The best comedy movies of 2024 so far

Two trans people dressed as versions of the Joker ride on a love boat in The People’s Joker
Image: Altered Innocence

From undead boyfriends to a lot of beavers

It’s been a bit of a slow time of year for comedy movies, but 2024 has enough laugh-out loud gems to round out a list. And there’s a wide variety of sub-genres to pick from: musical reboots, existential animated kids’ movies, campy horror flicks, and even a DC parody.

So behold: the best comedy movies of 2024 so far. This list will continue to be updated throughout the year, and will be sorted in reverse chronological order, so the newest movies always show up first.


Ilana Glazer as Eden, a pregnant woman sitting and getting an ultrasound Image: Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

Where to watch: In theaters May 17

Director Pamela Adlon (Better Things) gets nitty and gritty about the epic highs and lows of pregnancy in Babes, but the best part is the central relationship between two best friends. Eden (Ilana Glazer), a single yoga teacher, and Dawn (Michelle Buteau), a married dentist with two kids, have been besties for decades — and even though their life priorities are a bit different now, they make time for each other.

Eden finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand, and decides to go through with having the baby. It’s a new stage of their relationship, especially as Dawn struggles with balancing her job, her family, and her friendship with Eden, all while Eden embarks on this scary journey of single motherhood. It’s wickedly funny, but also says a lot about the strain adulthood puts on friendships. — Petrana Radulovic

The People’s Joker

Vera Drew, dressed as “Joker the Harlequin,” a mashup of Joker and Harley Quinn, superimposed over the famous “Joker Stairs” from Todd Phillips’ Joker, in The People’s Joker Image: Altered Innocence

Where to watch: Limited theaters

Director-star Vera Drew initially planned The People’s Joker as a found footage movie, pulling together clips from Joker’s past, present, and future to create a new Jokerfied experience. While the found footage element didn’t happen, the end result (after a brief delay over rights issues) is a breath of fresh, satirical air in our IP-saturated landscape, part of a new wave of trans-authored cinema that is shaking up what mainstream audiences can experience in trans film.

The People’s Joker cleverly uses the DC canon as grounding for the setting, an avenue to explore gender expression, and for comedy, subverting expectations of these well-known characters. But my favorite part of the movie is how Vera utilizes many different styles of animation from many different creators to create a mixed media effect. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see this year. —Pete Volk

Wicked Little Letters

Olivia Colman, surprised, holds a slice of cake on a plate in Wicked Little Letters Image: Sony

Where to watch: In theaters, or for digital rental/purchase on Amazon, Apple TV

The true story of the Littlehampton poison pen letter scandal of 1923 is a fairly depressing one, another in a long line of reminders that justice systems depend on people’s judgment, and people are notoriously prone to prejudice, stereotypes, and other forms of confirmation bias that get in the way of the truth. But Thea Sharrock’s lively (and heavily fictionalized) British comedy about the scandal addresses those points with a light perspective that offers a little uplift and a lot of good humor. International treasure Olivia Colman (The Favourite) stars as Edith Swan, a pious working-class spinster who starts getting obscene anonymous letters; Jessie Buckley is her neighbor, Rose Gooding, a foul-mouthed libertine accused of writing them, in an era where calling someone a “foxy ass whore” in print was enough to warrant a prison sentence at hard labor.

The absolute shock and disbelief Edith and Rose’s entire community feels over seeing words like “asshole” in print is part of the humor here, but a lot more of it comes from Jonny Sweet’s bouncy, winking script, which keeps the action zippy and highlights the ironies of an entire community full of hypocrites delighting in their self-righteous offense at the letters. (Any metaphor for today’s online communications is strictly intended.) Colman and Buckley’s performances add a terrific edge to it all, but this is an ensemble piece at heart, and Anjana Vasan as a lady detective trying to wade through institutional sexism rounds out the cast for a lively, sparky story that isn’t particularly believable as history, but sure lands well as funny, engaging metaphor. —Tasha Robinson

Drive-Away Dolls

Geraldine Viswanathan, Margaret Qualley, and Beanie Feldstein stand outside of what looks like a bar in Drive-Away Dolls Photo: Wilson Webb/Focus Features

Where to watch: Digital rental/purchase on Amazon/Apple TV

Don’t get fooled by only seeing one Coen name in the credits; Drive-Away Dolls (or its original title, which still appears in the credits: Drive-Away Dykes) has the same hilarious crime-caper spirit that marks all of the Coen brothers’ best early works.

The ’90s-set movie follows two lesbian friends (Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan) on an East Coast road trip with two clueless gangsters hot on their trail. Equal parts excellent friends-on-the-road movie and crime comedy, Drive-Away Dolls is an early contender for the most fun movie of 2024, and one that will likely be hard to beat. —Austen Goslin

Lisa Frankenstein

Kathryn Newton, with big hair, sitting at a school desk in Lisa Frankenstein Photo: Michele K. Short/Focus Features

Where to watch: Peacock or for digital rental/purchase on Amazon/Apple TV

Sometimes, you just want to see Kathryn Newton wear increasingly elaborate ’80s goth outfits as she and an undead Victorian musician go around killing people who’ve wronged her.

Lisa Frankenstein is a loving homage-slash-parody of old schlocky horror comedies, and even though some of the connective tissue is missing from scene to scene, it’s a shockingly good time. —PR

Orion and the Dark

A hulking creature of darkness and a little boy stand on a cloud and look over at a huge full moon Image: DreamWorks Animation

Where to watch: Netflix

On its surface, Orion and the Dark seems like a standard fairy-tale-like children’s story about a scared boy meeting the personification of Darkness, who helps him get over his fears. But it takes a twisty turn when it’s revealed this story is being told by a grown-up version of that little boy to his daughter.

It’s not just a cute framing device, but one that warps the story and makes it way weirder than when it starts out (in the best way). —PR

Hundreds of Beavers

Two people in mascot-sized beaver costumes wear a Sherlock and Watson outfit in the snow in Hundreds of Beavers Image: SRH

Where to watch: Fandor, free with a library card on Hoopla, or digital rental/purchase on Amazon and Apple TV

“What if Looney Tunes, but for adults, and filtered through video games and silent slapstick comedy?” That’s the genius combination that makes Hundreds of Beavers one of the most special movies of the year, a pure expression of cinematic comedy that will have you laughing in stitches. The low-budget indie follows Jean Kayak (Ryland Brickson Cole Twes), a trapper trying to survive in the harsh winter of the Great Lakes region. He’s surrounded by hundreds of beavers (which are presented as people in mascot beaver costumes) who view him as a threat, and he must solve a series of problems and puzzles to survive and thrive in the harsh environment.

Ludicrously silly and packed to the brim with jaw-dropping gags and special effects on its limited budgets, Hundreds of Beavers is the funniest movie I’ve seen in years. It’s the perfect antidote for what has ailed mainstream American comedy for years, by actually bringing back jokes instead of just the tone of comedy. I can not recommend it highly enough. —PV

Mean Girls

The three Plastics and Cady sitting on Regina’s pink bed, about to write in the Burn Book Photo: Jojo Whilden/Paramount Pictures

Where to watch: Paramount Plus

Fans of the Broadway musical Mean Girls, based on the 2004 movie Mean Girls, have understandably bridled against some of the changes in this screen adaptation, from the many songs cut from the Broadway version to the casting of protagonist Cady Heron. But while it’s an imperfect translation of the stage experience, it still stands on its own as a lively, creatively staged movie that puts plenty of verve into its catchy, inviting musical numbers.

The performances aren’t out to replace the 2004 version of the movie: They’re new interpretations, delivered with big musical energy. This is a tremendously fun movie, designed to send people home singing. —TR

Self Reliance

Tommy (Jake Johnson) and a friend (Biff Wiff) stand together in a living room, with Tommy earnestly telling a story to someone offscreen in Self Reliance Image: Hulu

Where to watch: Hulu

Jake Johnson’s directorial debut follows a man who’s so at sea after a breakup that he agrees to star in an underground reality competition where he tries to survive for a month with assassins trying to kill him. But Self Reliance isn’t the kind of manic thriller that premise suggests; Johnson told Polygon it’s much more of a mashup of two of his favorite movies: Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket and the Adrian Lyne thriller Jacob’s Ladder. That’s an odd combination of improbably dissimilar projects, but they coalesce into an offbeat indie comedy about human connection, and the mortifying ordeal of trying to be known by people who aren’t all that interested in the knowing.

Produced by The Lonely Island and featuring Andy Samberg playing himself in a pretty hilarious cameo, Self Reliance has some of the same dry humor and secret sentiment as the group’s movie Palm Springs, but with even smaller stakes and even less predictable storytelling. It’s goofy stuff, but it’s an enjoyably light story that’s designed to keep the audience guessing. And it’s just about impossible to watch without wondering: Would I do any better under these circumstances?TR

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