Netflix’s focus on making its own shows and movies is starting to have a real effect on the movies it offers. On the list below, you’ll find a lot of Netflix originals, but not enough to make up for all the classics that have stopped being shown in recent years.
There used to be 50 movies on this list every month, but now there are usually less than 30. At this point, we might have to watch all of Adam Sandler’s movies to find out if any are good enough to recommend. To Netflix’s credit, they’ve been slowly adding good Netflix-only shows like The Mitchells vs. the Machines and Bad Trip to their list. There may not be as many comedies as there were five years ago, but there are still a lot to choose from.
Anyway. Enough already. Let’s take a quick look at the funniest movies on Netflix right now. Again, for the purpose of these rankings, I’m looking at how funny a movie is as well as how well it’s made. This means that some really funny comedies that critics don’t like as much might be ranked higher than better-reviewed, better-made movies. This is what you can call the Mindhorn/Casa de Mi Padre (RIP!) Rule. Those movies aren’t better than, say, The Artist, but they make me laugh more.
As of June 2022, here are the best comedies on Netflix.
10. Dumb and Dumber
There is a special kind of nihilism at work in the Farrelly Brothers’ debut, one that praises stupidity above all else. This isn’t because the Farrellys want to celebrate being dumb over being smart, but because they seem to find no real consequences in the ignorance of Lloyd (Jim Carrey, who is loved) and Harry (Jeff Daniels, in the best role of his career).
This makes morality irrelevant for these characters. Harry and Lloyd are happy to get involved in a kidnapping scheme involving the husband of wealthy heiress Mary Swanson, even though they don’t have the brainpower to fully understand the big world around them. Instead, they are driven by teenage lust, the fear of losing their jobs, and a picture of a headless parakeet (Lauren Holly).
It turns out the way you might expect—that is, it doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t matter—but not before you fall in love with these two jerks, which makes the second movie feel unrelentingly cruel. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that almost all of Farrelly’s other movies (except There’s Something About Mary) haven’t held up well over time: The U.S. doesn’t need any more movies that seem to honor the stupidest people in our country. —Dom Sinacola
9. Harry Met Sally
The story of Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) and their 12-year journey to becoming a couple is easily the most loved romantic comedy of its decade. Nora Ephron’s script is strong, and it feeds and feeds off of the unexpected chemistry between its leads.
(And when a new generation of lovers watches the diner scene for the first time, another woman laughs and another man sits quietly, wondering what’s so funny.) —Michael Burgin
8. She has to get it
This low-budget, black-and-white film was Spike Lee’s first, and it showed that he was a fully-formed talent. It went on to become one of the most important independent films of the 1980s. Lee made a movie that is smart, funny, and brave.
He gave it a voice and realism that had never been seen before. The main idea is still true 30 years later: women can sleep around as much as men, and they shouldn’t be judged or laughed at for it. Lee thought it was so important that he turned it into a Netflix show that started last year. —Garrett Martin
7.Sorry to Trouble You
Sorry to Bother You has so many ideas bursting out of every seam, so much ambition, and so much it needs to say, that it almost seems rude to say that the movie ends up careening out of control in a glorious way. This is rapper and producer Boots Riley’s first movie, and in every way—good, bad, amazing, or silly—it looks like he didn’t know if he’d ever be able to make another one, so he put all of his ideas into this one. Some parts of Sorry to Bother You will make you want to jump up and down in the theater.
There are also times when you’ll wonder who on earth gave this crazy person a camera. (Some of these times are also pretty happy.) The first group is much bigger than the second. Cassius, played by Lakeith Stanfield, is a good-hearted guy who feels like his life is getting away from him.
He tries his hand at telemarketing and fails (in a series of amazing scenes in which his desk literally drops into the homes of the people he is calling), until a coworker (Danny Glover, who was interesting until the movie got rid of him completely) tells him to use his “white voice” on calls. Stanfield sounds exactly like David Cross when he has a stuffy nose, and all of a sudden he has become a star at the company, which sends him “upstairs,” where “supercallers” go to get the Glengarry leads.
That’s only the starting point: We meet a Tony Robbins-like businessman (Armie Hammer) who might also be a slave trader, Cassius’s radical artist girlfriend (Tessa Thompson) who wears earrings with so many slogans it’s a wonder she can hold her head up, and a revolutionary co-worker (Stephen Yeun) who is trying to get the workers to rebel against their masters. There are a lot of other people, but not all of them are fully human. It’s quite a movie. —Will Leitch
6. Gilmore, Happy
Adam Sandler could have stopped making movies after his first three, and his legacy as a funny actor would have been safe. (He might have been smart to retire at that point, but let’s not talk about that.) It’s hard to choose between The Wedding Singer, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore, but let’s talk about the last one right now.
The story of a failed hockey player who becomes a champion golfer is a great outlet for Sandler’s frat boy rage, and the absurdity that made Madison stand out from most Hollywood comedies of the time is even more obvious here.
It has some of the same problems as most Adam Sandler movies, like an underwritten, unbelievable love interest (played by Julie Bowen of Modern Family) and a story that isn’t much more than a springboard for jokes, but Gilmore is the perfect character for Sandler, and a great supporting cast, including Carl Weathers, Ben Stiller, Richard Kiel, Joe Flaherty, and Christopher McDonald as the iconic villain Shooter McGavin, help make this a real classic. Also, this is probably the only thing younger people know about Bob Barker, which is kind of sad. —Garrett Martin
5. A Christmas Vacation by National Lampoon
Christmas Vacation by National Lampoon isn’t the best movie for kids, but then again, what did you really expect? John Hughes, the king of ’80s movies, wrote the story for the Griswold family’s holiday adventures. Clark (Chevy Chase) leads the family through farce after farce as they try their hardest to have a traditional Christmas.
Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) is a big reason why the Griswold family doesn’t have any traditions, and Audrey and Rusty (Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki, respectively) aren’t much help either. Even if you only watch it once a year, Christmas Vacation keeps getting funnier. —Annie Black
4. The Mitchells versus The Machines
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is the first animated show that shows how different generations can be. Mike Rianda’s first movie as a writer/director (he and co-writer/director Jeff Rowe got their start on the excellently scary and silly show Gravity Falls) is both funny and scary. It’s easy to feel as lost or overwhelmed by the flashing lights and exciting sights as the main family fighting on one side of the title’s grudge match, but it’s also easy to come away with the tired, happy feeling you get after a long day at a theme park.
Its family, which is rooted in the genre, bursts through every messy, crowded frame like they’re trying to get away (which they often are), making this year’s most lively and endearing animated comedy. —Jacob Oller
3.The story of Ron Burgundy in Anchorman: The Legend
Will Ferrell was a movie star before 2004, with Old School and Elf to his name. However, he will always be known for his role as San Diego newscaster Ron Burgundy. This role is so closely tied to how we think of Ferrell as an actor that every role since then seems to have shades of him.
Now that McKay has won an Oscar, people know him better than when he was just the guy who ran the camera for Will Ferrell’s best movies. Anchorman took Zoolander’s sheer craziness to a new level and ended up being a better movie because of it. However, true to McKay’s Chicago improv roots, the movie is like a plane taking shape in the air, and without McKay’s steady hand, Anchorman would have fallen apart in two seconds. Ferrell is a genius in his own right, and he is the center of each of these movies. However, the world around Ferrell belongs to McKay, and Anchorman announced his arrival as an uncompromising comedy world-builder. —Graham Techler
2. “Life of Brian” by Monty Python
Life of Brian was pretty much made on George Harrison’s money, and the legendary comedy group thought it was their best film, even if that was apocryphal. This is probably because it’s the closest they’ve come to a three-act story with clear “thematic concerns.” Many countries banned it at the tail end of the 1970s. Monty Python’s follow-up to Holy Grail may be the most political movie of its kind.
It’s a Christ story about how Brian (Graham Chapman), a squeaky mama’s boy, thinks he’s one of many messiahs rising in Judea while the Romans are there (around 33 AD, on a Saturday afternoon). So, the British comedy group stripped the story of all its romance and nobility. They made fun of everything from radical revolutionaries to religious institutions to government bureaucracy, but they never made fun of Jesus or his kind teachings. Life of Brian isn’t the first film about Jesus (or related to Jesus) to focus on the human side of the so-called savior.
Martin Scorsese’s version did that less than a decade later, and it was a big hit, but Life of Brian seems to be the first to use human weakness to show how silly God’s expectations are. It makes fun of everything from Spartacus to Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, and it has as many memorable lines as there are crucifixes holding up the movie’s frames (Brian’s equally squeaky mother yells to the crowd, “He’s not the messiah. He’s a very bad boy!”), the movie looks at Jesus’s life by focusing on what was going on at the time. Maybe a “virgin birth” was just a lie a Roman centurion told to hide his sexual crimes. Maybe the only thing that drives reality is chance (and class struggle). Maybe there should be a higher bar for what makes a miracle.
And maybe the only constant in history is that stupid people will always follow stupid people, whistling their way to meaningless, pointless deaths. —Dom Sinacola
1. The movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail
It’s too bad that Holy Grail is so popular that it has lost some of its luster. When we hear “flesh wound,” “ni!” or “huge tracts of land” these days, we often think of clueless, obsessive nerds who tell us whole scenes over and over again. Or, in my case, of being a clueless, obsessive nerd who tells people full scenes over and over again. But if you try not to think about how much you’ve seen the movie, and go back to it after a few years, you’ll find new jokes that are just as funny as the ones we all know.
Holy Grail is, in fact, the Python movie with the most laughs per minute. So many jokes are in this movie, and it’s funny how easy it is to forget that, given how well-known it is. If you’ve seen this movie so much that you can’t stand it anymore, watch it again with commentary and you’ll find a second level of appreciation that comes from how creatively it was made. It doesn’t look like a $400,000 movie at all, and it’s fun to see how some of the jokes, like the coconut halves, came about because of a lack of money.
The first-time collaboration between actor Terry Jones, who only occasionally directed after Python broke up, and lone American Terry Gilliam, who turned Python’s cinematic style into his own unique brand of nightmarish fantasy, moves with a surreal efficiency. —Graham Techler