Need a laugh? Got 90 – 120 minutes to kill? Let us help with our list of the best comedy movies on Amazon Prime
Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back to see what other excellent movie comedies get added to Amazon Prime.
Updated for May 2018
Here’s a fun fact about laughter for you. Some anthropologists believe laughter is an excellent way for primal man to express relief and signal that danger has passed once the saber-toothed tiger ambles away. Thankfully we don’t have to deal with many saber-toothed tigers but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel great to laugh.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of the best comedy movies on Amazon Prime for your viewing and laughing pleasure. This is an evergreen article, not tied to any specific time or news peg so there’s no way for us to tell what’s going on in the world when you read it. But we’ll bet you need to laugh, regardless of when you do. Maybe it’s overcast or maybe the machines have finally risen up and are bringing your neighbors to the human camps.
The 2013 HBO comedy film Clear History is in some ways a natural prequel to tech-bro comedy series Silicon Valley. As a matter of fact one of the writers on the film, Alec Berg, is now an executive producer for Silicon Valley. The premise is familiar.
Larry David stars as the Steve Wozniak-esque Nathan Flomm who loses out on billions when he leaves a company led by Will Haney (Jon Hamm) before they introduce a world-changing electric car. In a perfectly Larry Davidian destructive way, Nathan then devises a scheme to get revenge on Haney. Clear History is fantastically funny and the kind of one-off content HBO can excel at.
The Late Shift
Give or take a Conan O’Brien firing here and there, the late night talk show landscape has been relatively stable in modern times. It wasn’t always that way. Back when there were only a handful of network channels, the “late night wars” were a huge deal. HBO’s The Late Shift, adapted from a Bill Carter book by the same name, dramatizes the biggest battle in the history of the late night wars.
Tonight Show host Johnny Carson has retired and both Jay Leno (Daniel Roebuck) and David Letterman (John Michael Higgins) engage is a political network battle to see who will replace him. The Late Shift is both hilarious and exciting. The relative unimportance of the battle at hand doesn’t do much to detract from the drama and laughs at hand.
The Kings of Summer
Filmed in the lovely Metro Parks of Northeast Ohio (again: Go Tribe), The Kings of Summer is a truly touching and remarkably funny coming of age film. It’s the story of three kids, who like so many youths before them become fed up with the world and take to the woods.
The trio build their own little abode and live as kings of summer until the perils of adulthood emotions like jealousy and romance creep in. It’s a lovely, pastoral experience of a film featuring supporting performances from Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Allison Brie.
Does a bad movie get a pass for being deliberately bad? I don’t know. I’m not a philosopher but I do know that Sharknado, while being a bad film, is very funny. It’s deliriously over the top featuring tornadoes full of sharks (or “Sharknados” if you will), Ian Ziering wielding a chainsaw and Tara Reid doing whatever Tara Reid does.
Now that the franchise is four films in, the exaggerated disaster movie is growing a little stale but that doesn’t change that the first is pure, campy fun.
What We Do in the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows is a movie premise so brilliant and so rife for genius that it’s one of those things you hate yourself for not thinking of. Flight of the Conchords‘ Jemaine Clement and Taiki Waititi (who directed Thor: Ragnarok) write, direct and star in this comedy about vampires living in present day New Zealand.
At night they prowl the streets looking for victims to kill and exsanguinate but during the day, the ancient beasts aren’t able to leave their shared flat so they mostly just get on one another’s nerves. What We Do in the Shadows is a perfect introduction to Clement and Waititi’s bizarre brand of humor and really just a fun supernatural comedy flick.
Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater has had a preposterously successful career from Slacker all the way through the damned perfect Boyhood. Don’t forget, however, that even after all the awards and accolades, he can still pull off an amazing ’80s comedy.
Everybody Wants Some!! is still empathetic and soulful like any Linklater movie but it also happens to be very funny. It’s the story of college baseball players in 1980s Texas and all the various hijinx they get into. Like Dazed and Confused, it captures a time and place perfectly and is like a funny, touching and all-American post card from the past.
Mr. Mom is hilariously dated at this point. You mean to tell me the guy who will be Batman soon actually stays at home and interacts with his children? You crazy, Hollywood. It’s also just flat out hilarious. Michael Keaton puts his inexhaustible charm reserves to good use here as an unemployed Detroit engineer who must become a stay-at-home dad to three kids while his wife (Teri Garr) returns to her advertising career.
Mr. Mom is good for both a laugh and a look at pop culture’s shifting perception of gender roles back in the day.
The Apatow film universe is equally successful and sprawling. Films produced by Judd Apatow have been the alpha and omega of movie comedies for longer than a decade now. Still with all that competition, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s debut high school comedy Superbad might be the funniest of them all pound for pound.
Superbad stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as two high school friends who want to go to a party and get laid before college. That’s it. Still with only the barest of premises Superbad manages to be a completely hilarious and unexpectedly heartfelt experience.
Landline was another modest hit for Amazon Studios at the cinema and now it’s coming to its forever home on streaming. This comedy stars Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, and John Turturro and is about sisters in 1990s New York who think their father is having an affair. The idea of a period piece set in 1995 may be shocking to some but it’s amazing how much just 20 years in the past can change the look and feel of a story.
Hell, the title of Landline sounds like pretty much the most ancient thing in all of moviedom. Regardless of the timeframe, infidelity may not seem like the funniest topic for a comedy but Landline is able to tell a compelling story of familial drama while being a light and funny blast from the past.
The Foot Fist Way
If you enjoy Kenny Powers or any of the other larger-than-life asshole characters Danny McBride plays (so all of them, more or less) you have his debut feature The Foot Fist Way to thank. It’s written by McBride along with longtime collaborators Jody Hill and Ben Best.
McBride stars as Fred Simmons, an abrasive Taekwondo instructor who attends a martial arts expo to meet his B-movie martial arts hero, Chuck “the Truck” Wallace. This is a fun, bombastic little movie that caught the eye of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, bringing McBride and his friends into the limelight.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
War movies can certainly be joyless affairs and understandably so. Even in the darkest of circumstances, however, people can find humor and that’s what’s refreshing about Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey stars as journalist Kim Barker in a film that’s adapted from Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot covers an angle often not featured in many modern war films: the media. And that of course opens the door for Fey’s natural sense of humor. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an excellent war movie and successful comedy.
Taran Killam was one of Saturday Night Live‘s most reliable players for five years before being let go in 2016. What’s a comedian to do after SNL, aside from hanging out with his perfect and beautiful wife Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders)? In Killam’s case the answer was make a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Killing Gunther could probably be best described as a gun comedy mockumentary – which certainly has to be a brand new genre.
Killam and some other comedic actors and friends star as assassins who want to become the most famous assassins in the world by killing the current holder of that title, Gunther (Schwarzenegger). They film their endeavor, meaning that this action comedy takes on a similar format to The Office. It’s a high concept but an easy one to pull off and Killing Gunther pulls it off indeed.
Steven Soderbergh has one of the more interesting senses of humor of all the major Hollywood directors. He tends to believe that heists are among the funniest activities human beings can engage him. And it’s hard to argue he’s wrong. Logan Lucky is an exciting, funny heist film.
Channing Tatum and Adam Driver star as blue collar Carolinan brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan. After Jimmy loses his job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he and Clyde decide to rob it. The ensuing heist involves cockroaches, Molotov cocktails, and Daniel Craig as an expert safecracker.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels marks an important transition in cinema history from Michael Caine Serious Actor to Michael Caine Lovable Goofball. Caine and Steve Martin star as two suave conmen, Freddy and Lawrence, who compete to swindle a rich heiress out of $50,000 (admittedly a pretty paltry sum in hindsight).
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a fun, picturesque comedy that enjoys pitting American v. Brit.
Meatballs is notable for being Bill Murray’s first major starring role in a film. He makes the best of it, obviously, playing a laconic camp counselor looking for love and casually tormenting children. Meatballs is also notable, however, for being an important archetype for summer camp comedies.
Meatballs‘ DNA is all over things like Wet Hot American Summer (ew) with popular tropes like the unpopular kid learning to love himself, douchey rival camps, and big summer-ending competitions getting their start here. On top of all that, Meatballs is just plenty funny.
The King of Comedy
Martin Scorsese is one of the best film directors of all time. Still “comedy” isn’t a genre frequently associated with the Goodfellas and Departed director. Regardless his 1982 effort is a legitimately great entry into the world of comedy…inasmuch as a movie that revolves around a kidnapping plot can be considered a comedy.
Robert De Niro (who else) stars as Rupert Rupkin – an aspiring stand-up comedian and all around weirdo. When traditional methods to break into the industry fail him, Rupert tries a more extreme approach to gain attention. The King of Comedy is a black comic satire about the nature of fame and dark side of mainstream comedy. It’s also just a well-done character study of a fascinating character.
Of all Mel Brooks’ satirical comedies, Spaceballs is the most straight-forward, irreverent, and goofily fun. The world needed the definitive Star Wars parody and Brooks was all too happy to oblige.
Bill Pullman and John Candy as Lone Starr and Barf (basically Han Solo and Chewbacca) go on a hilariously inept journey across the galaxy culminating with a confrontation with Lord Dark Helmet (an excellent Rick Moranis). May the Schwartz be with you.
The Brady Bunch Movie
The Brady Bunch Movie is how you do a movie adaptation of a beloved, but corny throwback TV show correctly. The Brady Bunch Movie leans in to the corniess by imagining a world in which the wholesome 1970s Brady clan just happens to exist in present day (which is in this case 1995). It’s a winking meta comedy that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves.
The Brady Bunch Movie sets the groundwork for other films we love like 21 Jump Street. And we’re about to blow your mind. The Brady Bunch Moviecame out 21 years after the show ended…which is 23 years from present day. That’s right. The Brady Bunch Movie is older to us than The Brady Bunch was to The Brady Bunch Movie. Mindexploding.gif.
Back to School
This list can’t feel fully compete without Rodney Dangerfield’s strange brand of comedy. The all-time comedy icon stars as Thornton Melon in Back to School. Melton is a rags-to-riches success having become very wealthy selling big and tall clothes. When Thornton’s son, Jason, begins to struggle at college, the uneducated magnate offers to join his son at school…so back to school.
Back to School is a time capsule of ’80s humor. It’s worth a watch to better understand the complicated charms of Dangerfield and to see how a diving competition can somehow successfully operate as a film’s third act.
A Christmas Story
There’s a certain curse that comes with ubiquity. Come Christmas time it becomes impossible to ignore A Christmas Story – the movie about young Ralphie and his eternal quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun. A Christmas Story is ALWAYS on. So it’s understandable to get sick of it.
Try watching it again as though it was your first time. This is a legitimately hilarious and entertaining movie. Every single scene feels like it’s destined to be an oft-repeated classic moment. Because by and large that’s true.
After Election, Director Alexander Payne would go on to do incredible Oscar-winning work like About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. Election, however, might be the best calling card for his talent. Election is a black comedy about a high school election gone haywire.
Matthew Broderick does excellent work as beleaguered teacher Jim McAllister and Reese Witherspoon gives the absolute performance of her life as go-getter Tracy Flick. As a matter of fact, “Tracy Flick” has become synonymous with a very particular kind of high school student.