For almost as long as there have been films, there have been comedy movies. But now that theaters are coming back, do you really have to rush out to them again? After all, the various streaming services have made staying at home a very enticing option. And if you’re looking for a few laughs to kick off your summer staycation, then you’re in luck — Hulu has an excellent lineup of comedies. And unlike its counterpart, Disney+, Hulu has the leeway for some very non-Disney R-rated flicks that tickle our collective funny bones. There are so many comedies on Hulu that it makes a strong argument that it badly needs a site redesign. Let’s just say that their search feature is very lacking. But don’t worry; we’ve already put together this list of Hulu’s best comedies.
The Birdcage (1996)
The Birdcage is very much a movie of its time, and yet it’s also a timeless classic thanks to the late Robin Williams and his onscreen partner, Nathan Lane. Within this film, Armand (Williams) and Albert Goldman (Lane) are an out and proud gay couple who are co-running a drag club. But when their son, Val (Dan Futterman), gets engaged to Barbara (Calista Flockhart), Armand and Albert reluctantly agree to impress Barbara’s ultra-conservative parents, Kevin (Gene Hackman) and Louise Keeley (Dianne Wiest), by hiding their true nature. To complicate things further, Kevin is a senator, and his career could be ruined if the truth about the Goldmans comes out.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest
Director: Mike Nichols
Runtime: 117 minutes
Anne Hathaway is a giant monster in Colossal. That’s not an exaggeration. Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman who is really hitting a rough patch in her life. Gloria moves back to her hometown and works in a bar despite struggling with alcoholism. Somehow, during her blackout periods, Gloria manifests a giant monster in South Korea. Once she accepts that this is really happening, Gloria realizes that she can control the monster, especially if she cleans up her life. Unfortunately for Gloria, she’s not the only one manifesting monsters on the other side of the world. And her life is only going to get more complicated.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Runtime: 110 minutes
Chloë Grace Moretz really stole the movie in Kick-Ass, even though she didn’t play the title character. Instead, Moretz portrayed Hit-Girl, the foul-mouthed prepubescent daughter of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a former cop turned costumed vigilante with a vendetta against mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Poor Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) walks into the middle of this mess when he decides to become a superhero called Kick-Ass. However, Kick-Ass soon realizes that he is in way over his head after running into Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. But by then, it’s far too late for Kick-Ass to walk away.
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Stars: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Runtime: 117 minutes
Young Adult (2012)
Young Adult is a bit of a misnomer for this film since Charlize Theron’s Mavis Gary is pushing 40 and very much not a mature or well-adjusted adult. Mavis comes to believe that she made a mistake by not maintaining her romance with Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), her high school boyfriend. That’s why Mavis impulsively decides to return to her hometown and win back Buddy’s heart, regardless of his happy marriage to Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). Mavis’ former classmate, Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), tries to dissuade Mavis from her insane plan. However, Mavis is a force of nature, especially when it comes to destroying herself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser
Director: Jason Reitman
Runtime: 94 minutes
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Dramatic actors John Cho and Kal Penn became overnight comedy stars after the surprise success of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, which eventually evolved into a three-film franchise. At first blush, it’s a typical stoner comedy. Nerdy accountant Harold (Cho) and his slacker buddy Kumar (Penn) get stoned watching TV and become bewitched by a commercial for White Castle. They need White Castle. Convinced there’s one nearby, they set out on a late-night odyssey into the New Jersey night. Somehow, along the way, they run afoul of rednecks, cops, and Neil Patrick Harris. It sounds ridiculous, but Harold & Kumar is deft with its subversion of racial stereotypes and scathing in its satire of commercial culture.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: Danny Reiner
Runtime: 88 minutes
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star in this Kevin Smith comedy about lifelong friends (and now roommates) who are buried under a mountain of debt. When the electricity is turned off, Zack and Miri decide it’s time for desperate measures. Namely, making a porno to raise some cash. Naturally, they’d also star in it. Though they swear that having sex will not damage their friendship, the business proposition quickly spirals out of control and grows into something much more.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Stars: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Traci Lords
Director: Kevin Smith
Runtime: 101 minutes
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Jim Carrey delivers one of his best performances as Steven Russell, a man’s man who becomes a cop, gets married, and starts a family, as is expected of him. But after a terrible car accident, he realizes it’s finally time to come out of the closet and be true to himself. So he moves to Florida and finances a lavish lifestyle with bad checks and credit cards before winding up in prison. There, he meets Phillip (Ewan McGregor), a quiet inmate who quickly becomes the love of Steven’s life. Determined to build the perfect life with Phillip, Steven immediately embarks on another crime spree.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Runtime: 98 minutes
The Beach Bum (2019)
From writer-director Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), The Beach Bum stars Matthew McConaughey as Moondog, a drug-and-alcohol-loving poet and beach squatter occupying the sands of the Florida Keys. Moondog’s one goal in life is to finish his novel, a literary homage to his daughter (Stefania LaVie Owen). While those around him think Moondog peaked long ago, the nomadic wanderer seeks to prove otherwise. He’ll just have to let go of his beer and bud long enough to issue a coherent statement. Harmony Korine has a penchant for the bizarre, a cinematic touchstone that is completely on display in his latest feature, albeit toned down from other films in the auteur’s catalog.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher
Director: Harmony Korine
Runtime: 95 minutes
Palm Springs (2020)
Nyles (Andy Samberg) isn’t having the greatest day. At his friends’ wedding, the man finds his girlfriend cheating on him. Retreating into the desert with the drunken maid of honor, Sarah (Cristin Milioti), Nyles is pierced by a crossbow arrow. Reeling from the pain, he crawls to a strange aura inside a nearby cave. Sarah follows, only to discover that the brilliant lights are a mysterious vortex that traps those who enter in an endless time loop. As Nyles and Sarah are forced to relive the same November day over and over, the two form a bond that begins platonically but eventually becomes something more. An elevated time-travel comedy, Palm Springs is more than just a Groundhog Day homage, adding existentialist ponderings and R-rated hijinks to the time-loop flick formula.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
Director: Max Barbakow
Runtime: 90 minutes
It may be early for Christmas movies, but it’s never too early for Bill Murray movies! In Scrooged, Murray stars as Frank Cross, a very Scrooge-like TV producer who is ironically forcing his staff to work Christmas Eve to put on a production of A Christmas Carol. Because Frank puts so much emphasis on his television career, he spurns Claire Phillips (Karen Allen), the love of his life. However, a literal ghost from Frank’s past warns him that three more spirits are on their way, and they’re going to try to scare him back into the holiday spirit, even if it kills him.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait
Director: Richard Donner
Runtime: 100 minutes
The Princess Bride (1987)
One of the most beloved comedies of all time, The Princess Bride is the jewel of master screenwriter William Goldman’s crown. Based on his equally wonderful novel of the same name, this fairy tale adventure tells the tale of Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her one true love, Westley (Cary Elwes). After years apart, Westley returns to the land of Florin to rejoin his long, lost love, only to find that the evils of Florin have profligated in his absence. His comic quest to save Buttercup from being wed off to an evil prince is endlessly hilarious and rife with some of the most quotable scenes in comedy.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant
Director: Rob Reiner
Runtime: 98 minutes
50 First Dates (2004)
Adam Sandler has been on quite the journey, and 50 First Dates marks one of his first forays into the “cute” romantic comedy. It’s not perfect, but Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s chemistry is solid and the concept of 50 First Dates is a classic. Lucy (Barrymore) suffers from short-term memory loss so severe that she can’t remember anything that happened the day before. She’s constantly living the same day over and over, and everyone in her life has devoted theirs to making that one day as perfect as can be. As such, they’re extremely suspicious when marine vet Henry (Sandler) stumbles into her life, insisting on wooing her and making her fall in love every day until her memory returns.
Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Stars: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider
Director: Peter Segal
Runtime: 96 minutes
Big Time Adolescence (2020)
Big Time Adolescence premiered at Sundance in 2019, where Hulu picked it up and rebranded it as a Hulu Original in 2020. Griffin Gluck stars as Mo, a teenager with an unusual best friend in this coming-of-age comedy. Mo has a promising future ahead of him, but he has one big problem: He worships his college-dropout, drug-dealing older best friend Zeke (Pete Davidson). While Mo’s hard-working dad tries to steer him onto the right path, he’s not the kind of guy to force his son to stop seeing his best friend, creating a precarious balancing act of maturity. Davidson gives a refreshingly clever performance in this comedy and has a great rapport with Gluck.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Pete Davidson, Griffin Gluck, Jon Cryer
Director: Jason Orley
Runtime: 90 minutes
Sweeping the Academy Awards and giving director Bong Joon-ho some serious clout in Hollywood, this black comedy is almost universally liked by anyone who watches it. Set in South Korea, it tells the tale of a poor family who concocts a clever plan to work for a wealthy family, each by recommending one another for different jobs within the home, even though they aren’t the least bit qualified. The film took home four Oscars, including those for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. If nothing else, it’s worth checking out just to see what all the fuss is about.
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Runtime: 132 minutes
The Art of Self-Defense (2019)
If you’re looking for a feel-good martial arts flick, this isn’t the movie for you. If anything, The Art of Self-Defense is the anti-Karate Kid. Jesse Eisenberg headlines this darkly comedic story as an accountant named Casey Davies. After getting assaulted by a gang, Casey joins a local karate dojo under the instruction of Sensei (Alessandro Nivola). He also befriends Anna (Imogen Poots), the only female student in Sensei’s dojo. Casey gradually comes under Sensei’s wing, and he embraces his inner toxic masculinity … with devastating results on his personal life. All of Casey’s new instincts are wrong, and they lead him to some wild places.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots
Director: Riley Stearns
Runtime: 104 minutes
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Marking the directorial debut for Boots Riley, this absurdist black comedy features elements of sci-fi and magic. The film follows Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield), a young, Black telemarketer who fakes an accent to make him sound white in an effort to do better at his job. Riley drew from his own experience of having worked as a telemarketer in his youth and finding success in doing the same thing. In the film, however, as Cassius enjoys greater success, he uncovers a corporate conspiracy and faces a crisis of conscience: What’s more important, making money and being successful or speaking out against the dirty dealings of the company for which he works?
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler
Director: Boots Riley
Runtime: 112 minutes
Christian Bale stars as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in this satirical comedy-drama about Cheney’s journey to the White House. Released on Christmas Day, views were split about the film, which received eight Academy Award nominations. While some pundits criticized the film, making it one of the worst-reviewed films to ever be nominated in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards, others applauded Bale’s transformation and the film’s ability to present truths in a humorous way. It’s one of those films you just need to watch to decide for yourself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
Director: Adam McKay
Runtime: 132 minutes
One of the most acclaimed comedies of 2019, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut provides an unflinching, hilarious look at coming-of-age from a female perspective. Molly Davison (Beanie Feldstein in a Golden Globe-nominated performance) and Amy Antsler (Kaitlyn Dever) are determined to finally party and have the night of their lives as their high-school careers come to a close and their paths diverge ahead of college. The jokes come often and come packed with social commentary and witticisms, and despite being geared toward a younger audience, there are elements any film fan can enjoy. It’s essentially the flip side of Superbad, and proves Wilde is just as proficient behind the camera as in front of it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever
Director: Olivia Wilde
Runtime: 102 minutes