You’ve heard the old saying about laughter being the best form of medicine, haven’t you? Well if that’s the case, Netflix is like having your own personal doctor on call 24/7, ready to treat every ailment.
Amid all the hard-hitting dramas, big budget sci-fi, and heart-stopping thrillers, the streaming service has built up an enviable roster of comedy movies. From rom coms to high school yuck-fests, right through to Oscar-winners and starry spoofs, there’s something on there to turn any frown upside down.
In order to reflect this, and because comedy is so subjective, we’ve tried to mix things up when it comes to genre, vintage, and tone. There should be something for everyone here.
Without any further ado, here’s our list of the best comedy movies currently available to stream on Netflix. Be sure to vote for your favourites below.
10 of the best comedy movies on Netflix
1. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)Watch on Netflix
This deeply ridiculous send-up of the early James Bond movies, and indeed of all things swinging-sixties, gave star Mike Myers his second hit comedy franchise of the ’90s after Wayne’s World. Playing the dual role of British spy Powers and his arch-nemesis Dr Evil, this is the Myers show through and through.
The Austin Powers brand of gauche, lewd humour sure ain’t subtle, but it’s all pulled off with so much affection for the source material, you can’t help but be swept up in the giddiness of its all.
2. Life of Brian (1979)Watch on Netflix
We should note Monty Python and the Holy Grail is also available on Netflix, and could just as easily have made an appearance here. We can’t look past Life of Brian as the shining achievement of this legendary British comedy troupe, however, if only because of the uproar it caused upon release.
The movie infamously sends up religious fanaticism and dogma in a story that runs parallel to that laid out in the New Testament. That would all be for nought if it wasn’t funny, of course, but Life of Brian very much is. Frequently and uproariously so.
3. Superbad (2007)Watch on Netflix
Every generation gets at least one signature high school comedy, whether you’re talking Ferris Bueller, American Pie, or Booksmart. If you were to pick one to represent the noughties, it would undoubtedly have to be Superbad.
The film follows a single chaotic day in the life of a pair of high schoolers played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. They are on a mission to pop their cherries before college. The breakout performance here might just be Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s McLovin, the improbably self-confident dweeb and third member of this socially inept crew.
4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)Watch on Netflix
The first Ace Ventura is the film that set Jim Carrey on the path to being the comedy titan of the mid-to-late ’90s. Unsurprisingly, it’s a precision-tuned vehicle for Carrey’s rubber-faced schtick.
Carrey plays the titular zany detective, hot on the heels of an abducted dolphin mascot with an arsenal of quips, impressions, and silly walks. Ace Ventura deals in an extremely daft brand of physical comedy, but Carrey single-handedly makes it fly – though it’s also notable for featuring a just-about-to-go-supernova Courtney Cox as Ventura’s love interest.
5. Zombieland (2009)Watch on Netflix
Just like Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland shows zombies don’t have to be horrific metaphors for capitalist society’s various ills. They can also be pretty darned funny. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone play a trio of mismatched survivors fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Banish any darkly dystopian thoughts that desciption might conjure up in your head. Zombieland is sheer slapstick joy from beginning to end, with a videogame-like level of freewheeling mayhem and plenty of visual gags. There’s even room for a memorable cameo from a certain comedy legend.
6. Bridesmaids (2011)Watch on Netflix
Bridesmaids was one of the seminal comedy movies of the 2010s, helping to kick off the career of director Paul Feig, and forming an early big screen showcase for comedy talent including Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, and Kristen Wiig.
It’s Wiig that carries the weight of the movie on her shoulders, playing the central flailing and failing 30-something tasked with the job of being the Maid of Honour for her best friend’s wedding. What follows is one cringingly hilarious set piece after another, including a truly unforgettable dress fitting.
7. As Good as it Gets (1997)Watch on Netflix
As Good as it Gets holds the rare distinction of being a romantic comedy movie that managed to secure both of its leads an Oscar win. Of course, it helps when those leads are Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, but even so...
Nicholson plays misanthropic novelist Melvin Udall, forced into human interaction and feeling by his neighbour (played by Greg Kinnear), his agent (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and more than anything by his romantic interest in a local waitress (Hunt). As Good as it Gets is very much a product of its time, but remains a hugely enjoyable comedy.
8. Ghost Town (2008)Watch on Netflix
It’s probably fair to say Ricky Gervais isn’t everybody’s cup of tea these days. If any of his films offer the potential to bring together the fans and the haters, however, it’s Ghost Town. For one thing, it’s actually written and directed by acclaimed screenwriter David Koepp, with Gervais starring and occasionally ad-libbing in his own inimitable style.
For another, it’s a pretty solid romcom with a neat twist. Gervais plays a cynical dentist who finds that he can see dead people. Cue much hilarity and a little redemptive romance.
9. Sausage Party (2016)Watch on Netflix
You can file Sausage Party right next to Team America: World Police in the “very much not suitable for kids, despite how it looks” sub-category of comedy movies. This computer generated concoction comes from the reliably profane minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and initially trades in R-rated gags concerning anthropomorphised foodstuffs in a US convenience store.
However, it soon takes a surprisingly daring (for a Hollywood production, at least) turn towards the philosophical with its musings on religious belief. Plus, you know, it features sausages being inserted into buns. Fnar fnar.
10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)Watch on Netflix
Perhaps the biggest trick this twisty, turny whodunnit pulls on its audience is convincing them this is an old school mystery movie. In actual fact, it’s an outright comedy – and a stone-cold classic one at that.
The film’s stellar cast seems more determined to make you laugh than anything else, including Daniel Craig’s outrageously accented sleuth, Dave Bautista’s meat-headed dudebro, and Kate Hudson’s flighty it girl. Meanwhile, writer-director Rian Johnson imbues every scene with hilarious sight gags, zinging one-liners, and countless knowing winks. It’s a riot.