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 August 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Disaster Artist
Oh hai, reader!
What happens when you take the worst movie of all time and then bring in Seth Rogen and James Franco to write about it and include almost shot for shot remakes of certain scenes with A-list Hollywood actors? Turns out you get a good movie.
The Disaster Artist, based on a book by the same name, tells the story of the best-worst movie, The Room. Franco stars as vaguely Eastern European cinematic weirdo Tommy Wiseau and Franco’s younger brother, Dave, stars as Wiseau’s friend Greg Sestero as they embark upon a journey to make one of cinema’s most beguiling features ever.
Lady Bird is the debut feature from indie actress turned indie director Greta Gerwig and it’s a great one.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. Lady Bird is a senior at a Sacramento Catholic high school in 2002. She’s sick of her small town life and wants nothing more than to go somewhere “more cultured.” Her family, led by mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) is struggling financially and would prefer she stay home.
Lady Bird is a funny look at teenage life in the early 2000s and successfully captures the feeling of desperate mediocrity many feel about their high school days.
Hot Tub Time Machine
Sometimes it’s clear from a movie’s title exactly why it got greenlit. 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine is one such movie.
Hot Tub Time Machine is about…well do you really need us to say it? There’s a hot tub that’s a time machine. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, and Craig Robinson star as three depressed middle-aged. After one of them experiences a health crisis the three, with one of their nephews tagging along (Clark Duke) decide to head to a ski resort to unwind. After a fateful dip in a hot tub the crew discovers that it’s suddenly 1986 and they all have a chance to change the path of their lives.
Hot Tub Time Machine takes a wild premise, adds in some appealing comedic actors and lets the good times roll.
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.
No list of the best comedy movies on Amazon Prime (or anywhere else) is complete without Airplane! When the time comes to begin measuring Jokes Per Minute in film, it wouldn’t be surprising if Airplane! features the highest JPM of them all.
Airplane! is ostensibly a parody of the disaster movie genre that plagued the mid-century of filmmaking. Through a modern lens, however, the parody angle isn’t as important and this movie is just an absurdist amusement park of great joke after great joke after great joke after great joke. Comedy is subjective, Airplane! is not. It’s objectively hilarious when you learn to love your puns.
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.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
1997’sAustin Powers: International Man of Mystery is basically Mike Myers’s thesis project on comedy…and it’s a good one.
Myers stars as both ’60s superspy Austin Powers and his evil archnemesis, the fittingly named Dr. Evil. When Dr. Evil escapes Austin’s grasp, he cryogenically freezes himself so he can terrorize the future. Austin opts to do the same thing and awakes in 1997 where people have very different ideas about sex symbols and espionage.
Austin Powersis both an effective James Bond spy parody and just a uniquely silly creation.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Given how stressful a time and it can be (and therefore rife with comedic potential), Thanksgiving often doesn’t get its due at the movies. Perhaps that’s just because Planes, Trains and Automobiles is already the definitive Thanksgiving comedy.
Of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles isn’t set at Thanksgiving but rather the days leading up to it. Neal Page (Steve Martin) is an advertising account executive who just wants to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. But when his plane home is diverted to Wichita, he is forced to team up with Del Griffith (John Candy) to make it home by Thanksgiving…through any transportation means necessary.
Dumb and Dumber
Time travel to 1994 and ask any 13-year-old what the definition of comedy is and they’ll happily tell you that it’s Dumb and Dumber. This early Farrelly Brothers joint is beautiful in its comedic simplicity.
Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) are two best bros and roommates from Providence, Rhode Island. Here’s the thing about Lloyd and Harry: they’re dumb…they’re very, very dumb. Dumb and Dumber follows the charming misadventures of its lead pair as they try to save up money to buy their own pet store and somehow get implicated in a kidnapping-for-ransom plot.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Most of the time coming up with viable story ideas for movies is hard. I really can’t imagine that was the case for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. What if two chilled-out stoner dudes were thrust back into time to interact with famous philosophers and warlords? The studio exec who greenlit probably did so so hard and fast they tore their ACL.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is profoundly stupid and profoundly funny. A young Keanu Reeves will be a big appeal for some but don’t sleep on his co-star Alex Winters and…wait, George freaking Carlin is their guide in this? The late ’80s ruled.
You don’t have to be a Grammy-winning Arcade Fire album to know that the suburbs are weird. It’s a place for people who think the city is too dangerous but the country is too boring.
This dark comedy starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, and Carrie Fisher all but confirms that. The ‘Burbs is what Rear Window would look like if it were a comedy. It’s the story of a one man, Ray Peterson, who believes the new neighbors in the ‘burbs might be dangerous.
The Birdcage is ostensibly a family comedy with a quirky twist. Based on a ’70s French farce, The Birdcage tells the story of engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara Keeley (Calita Flockhart) struggling with how to introduce their parents to each other.
Barbara’s dad is an uptight Republican senator (played by Gene Hackman) while Val’s dad is a gay Miami drag club owner (Robin Williams) whose partner is the flamboyant star of his club (Nathan Lane). The Birdcage has a madcap plot working in its favor to go along with some major acting, writing (Elaine May), and directing talent (Mike Nichols). All it really needs though is Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.