barely moved on at all. Despite the gap in their living circumstances, the pair rekindle their relationship, and comedy hijinks ensue. The warmth of the setup hails from the deeply-explored subtleties between Sasha’s Vietnamese upbringing and Marcus’ Korean-American family (it was his mother who taught Sasha to cook, after all). Throw in a dynamite A-list cameo, truly awful rapping from Marcus’ musical troupe, and Wong on top form, there’s plenty here to enjoy.
Someone Great sounds like a sentimental romantic comedy you’ve seen countless times before. Heck, even the promo and marketing materials paint it as such. But despite its vague title it’s a sweet and funny farewell, as three friends spend one last day together in New York City. Eager to shed her Jane the Virgin persona, Gina Rodriguez snags the meatiest role as Jenny, a music journalist whose 9-year relationship with Nate (Lakeith Stanfield) ends the night before she leaves for a Rolling Stone job in California.
This prompts her two besties (DeWanda Wise and Brittany Snow) to blow off their workdays to help her source tickets for a must-see show before she departs. Thankfully, the film flits to and from the love story, instead of focusing mostly on the friendships The Someone Great of the title turns out to be the friends that help her through the hardest time in her life and the person that Jenny never believes herself to be when she’s beholden to Nate. Although the movie shines when Jenny’s off-screen and Wise and Snow’s hijinks take centre stage.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, Life of Brian still stands as one of the funniest films ever made. To prove that Holy Grail wasn’t a fluke, and eager to craft a winning follow-up, the Monty Python crew got together and gave us Life of Brian. Another period film, another set of ridiculous circumstances blended together to be as offensive as possible. This time, the focus is on a young Jewish man named Brian, who, through an unfortunate mixup, is heralded as being the Messiah. But he’s not. He’s a very naughty boy.
Razor-sharp dialogue, witty one-liners, daft slapstick scenarios; there isn’t a type of comedy that Life of Brian doesn’t wrangle into its story. This is a classic comedy which will no doubt still be topping ‘best of’ lists in another forty years.
Amy Poehler’s directorial debut unites a who’s-who mash of Saturday Night Live cast members for a girls-gone-wild comedy. Poehler stars alongside Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Paula Pell, Ana Gasteyer, Emily Spivey, and Tina Fey. The genuine camaraderie of its cast, on whom the actual story is based, is what sells it. It’s tricky at times to detect whether a laugh was scripted or improvised, such is the bubbling chemistry between the group.
It’s a simple premise that’s executed effortlessly; a group of six friends hit up Napa for a birthday weekend getaway. You won’t find anything particularly outlandish, and the film’s all the better for it. Save for an epic set-piece involving a snake and a hill, the charm here lies in its humble aspirations. Throw together lifelong friends and a tonne of wine, and… well, the outcome is as you might expect. Fertile ground for comedy.
Dolemite Is My Name
Launching his career with raunchy standup, Eddie Murphy’s subsequent dive into family-friendly comedies didn’t exactly leave his hardcore fans pleased. When might we see the return of his no-holds-barred former self? His comeback movie, the Netflix Original Dolemite is My Name, is a damn fine start. While it might not pack quite the same R-rated punch as Raw it’s not supposed to.
Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, an entertainer desperate to strike it rich. His humble musical beginnings soon make way for his foray into the movie business, where he charts his own path as blaxploitation icon, Dolemite. In the title role, Murphy excels, stealing every scene he’s in, proving that he’s got dramatic and comedy chops. His supporting cast, including Wesley Snipes, Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, and Keegan-Michael Key absolutely slay.
The Fundamentals of Caring
Based on the novel by Jonathan Evison, this buddy road trip movie walks the line between poignant drama and sharp, observational comedy perfectly. Paul Rudd stars as Ben, a failed writer who takes a wholly different approach to life after the tragic death of his son. He adopts a new livelihood as a caregiver which leads him to meet the brusque Trevor (Craig Roberts), a teen with muscular dystrophy who asks his new caregiver a simple request: to take him on a road trip.
The duo hit the road after convincing Trevor’s mom (the brilliant, and sadly underused, Jennifer Ehle) to let them visit “The World’s Deepest Pit”. Their jaunt is of course not about the destination. It’s about the gags – and revelations – they make along the way, many of which revolve around Ben having to help Trevor pee. Selena Gomez’s achingly-hip Dot jumps in on the action, with cheeky throwaway lines oozing crush-worthy cool, giving this fun, heart-warming comedy a little added bite.
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Bel Powley continues her streak of compelling performances in this criminally-underseen New York City dramedy from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before director Susan Johnson. As the precocious Carrie, who graduated Harvard at the tender age of 19 and towers over those twice her age, Powley is, understandably, a tad bratty. Somehow her own preternatural thesp skills temper Carrie’s precociousness. While she echoes Woody Allen’s nervous Manhattanite nerds, she’s a wholly likable protagonist, a book smart woman who places her own value ahead of those in her orbit.
The movie opens with Carrie’s therapist suggesting that she craft a five-point plan. With no friends, no partner, and few interests, the goal is for her to integrate people back into her life. So begins her journey to open herself up to a world she believes herself superior to, which, understandably yields rather amusing results.
The Forty-Year-Old Version
Radha Blank’s own life is the inspiration for her directorial debut, The Forty Year-Old Version. She plays Radha, a woman whose biggest creative accomplishments lie nearly a decade in her past. Initially reluctant to change, she eventually snaps and decides she can’t trudge through more of the same. Emboldened, she hits up a local beat boy to support her rapping aspirations, while seeking a theatrical home for her new play.
Movies about the creative process can feel a little inside baseball at times, yet, Blank’s debut is more inclusive. Uproariously hilarious without being alienating, the concept of trying to making it against all odds is a universal one Blank handles with aplomb. The Forty-Year Old Version is an authentic and painfully-funny dive into how we handle dissatisfaction later in life, and the endless rewards that can bring if we’re willing to be brave and change our circumstances.
One of 2020's first big post-lockdown successes, The Lovebirds sees Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani play two lovebirds who are anything but. Their relationship is on the rocks and their breakup plans are interrupted by a car crash that spirals into a world of conspiracies and criminals. It's a comedy, honest.
Following on from that climatic incident, The Lovebirds becomes pure farce, flitting between hilarious set-piece after hilarious set-piece, each designed to make you cringe and wince.
The Eternals fans could also do a lot worse than seeking out the film. With Marvel's cosmic caper likely to flex Nanjiani's dramatic (and very real) muscles, this is the perfect starting point for those looking to see what he has to offer.-
The Lovebirds, like so many rom-coms, revels in the chemistry between the two leads as their situation slips further and further out of their control. No spoilers here, but let's just say you won't see a certain form of torture coming. It also cements Nanjiani as one of the most interesting and necessary actors when it comes to modern-day relationships. A perfect double bill with The Big Sick, if you ask us.
One of Ryan Murphy’s many, many projects over the last few years at Netflix, The Prom is a Golden Globes-nominated, star-studded musical extravaganza that combines the talents of Hollywood leading lights such as Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman in a comedy designed to bring a smile to your face.
Streep is joined by James Corden as a pair of Broadway stars fallen on hard times, perked up by a plan co-concocted by Kidman’s Angie and unemployed actor Trent (Andrew Rannells) that sees the foursome attempt to revive a schoolgirl’s prom night with her girlfriend.
What follows is a glitzy, cheesier-than-cheese romp filled with showtunes and all the trimmings of a big stage musical. The sort of scale and scope for something so niche is a Netflix hallmark at this point – and Ryan Murphy makes the most of the bigger budget with a series of showstoppers. At its heart, it's ultimately a LGBTQ+ movie that brims with optimism and a sense of belonging. It may have divided critics, but you’ll be singing and dancing by the time the credits have rolled.
Kicking and Screaming
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Far less enamoured with its own cleverness than many ‘90s coming-of-age dramedies, Noah Baumbach’s debut remains charming as ever. The story follows a group of friends the first year out of college, with no clue what they’re going to do now they’re officially out in the real world. It’s a template that’s constantly revisited in movies for its timeless appeal; how do we cope when we’re meant to be grown-ups?
In this case, the core gang chooses to ignore it. They hang around their old campus, they drink, they smoke, they try to list the names of all of the Friday the 13th movies. It’s one of the few campus-set comedies that’s not a gross-out, instead of finding the funny in the excruciating moments of youth when you believe you’re the coolest, when it turns out you’re not even close.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Coen brothers bring their unique style to a series of short tales told throughout the Old West. Over the course of six stories, the American frontier serves as a backdrop for a range of characters to come to the fore, to reveal their own truths about life in the American West. Sharpshooters, bank robbers, prospectors, and more lay bare their lives in these wildly different stories.
Coen fans tend to vary wildly on which is their favourite movie from the duo - and that’s why Buster Scruggs is a winner. It steals from across their career, snagging bits and pieces from their entire repertoire, linking together the six-part anthology flick through their signature style of black comedy and compelling drama. And the cast? To die for.
Non-Netflix original available in US/UK
Emma Stone’s Olive Penderghast rebels against the system in a way that’s rather unusual for a screen teen. That’s one of the reasons why this early 2010s comedy continues to get better with age. Simply put, it’s not like every other teen movie. When rumours of Olive’s supposed sexual exploits run rampant, she doesn’t deny them or try to prove them wrong, she turns them to her advantage, allowing her classmates to believe she’s slept with half the school to boost her cool.
A decade later, Easy A still feels fresh. It’s funny, thanks to a razor-sharp script that dishes out comedy gems to the entire cast, and it’s relatable, with Olive’s friendships always erring on the side of realistic when they could stray into silliness to forward the plot. Easy A is, quite simply, one of the best teen movies ever made. Stone’s brilliant, both kind, witty, and smart as Olive, yet all the points go to Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci for playing the hippest, coolest damn movie parents in the world.
The Incredible Jessica James
Another stand-out Netflix Original comedy that embraces the cliches and makes them palatable thanks in large part to its spot-on casting. Jessica Williams stars as Jessica James, a twenty-something New Yorker reeling from her split with Damon (Lakeith Stanfield, who, yes, is playing another ex-boyfriend). The movie opens as she launches back into dating, her scathing, take-no-prisoners schtick an apparent turn off from the get-go.
Enter Boone. Chris O'Dowd trots out his loveable Bridesmaids persona again as a fellow recent dumpee who immediately hits it off with Jessica. The fun explored between this pair is the shared heartache they each experience, that’s a neat story trick that works to unite them. Williams and O’Dowd’s chemistry is terrific, and their humour infectious.