Everybody needs a good laugh from time to time. Nowadays more than ever. And between streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max, there’s never been a greater wealth or assortment of comedies to choose from or available at the click of a button.
From romantic comedies like Charade and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, to action comedies like The Last Action Hero and The Paper Tigers, to horror comedies like Army of Darkness and Freaky, to classics like Tampopo and To Be or Not to Be, and much more, we have a variety of options sure to bring you laughter and brighten up your night.
So, with that in mind, we’ve sifted through the libraries of the most popular streaming services to bring you our top picks for the 19 best comedies streaming right now.
Army of Darkness
The third movie in Sam Raimi’s delirious Evil Dead trilogy is by far the most ridiculous of the group, veering much further into the “comedy” part of “horror comedy.” After series protagonist Ash (Bruce Campbell) is accidentally sent back in time to the Middle Ages, he is imprisoned by King Arthur’s men, who think he is a spy. A spy with a chainsaw for an arm and a shotgun in his hand.
Featuring extended slapstick sequences, silly time travel gags, and extensive effects work (including an army of skeletons), Army of Darkness is a deranged 90 minutes of horror comedy fun times. —Pete Volk
Army of Darkness is available to stream on HBO Max.
Michael Jai White is one of the great under-appreciated actors of our time, and his blaxploitation parody Black Dynamite is one of the funniest movies of the century. White stars in the movie as Black Dynamite, a former CIA agent whose quest for vengeance for his brother’s death leads him all the way to the Nixon White House. White also co-wrote the hilarious, biting screenplay, filled with silly gags and cultural commentary alike. —PV
Black Dynamite is available to stream on HBO Max.
Burn After Reading
A paranoid Washington, DC thriller filtered through the Coen brothers’ comedic sensibilities, Burn After Reading features three mostly separated groups of characters involved in a conflict none of them fully understand. After an ex-CIA analyst (John Malkovich) angrily writes a memoir, it mistakenly ends up in the hands of two opportunistic fools who work at a local gym (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt). Thinking they’ve found something much more important and secretive than they actually have, the two scheme to blackmail anybody they can find to try and turn a profit on this discovery.
Add in a terrific ensemble cast and one of the best performances of Pitt’s career, and you’ve a great time, even by the Coen brothers’ high standards. —PV
Burn After Reading is available to stream on Peacock.
The heist at the center of Charade was successful years prior to the movie, and without realizing it, Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) has been living off the profits from her husband’s crime. When he is suddenly murdered, she realizes she didn’t really know anything about him — or, for that matter, the new man in her life, Peter Joshua (Cary Grant). To make matters worse, the remaining money is missing, and a lot of terrible people think Reggie knows where it is. As more people are pulled into the orbit of the money, it becomes less clear who, if anyone, Reggie can trust.
Hepburn and Grant, two famously talented and charming stars, are at their most charming and talented in Charade. In the span of a single scene, Hepburn might move from pragmatic to seductive to fearful with believable ease. Grant’s initial discomfort with their age gap — 25 years, a still not uncommon chasm in Hollywood — resulted in rewrites to the script to make clear that Reggie was pursuing him; it remains one of the few movies in which the gap is acknowledged and dealt with believably, rather than taken for granted. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable; it’s key in carrying off the film’s snappy dialogue and mixture of flirtatious comedy, captivating mystery, and genuine thriller. It’s His Girl Friday by way of Hitchcock. —Jenna Stoeber
Charade is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Johnnie To is one of our great modern directors, equally adept in hard-boiled triad crime dramas and light-hearted romantic comedies alike. 2011’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart falls in the latter category, and is one of the many high marks of the Hong Kong director’s legendary career. Fresh off the end of a long-term relationship, Chi-yan (Gao Yuanyuan) is an analyst for an investment bank who finds herself in the middle of a love triangle. On one side, there’s Sean (Louis Koo), a CEO who works across the street from Chi-yan and yearns for her through the tall corporate glass windows that separate them. On the other, there’s Kevin (the always-dreamy Daniel Wu), an alcoholic former architect who helps Chi-Yan move on and is inspired by her to start creating again. What follows is a sincere, funny, and truly charming romantic time. —PV
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is available to stream on Netflix.
Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon tries his hand at the body swap subgenre with his 2020 slasher comedy Freaky starring Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton. A twist on the premise of Freaky Friday, the film centers on a teenage girl (Newton) who accidentally switches bodies with a middle-aged serial killer (Vaughn) and must find a way to switch back while avoiding being murdered herself. As Roxana Hadidi wrote in her review for Polygon, “Freaky is committed to a cheeky upending of genre conventions, with a concluding act that delivers one last bloody thrill […] amusing and gory enough to still be an entertaining slasher movie with its own satisfying spin on the final-girl trope.” —Toussaint Egan
Freaky is available to stream on HBO Max.
The Gold Rush
Charlie Chaplin’s adventurous comedy is nearly 100 years old, and it absolutely still holds up for the modern sense of humor. In The Gold Rush, Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” is a prospector living on a shack in the middle of the Klondike. Extreme slapstick and farce ensue, as Little Tramp’s blown by Canadian winds, stoops to eating a leather shoe for sustenance, and eventually performs his legendary fork dance. Chaplin — even more than the muscle icons of the 1980s — is the key DNA to modern action entertainment, and if you’ve never seen one of his classics, The Gold Rush is a hilarious entry point. —MP
The Gold Rush is available to stream on HBO Max.
The Last Action Hero
When a movie-obsessed boy (Austin O’Brien) is magically transported into the universe of a major action franchise, and the movie’s villain (Charles Dance) is in turn sent to the real world, the boy and the movie’s hero (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must team up to stop him. A hilarious send-up of the big action movies of the era, Last Action Hero is aided by having a director in John McTiernan with real action bona fides (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, and Predator), a real action star in Schwarzenegger in the lead, and an all-time over-the-top villain performance from Dance. —PV
The Last Action Hero is available to stream on Netflix.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Wes Anderson’s eccentric 2004 ensemble comedy is dedicated to Jacques Cousteau, and is a loving (and hilarious) homage to the legendary French oceanographer. Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is an oceanographer/documentarian who loses his best friend to a shark attack while working on his project. Zissou sets out for his next project: to find and kill the shark, and film the whole thing.
The hilarious ensemble cast includes Anjelica Houston (Zissou’s estranged wife who finances his projects), Willem Dafoe (an emotionally insecure German first mate), Owen Wilson (a Zissou super-fan who believes he is Zissou’s son), and Jeff Goldblum (playing Zissou’s rival, a more successful oceanographer). With an excellent soundtrack of Portuguese David Bowie covers by Brazilian singer/songwriter Seu Jorge and Anderson’s typical attention to detail in composition, Zissou is a cinematic feast of the senses. —PV
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is available to stream for free with a library card on Hoopla.
Director Abe Forsythe’s 2019 horror comedy Little Monsters stars Alexander England (Alien: Covenant) as Dave, a foul-mouthed and down-on-his-luck rock musician living with his sister and nephew after a rough breakup. Attempting to get on the good side of Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), his nephew’s kindergarten teacher, Dave agrees to come along and chaperone the class’ field trip to a petting zoo. Unfortunately for them, the petting zoo sits right next to a US Army base that happens to be experiencing a zombie outbreak. As the class find themselves cornered by the undead horde, Dave will have to help Caroline to make sure everyone gets out alive. Can he win her heart, or at the very least grow as a person for the experience? We won’t spoil it, but we will tell you Josh Gad gets attacked by zombies in the process. —TE
Little Monsters is available to stream on Hulu.
The early transgressive comedies of John Waters have been anointed by Criterion as art, and one can only imagine what Waters circa 1970 would make of that. Multiple Maniacs, the provocateur’s second film, is just batshit nutso, constructing a flimsy scenario in which Lady Divine (Waters’ go-to collaborator) spirals out of control on a murder spree and her ex-lover (David Lochary) plots to kill her first with other members of Waters’ Dreamlander acting troupe. In true Waters fashion, the plot is an excuse for bodily fluid expulsion, flamboyant performance, and a moment of backdoor penetration courtesy of a sacred religious object. Today, with scrutiny from every side of the ideological spectrum, it would be almost impossible to do what Waters pulled off back in the ’70s. Criterion knew what it was doing preserving these jaw-dropping memories. —MP
Multiple Maniacs is available to stream on HBO Max.
The Paper Tigers
Quoc Bao Tran’s Kung-fu action comedy stars Alain Uy, Ron Yuan (Mulan), and Mykel Shannon Jenkins as the eponymous Paper Tigers: three former martial arts prodigies who, after a lifetime of strenuous training and hard fighting, have grown into beleaguered middle-aged nobodies. But when their master is murdered, the three swear an oath to avenge his memory and bring his killer to justice. If that sounds serious, please know this falls into the Apatowian camp of Dumb Man comedy. —TE
The Paper Tigers is available to stream on Netflix.
Netflix may be cranking out romantic comedies, but the best still come from a more personal, filmmaker-driven place. Plus One, from Pen15 writers Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival before quietly settling into a place on streaming and has been largely overlooked. Don’t miss it: Maya Erskine (Pen15) and Jack Quaid (The Boys) star as best buds who’ve seen all of their friends get hitched, and have become go-to plus ones for the endless marathon of nuptials. Formula works to the movie’s advantage, finding sweet humor in modern situations and wringing Erskine and Quaid for every drip of charisma they have to offer. A gem that could easily been mistaken as product in our current era of rom-coms. —MP
Plus One is available to stream on Hulu.
This 1985 “ramen western” is a hilarious romp that also happens to be one of the most gorgeous depictions of food ever put on-screen. When a pair of truck drivers stop at a run-down ramen shop, they befriend the widowed owner and help her turn the restaurant’s fortunes around. A lovely depiction of community, passion, and human nature all filtered through the appreciation of good food, Tampopo is a cinematic feast. —PV
Tampopo is available to stream on HBO Max and Criterion Channel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Cab Passenger: [after Raphael jumps over the cab hood] What the heck was that?
Cab Driver: Looked like sort of a big turtle in a trench coat.
Cab Driver: You’re going to LaGuardia, right?
Delightfully silly and overwhelmingly ’90s (for better and worse), the original TMNT is a fun time for all ages. The movie follows intrepid TV reporter April O’Neill (Judith Hoag) as she works with the turtles to stop a crime ring taking over New York City. The suits — designed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, one of the Muppet master’s last projects — look incredible, and bring a real tangibility to this appropriately comic book-like adaptation. The use of real suits also allowed for talent specialization (different performers were used for puppetry, voice acting, martial arts scenes, and skateboarding stunts), allowing the production to swap in different people under the suit without breaking audience immersion. Produced by legendary Hong Kong studio Golden Harvest and distributed by New Line Cinema, TMNT was a surprise box office smash hit, holding the record for highest-grossing independent film until Blair With Project. It’s also got a very young Sam Rockwell in a minor role! —PV
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is available to stream on Netflix and HBO Max.
To Be Or Not to Be
Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 masterpiece is an uproarious and touching anti-war story about a group of actors who use their theatrical skills to dupe a group of Nazi soldiers in occupied Warsaw. Super star acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) run a theatre planning to put on a performance of “Gestapo,” a comedic play satirizing Hitler. But when Germany invades and a Nazi spy schemes to give a list of secret identities of Resistance fighters to the Nazis, the troupe uses every theatre trick in the book to outmaneuver the Nazis (including a visiting Hitler himself) and do their part in the war effort.
With hilarious repeated gags, disguises galore, and a rock-solid emotional foundation of a group of people trying to look out for each other in the face of evil, To Be or Not To Be is a high mark in the history of American cinema and one of my personal favorite movies ever made. —PV
To Be Or Not to Be is available to stream on HBO Max and Criterion Channel.
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience
The Lonely Island dropped this musical movie — a spoof of Beyoncé’s Lemonade, focused on Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire’s notorious 1980s home run streak — out of nowhere in 2019. It deserves more love.
In line with their previous efforts like Tour de Pharmacy and 7 Days in Hell (co-starring Kit Harington!), The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience explores the shared psyche of Canseco and McGwire through poetry, abstract imagery, and profane lyrics. Haim, Maya Rudolph, Hannah Simone, Jenny Slate, Jim O’Heir and Sterling K Brown — as Sia — all appear. Surprisingly, Samberg and Schaffer don’t skimp on the darkness of the Bash Brothers. With lyrics like “Stab that needle in my ass until I am rich / Make me a god with the chemical sciences,” the Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience eventually finds McGwire begging a vision of his father to save his life, as Canseco raps about how therapy is for the weak. —MP
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is available to stream on Netflix.
We can all kind of agree musician biopics are a little played out, right? Walk Hard certainly agrees. One of the funniest movies of the early 2000s, this satirical music biopic skewers all the narrative conventions of the genre, especially the (often) misguided attempt to capture an entire life in one movie. A box office bomb at the time, Walk Hard has grown into a cult hit over time, led by a stellar lead performance by John C. Reilly as rock star Dewey Cox, a hilarious supporting turn by Tim Meadows as Dewey’s drummer, and a non-stop avalanche of gags as silly as they are astute (highlighted by an extended sequence where Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Justin Long, and Jason Schwartzman goof off as The Beatles). —PV
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Wheels on Meals
Wheels on Meals features some of the very best fight scenes of Chan’s prolific filmography, as he squares off against legendary kickboxer Benny Urquidez (the two would later fight again in Dragons Forever), who at the time was among the most prominent and successful fighters in the world. The whole movie is worth your time, but if you want to just find their six-minute marathon fight session on YouTube, there are few things better in this world.
If you like this, you should also check out Project A, which came out a year before and features one of the most daring and jaw-dropping stunts of Chan’s prolific career. —PV
Wheels on Meals is available to stream for free with ads on Plex.