top comedies on Netflix right now

Everyone loves a comedy. And, starting in March, Netflix has some amazing ones. From classic laughs to newly minted giggles. There is milk-shooting-out-your-nose silliness and thoughtful films that will also give you pause.

From the sarcastic to the sweet, whatever your taste, Netflix has a laugh for you. Here are our top 20 best comedies on Netflix right now.

The Best Comedies on Netflix Right Now

From the 80s to today, and beyond, this list of great classic and contemporary classics will keep you chucking through Spring and right into Summer.

Best Comedies on Netflix: The 1980s

Remember the ’80s? Probably not. But even without the internet and the ever-present phone, people still found plenty to laugh about. Some of the best comedies on Netflix come from the era of VHS and hair bands. Give them a try.

1. Caddyshack (1980)

A certain subset of Saturday Night Live graduates — Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Chevy Chase — ruled comedy in the 1980s. And Caddyshack was one of the films that kicked off their reign. And now it’s coming to Netflix. Writers dedicated this film to Douglas Kenney, one of the creators of National Lampoon, whose life is chronicled in Netflix’s A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which also made this list. (Kenney died shortly after it was made.)

Caddyshack concerns the trials and tribulations of employees at a luxury golf course, as they battle obnoxious guests, each other, and a pesky gopher. It’s a classic for a reason. It’s also rated R.

2. Trading Places (1983)

A pair of Wall Street high rollers make a bet. If a Harvard educated stockbroker suddenly loses his job, his home, and all his money, will his genetic superiority carry him back to the top where he belongs? Likewise, if you scrape a homeless, uneducated member of the criminal class off the streets of New York, put him in a suit, and give him a job, will he succeed or fail? If the two unwitting participants in the experiment are Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy, you can expect them to turn the tables on the high rollers in a series of hilarious exploits.

In an era where many of us are feeling tossed by the economic storm, this biting, but silly comedy might be just the remedy we need. Rated R.

3. Ghostbusters (1984)

The ’80s loved Dan Ackroyd, and so do we. In this inescapably silly film, four ghost hunters save New York City from ghosts, ectoplasmic entities, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson also give standout performances as ghost hunters who, for various reasons, don’t actually believe in ghosts. Until they meet them on the streets of New York City. Rated PG.

4. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

Spike Lee’s small budget ($175,000!) debut film turned out to be one of the most important films of the 1980s. In addition, it led a wave of independent films like we haven’t seen since. Beautiful Nola can’t decide which, of three men to date — the rich, arrogant model, the overprotective alpha male, or the endearing geek. They all want her to themselves, but Nola wants her freedom.

Even 30 years later, the double standard for men’s and women’s sexual freedom is relevant. And the film is still darn funny. If you like it, Lee turned adapted it into a Netflix comedy special series in 2016. And it’s bound to be one of the best comedy shows on Netflix.  Rated R.

5. Heathers (1989)

This dark comedy — the screenplay won an Edgar award — has been called one of the best high school films ever made. Heathers concerns a clique of four “mean girls,” three of whom are named Heather. Social bullying and peer pressure turn to murder. Or, rather, murders. Lots of them. And explosions.

It’s a smart, sharp-edged comedy. Possibly one of the best comedies on Netflix right now. But it is dark. And it’s rated R for a reason.

Best Comedies on Netflix: The 1990s

Some of the best funny movies on Netflix came from the 1990s. From heartwarming to inspiring to just plain fun. Here are some of the best comedies on Netflix from the 1990s.

6. The Commitments (1991)

A working class Irish lad sets out to create “the World’s Hardest Working Band.” That band is the Commitments, a blue eyed soul group out of Dublin. The film chronicles the band’s ups and downs as they reach for the stars despite complications with family, work, and each other. This is probably more of a dramedy than a straight comedy. But it has some solid laughs. And you can’t beat the music. Rated R, although the profanity is some of the best you’ll ever hear.

7. Cool Runnings (1993)

Like 2016’s Eddie the Eagle, this movie combines improbable athletes — a Jamaican bobsled team — with a down-and-out coach looking for redemption. Based on a true story, this underdog comedy delivers the giggles, as well as an excellent soundtrack. Truly one of the best comedies on Netflix right now. Rated PG.

8. Men In Black (1997)

It’s hard to go wrong when you set wisecracking Will Smith up against poker faced Tommy Lee Jones. And it gets even funnier when you realize that Will Smith is the straight-laced cop who doesn’t believe in aliens. Jones, on the other hand, witnesses daily intergalactic shenanigans with a world-weary sigh. And then they have to save the world. Another one of the best comedies on Netflix. Rated PG-13.

9. American Pie (1999)

Who doesn’t love a good teenage sex romp? All right, a lot of people. But this is a good teenage sex romp with heart. And soul. And Eugene Levy as probably the funniest, most adorkable movie Dad in history. Four friends on the verge of graduation make the ultimate pact: to lose their virginity by Prom Night.

Will they succeed? We’re not saying. But if they do, they will fail hilariously, and often, first. Rated R. FYI, the sequels are well worth a watch as well.

Best Comedies on Netflix: 2000 – 2010

The first decade of the new millennium brought some standout comedies. Whether you like sharp and biting, sweet and romantic, or just plain silly. And some of these are among the best comedies on netflix right now. Have a look.

10. Meet the Parents (2000)

Male Nurse Gaylord Focker (*snerk*) wants to propose to his girlfriend Pam, when she takes him home one weekend to meet her parents. Unfortunately, Pam’s dad, a retired CIA agent, likes Pam’s a-little-too-perfect ex-boyfriend better. And the more Greg tries to improve things, the worse things actually get. Disasters pile on disasters, until…well, just watch it. You’ll love it. Rated PG-13.

11. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

This is possibly one of the best romantic comedies on Netflix you’ll see this month. Renee Zellweger stars in the titular role. Thirty-two-year-old Bridget has a career and a friends-with-benefits relationship with her roguish boss. But she wants more. Her mother keeps trying to fix her up with a stuffy older man who seems to hate her. And everything Bridget touches seems to go hilariously wrong. It’s a lovely lightweight romantic comedy. Rated R.

12. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Yes, this is just what it sounds like: a slapstick, 1980s style sex romp set in a summer camp. But it’s the film’s dark, nihilistic undercurrent that made it stand out, and ensured its cult following. Indeed, Netflix itself produced an eight-episode prequel series that is also well worth checking out.

13. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

Some have criticized this overlooked gem as being a ripoff of Tom Hanks’s Big. But it might actually be — sacrilege! — just as good. With the help of some magic wishing dust, 13-year-old geek Jenna grows to a glamorous 30 overnight. She has everything she ever wanted, except for her best friend. How can she get back to the true love she left behind? Charming, fresh, and open-hearted. Rated PG-13.

14. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz is the second film in Edgar Wright’s Three Flavors Coronetto trilogy, which includes Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End. You don’t need to see the other films to enjoy it — each of the three stands on its own. This one is a detective story. Of sorts. Police Constable Nicholas Angel, a high-achieving officer of the Metropolitan Police Service, is transferred to the idyllic, crime-free village of Sanford.

When two actors die just after a local play, the town writes it off as an accident. But Angel knows it’s murder. More murders ensue. Then some mayhem. Then more murders. And you’ll never guess the twist. This is easily one of the best Netflix comedy movies coming in March. Rated R.

15. Burn After Reading (2008)

The Cohen brothers have a distinctive storytelling style. Like Wes Anderson and David Lynch, the Cohen brothers enjoy the using some of the same actors, giving their sets a specific mood and look, and employing distinctive music.

Here’s the setup. A disk filled with CIA secrets falls into the hands of two dimwitted gym employees. Naturally, their thoughts turn to blackmail. Their ineptitude leads to a series of unfortunate but hilarious events. And oh, yes, Brad Pitt. Rated R.

2010 to Present

Where is comedy headed? If these Netflix comedy movies are any indication, the future will be smart, diverse and funny.

16. Little Evil (2017)

In this Netflix Original film, a recently married man begins to suspect that his new stepson is actually a demon. And he may be right. This horror comedy pays tribute to all of your favorite horror movie tropes. Plus Adam Scott (that’s Mayor Ben Wyatt to you and me) is hilarious as the stepdad desperately trying to connect with what might be actual demon spawn.

The end is surprisingly… um… Well, we’ll just let you decide for yourself.

17. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2017)

This is another Netflix original, and it’s based on a true story. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a biopic that concerns the life of the late Doug Kenney. Kenney, in case you didn’t know, was the founder of National Lampoon. National Lampoon began as a humorous magazine. It went on to spawn theatre pieces, film, radio, and books.

The National Lampoon brand of satire, parody, and surrealism would go on to have a profound effect on American comedy. And Kenney’s colorful life, combined with the story of the magazine that changed American comedy forever makes for compelling viewing.

18. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

This is another Netflix Original, and probably one of the best Netflix romantic comedies. Here’s the setup. Jessica James, a struggling playwright in New York City, has been burned by a bad breakup. A friend sets her up with a blind date, which gets off to a bad start. We won’t reveal how it ends, but the two characters’ journey to — and away from — each other makes for a great show.

Best Comedy Shows on Netflix, March 2018

In addition to comedy films, quite a few TV series are coming to Netflix in March. Take a look at some of the best comedy shows on Netflix right now.

19. Documentary Now!

How can you go wrong, with a mockumentary created by Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, Bill Heder and Rhys Thomas? Documentary Now! is the name of a long-running news show featuring documentaries about fictitious subjects. Helen Mirren appears at the beginning of each episode to introduce the spoofed documentary. Hilarious.

20. One Day at a Time

This is a reboot of the classic 1970s show by the same name. There are a few things keeping this update from being just another second-rate reboot, though. First, Norman Lear produced it — just as he produced the original. In addition, the single mother headed family is now Cuban American (the original family was white). At the same time, the update, like the original, tackles the social issues of the day with warmth and humor.

The series has been getting great reviews, and it deserves it. If you haven’t started watching this awesome show, you are seriously missing out.

21. The League

It doesn’t matter if you’re not into sports. This show is hilarious. It’s like Friends, with fantasy football. The show is partly scripted, so it has a great energy that you just can’t get from a fully scripted show. If you like banter and smack-talking, you’ll like this one.

22. The Guild

A different kind of gaming, a different group of friends. This series follows the adventures and antics of a group of online gamers. The Guild began as a viewer-supported web series on YouTube. Seasons 2 through 5 were sponsored by Xbox. Season 6, the final season, finished out on YouTube in 2012.

The Guild has won numerous awards over the years, from SXSW, YouTube, Yahoo, and others. And now you can stream it on Netflix.

23. Mystery Science Theatre 3000

Now on Netflix, you can stream both the original series, and Netflix’s own update. Watch classically bad science fiction movies, and laugh along with the MST3K hosts as they mock them. Good, clean fun, and one of the best comedy shows on Netflix right now.

24. Archer

FX’s animated series parodies both James Bond and Mad Men with ruthlessness and finesse. The show follows the exploits of a dysfunctional group of secret agents. Hijinks — or rather spyjinks — ensue in this very adult animated comedy series.

25. Master of None

Aziz Ansari, of Parks and Rec fame, debuted his own show in 2015, and it’s easily one of the best comedies on Netflix right now. Ansari plays Dev Shah, a young man trying to navigate his career, romantic life, and being a person of color in New York City. It’s a subtle and nuanced comedy. Some laughs are gentle, others are pointed. And it has great heart.

26. Parks and Recreation

And speaking of Parks and Rec, it’s coming, too! Following on the success of The Office (which is also coming to Netflix in March), this documentary-style comedy takes place in the Parks and Recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, IN. Filled with oddball characters that are mismatched to the job, and to each other, Parks and Recreation is quirky perfection.

Spring is here, and so is a new season of comedy. Whether you’re looking for old friends or new favorites, you can find them on Netflix.

Featured Image CC by 2.0, by Wonderlane, via Flickr