Everybody needs a good laugh from time to time. 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 genre-mashing comedies like The Last Action Hero 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 21 best comedies streaming right now. Our latest update added The Apartment and Book Club.
The movie follows Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon), a solitary office worker who lets executives at his company use his apartment for their extramarital affairs. He thinks this will help him move up in the massive insurance firm he works at. While he does get some material gains at work, the result is his superiors take more and more advantage of his time and space, leaving Bud unable to sleep in his own bed or access his own home.
When Bud falls for an elevator operator in the building (Shirley MacLaine), his desire to forge a relationship with her gives him the confidence to try to take control of his life back. But when Bud discovers she’s been having an affair in The Apartment with his boss (Fred MacMurray), things get even more complicated.
A heartfelt and hilarious romantic comedy, Wilder deftly balances the combination of corporate fatigue and newfound love with the outstanding comedic abilities of the cast. The Apartment is one of those movies everyone should see at least once. —Pete Volk
The Apartment is available to watch for free with a library card on Kanopy or Hoopla, or for free with ads on Pulot TV, Tubi, or The Roku Channel.
Michael Jai White is one of the great underappreciated 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.
This delightful and raunchy romantic comedy stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as a group of best friends who have been a part of a long-standing book club. Each of them, though successful in their careers, are dealing with crises of life or love. When one of them picks Fifty Shades of Grey as the next book they’ll all read together, it opens the group up in a lovely story of personal acceptance and self-realization, no matter what stage of life you find yourself in. —PV
Book Club is available to stream on Paramount Plus.
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 Hadadi wrote Polygon’s review, “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.
Is Free Guy a masterful piece of cinematic art? Absolutely not. Outside of it technically being an “original film,” its premise basically boils down to a weird bricolage of The Truman Show by way of Fortnite, PUBG, and GTA Online. Is it a competent video game comedy with solid performances by Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, and Taika Waititi that remains more-or-less self-contained to its own universe before climaxing in an explosion of indulgent Easter egg fan service? Yeah. Is it great? No, but it’s entertaining to watch and fun to look at, and that alone puts it leagues ahead of most other video game comedies of its ilk. —TE
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. —Matt Patches
The Gold Rush is available to stream on HBO Max and Criterion Channel.
I Married a Witch
René Clair, who made his name in early French silent and sound cinema, spent a few years making movies in the U.S. during World War II. Among them is the exemplary black-and-white romantic comedy I Married a Witch, which stars the incomparable Veronica Lake as a witch who hopes to exact revenge on the descendant of the man who imprisoned her by making him fall in love with her.
When two witches — Jennifer (Lake) and her father, Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) — are burned at the stake by Puritans in colonial Salem, they curse the man who denounced them. He and his descendants (all played by Fredric March) will be doomed to be unhappy in love, always marrying “the wrong woman.” Jennifer and Daniel awake 270 years later, and she begins pursuing her target: Wallace Wooley, the latest descendant of the man that caused her execution and also a leading candidate for governor. Oh, and his wedding to the daughter of his top political supporter is tomorrow.
With costumes by the legendary Edith Head, charming practical effects (the two witches are represented by wisps of smoke before inhabiting bodies), and plenty of hilarious gags (there’s a “popped maize” vendor during the “intermission” of the witches’ execution), I Married a Witch is a breezy 77 minutes of Classic Hollywood delight. —PV
I Married a Witch is available to stream on HBO Max and Criterion Channel.
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 Huston (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, The Life Aquatic 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 U.S. Army base that happens to be experiencing a zombie outbreak. As the class finds itself cornered by the undead horde, Dave will have to help Miss 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.
Love & Friendship
Whit Stillman’s uproarious adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan stars Kate Beckinsale in one of her richest (and most hilarious) roles. Beckinsale plays Lady Susan, a young widow looking to secure appropriate matches for both her daughter (Morfydd Clark) and herself. Susan flirts and schemes her way throughout the movie to the delight of the audience and the frustration of her suitors and friends.
Love & Friendship features terrific supporting turns by Chloë Sevigny (as Susan’s supportive best friend), Tom Bennett (playing a hilariously dense wealthy fool), and the rest of the cast, as well as Stillman’s characteristic biting dialogue and an attention to detail in sets and costuming. But the whole thing is brought together by Beckinsale’s transcendent performance, one of the more recent examples of how comedic roles get ignored during awards season. —PV
Love & Friendship is available to stream on Prime Video.
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 and Criterion Channel.
The Paper Tigers
Tran Quoc Bao’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 story 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.
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. Superstar acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) run a theater 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 theater 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. Alana Haim, Maya Rudolph, Hannah Simone, Jenny Slate, Jim O’Heir, and Sterling K. Brown — as Sia — all appear. Surprisingly, Andy Samberg and Akiva 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.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
We can all kind of agree musician biopics are a little played out, right? Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 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 nonstop 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
Wheels on Meals
Few creative teams have ever managed the consistent level of excellence that Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao did with their Hong Kong martial arts action comedies in the 1980s, and Wheels on Meals is one of the best of an outrageously good group of movies (and my personal favorite). Set and shot in Barcelona, the movie centers on Thomas (Chan) and David (Yuen), a pair of cousins who run a food truck (with skateboarding tricks to boot) and find themselves enamored with a local woman (Lola Forner). When they run into a somewhat incompetent private investigator (Sammo Hung) who is also looking for the woman, the group bands together to save her when she is suddenly kidnapped.
Wheels on Meals features some of the very best fight scenes of Jackie 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 illustrious career. —PV
Wheels on Meals is available to stream for free with ads on Plex.