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Science says laughter’s good for you; a great comedy can work miracles. But there’s no shortage of options out there, so it can be hard to pick the right movie, and you might find yourself browsing for an hour or more without ever watching a thing. Luckily, we’ve done our research, we’ve seen what’s out there, and we want to help.
Here, you’ll find a curated selection of 29 of our favorite comedies streaming right now—on Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Showtime. Whether you’re in the mood for slapstick, a feel-good romcom, or a bit of dark satire, we’ve got your back.
‘10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999) Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
‘10 Things’ turned Aussie actor Heath Ledger into a star.
“I burn, I pine, I perish.” It seems an odd thing for a high schooler to say in a nineties romcom—at least till you remember this is part of that wave of modern Shakespeare movies like O (2001) and She’s the Man (2006). A breakout role for the late Heath Ledger, 10 Things also stars Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik. When Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) finds out popular girl Bianca Stratford (Oleynik) can’t date until her sister (Stiles) does, he schemes to get the school’s biggest bad boy (Ledger) to break the spell—or “tame the shrew,” as it were. It’s still as cute and charming as it was two decades ago, and that Cheap Trick song will never get old.
Watch ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ on Disney+
‘50/50’ (2011) Credit: Summit Entertainment
This one’s based on the real-life experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser.
Come for Seth Rogen as the hilarious and supportive best friend; stay for Anna Kendrick in the role of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s lovely therapist, whom he starts seeing after a cancer diagnosis. Screenwriter Will Reiser, Rogen’s real-life buddy, wrote this film after his own experience with cancer, and that lends a raw honesty to the subject. All this without losing the levity you’d expect from the two leads. And it’s got some great needle drops from the likes of Radiohead, the Bee Gees, and Pearl Jam.
Watch ‘50/50’ on Hulu
‘Adventureland’ (2009) Credit: Disney
James falls hard for Emily in Greg Mottola’s ‘Adventureland.’
This charming coming-of-age story from Superbad director Greg Mottola stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, and Ryan Reynolds. Set in 1987 to an unbelievable soundtrack—Crowded House, the Replacements, the Cure, Lou Reed, “Rock Me Amadeus”—it follows the summertime woes (and occasional highs) of Eisenberg’s James Brennan, a recent college grad who’s head over heels for Stewart’s character, Emily. The movie’s an underappreciated gem you can revisit over and over, like a memory of some old summer you never want to forget.
Watch ‘Adventureland’ on HBO Max
‘American Graffiti’ (1973) Credit: Universal Pictures
Before ‘Star Wars,’ director George Lucas found success with a teen comedy set in 1962.
An oddball teen comedy that seems to have inspired Richard Linklater’s career, American Graffiti is George Lucas’s celebration of a youth spent cruising the strip in 1960s Modesto. It’s a beautiful yet unembellished look at what young people get up to when all they’ve got is five bucks, a tank of gas, and a sky full of stars. The result of a challenge from his friend Francis Ford Coppola—make something lighthearted and funny— Graffiti propelled Lucas to stardom after his previous feature, THX 1138, became a box-office dud. It’s thanks to this cutesy little film, which stars a young Richard Dreyfuss and a fresh-faced Ron Howard, that Lucas managed to finance a certain space movie.
Watch ‘American Graffiti’ on HBO Max
‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ (1997) Credit: New Line Cinema
Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley work for the Ministry of Defense in ‘Austin Powers.’
“But Scott, who’s gonna take over the world when I die?” Dr. Evil, Mike Myers’s Ernst Blofeld send-up, asks his son in group therapy. Scott (Seth Green) suggests he might prefer to work at a petting zoo. “An evil petting zoo?” his father asks. The therapist, by the way, is played by a radiant Carrie Fisher—and that’s just one scene you’ve probably forgotten from this 1997 spoof of classic Bond and In Like Flint. If you can get past a dated joke or two, there’s a lot of heart in this goofy love letter to sixties spy flicks.
Watch ‘Austin Powers’ on Hulu
‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’ (1996) Credit: MTV
They’re certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, ladies.
These two airheads from animator Mike Judge were a defining presence on MTV in the nineties, haplessly pursuing “chicks” and poking fun at pop culture and music videos. In their feature-length movie, the pair boards a plane to Vegas after a mix-up involving a stolen television and an unsavory fellow voiced by Bruce Willis. It ain’t Shakespeare, but the wordplay, high-stakes shenanigans, and sheer stupidity ought to win you over.
Watch ‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’ now on HBO Max
‘Black Dynamite’ (2009) Credit: Destination Films
Don’t call when he’s in the middle of his kung fu.
This 2009 Blaxploitation flick’s easily one of the funniest films ever made. Martial-arts expert Michael Jai White plays Black Dynamite, a kung-fu master as well as “the best CIA agent that the CIA ever had.” When his police-informant brother gets killed, Dynamite sets off on a mission to clean up the streets and get his revenge. Watch it immediately.
Watch ‘Black Dynamite’ on HBO Max
‘Bo Burnham: Make Happy’ (2016) Credit: Netflix
On a scale from one to zero…
This one-of-a-kind special feels like a virtuoso giving his best, and possibly final, big-stage performance. The film opens with the comedian getting out of bed wearing a clown nose, and a robotic voice-over remarks on the various ways the world “is not funny,” alternating between horrifying facts and humorous counterpoints. Burnham discusses body image and mental health, pokes fun at country music and Pringles cans, and concludes with a confession: he can no longer handle a relationship with live audiences. At least for the time being. As with much of his best work, he delivers this climactic bit in the form of a song, his voice soaked in Auto-Tune and echo effects. It’s magnificent. After the song, he waves farewell to his fans and takes a bow. “I hope you’re happy,” he says.
Watch ‘Bo Burnham: Make Happy’ on Netflix
‘Booksmart’ (2019) Credit: United Artists
Molly and Amy mourn the end of their high-school years in ‘Booksmart.’
Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with this terrific comedy about two BFFs who realize they’ve put too much time into getting ready for college at the expense of their social lives. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are perfectly cast as Molly and Amy, while Billie Lourd’s free-spirited Gigi is a revelation. If you haven’t seen it yet, this might just be your new comfort movie.
Watch ‘Booksmart’ on Hulu
‘Caddyshack’ (1980) Credit: Warner Bros.
Bill Murray confronts his nemesis in 1980’s ‘Caddyshack.’
If you’re a fan of comedy, you should see the legendary Caddyshack at least once. From the dancing gopher puppet to the Kenny Loggins theme song, this is a perfect snapshot of mainstream comedy in 1980. The cast features Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and a 29-year-old Bill Murray, and there are some pretty sublime moments throughout.
Watch ‘Caddyshack’ on HBO Max
‘Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly’ (2000) Credit: HBO
‘Killin’ Them Softly’ was recorded live in 2000.
Dave Chappelle’s 2000 stand-up foretells the colossal success he was about to find with his Comedy Central sketch show three years later. In Killin’ Them Softly, he delves into his fear of the police, white privilege, Looney Tunes, Sesame Street, “beatin’ up politicians,” and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This is the undisputed master of comedic timing and gut-busting anecdotes at the height of his powers—and the material’s as relevant as ever.
Watch ‘Killin’ Them Softly’ on HBO Max
‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993) Credit: Gramercy Pictures
Linklater’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ recalls the youth of the 1970s.
Years before Boyhood or School of Rock, Richard Linklater made Dazed and Confused, a teen comedy about hazing rituals, takin’ it easy, and the weight of other people’s expectations. It gave Ben Affleck one of his earliest film roles and helped make then-unknown Matthew McConaughey a star. If you want to know what it was like to be a high-school freshman in 1976, check out this ageless cult classic.
Watch ‘Dazed and Confused’ on Prime Video
‘Eighth Grade’ (2018) Credit: A24
‘Eighth Grade’ is the feature debut of writer-director Bo Burnham.
One of the most brilliant writers from the world of stand-up, Bo Burnham, made his directorial debut with this 2018 coming-of-age film about a 13-year-old girl. The movie examines social anxiety, consent, and the YouTube generation—young people who grew up with smartphones in their hands. Eighth Grade is awkward, authentic, insightful; it’ll break your heart and then have you laughing again in no time. Its star, Elsie Fisher, delivers an incredible performance, as does Josh Hamilton, who plays her father.
Watch ‘Eighth Grade’ on Showtime
‘The Five-Year Engagement’ (2012) Credit: Universal Pictures
Blunt and Segel make an adorable couple in this underappreciated film.
All you really need to know about The Five-Year Engagement is that it features a heated argument between Emily Blunt—doing her finest Cookie Monster impression—and Alison Brie as Elmo. But it’s also got Randall Park, Mindy Kaling, Brian Posehn as a sandwich shop’s self-proclaimed “pickle nerd,” Dakota Johnson, and a top-shelf performance by Jason Segel. This romcom’s criminally underrated.
Watch ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ on HBO Max
‘Good Burger’ (1997) Credit: Paramount Pictures
Kenan and Kel ruled Nickelodeon in the nineties.
Before Kenan Thompson spent two decades on SNL, he and Kel Mitchell were an unstoppable duo on Nickelodeon. Chief among their early achievements was Good Burger—first a recurring sketch on the TV show All That and later adapted into this 1997 feature. The so-called “nineties kids” among us will be delighted at just how entertaining this movie still is. Mitchell’s character in particular is about as animated and silly as Jim Carrey’s earliest big-screen work; it’s easy to mourn the Hollywood career he never really had. Another surprise from the opening credits: the score was composed by Stewart Copeland, drummer for the Police.
Watch ‘Good Burger’ on Netflix
‘The Graduate’ (1967) Credit: Embassy Pictures
Anne Bancroft portrays the iconic Mrs. Robinson.
One of the defining pictures of the sixties, The Graduate is often cited as a favorite among contemporary filmmakers like David Fincher. From the iconic Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack to Anne Bancroft’s timeless performance, this has become a fixture of American culture. It’s as devastating as it is hilarious, but you’ll especially marvel at the quality of the filmmaking.
Watch ‘The Graduate’ on HBO Max
‘Hail, Caesar!’ (2016) Credit: Universal Pictures
This is bad. Bad for movie stars ever’where.
Hail, Caesar! is one of the funnier Coen Brothers films, and that’s saying something. It’s got the goods: Clooney stumbling into the secret communist underworld of 1950s Hollywood; Solo’s Alden Ehrenreich struggling to make the shift from westerns to prestige pictures; memorable appearances by the likes of Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum. There’s also some beautiful photography here, but that’s hardly a surprise when Roger Deakins is behind the camera.
Watch ‘Hail, Caesar!’ on Netflix
‘Happy Gilmore’ (1996) Credit: Universal Pictures
Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers) is one of the most memorable characters of the 1990s.
Umpteen movies and a couple decades later, this might still be Adam Sandler’s best comedy. A sloppy ne’er-do-well with anger issues, Happy’s the last guy you’d expect to see on the pro golf tour. Which is why it’s so fun to celebrate his triumphs, even as the cutthroat Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) plots to sabotage him at every turn. Add a flirty Julie Bowen, Ben Stiller, a transcendent Carl Weathers, and Frances Bay to the mix, and you get what can only be described as the perfect cast.
Watch ‘Happy Gilmore’ on Hulu
‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007) Credit: Universal Pictures
‘Hot Fuzz’ is the second entry in Edgar Wright’s ‘Cornetto trilogy.’
A hotshot policeman gets reassigned to the small English village of Sandford, where strange things are afoot. Cloaked figures are racking up a body count all over town, and there’s something super fishy about Timothy Dalton’s character. The Shaun of the Dead trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost knocks its sophomore effort out of the park. It’s got the funniest decapitation scene since Monty Python and the Holy Grail, too.
Watch ‘Hot Fuzz’ on HBO Max
‘Lady Bird’ (2017) Credit: A24
Saoirse Ronan landed the titular role in ‘Lady Bird.’
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut follows a Catholic-school senior navigating her first love, the school musical, fears of an uncertain future, and a rocky relationship with her mother. It’s hilarious, chock-full of great performances, and it’s got the most beautifully cathartic ending. May Tracy Letts go down in history as the greatest of the movie dads.
Watch ‘Lady Bird’ on Netflix
‘The Lost Boys’ (1987) Credit: Warner Bros.
‘Lost Boys’ has one of all the all-time great gross-out scenes.
This movie’s got everything: music-video vibes; an iconic sight gag; a musclebound saxophone player; eighties heartthrobs like Alex Winter, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jami Gertz. Coreys Haim and Feldman costar as a pair of comic-book nerds convinced their town is overrun with vampires. Edward Herrmann plays the mom’s-new-boyfriend type. It’s got all the style of director Joel Schumacher’s later blockbuster, Batman Forever, and plenty of fantastic humor. (Plus, the kids are right about the vampires.)
Watch ‘The Lost Boys’ on HBO Max
‘The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!’ (1988) Credit: Paramount Pictures
By the way, O. J. Simpson’s in this movie.
“Wilma, I promise you—whatever scum did this—not one man on this force will rest for one minute until he’s behind bars,” Lieutenant Frank Drebin tells Mrs. Nordberg, whose husband clings to life in a hospital bed. Then, to his partner: “Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.” Leslie Nielsen was the king of deadpan, and this ridiculous spoof of old cop movies stands as the best showcase of his talents.
Watch ‘Naked Gun’ on Netflix
‘Not Another Teen Movie’ (2001) Credit: Sony Pictures
Oh, it’s not a sundae.
This 2001 spoof skewers teen films such as Varsity Blues, She’s All That, and American Pie without unraveling into a total-nonsense plot, as these kinds of parodies often do. A young Chris Evans stars as the handsome jock—part Freddie Prinze Jr., part James Van Der Beek—alongside Supergirl’s Chyler Leigh, who plays the rebellious art nerd he eventually falls for. They’re both superb.
Watch ‘Not Another Teen Movie’ on HBO Max
‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ (1985) Credit: Warner Bros.
‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ was Tim Burton’s first feature-length movie.
Equal parts Robert Stevenson, Buster Keaton, and David Lynch, there’s a persistent dreamlike quality to this road-trip film about a wacky man-child (Paul Reubens) searching for his stolen bike. Co-written by Pee-wee’s Playhouse writers Michael Varhol and Phil Hartman (of Saturday Night Live fame), Tim Burton’s directorial debut lacks the substance of something like Big Fish—and his signature Sleepy Hollow aesthetic—but it’s still one of his best.
Watch ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ on HBO Max
‘Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip’ (1982) Credit: Columbia Pictures
Pryor’s legendary return was filmed at the Hollywood Palladium.
Following a battle with addiction and a near-death experience, Richard Pryor returned to the stage funnier than ever. In his legendary comeback special, the comedian touches on topics like heartbreak, race, growing up in his grandmother’s Peoria brothel, drugs, discovering masturbation, marriage, and everything else on his mind. This is Pryor at his most honest and vulnerable, and he puts on a hell of a show. You probably don’t want to watch it with your parents.
Watch ‘Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip’ on Showtime
‘Sorry to Bother You’ (2018) Credit: Universal Pictures
LaKeith Stanfield plays Cash Green in the bonkers sci-fi comedy ‘Sorry to Bother You.’
LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson star in this gonzo, Phildickian comedy from rapper Boots Riley. Cash Green (Stanfield) gets a job as a telemarketer, where a coworker (Danny Glover) teaches him how to use his magical “white voice” (David Cross). This makes Cash a star employee bound for a big promotion, putting him at odds with his artist-activist girlfriend, Detroit (Thompson) and leftist organizer Squeeze (Steven Yeun). But the power of the white voice is far from the strangest thing in the movie. See it for yourself.
Watch ‘Sorry to Bother You’ on Hulu
‘This Is Spinal Tap’ (1984) Credit: Embassy Pictures
‘Spinal Tap’ stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer.
Rob Reiner’s mockumentary is the quintessential rock-and-roll film, lambasting an art form from a place of deep admiration. Anyone who’s spent time in the music world (or even a guitar shop) will recognize Michael McKean’s David St. Hubbins immediately. And you’ll have a blast spotting people like Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, and Anjelica Huston in the tiniest of roles. This one really does go to eleven.
Watch ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ on HBO Max
‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’ (2007) Credit: Sony Pictures
John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer duet in 2007’s ‘Walk Hard.’
John C. Reilly kills it in this parody of musical biopics (particularly James Mangold’s Walk the Line). Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig, and Jenna Fischer costar; it’s also got cameo appearances like Jack White as Elvis Presley, Jack Black as Paul McCartney, and Paul Rudd as John Lennon. It was a box-office failure in 2007, but few comedies from the aughts have aged as well as this one.
Watch ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’ on HBO Max
‘Young Adult’ (2011) Credit: Paramount Pictures
‘Young Adult’ was written by ‘Jennifer’s Body’ scribe Diablo Cody.
This gloomy character study reunites Juno director Jason Reitman with writer Diablo Cody, and lightning strikes a second time. Charlize Theron plays a young-adult novelist named Mavis, who suffers from alcoholism and mental illness; Patton Oswalt costars as a charming nerd who makes bourbon in his garage. Mavis becomes obsessed with winning back her old high-school flame (Patrick Wilson), who just had a baby with his wife (Elizabeth Reaser). It all makes for a big inevitable train wreck, but this is a beautiful film brimming with empathy.
Watch ‘Young Adult’ on Hulu
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