Everybody needs to laugh, but sometimes your options are limited. While a streaming service like Netflix seems to be flooded with comedy movies, it’s not always clear what comedies are funny and what will flat-out ruin your evening. And that’s where we come in with our monthly updates on the best new movies on Netflix. From Pee-wee’s Big Adventure to Trading Places to Forgetting Sarah Marshall to so much more, there are a bunch of good comedies to choose from here!
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We’ve scoured the vast expanse of the service and come back with our picks for the best comedy movies on Netflix right now, including many of the top recent comedies from 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as many of the all-time greatest classics. Some of these movies are silly, some of these movies are dark. Some of them are fun for the whole family, some make more sense for a drunken evening hanging out with your pals. No matter the case, these new releases in comedies that are streaming on Netflix right now prove that the genre is a big and broad one and there’s something for everyone!
So read on for the hottest and funniest new comedy movies on Netflix Streaming!
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.
Best Comedy Movies on Netflix Right Now
Craig Johnson’s coming of age comedy Alex Strangelove is hilarious and heartfelt. Daniel Doheny stars as Alex, a high schooler with a great girlfriend who discovers – to his confusion – that he’s also attracted to a handsome guy. It takes Alex most of the movie to figure out who he is, and his journey is genuine and full of good-natured humor, as even the protagonist’s breakfast cereal seems to have something to tell him about his sexual identity.
Adam Sandler’s earliest comedies were angry, ridiculous, and they understood that Sandler himself was immature and needed to grow up. In Happy Gilmore, Sandler stars as a hockey player who winds up in the world of professional golf, where his angry outbursts are completely inappropriate but his wicked sticking makes him a superstar. The surreal image of him fighting and getting his butt kicked by aging gameshow host Bob Barker remains one of the funniest moments in Sandler’s decades-long repertoire.
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Steve Carell somehow makes it to 40 years old without ever being sexually intimate with another person, but in Judd Apatow’s hit comedy, that’s not just an excuse for a whole lot of funny sex jokes. (Although there are a bunch of those too.) The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a sweet movie about a person whose real problem is a lack of intimacy, with romantic partners and platonic friends alike, and Carell – and his great supporting cast, including Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen – bring his journey to delightful, hilarious life.
Sleeping With Other People
Leslye Headland’s overlooked but brilliantly written romantic comedy Sleeping With Other People stars Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie as people who decide that their sex drive has gotten them into trouble and decide to be platonic friends, even though they really, really, really want to get into bed together. Sudeikis and Brie have incredible chemistry, and the film’s sparkling dialogue is priceless.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Jason Segel wrote and stars in this fantastic comedy of embarrassments, as a guy whose girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell) leaves him for a rock star. When he tries to move on by vacationing in Hawaii, fate adds insult to his injury: Sarah and her new boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) are staying there too. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has all the comedic misunderstandings we come to expect from a movie like this, but the cast makes them as funny as you’d expect. You won’t forget this film any time soon.
Adventures in Babysitting
It’s so hard babysittin’ these guys! Elisabeth Shue plays a teenager whose humdrum babysitting gig goes terribly awry, stranding her and the kids in the middle of the city with dangerous criminals in hot pursuit. Adventures in Babysitting is the first film directed by Chris Columbus, who is already assembling all the crackerjack comic timing he would soon put to good use in the blockbuster Home Alone. But for many, Adventures in Babysitting is even more likable, thanks to a stellar lead performance by Shue, and a spry, fast-paced story that puts her in one incredible situation after another.
Burn After Reading
The Coen Brothers are famous for their Oscar-winning crime films (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) and their iconic comedies (The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona), but most of their lesser known films are very good too. Case in point: Burn After Reading, an acidic spy spoof about a pair of fitness trainers who stumble across what they think are top secret documents, and who set in motion a sequence of events that leads to murders and ruination. It’s a merciless satire of naive ambition, unexpected and surprisingly dark, and Brad Pitt gives what is probably his funniest performance.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
A pair of kids discover, quite unexpectedly, that they have the power to hypnotize their mean principal, so they transform him into a superhero in this exceptionally eccentric animated movie. Captain Underpants was overlooked when it came out in 2017, but the film has a creative streak a mile wide, and an earnest and believable friendship at the core of these wild shenanigans. It’s probably the closest we will ever come to getting a Calvin & Hobbes movie.
Lady Bird writer/director Greta Gerwig co-wrote and stars in Frances Ha, a bittersweet comedy about a young woman gradually coming to terms with the possibility that she won’t achieve her big dreams of becoming a professional dancer, and might need to do something else with her life. It’s a difficult lesson to contemplate, let alone learn the hard way, and yet – as directed by Noah Baumbach – the film never loses its sense of humor, no matter how self-deprecating it becomes.
Goon and Goon: Last of the Enforcers
Goon is one of the best sports comedies in years, and surprisingly enough so is the sequel. Seann William Scott stars as a hockey player who can’t skate, and can’t score goals, but can take and dish out a punch better than anyone in the league. When he’s not brawling inside the ring, he’s figuring out his place in a world where getting hit in the face isn’t considered a valuable skill. Everyone in the cast is a delight, but Seann William Scott in particular has never been better.
It’s hard to imagine a comedy as dark as Heathers getting made today, at least without being labeled as a horror movie. Winona Ryder stars as a teenager who falls in with a charismatic rebel, played by Christian Slater, and together they kill the most popular girls in school and trick the community into thinking it’s a rash of suicides. The humor is so biting you might need a disinfectant, but it’s so danged daring – even to this day – that it stands out as one of the best teen comedies ever made.
Simon Pegg plays a by-the-book city cop who moves to a small town and finds more danger than he could ever have expected. Edgar Wright’s comedy is to cop movies what Shaun of the Dead was to zombie movies, a merciless riff on every cliché in the book, and an inspiring, heartwarming buddy comedy to boot. Pegg and Nick Frost are golden together, and the bravura action-packed finale is one for the books.
I Love You, Man
Paul Rudd is getting married, but he doesn’t have a best man. In fact, he doesn’t have any male friends at all. So his wife encourages him to find bromance before they get married, resulting in a witty and charming romantic comedy in which the protagonists just happen to be dudes in a platonic relationship. They have a meet cute, they go out on man dates, and yes, it all leads to a comedic misunderstanding and an interrupted wedding. It hits all the familiar beats but it always feels novel, even a little subversive, and Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are great as the dual leads.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
As live-action Looney Tunes movies go, Space Jam gets all the fame and glory, but Back in Action is the superior comedy. When Warner Bros. tries to turn their cartoons into soulless corporate commercials, Daffy Duck goes AWOL with Brendan Fraser, and it’s up to Bugs Bunny to try to get him back. Steve Martin steals the movie as Mr. Chairman, the evil chairman of the ACME Corporation, the sequence where the cartoon characters jump in and out of classic paintings is an all-timer, and a trip to Area 51 is full of amazing gags for sci-fi fans of all ages.
It’s considered a modern Christmas classic, but there’s no reason not to watch a great comedy like Love Actually at any other time of the year. The film is a pastiche of romantic stories featuring an all-star cast – Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, the list goes on – as they find and lose love in London. It’s a cliché to say that a movie will make you laugh and cry, but Love Actually can really do it. It’s celebrated for a reason.
Paul King’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved children’s book might look like kids stuff, and on one hand that’s exactly what it is, but it’s also one of the funniest movies in several years. Ben Whishaw (SPECTRE) stars as the title character, a young bear who finds an unexpected home with a befuddled British family, whose lives are turned upside down by this naive hero who doesn’t know how anything works and has a tendency to accidentally wreck everything. Nicole Kidman walks away with the movie as a despicable bear thief, and nearly all of the film’s many jokes are worth a chuckle, if not a guffaw, if not a belly laugh.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Everyone knows Pee-wee Herman lost his bicycle and traveled across the country to find it, encountering all manner of strange characters along the way. And sure enough, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is still a comedy classic. But the long-awaited follow-up, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, is also a laugh riot. In the sequel, Pee-wee meets actor Joe Manganiello (playing himself), who invites Pee-wee to his birthday party across the country (in the other direction this time). Pee-wee has to explore the vast world and emerge from his personal bubble to find friendship and adventure. It’s almost as good as the original, and the original – again – is a classic.
Dan Aykroyd plays a stuck-up investor and Eddie Murphy plays a poor, but wily con artist. They trade places, as the title suggests, as the result of a sinister wager that teaches everyone a valuable lesson, but more importantly than that leads to one great gag after another. Aykroyd and Murphy have rarely been better, and that’s really saying something in a comedy that may be 35 years old, but is still as funny as ever.
The Truman Show
You would think that a film about Jim Carrey being trapped in a reality TV show, completely unaware that he’s being filmed, would be a laugh-a-minute farce on par with Dumb and Dumber or The Mask. But in The Truman Show, the laughs have a disturbing undercurrent. Directed by Peter Weir (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), The Truman Show is a dark satire about social trappings, media influence and unfulfilled dreams. Carrey gives what may be his best performance, and Andrew Niccol’s Oscar-nominated screenplay is one of the smartest sci-fi scripts on record.
Wet Hot American Summer
The cult comedy nobody cared about, which became a cult hit, which became a popular Netflix comedy series. Wet Hot American Summer has been on quite a journey, but the original is still (arguably) the best. A bunch of high school kids (played by 30-something adults) have one day left at summer camp, and embark on some of the craziest adventures imaginable. The humor is absurdist and unpredictable, the cast is funny as hell, and if you have any affection for the summer camp movie genre, the satire is incredibly spot-on.
So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of comedy movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!
Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more comedy films that are now available on the service.