The best of Netflix right now if you're looking for... a laugh
If you're anything like us, you're confronted with that same question everyday. What will I watch on Netflix tonight?
Well we know when it comes to Netflix, mood is a major factor. Sometimes you're in the mood for something dark and brooding. Other times, you just want something light you can switch your brain off to. At times, you're in the mood for something new. Then again, you may want to re-watch an old reliable.
With that in mind, we're assembling a series of Netflix recommendations with plenty to choose from. Every month, we'll give our top picks of shows, filums and specials with a different theme in mind each time.
Following last month's romantic debut, we've picked comedy for our second listicle. After all, as summer turns into muggy autumn, we could all use some more lols. Spanning series, features, and stand-up specials, here are our picks on Netflix if you're in the mood for a laugh.
This is the End
Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson play themselves in this hilarious apocalyptic comedy. Jay and Seth head along to James' housewarming - with attendees also including Paul Rudd, Emma Watson and Rihanna. Suddenly a earthquake breaks up the party and the guys realise this could be the end. No better time to get hammered then right?
Sometimes, it's nice to settle in with a classic. 'Legally Blonde' follows Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, a sorority queen who applies to Harvard Law to win back her ex-boyfriend but discovers she is "so much better than that" along the way. Witherspoon has confirmed a threequel is on the way *squeals with excitement*
Emma Stone's movie debut was breaking bad but 'Easy A' showed her strength as a lead. In it, she plays a high school student who allows rumour after rumour to initially better her social and financial status. This is until everything starts going horribly wrong. With a cast that also includes Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson and Lisa Kudrow, the movie holds up well almost a decade on.
As of last weekend, seasons 1 and 18 through 21 have been added to Netflix as has a 'Top Episodes' selection. The series follows Stan, Kyle, Eric Cartman, and Kenny, and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town. It's without a doubt is one of the best satirical programmes on TV. Check out our top picks of 'South Park' episodes on Netflix here.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The recent success of the 'Aladdin' remake at the box office proved that people will still come in droves to see Will Smith perform. So why not watch (or for many of us, re-watch) the show that started it all? Will plays a streetwise teenager from Philadelphia who is sent by his mother to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins in their Bel-Air mansion. Altogether, "now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped turned upside down..."
The first season of this cracking comedy series set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s is on Netflix now. Erin, her cousin Orla, their friends Clare and Michelle, and Michelle's English cousin James navigate their teen years and attend a Catholic girls' secondary school. Its gas support characters include Tommy Tiernan as Gerry, Erin's father, and Siobhan McSweeney as Sister Michael, the cynical headmistress of the school.
Look, whether you love it or hate it, we couldn't not include 'Friends' on a list of comedy recommendations on Netflix, ok? The ten-season-long series follows the lives, loves and careers of six mates in New York City. Parts of it have aged, yes, but there are still some timelessly funny episodes in there.
Rick and Morty
With season four of 'Rick and Morty' arriving next month, it's worth revisiting 'Rick and Morty'. The adult animated sci fi sitcom follows a madcap scientist and his anxious grandson through their many adventures across space, time and dimensions. The series is so bonkers that it takes a while to warm up to but once it clicks, it's riotously funny.
If you're looking for something else of a more dark humour variety, check out 'In Bruges' from Martin McDonagh. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two hitmen who escape to the Belgian capital after a job goes wrong. McDonagh went on to write and direct the Oscar-winning feature 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.'
A Fish Called Wanda
This genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy still feels as fresh as when it hit cinemas over thirty years ago. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin as a gang of diamond thieves. Palin’s ‘Monty Python’ comrade John Cleese (who also co-wrote and co-directed the film alongside Charles Crichton) plays a barrister who falls for Curtis’ character. Quintessentially British and utterly '80s, it rewards re-watching.
Happy Death Day
On college ‘It girl’ Tree Gelbman's (Jessica Rothe) birthday, she is murdered by a hooded figure wearing a baby mask. Tree wakes up to find that it’s her birthday again and soon realises that she is going to have to keep living this day over and over and get killed over and over until she can identify the murderer and stop them. The ‘Groundhog Day meets Scream’ premise neatly balances jump scares with laugh-out-loud moments.
The IT Crowd
It's tough to beat 'Father Ted' but 'The IT Crowd' might very well by Graham Linehan's second best creation. The show is largely a three-hander between Richard Ayoade, Chris O'Dowd and Katherine Parkinson (though Matt Berry, Chris Morris and Noel Fielding have also been important elements to the show), whose IT department manages to get into all sorts of nonsensical situations. In just 24 episodes and one special, it became a classic of TV comedy.
Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot
Iliza Shlesinger is one of the fasting growing successful comedians out there right now with three of her comedy specials now available on Netflix. Of them, 'Freezing Hot' is probably the best. It sees her relate anecdotes about the ridiculous and hilarious habits of girls on nights out. Also the madness of Pinterest (or as she refers to it, "porn for white women") and the battle arena of dating. Discover exactly what a 'Party Goblin' is and your life will never be the same again.
Ali Wong: Baby Cobra
After dropping her Netflix special 'Hard Knock Wife', loads of people went back to watch Ali Wong's first stand-up show for Netflix. And with good reason. 'Baby Cobra' sees Ali Wong go into hilarious detail about the unglamorous road to motherhood, the downsides to feminism, and the crassness of her sexual exploits.
We refer not to 'The US Office' here but Ricky Gervais' original creation - one of the best British sitcoms ever. We all have a hapless David Brent (Gervais), caring joker Jim (Martin Freeman), weirdo Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) and sweetheart Dawn (Lucy Davis - who's making a comeback of later between 'Wonder Woman' and 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina') in our workplace. 'The Office' is a hilarious, smart and touching series with the most perfect finale.
Shaun of the Dead
While we're on the topic of great British comedies on Netflix, it's worth giving a shout-out to 'Shaun of the Dead'. With each subsequent watch, this zom-rom-com gets even funnier. You've got a terrific cast in there between Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, the aforementioned Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Kate Ashfield and more. A great one for date night (as long as zombies don't frighten her) or a night in with friends.
It's a modern classic that's quoted endlessly, and features a scene where Will Ferrell rubs his balls on a drum set. In fact, Will Ferrell actually kept the prosthetic balls as a keepsake. Leaving aside the obvious choices of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, you've got two truly gifted and completely unlikely choices to play their respective parents - Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins. It oddly works.
We couldn't exclude the most romantic comedy of all romantic comedies! Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the titular characters, two friends that can't seem to keep away from each other. Their relationship commences with a cross-country drive, after which they share twelve years of chance encounters in New York City.
The Princess Bride
So yeah, there were two classics from our romantic listicle we ended up including here too. But that's because their status as comedies is as great as their status as romances. Those films are 'When Harry Met Sally' and 'The Princess Bride' - the joyous action-adventure-fantasy that has delighted young and old for over 30 years and counting.
The original 'Shrek' is being re-added to Netflix in the coming weeks but until then its sequel is brilliant. In some respects, such as the introduction of Puss in Boots and several inspired visual gags, 'Shrek 2' is even funnier. Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy return as Shrek, Fiona and Donkey, the former two now newly weds who are invited to meet the in-laws. The casting of John Cleese and Julie Andrews as the King and Queen was just inspired.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Another great comedy sequel on Netflix is 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me', featuring one of the most ingenious plots to replace the love interest ever (fans of the International Man of Mystery know exactly what we mean). Myers returns as Powers and nemesis Doctor Evil, as well as introducing the world to Fat Bastard. Other class additions to the crew here include Heather Graham as Felicity Shagwell and the late Verne Troyer as Mini-Me.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail / Monty Python’s the Life of Brian
Some will say their favourite Monty Python movie is 'Holy Grail'; for others, it's 'Life of Brian'. so we just decided to cheat and include both because they're each brilliant in their own right. And to be fair, it's kind of incredible that the King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table parody dates back to 1975 while the Bible spoof is only from four years younger and they still leave audiences keeling over with laughter. A good thing Netflix values investing in the oldies.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese have produced fantastic cinema. But if you're looking for bats**t crazy and stomach cramp-inducing laughter, look no further than 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. Many think DiCaprio should have won the Oscar for his performance as Jordan Belfort, a wealthy stock-broker living the high life. Its funniest scene involves Lemmon Quaaludes and a car.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote this comedic gem loosely based on their own school experiences in the 90s. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill play two hapless high school seniors trying to get their hands on some booze for a party ringing in their last day of school. Emma Stone stars in her first big-screen role; Christopher Mintz-Plasse gives a star-making performance as Fogell aka McLovin; and Rogen and Bill Hader play two completely inappropriate cops.
Some Like It Hot
'Some Like It Hot' is widely considered to be one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made. After 60 years, it still holds up as a remarkably fresh, witty romantic comedy. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are two down-on-their-luck jazz musicians who - desperate for work and on the run from the mob - disguise themselves as women and play in an all-female band fronted by Marilyn Monroe. Comedy this good never goes out of style.
Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow
If you're feeling in the mood for a comedy stand-up series that's fun with lots of variety, 'Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow' provides a delightful pit stop. Often it's the host's routines in between the acts that make for the big laughs, but one does come across the odd hidden gem of an up-and-comer. Irish locations such as the Belfast Waterfront Hall and Olympia Theatre Dublin are visited.
Dave Chapelle: Equanimity and the Bird Revelation
Dave Chapelle has a deal with Netflix reportedly worth $20 million-per-release of comedy-special. So far, the comedian has released five standup specials for the service. In our opinion, 'Equanimity and the Bird Revelation' is his best. Taking on culture and class as well as politics and the specter of getting old, it won the Gammy Award for Best Comedy Album while 'Equanimity' won an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special.