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The 25 best Netflix comedies (November 2020)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, one of the best Netflix comedies
(Image credit: Netflix)

When you’re in need of a damn good chuckle, or a hearty guffaw, or heck, even a B.N.S. (brief nasal snort), you can’t go wrong with one of the best Netflix comedies. 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. You might love a good ole slipping-on-a-banana-peel pratfall, but that type of silliness might not be everyone's cup of tea. That’s why this 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 best Netflix comedies and laugh yourself silly.

The Other Guys (2010)

The Other Guys

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

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 (2017)

Deidra and Laney Rob A Train

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (2018)

Set It Up

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (1991)

The Addams Family

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

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. 

Bad Teacher (2011)

Bad Teacher

(Image credit: Sony)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Since she sashayed onscreen in 1994’s The Mask, Cameron Diaz’s fate was seemingly sealed. Blonde bombshell. And while she played second fiddle there to Carrey’s rubber-faced antics, and picked up a handful of comedy moments in 1998’s There’s Something About Mary, she steps fully into the comedy spotlight with Bad Teacher. As substitute teacher Elizabeth Halsey, she couldn’t care less about the middle-schoolers she’s responsible for reaching. 

Lesson planning extends as far as hitting play on the VCR and passing out behind her desk, hungover. Instead of hanging in the faculty lounge, she heads to her car to spark up a joint in between classes. Until that is, she meets Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), a smarmy new teacher she’s desperate to impress. All of her hijinks are juvenile as hell, which is what makes them so laugh-out-loud funny. There’s a slew of cracking one-liners that you won’t forget in a hurry. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Kaitlin Dever as one of Diaz’s students.

The Half Of It (2020)

The Half Of It

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (2018)

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

(Image credit: Netflix)

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.

About Time (2013)

About Time

(Image credit: Universal)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

One day people will look back on About Time and feel the way many do about Love Actually. This romantic time-travel drama hails from the same writer-director Richard Curtis who pulls together elements of The Time Traveler’s Wife (its plot and its main actor, Rachel McAdams) with the feelgood factor inherent in quaint British rom-coms. On his 21st birthday, Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) learns of an inheritance all men in his family receive on this momentous occasion: the ability to travel back in time. What begins with fun, amusing ways to accomplish greatness (Tim’s montages surrounding sex) and find love, turns into a tearjerker that you absolutely won’t see coming.

It’s one of the best movies on Netflix that’s also, somehow, slipped by a great many cinephiles. A sweet, funny, insightful, and flat-out heartbreaking glimpse at life and love, About Time swerves the cloying rom-com trappings to tell a story about how we memorialise our own lives and when we should let the past be. An underseen gem.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

(Image credit: Netflix)

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. 

Being John Malkovich (1999)

being John Malkovich

(Image credit: USA Films)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

It’s hard to pinpoint which character specifically hammers home the sheer inanity of Charlie Kaufman’s gonzo story. Is it John Cusack’s nebbish puppeteer Craig, driven by an over-inflated ego? Or Catherine Keener’s bitchy businesswoman? Perhaps Cameron Diaz’s loveably dowdy Lottie? Maybe it’s all of the above, thrown together with its batty premise: a portal exists into John Malkovich’s brain that offers people the chance to live briefly inside the famed actor’s consciousness only to get spat out by the side of the New Jersey turnpike.

Every element contributes to Being John Malkovich’s truly intoxicating peculiarity. As each character continues to justify their reasons for commandeering the actor, things steadily ramp up to complete chaos. The laughs to be yanked from its pie-in-the-sky premise are jet-black.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Always Be My Maybe

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (2019)

Someone Great

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (1979)

Monty Python's Life of Brian

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

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.

Wine Country (2019)

Wine Country

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (2019)

Dolemite is my Name

(Image credit: Netflix)

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 (2016)

The Fundamentals of Caring

(Image credit: Netflix)

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.

Carrie Pilby (2016)

Carrie Pilby

(Image credit: The Orchard)

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 (2020)

The Forty-Year-Old Version

(Image credit: Netflix)

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. 

The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist

(Image credit: A24)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

The Room’s reputation precedes it wherever it goes. Dubbed one of the worst movies ever made by most people who’ve sat through the thing, it’s gone on to become a cult classic. Why? Because… well, that’s exactly what The Disaster Artist answers. It all begins with the baffling tale of Tommy Wiseau, a wannabe filmmaker and questionable actor, who moves to LA in the hopes of making it. With a seemingly endless source of cash, he writes, produces, directs, and stars in, the oddity that is The Room. The Disaster Artist chronicles his journey throughout production. 

More than a showcase for writer-director James Franco’s quirky cinematic choices. While he, and the makeup team, excel at bringing Wiseau to life, this jet black comedy shines a delightful light on the man’s scattered nature. 

Safety not Guaranteed (2012)

Safety Not Guaranteed

(Image credit: FilmDistrict)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Before he wrestled with blockbuster dino franchises and got ceremoniously booted from The Rise of Skywalker, Colin Trevorrow’s ambitions lay in the normal world. Sort of. His low-key debut still reaches for genre, but in a more subtle, considered way. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Safety Not Guaranteed follows a trio of Seattle Weekly workers led by Aubrey Plaza’s intern and her boss, played by Jake Johnson, as they venture to the sticks in pursuit of a batty-sounding Craigslist ad.

Mark Duplass plays a conspiracy nut who claims that he’s invented time travel. It’s he who places the ad, demanding a partner to witness his experiment; the title his one caveat. There’s an oddness to the whole affair that’s balanced nicely by the witty turns of its leading cast. The movie’s a sweet comedy flecked throughout by shades of sci-fi that leave you wondering where the truth really lies.

Pineapple Express (2008)

Pineapple Express

(Image credit: Sony)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Sandwiched right in the middle of his earlier drama phase and his recent dive into slashers is David Gordon Green’s comedy period. Of the three he made between 2008 and 2011, Pineapple Express is the best, based on an idea cooked up by producer Judd Apatow: what if Brad Pitt’s stoner from True Romance, the unwashed Floyd, were chased by hitmen? Screenwriters Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen follow up Superbad with their take on the concept, which arguably betters that teen comedy at every turn.

This distinctly more modern (see: the two leads are baked the entire time) take on the traditional action-comedy made popular decades before, it’s a laugh riot that works better with repeat viewings. Rogen co-stars as Dale Denton, a schlubby stoner, forced to take to the road with his pot dealer played by James Franco, after the pair witness a murder. They take the ‘odd couple’ format and blow it up, having an absolute hoot, the real MVP is Danny McBride who totally steals the show. 

Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Kicking and Screaming

(Image credit: Trimark)

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 (2018)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

(Image credit: Netflix)

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.

Easy A (2010)

Easy A

(Image credit: Screen Gems)

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 (2017)

The Incredible Jessica James

(Image credit: Netflix)

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.

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.