When you’re in need of a damn good chuckle, or a hearty guffaw, or heck, even a BNS (brief nasal snort), you can’t go wrong with one of the best comedies on Netflix. There are LOADS. ‘Tis a tricky thing, crafting a comedy though, for it requires a particular recipe for success that’s tough to crack when you want to appeal to everyone’s funnybone. You need a balance to really make those gags sing. From a great cast, solid story and of course, a big set-piece that’s bound to go horrifically wrong… in the most hilarious way possible, there’s a lot to manage.
I mean, I love a good ole slipping-on-a-banana-peel pratfall, but that type of silliness might not be your cup of tea. That’s why this here list includes a wide range of comedic chicanery. Every style of japery is catered for, no matter what your taste, so go on - dive into the 25 best comedies on Netflix and laugh yourself silly.
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25. Masterminds (2016)
The movie: Based on a true story - a batshit story, granted - Masterminds is the perfect vehicle for Zach Galifianakis' brand of slapstick body humour. As dunderheaded armored truck driver David Ghantt, he's an easy mark for Owen Wilson's character, who enlists the fool to rob his own place of employment - Loomis Fargo bank. Things only get more cringeworthy from there, when it becomes a game of who's the bigger idiot.
Why it’s worth a watch: On paper, Masterminds doesn't sound real. The twisting plot and casual back-stabbery are so contrived, so far-fetched it seems like something written by the Coens. Aside from its utterly bizarre twists, keep an eye out for some brilliant comedic cutaways with Kate McKinnon as Galifianakis' ex-wife.
24. Bad Santa (2003)
The movie: Forget about the naff sequel. The original Bad Santa is still excellent, bearing a style of smutty cheer that's perfect for any time of the year. Billy Bob Thornton is on top form as Willie, a foul-mouthed alcoholic who takes mall Santa gigs so he can case 'em out and rob them at night. While he manages these deals with his friend Marcus - who dresses up as his helper Elf - the pair seemingly detest each other.
Why it’s worth a watch: Seasons greetings? Not likely with this pair. Stick this on when you need to sharpen up your mic-drop insults. The film's best LOL moments are when the two are arguing, and drop some absolutely stonking one-liners.
23. Frances Ha (2013)
The movie: Noah Baumbach's first genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy - after his extensive mumblecore repertoire - is a sweet flick featuring his long-time collaborator, Greta Gerwig. There's dancing, a killer soundtrack, and Gerwig is on winning form as Frances, a New Yorker in her mid-twenties with no clue what to do after her best friend Sophie decides to move out.
Why it’s worth a watch: It's sort of a less mean-spirited Girls for dancers, with some hilarious witticisms and genuinely funny observations. The tender friendship between Frances and Sophie mirrors a ton of identifiable scenarios plucked from real-life, making them all the more likeable. Taking a look at it now, after Gerwig has established her directorial roots with Lady Bird, it’s easy to see traces of her humour.
22. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
The movie: “When I wake up in the morning, I piss excellence." It's one-liners like that which make Talladega Nights a worthy rival to Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay's other classic, Anchorman. Ferrell's Nascar driver Ricky Bobby skyrockets to the top with his willing buddy Cal McNaughton (the always-brilliant John C. Reilly) in tow to help him win every race. Things are going well until Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), a Formula 1 champ, moves in to steal his thunder and turns Ricky Bobby's life into a shambles.
Why it’s worth a watch: Simply put: it’s Ferrell and McKay at the top of their game. This is a masterclass is modern comedy that warrants a watch if you haven't already seen it and a rewatch if you have. From Ferrell’s ridiculous machismo, torn down by Baron-Cohen’s metrosexual opponent, to the excellent roster of supporting talent, it’s equally as good as Ron Burgundy's exploits.
21. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)
The movie: SNL’s Lonely Island crew spin their penchant for vulgar, teen silliness into a feature-length flick that deserves to weedle its way onto cult comedy lists for years to come. A mockumentary that dissects the shallowness of the pop industry, Adam Samberg stars as Connor Friel, a musical maverick who forms a band The Style Boyz, that split up over a publishing spat, leading Connor to start a solo career under the name Connor4Real.
Why it’s worth a watch: It’s funny as hell, and gets better with each viewing, thanks in large part to its supporting cast that are a comedians who’s who. SNL cast members pop in to lend their skills (all hail Maya Rudolph), adding to the laugh-out-loud genius of Lonely Island. Over-the-top parody has never been so good - no wonder it’s being dubbed this generation’s Spinal Tap.
20. Happy Gilmore (1996)
The movie: Decades prior to his cash-grab Netflix comedies, Adam Sandler appeared in several great ‘90s comedies. Happy Gilmore is arguably the more successful plucked from that era. Gilmore (Sandler) is a down-trodden everyman who discovers, through his uncontrollable anger, that he’s a gifted golfer. He becomes an overnight sensation and tours the country in hopes of winning a tournament cash prize, to rescue his grandmother’s house.
Why it’s worth a watch: As a reminder that Sandler is a genius comedian when he wants to be, taking a simple idea (angry batter becomes angry golfer who wants to help his grandma) and bringing in loads of comics to flesh out every role. Likewise, as an egotastic nurse, Ben Stiller is a smug son of a bitch to Happy’s grandma… but damn, he’s funny.
19. Adventureland (2009)
The movie: Gregg Mottola's coming-of-age story isn't a laugh-out-loud comedy, but don't let its absence of obvious humour turn you off. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as two twenty-somethings working at a theme park to scrape together some post-college money. The heady, never-ending-summer vibe at Adventureland is an apt backdrop for all the social cliques, and all of them come-of-age in their own way, struggling with romantic dilemmas, financial woes and friendship troubles.
Why it’s worth a watch: It's funny in a way that's reminiscent of Richard Linklater and early Cameron Crowe films, but if you’re really wanting a big jolt of chuckles, wait for Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the awkward park managers, who could easily have been imported from a SNL skit.
18. Set it Up (2018)
Region: UK, US
The movie: 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.
Why it’s worth a watch: 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 romcom - yet it pushes at the boundaries, and breathes some fresh air into the formula. Oh, and Powell and Deutsch have ridiculous chemistry.
17. While We're Young (2014)
The movie: With each of his movies, Noah Baumbach adds a giant dollop of commentary about the current status of his own life. In While We're Young Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts' forty-somethings take on his woes about growing old. When the childless couple befriend an achingly hip duo in their twenties, played by Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver, they re-evaluate how to get the most out of living.
Why it’s worth a watch: It's funny, moving, and, at times, downright bizarre. Hipster culture gets a heavy skewering - always a bonus - and the final act takes an unexpected swerve into mystery territory. No, seriously, this is a comedy that takes a detour through a number of other genres.
16. Neighbors (2014)
The movie: Depending on how old you are, the thought of buying a home next door to a frat house either fills you with wide-eyed glee as you go to grab your hookah, or complete dread at never sleeping again. Nicholas Stoller’s 2014 R-rated comedy channels the latter, through the experiences of new parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), who attempt to befriend frat leader Teddy (Zac Efron) with the hopes of calming their all-nighters. Naturally, reasoning with them doesn’t work, leading to a string of ever-escalating pranks between the two households.
Why it’s worth a watch: I’m going to brazenly wave my flag for Rose Byrne here, who is one of the best comedic actors working today. She nails the slapstick gags and line deliveries, making you long for more of her OTT antics in the sequel, which is equally as hilarious.