25 Best Comedies Streaming on Netflix [January 2021]
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A brand-new Netflix original film, Dumplin’ was released at the tail end of 2018 quietly onto Netflix. Unlike a film like Bird Box, which saw massive promotion during the holidays, Dumplin’ went more unnoticed by fans, and it’s time to correct that. Based on a young adult novel of the same name, Dumplin’ follows a plus-size teenage daughter (Danielle Macdonald) whose mother is a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston). When she signs up for her mother’s pageant as a protest against the idea of mainstream beauty contests. When other contestants follow in her footsteps, however, things escalate quickly, leading to a full-on revolution of the pageant in Dumpin’s small Texas town.
Armando Iannucci is no stranger to political black comedy: his landmark British comedy series The Thick of It didn’t just bring In the Loop into existence—it was also developed by Iannucci himself into Veep in the United States. And while the director might focus primarily on television, 2017’s The Death of Stalin shows that the filmmaker continues to be a strong voice in feature films. The film presents a fictionalized account of the power struggle that took place in Russia following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. With an all-star cast including Steve Buscemi, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Paul Whitehouse, and Jeffrey Tambor, The Death of Stalin is Iannucci’s grimmest film yet.
Following the conclusion of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the group didn’t wait long to begin releasing theatrical films expanding on their now-legendary comedy chops. The first of three original films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail continues to be praised for being a groundbreaking film in the world of independent comedy. Though original reviews of the film were mixed upon release, the group’s loving parody of the legend of King Arthur has become beloved for its weird sense of humor, it’s ability to spin out of control at all times, the meta-awareness of the film, and its legendary ending. Though some viewers prefer the successor, Life of Brian, if you’ve never seen Holy Grail, now is the time to do it.
The second Monty Python film is great on its own—as hilarious as Holy Grail, if a bit less surreal—but what truly makes the film interesting is the amount of controversy surrounding its 1979 release. A religious comedy may (mostly) fly under the radar these days, but forty years ago, Life of Brian was accused of being blasphemous, with thirty-nine local authorities in the United Kingdom either banning the film or imposing an X rating that prevented the film from being shown. Countries like Ireland and Norway banned the film entirely, and many of those bans lasted far past the 1980s. The film follows Brian, a young man born on the same night as Jesus, one stable down. Trying to impress a young rebel named Judith, Brian joins the independence movement against Rome, using teachings he heard from Jesus in an attempt to hide from the Romans. When a crowd mistakes him for the Messiah, he’ll find himself drawing far more attention than he wanted.
Before Adam McKay moved onto directing politically-charged comedy-dramas like The Big Short and Vice, he dipped his toes into social comedy with The Other Guys, his 2010 team-up with creative partner Will Ferrell. The Other Guys follows NYPD detectives Gamble (Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), who have been locked to desk duty for years, away from the fame and headlines their heroic counterparts on the force (Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson) managed to grab. When a small case turns out to run a whole lot deeper than anyone expected, the two cops find themselves in over their head as they try to prove to their comrades that they’re the duo to get the job done. Set against the financial recession of the late 2000s, The Other Guys is a fantastic film no matter whether you prefer McKay’s early comedies or later dramas.
Directed by and starring James Franco, The Disaster Artist is an adaptation of the bestselling book of the same name. The film tells the story of Tommy Wiseau, a mysterious and secretive man who moves from San Francisco to Los Angeles with friend and fellow wannabe actor Greg Sestero to attempt to hit it big. When Tommy fails to pick up any major auditions, he chooses to become a director himself, writing his own film and financing it with his savings. Hiring a film crew and casting Greg as one of the main characters, the film goes off the rails immediately as Wiseau reveals himself to be completely inadequate in artistic direction and leadership, straining his friendship with Greg and leading to the creation of one of the worst films of all time: The Room. With an all-star comedic cast and a go-for-broke performance from Franco as Wiseau, The Disaster Artist is the perfect film for fans of The Room and newcomers alike.
The Muppets have had a rough time in pop culture since the passing of Jim Henson, but this 2011 reboot managed to capture much of the spirit of the original films. Working from a script by Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segal, who had previously worked with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the film stars Segal as Gary, a fan of the Muppets and the brother to Walter, who happens to be a Muppet himself. After heading out on vacation with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), the three stumble on oil magnate Tex Richman’s plan to destroy Muppet Studios for the oil underneath. Together, the group joins forces with the Muppets as they work to put on one last show in order to raise the $10 million needed to save the studio.
Though director David Gordon Green kicked off his career with acclaimed indie dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls, the filmmaker has gone through a number of genre transitions throughout his filmography, and he kicked off a string of comedies with the classic stoner flick Pineapple Express. The film follows Dale Denton (Seth Rogan, who co-wrote the film with creative partner Evan Goldberg), a slacker and stoner who accidentally witnesses a murder while using a rare strain of marijuana. After learning that the weed he left behind can be traced back to both Dale and his dealer (James Franco), the two head out on the run, avoiding dangerous drug lords and crooked cops alike.
One of 2017’s best films and a magnificent debut film from actor-turned-director Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a senior at a Catholic high school in 2002 who is in the process of applying to colleges. Due to her family’s financial struggles, Lady Bird is told by her mother (Laurie Metcalf) to select a state school in California, while Lady Bird pines for the freedom to attend a school on the East Coast. The film follows Lady Bird through her final year in high school, as she goes behind her mother’s back to apply for schools along the East Coast, begins to go out on dates, and attempts to build out both her extracurriculars and her friend group. The film also stars Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein.
Before Taika Waititi became a fan favorite for his work on Thor: Ragnarok, he directed a quiet indie comedy about a juvenile delinquent who goes on a quest with his foster father. The rilm follows Ricky Baker, a young kid who was abandoned by his mother and has burnt through other foster families, who is brought to live at a remote farm with his new foster parents Bella and Hec. Although Bella and Ricky quickly get along—especially after Ricky gets a dog named Tupac—Hec and Ricky find themselves at odds with each other. That all changes when Bella unexpectedly dies, Ricky fakes his death, and both Hec and Ricky go on the run from the New Zealand police force. The film stars Julian Dennison, who you’ll recognize from Deadpool 2, and Sam Neill.
Originally planned for an April 2020 theatrical release, The Lovebirds moved to Netflix after having its theatrical release canceled. That’s probably for the best, because The Lovebirds is a perfect Sunday afternoon watch: breezy, action-packed, and full of laughs. Starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, The Lovebirds is directed by Michael Showalter, who previously worked with Nanjiani on The Big Sick. The Lovebirds follows a couple on the verge of breaking up, until they find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery investigation. As the two work together to clear their names, they eventually find themselves tied up in a bizarre conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. It might be just what this couple needs to stay together.
David O. Russell found massive critical and commercial success with The Fighter, following years of smaller releases like I Heart Huckabees, and in 2012, he managed to outdo himself again with Silver Linings Playbook. Based on the novel of the same name, the film follows Pat (Bradley Cooper), a man who returns home to his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) following eight months of treatment in a mental health facility for bipolar disorder. While at home in Pennsylvania, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow and the sister of Pat’s friend Ronnie’s wife. The two hit it off in a diner while talking about their medication, and the two agree to help each other with their individual goals: reconnecting with Pat’s ex-wife Nikki, and entering a dance competition with Tiffany. The film received eight Oscar nominations, with Jennifer Lawrence winning for Best Actress.
Another film planned for a theatrical release only to become a Netflix Original, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga was planned to arrive just as the legendary song contest was to air in May. After Eurovision 2020 was canceled, the Will Ferrell-starring comedy found its new home on streaming. The film follows Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (Rachel McAdams), two lifelong friends who perform together as Fire Saga. When a dangerous boating accident leaves their band the final entry available for Iceland’s team in Eurovision, the two travel to Scotland to compete for the top prize, while Sigrit struggles with her feelings for Lars. Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato also star.
The first Bad Moms film was a huge success when it premiered back in 2016, and it seemed like a sequel was a no-brainer. Few expected such a quick turnaround when A Bad Mom’s Christmas arrived in theaters, and while the film didn’t quite hit the box office standards set by its predecessor, it’s still a great Christmas raunch-fest for the adults in the room to enjoy. When three stressed out moms—Amy, Kiki, and Carla (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn)—decide to bail on creating a perfect Christmas for their families, it seems like it might be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. That all changes when their mothers (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon) make some sudden appearances.
Nora Ephron was one of the most important women working in the film industry while she was alive, writing one of the best romantic comedies of all time in When Harry Met Sally and following that film up with her own rom-coms in Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Julie and Julia marks her final film before her death, and it’s a great tale for anyone looking for a heartwarming film on Netflix. Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.
The teen comedy that rocketed stars like Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse to the big screen, Superbad is one of the quintessential coming-of-age movies of the 21st century. A raunchy and clever film produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Greg Mottola (Adventureland, Paul), the film follows Seth and Evan (Hill and Cera, respectively), two high school seniors who wish they weren’t virgins and could have a handle on high school popularity. Faced down with their first separation since high school with college on the way, Evan gets invited to a party after being paired in Home-Ec with Jules (Emma Stone). Armed with a fake ID, the two nerds promise to bring alcohol to the party, and attempt a quest to purchase the booze before making their last play to become high school stars.
Loosely inspired by The Scarlet Letter, Easy A is one of the best comedies of the 2010s, and a real starmaking turn for Emma Stone. When Olive (Stone), a teenager who lives a clean-cut life in California, lies to her popular best friend (Aly Michalka) about her boring weekend, telling her that she lost her virginity while on a date. When Marriane Bryant, a devout Christian, overhears the conversation, she spreads it throughout the entire school, leaving Olive in the popular spotlight for the first time in her life—for all the wrong reasons.
Saturday Night Live has had its fair share of cinematic spin-offs, so when Nickelodeon created their own kid-friendly sketch show, it seemed like a matter of time until they followed suit. One of the most popular sketches on All That, Good Burger follows Dexter (Kenan Thompson) and Ed (Kel Mitchell) as they work at the titular friendly neighborhood burger joint. However, when big chain rival Mondo Burger sets up across the street, Good Burger seems doomed to fail. With the public going crazy over the new burgers offered by Mondo Burger, Ed and Dexter make their way to Mondo to infiltrate the restaurant and find the dangerous secret behind their success.
Get ready for a spooky good time with the Sandman! Adam Sandler returns to Netflix hot off his critical praise from Uncut Gems with a film that may be far more in the wheelhouse of his most adoring fans. Hubie Halloween follows Hubie DuBois (Adam Sandler) on his favorite night of the year: October 31st! Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year, and Hubie—a kind, good-natured man—elects himself as the champion of the town’s Halloween celebration. Unfortunately, he finds himself the target of most of his fellow citizen’s Halloween pranks. All that changes, however, when a real murderer breaks out from his asylum outside town, and starts reeking havoc on unsuspecting folk.