The best comedies on Netflix right now

Even under the best of circumstances, we could all use a good laugh. This year has been far from the best, and sometimes, watching a good comedy is the best tonic for these uncertain times. For about 90 minutes or more, we can sit back and forget our problems while letting the laughs wash over us.

It takes a lot of skill to create a great comedy that can hold up for the length of a movie. Even more so when mixing genres. Comedies can run the gamut from silly slapstick to romantic stories, action, and even sci-fi and fantasy comedies.

As the number one juggernaut among streaming services, Netflix has the most eclectic mix of comedy movies to watch. But not to fear, we’ve already narrowed the selections down to the best comedies you can watch right now.

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Amanda Bynes and Emma Stone in Easy A, on Netflix

Easy A (2010)

It’s easy to see why Easy A holds up so well a decade after its release. Emma Stone is just so relentlessly charming and funny that she carries the entire movie as Olive Penderghast, a teenager who realizes that the only thing better than being the bad girl is pretending that you are. Olive fakes her way to popularity in high school by bailing out shy guys with carefully crafted lies that enhance her popularity. This movie also has a rare villainous turn by Lisa Kudrow as Mrs. Griffith, the wife of Olive’s favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church). Olive’s conflict with Mrs. Griffith ultimately leads her to reconsider her actions, even when it may be too late to save her reputation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes
Director: Will Gluck
Rating: 
PG-13
Runtime:
92 minutes

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Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Although Scott Pilgrim vs. the World didn’t find success in theaters, it’s become a cult classic in the ensuing decade. Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim is a gleefully weird movie that embraces comic book tropes and video game imagery for its own unique narrative. Michael Cera stars as the perpetually put-upon loser, Scott Pilgrim, who finally meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

To win Ramona’s heart, Scott has to face her seven evil exes in battle. That includes Chris Evans in a hysterical turn as action star Lucas Lee, shortly before he became Captain America on the big screen. Scott Pilgrim deserved to have greater success, but it’s still readily available for viewers to discover its charms.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman
Director: Edgar Wright
Rating: 
PG-13
Runtime:
112 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Even 45 years after its initial release, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of the most quotable comedies of all time. “’Tis but a flesh wound!” is among many famous lines in the film as the legendary British comedy troupe, Monty Python, dive into Arthurian lore as only they can. This movie mocks everything from its own low budget to the traditional heroics of a Grail quest. Not everyone is going to get the humor. But if you’re willing to run with the zaniness, keep an eye out for that rabbit. It’s a killer!

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones
Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Rating: 
PG
Runtime:
92 minutes

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My Best Friend's Wedding

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

It’s usually hard to picture Julia Roberts as a villain, but that’s essentially her role in My Best Friend’s Wedding, even though she’s the main character! Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a woman who realizes too late that she loves her best friend, Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney), just as he’s planning to marry his new love, Kimberly Wallace (Cameron Diaz).

Roberts’ inherent charm allows us to like Julianne even as she spends the majority of the film trying to undermine the couple’s romance so she can get Michael for herself. Rupert Everett also has a scene-stealing turn as George Downes, Julianne’s other best friend, who pretends to be her husband-to-be. This is a terrific romantic comedy, even if the story becomes predictable by the end.

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz
Director: P.J. Hogan
Rating: 
PG-13
Runtime:
104 minutes

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Airplane! on Netflix

Airplane! (1980)

Airplane! is not a movie that can simply be seen. It has to be experienced and given the full attention of the viewer. David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams’ manic comedy features an onslaught of visual gags and hilarious dialogue that could overwhelm a lesser film. Airplane! is also a near-remake of the ‘50s thriller Zero Hour!, and it liberally borrows from that movie while adding an avalanche of comedic moments, one after the other. Robert Hays stars as Ted Striker, a former Vietnam pilot with just a little PTSD, who gets on a flight to save his relationship with flight attendant Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty). But when the pilots are stricken with food poisoning, Elaine and Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) both convince Ted to overcome his fears and take control of the airplane. This was also the beginning of Nielsen’s long association with Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, which led to The Naked Gun trilogy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen
Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Rating: 
PG
Runtime: 
87 minutes

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Back to the Future

Back to the Future (1985)

It’s to the credit of director and co-writer Robert Zemeckis that Back to the Future works equally well as both a sci-fi film and a comedy. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a teenager whose best friend is the local mad scientist, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd), the man who created a time-traveling DeLorean. After witnessing Doc’s death in the present, Marty finds himself trapped 30 years in the past with his very existence in peril. Marty’s mom, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), has unknowingly fallen for her son. And if Marty can’t get his dad, George McFly (Crispin Glover), to win Lorraine over, then Marty will simply fade away. The personal stakes are high for Marty, but Back to the Future never forgets to bring the laughs as well. It’s a classic in every sense of the word.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rating: 
PG
Runtime: 
116 minutes

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Lady Bird on Netflix

Lady Bird (2017)

Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, Lady Bird, works equally well as both a comedy and a drama. Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular Lady Bird. It’s the name adopted by Ronan’s character, Christine McPherson, as she starts openly rebelling against her Catholic high school and her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf). Over the course of Lady Bird’s senior year, she redefines herself through her friends, new and old, as well as her ambitions for college and her quest for love. Gerwig didn’t shy away from showing Lady Bird’s mistakes and growing pains, but those are some of the qualities that make her story so endearing to watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Director: Greta Gerwig
Rating: 
R
Runtime: 
94 minutes

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Barbershop on Netflix

Barbershop (2002)

Ice Cube leads the impressive cast of Barbershop, which also includes Anthony Anderson, Eve, Michael Ealy, Keith David, and Cedric the Entertainer. Barbershop also spawned two sequels, but the original film holds up very well as a stand-alone comedy. Ice Cube’s Calvin Palmer Jr. owns a local barbershop in Chicago, but he can’t wait to free himself from the business that he inherited. That’s why Calvin secretly sells the shop to Lester Wallace (David), a shady businessman who wants to destroy it. However, Calvin realizes how important the barbershop is to him and the community only after making the deal. But Calvin’s attempt to save the shop is complicated by one of his employees, Ricky (Ealy), when he gets in trouble for a robbery he didn’t commit. Calvin’s loyalty to Ricky saved them both, and a franchise was born.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer
Director: Tim Story
Rating: 
PG-13
Runtime:
102 minutes

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The Muppets on Netflix

The Muppets (2011)

Disney has had trouble figuring out what to do with Jim Henson’s signature creations since buying the Muppets in 2004. But The Muppets feature film is not only hilarious but also firmly understands what made the franchise great in the first place. Jason Segel co-wrote the film and stars as Gary, a long-time fan of the Muppets who has a Muppet brother, Walter, with a bit of an identity crisis. Amy Adams is also very charming in the film as Mary, Gary’s girlfriend, and longtime romantic partner. But the Muppets and Walter are at the heart of the story, as they get one last chance to make a comeback and save the historic theater where they filmed The Muppet Show. This is great fun for kids of all ages.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones
Director: James Bobin
Rating: 
PG
Runtime:
102 minutes

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Seth Rogen and James Franco in The Interview, on Netflix

The Interview (2014)

Released in 2014, The Interview is the only movie on this list that could have conceivably launched World War III. The premise — an American talk show host going to North Korea to interview the nation’s dictator and infiltrate the government for the CIA — drew the ire of the despotic nation and its thin-skinned ruler, Kim Jong-un. North Korean hackers coordinated a massive attack against Sony Studios, leaking personal emails that so humiliated studio president Amy Pascal, she was forced to resign. However, when the movie was released after short delays to consider national security, all the fuss seemed to be about nothing. The Interview is just plain silly. If anything, Kim Jong-un comes off looking good. The joke is probably on all of us for thinking Seth Rogen and James Franco would make a movie provocative enough to start a war. The context of The Interview is probably funnier than the movie itself, but it is still a pretty entertaining ride.

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan
Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Rating: 
R
Runtime: 
112 minutes

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Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

All hail the return of Eddie Murphy! Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore in this Netflix original. Moore was a washed-up musician who transformed himself into the 1970’s blaxploitation character named Dolemite, becoming a cult star in the process. An ode to extremely independent filmmaking with a subtler touch than Bowfinger, this film features additional, outstanding performances from Wesley Snipes and Keegan-Michael Key.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Director: Craig Brewer
Rating: 
R
Runtime:
118 minutes

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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story on Netflix

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Like the great, fake Dewey Cox himself, Walk Hard was not properly appreciated in its time. Starring John C. Reilly as the titular rocker, Walk Hard directly parodies Walk the Line, a Johnny Cash biopic released a couple of years before this blistering satire of Walk the Line and biopics, in general, arrived in theaters. What makes this film stand out from similar parodies is the genuine heart Reilly pumps into his character, creating a sentiment the movie could’ve surpassed for an extra few laughs. Rather than toe the line between hilarious and heartfelt, Walk Hard tries to do both, making sure Reilly comes off as nothing less than a “Starman.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer
Director: Jake Kasdan
Rating: 
R
Runtime:
96 minutes

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The Lobster on Netflix

The Lobster (2015)

Imagine a world where if you didn’t fall in love and get married, you were turned into an animal and treated as livestock. Dark, right? Well, and funny. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster hits all the grimmest notes while still, inexplicably, bringing a smile to your face. The story centers on a place where single people go to meet other singles looking for love. If they don’t find love in 45 days, they’re turned into animals. Taking a deep, dry look at the desperation inherent in human connection, The Lobster features great performances from Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly and comes equipped with a jaw-dropping twist that will make you wonder what you just watched.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Rating: 
R
Runtime:
118 minutes

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Monty Python's Life of Brian on Netflix

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

A person doesn’t truly love Monty Python unless they love Life of Brian. Well, and Flying Circus. There’s much more to Monty Python than Holy Grail. While Grail is the better-known film, Life of Brian is more ambitious, cynical, and downright crazier for a very simple reason: It parodies Jesus Christ rather than King Arthur. Well, Christ’s neighbor, Brian Cohen, played by Graham Chapman. The film follows a case of mistaken identity as Brian is treated as a prophet, blasphemer, and enemy of the state in a series of events meant to skewer the Bible. It was, needless to say, not popular with the Church upon its release, but it’s still darn funny and encourages everyone to “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones
Director: Terry Jones
Rating: 
R
Runtime:
92 minutes

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The Artist on Netflix

The Artist (2011)

There are elements of drama and romance, but at its core, The Artist is a comedy. Once you move through the black-and-white barrier, you enter a world of cinematic nostalgia unparalleled in film today. While old, silent films can be difficult on modern sensibilities, The Artist never stops trying to surprise with visual and audio tricks, along with humorous title cards and visceral acting. The 2011 film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and closes with a rollicking dance scene that rivals anything Fred Astaire created during his heyday.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Rating:
PG-13
Runtime:
100 minutes

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The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience on Netflix

The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience (2019)

One of the oddest Netflix originals, not least of all because it hit the platform seemingly out of nowhere, The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is the most fun you can have reliving the glory days of the 1990’s Oakland A’s. But you don’t have to be an A’s fan or even a baseball fan to enjoy. Created by The Lonely Island, this musical short stars Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer as the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, singing about hitting dingers, doing steroids, and being on top of the world. It’s as silly as it sounds but so strangely satisfying.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer
Director: Akiva Schaffer, Mike Diva
Rating:
R
Runtime:
30 minutes

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