25 Best Comedies Streaming on Netflix – November 2018
Of all genres of film, there’s no type of film more difficult to recommend than comedies. While a well-produced drama can keep most viewers glued to their seats, and a quality horror film can produce frights and scares without resorting to jump scares, what constitutes a “good” comedy is far more subjective. Everyone finds different things to love about a comedy, be it the outrageousness of what’s happening in a situation, the romance between the two leads, or the witty wordplay exchanged between characters. Comedy can be broad, based on physical stunts or laughing at the poor decisions of the characters in a film, or it can be subtle, focused on hidden details in the backgrounds or double entendres in the script. And while a horror film can be universally looked at as “poor” or “not scary,” even the worst-received comedies have their defenders, with a solid amount of fans defending the work for being truly hilarious.
Still, we can’t simply ignore the need for comedy recommendations, especially when you’re looking for something easy to laugh at on a night in with Netflix. The world’s most popular streaming service offers hundreds of comedies for you to choose from, from broad and slapstick comedy to subtle and dialogue-based humor. We’ve gathered a small selection of the best that Netflix has to offer, with everything from raunchy, provocative humor, to gallows-based dark comedies, to family-friendly films that can make anyone ages 5 to 105 smile. Make sure to take a look at the description of each film, where we’ve done our best to designate each film with a certain style of humor to better allow for our readers to find a film that will fit their sensibilities. Let’s dive into the 25 best comedies streaming right now on Netflix!
Director Edgar Wright's (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver) second theatrical film and the middle entry in his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, returning from Shaun of the Dead and the television series Spaced. In Hot Fuzz, Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London officer who is transferred to the small town of Sanford when his fellow officers realize his excellent police work will put them out of a job. While there, Angel begins to suspect a violent conspiracy is erupting from within the town, and together with police constable Danny Butterman (Frost), he attempts to crack the case behind a series of deadly "accidents" to bring the culprit to justice. Part parody and part homage, Hot Fuzz is a hilarious sendup to American action films with a British sensibility, even going as far to directly parody Bad Boys 2 and Point Break. It's a must-see.
Yes, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a horror film, designed to be as bloody and graphic as possible. It's also an incredibly funny film, a horror-comedy that's just as focused on delivering frights as it is laughs. The film stars Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Tyler Labine (Reaper, Deadbeat) as two well-meaning hillbillies who purchased a lakefront cabin together in the woods. At a gas station outside of camp, the two run into several college students going camping for the weekend. Tucker (Tudyk) pushes Dale (Labine) to talk to Allison, one of the main girls, but ends up simply frightening her instead. While Tucker and Dale work on reconstructing their cabin, the nearby campers go skinny-dipping together, only for Allison to hit her head and be saved by Dale. While she's recuperating with Tucker and Dale, the rest of the college students trick themselves into believing that she's been kidnapped, and attempt to rescue her—only for everything to go wrong.
A classic example of modern black comedy, Burn After Reading is a crime-comedy film brought to you by Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, No Country for Old Men). In this absurdist, deadpan film, a massive conspiracy begins following the loss of a disc containing the memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich). Found by two gym employees, Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Fargo) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt, playing a dumb beefcake of a jock), the disc is mistaken for containing secrets from the United State government. Thrilled that the two can use the disc as a way to gain a monetary reward, they attempt to return the disc to the CIA analyst and, upon his furious rejection to their offerings, attempt to sell the disc to the Russian Embassy. That barely scratches the surface of this caper comedy, which also stars George Clooney, J.K. Simmons, Tilda Swinton, and Richard Jenkins.
No one can deny that Kevin Smith's career has been nothing if not a mixed bag of successes and failures, but if there's one film worth revisiting again and again in his filmography, it's his theatrical debut: Clerks. The 1994 indie black-and-white comedy follows a day in the life of two store clerks, Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). When Dante is called into work on his day off, he'll find that everything seems to go wrong. The lock on the shutters of the convenience store where he works is filled with gum, the customers are rude and angry, and he gets in a fight with his girlfriend while on the job. From a dead customer to an impromptu game of hockey on the roof, Dante's day will be full of unfortunate surprises, always followed with the same simple reminder: he wasn't even supposed to be here today.
Plenty of people remember Space Jam, the first theatrically-released Looney Tunes film, either through nostalgia goggles or ironically. The film was a box office success but was panned by critics upon release. Fewer people remember the follow-up to that film, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, but that's unfortunate—it's undoubtedly the better of the two films. Directed by Joe Dante, one of Hollywood's most inventive and underrated directors (Gremlins and Gremlins 2, The 'Burbs, Small Soldiers), Looney Tunes: Back in Action is far more in tone with the original cartoons. While the plot is convoluted and a bit of a mess, the entire experience of watching the film is reminiscent of watching those classic shorts. With plenty of gags, silly jokes, and moments designed purely for laughter, the film—which also stars Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman as the human leads—is worth revisiting.
The best-friend-or-romantic-partner conundrum has been a mainstay of Hollywood romantic films since When Harry Met Sally charmed audiences upon its release in 1989. Since then, the romantic comedy has gone through its ups (Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Women, Clueless) and its downs (New Year's Eve, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, The Ugly Truth). Thankfully, we've seen the genre make something of a comeback in recent years, with films like Obvious Child bringing back the classic hilarity and romance of those 1980s and 1990s classics. Sleeping with Other People is a bit raunchier than When Harry Met Sally, but it follows the same formula: guy and girl agree to be friends instead of lovers, and romantic hijinks ensue. With an all-star cast including SNL's Jason Sudeikis, Community and GLOW's Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Jason Mantzoukas, and Adam Brody, there's plenty of fun to be had with this dark romantic-comedy.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's 11; Sex, Lies, and Videotape), The Informant! tells the true story of Marc Whitacre (Matt Damon), the rising star of Archer Daniels Midland in the mid-1990s. When Whitacre discovers that his company has been participating in a price-fixing scheme, Whitacre decides to blow the whistle on the company, becoming an informant for the FBI despite his less-than-qualified nature. Thanks to his own internal struggle with bipolar disorder, Whitacre begins acting erratically, possibly risking the entire operating and consistently risking the case of the agents he's been working for. As he continues to struggle in acting for both himself and on behalf of the FBI, Whitacre's case spirals out of control in truly insane ways.
From director Noah Baumbach, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) tells the story of three children: Danny, Matthew, and Jean Meyerowitz, played here by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel, respectively. Danny and Jean are siblings, with Matthew as their half-brother, all tied together by their rocky relationship with their father Harold (Dustin Hoffman). Though the three children are relatively estranged from each other, their father's upcoming career retrospective brings all three to New York City to reunite, bicker, and deal with their life's problems. Despite the prominence of Sandler and Stiller, don't expect this to be a broad comedy. Like Baumbach's other tales, this is drama first, comedy second, though critics have praised Sandler's dramatic turn here as his best since Punch Drunk Love.
Garry Marshall's teen romcom is perhaps best remembered for its star making turn for Anne Hathaway, who stars as Mia Thermopolis, the San Francisco teenager who learns she's of royal blood on her dad's side of the family at the beginning of the movie. After realizing she's the heir of the small (and fictional) European country of Genovia, her entire life changes at the behest of her grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi. Understandably upset at the concept of being royalty with no knowledge, her mother pushes her to accept the "princess training" offered by her grandmother. Given a makeover and taught to be more of a traditional princess, Mia will have to learn from her grandmother on how to be a royal leader and a woman all at once, overcoming her fear of public speaking and her teenage awkwardness.
Set It Up is one of Netflix's many new releases in the romantic-comedy genre, something it seems desperate to bring back to life regardless on whether the studio system will allow it. Like many old-school rom-coms, Set It Up has a pretty basic plot: two assistants to rich, self-important bosses (one the editor of an online sports empire a la Deadspin or SB Nation, the other an investment and venture capitalist) decide that, in order to get their bosses to calm down for a bit, will use their loneliness to set up dates for each other. With a cast including Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, and Joan Smalls, Set It Up is perfect for a Friday night in or for a lazy Sunday morning.
Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray's second time working together on a film came together in Stripes, the 1981 comedy about joining the army. In Stripes, we get our first taste of the pairing that would be Reitman, Murray, and Harold Ramis, a pairing that would come together in 1984 to produce Ghostbusters, with Reitman behind the camera, Ramis writing the script, and both Ramis and Murray on screen. Stripes began life as a Cheech and Chong film about joining the army, but when the duo demanded full creative control, Stripes translated into a comedy about signing up and shipping out. When John Winger (Murray) loses his job, car, girlfriend, and apartment all in one day, he decides to throw it all away and join the army. Accompanied by Russell Ziskey (Ramis), the two head to a recruiting office and soon find themselves at basic training. The film features Warren Oates, John Candy, John Larroquette, Sean Young, and Judge Reinhold in supporting roles.
Another sports comedy in the spirit of Cool Runnings, Goon tells the story of Doug Glatt, a bouncer-turned-minor league hockey player who takes up the position of enforcer on the Halifax Highlanders after finding success on his local team. Seann William Scott (American Pie) portrays Glatt as a kind-hearted, dimwitted man who tries to do the right thing when he can, and finds hockey as giving him a shot to be successful in a world that he feels he doesn't belong in. After joining the Highlanders, Glatt—now nicknamed Doug the Thug—starts to find meaning in his life, becoming successful as an enforcer (the muscle of the team) and meeting Eva (Alison Pill), whom he falls for immediately. Things get complicated when Doug meets his hero, Ross "The Boss" Rhea, a major-league player demoted to playing in the minors following a slashing incident, only to have to face him on the ice.
If there was ever a movie that hits harder today than it did when it was first released, The Truman Show might be that film. Directed by Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander) and starring Jim Carrey, The Truman Show is at once a comedy, a science-fiction drama, and a social satire, following the life of Truman Burbank, a man taken as a baby by a corporation to star in the first always-on reality show about a single man. Truman lives his life inside a dome located in Hollywood known to Truman as "Seahaven," where everything from his wife to his parents and even his friends are simply actors reading from a script or reciting lines fed to them through an earpiece. In the era of reality television and always-active online social media presences, The Truman Show constitutes a must-watch piece of media.
Based on the book of the same name, To All the Boys I've Loved Before follows Lara-Jean, a half-Asian, half-Caucasian 16-year-old high school student who begins her first year of high school without her older, now-graduated sister, Margot. Lara-Jean has never had a boyfriend, but has had multiple crushes, including on her sister's now-ex-boyfriend Josh and the popular boy at school, Peter. She keeps a series of five letters to her former crushes in her room, a method that allows her to clear out her love of these boys without having to worry about keeping her feelings bottled up. When her younger sister mails the letters, she's forced to reconcile with her feelings now being out in the open.
And now the story of a sweet little bear from Peru, whose wild adventures unfold for the first time in live-action. Paddingtonfollows a bear named Paddington, raised in the jungles of Peru with his aunt Lucy and uncle Pastuzo, who gained their names when an explorer nearly hunted them down. Attuned with a taste for marmalade sandwiches, Paddington is forced to leave the comfort of his jungle after an accident during a storm costs uncle Pastuzo his life. Now a small bear in a big city, Paddington must find the explorer who cared for his aunt and uncle and adapt to life with the humans, including the Brown family, who take him in upon finding him in Paddington Station. Featuring an all-star cast of English and Australian actors (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, and the voice of Ben Whishaw) and a ton of Harry Potter alumni (including Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, and the voices Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon), Paddington is a family-friendly film everyone will love to watch again and again.
*Leaving November 16
Directed by David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) and starring an ensemble cast of comedians and actors like Will Forte, Joel McHale, Domnhall Gleeson, Seth Green, Annette O'Toole, Max Greenfield, and Ed Helms, A Futile and Stupid Gesture tells the story of Doug Keeney, the founder of National Lampoon magazine in the 1970s. The film follows the life of Keeney as a comedy writer, following his childhood through his time at Harvard and the founding of National Lampoon. Though Doug Keeney is obviously brilliant to the people around him, his behavior and troubled mind often lands in in hot water, and his drug problems follow him throughout his life, up to and including at the press conference surrounding Caddyshack, a film he co-wrote, that had received negative reviews. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a Netflix Original, so you can be sure this film will always be ready to stream on Netflix at your heart's content.
I Love You, Man is a romantic comedy that follows Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), a real estate agent located in Los Angeles who proposes to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones), only to find he doesn't have a large group of friends to share the news with. Realizing he lacks any kind of close male friends—something he overhears his fiancee's friends complaining about. Realizing he has to find someone to be the best man at his wedding, he begins to hunt for someone to fill the position of best friend. After some failed encounters, including some advice from his brother Robbie (Andy Samberg), he meets investor Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), and the two bond over their love of the prog-rock band Rush. I Love You, Man explores the relationship between two close friends while also showing how friendships can have a strain on relationships if not reigned in.
The newest installment in Adam Sandler's ongoing Netflix deal also happens to be the best one released on the streaming service yet not directed by Noah Baumbach. The Week Of is by no means high art, but it's a surprisingly realistic take on a father's hopes of paying for his daughter's wedding while simultaneously having to budget the entire thing out of pocket. The film follows fathers of the bride and groom Kenny (Sandler) and Kirby (Chris Rock), as they attempt to put aside their differences in views in order to present their children the perfect wedding. Directed by longtime Sandler contributor Robert Smigel (the writer of You Don't Mess With The Zohan and the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), the film manages to score more laughs than the majority of Sandler's recent projects, thanks to effort on Sandler's part and the supporting cast featuring Rachel Dratch, Steve Buscemi, Allison Strong, Noah Robbins, and more.
Based on the Broadway show of the same name, Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical comedy based on the songs by Swedish pop group ABBA, with the title originating from the group's 1975 chart-topping hit. Mamma Mia! largely follows the plot of the stage musical, taking place on a Greek island and following the 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried). She reveals to her bridesmaids that she's invited three men to her wedding without telling her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep), in order to try to figure out which of the three is her biological father. The three men—played by Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgard—each arrive at the wedding, only to stir up unfamiliar emotions in both themselves, Donna, and Sophie. The film is treat for fans of all musicals or romantic comedies, and you can catch the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on home video and digital this fall.
There's plenty to critique about Adam Sandler's career, but most people seem to agree his early films are pretty solid efforts. Though never a critical darling, Happy Gilmore is one of his fans' favorite films of his, thanks to the absurd and outlandish hijinks that occur throughout the film. Sandler stars as Happy Gilmore, an aspiring hockey player who is really only good at one thing: slapshots. After a failed hockey tryout, he learns his grandmother owes back taxes of nearly $300,000, he begins hustling golfers at a local course, thanks to his powerful swing. When Gilmore meets Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers), a club pro, he offers to tutor Gilmore to earn him a spot on the PGA Pro Tour. Fueled by the desire to win back his grandmother's foreclosed house, he accepts, but will face massive trouble when pro-golfer Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) makes it his goal to get Gilmore kicked off the tour. The film also stars Julie Bowen, Francis Bay, and memorable cameos from Ben Stiller and Bob Barker.
Often considered one of the best comedies of all time, Groundhog Day is absolutely a must-see for film lovers, fans of Bill Murray, or anyone who loves a good comedy. In the film, Murray plays Phil Connors, a local weatherman who is persuaded by his producer Rita (Andie MacDonald) to head out to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania from their home station in Pittsburgh to report on the groundhog day celebrations. Once there, he finds himself trapped in a snowstorm he himself said would miss the area, and after being forced to spend another night in the "hick town" of Punxsutawney, wakes up to find that he's stuck to repeat Groundhog Day forever. Directed and written by friend and collaborator Harold Ramis, Murray's deadpan schtick never got better than it did in this masterpiece.
Written and directed by David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer), Role Models is the director's first big commercial hit, with critical praise along the way. The film follows Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott), two salesmen who work for an energy drink company, who accidentally trash a company truck after trying to drive it off of a tow truck. Given the choice of jail time or community service, the two men find themselves paired with a nerdy teenager and an angry fifth-grader. Though not our favorite film made by Wain (again, Wet Hot American Summer is endlessly quotable), Role Models turned ten years old in 2018, and the film holds up surprisingly well a decade later.
No one did parodies better in the 20th century than Mel Brooks, the genius comedian behind the likes of The Producers and Young Frankenstein. One of his best films, and most certainly the sharpest in satire, came in the form of Blazing Saddles, a rip-roaring comedy that takes the concept of Westerns and the Great American West and flips it on its head. In Blazing Saddles, the film follows railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little), who becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, a frontier town on the brink of being destroyed by a land developer. While the people of Rock Ridge initially push Bart away due to his skin, they come around after realizing that both Bart and Waco the Kid (Gene Wilder, also of The Producers and Young Frankenstein) are working to save the town. Every single scene in this masterpiece is memorable, and if you haven't caught it before, now's the perfect time.
Michael Jai White came to prominence for his portrayal of Spawn in the 1997 film of the same name, and in 2009, he made his screenwriting debut with Black Dynamite, a film he also starred in. Black Dynamite is a parody of the 1970s blaxploitation genre, a film designed from the ground up to both pay homage and poke fun at the blaxploitation films from decades earlier. The film received funding by releasing a trailer before the film was ever shot, and was filmed in just 20 days while recording on Super 16 film. Black Dynamite follows the titular character (Michael Jai White) as he fights his way to Nixon's White House following the murder of his brother and the poisoning of his neighborhood by "The Man." An animated sequel series ran for two seasons on Adult Swim, and a spiritual successor, The Outlaw Johnny Black, is due out sometime soon.
One of the most underrated films of this decade, Edgar Wright's (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a visual triumph, a funny and charming story that wears its heart on its sleeve. The film follows bass guitarist and 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, in a pitch-perfect casting), who is floundering in his adulthood without a job after being crushed by his ex-girlfriend. Now dating a high schooler, he seems content in just letting his life pass him by, when he runs into Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a girl new to Toronto who seems to be, quite literally, the girl of Scott's dreams. A visual triumph, pulling direct inspiration from video games, anime, and the graphic novel this series is based on, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a perfect action-comedy.