The Best Comedies on HBO Max Right Now

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The Best Comedies on HBO Max Right Now

Now that we all must have HBO Max to watch Hollywood’s latest blockbusters, it’s time to dig deep into its large catalog of library titles to see what else the service has to offer. And after the few years we all just experienced, what could be more appropriate than a great comedy? Luckily, HBO has quite a few to choose from. There are new films, of course, but they have a lot to offer when it comes to library titles, particularly from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Here are some of the best chances you have for a hilarious night in. And this is just at the moment, too; more titles are arriving all the time.

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For more recommendations, check out our list of the best comedies on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.

Editor’s note: This article was updated July 2022 to include 13 Going on 30, A Cinderella Story, and Hairspray.

RELATED: The Best Action Movies on HBO Max Right Now

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13 Going on 30 (2004)

1 hr 38 min | Gary Winick

Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Kathy Baker, Phil Reeves

Rom-coms had a bad rap for a long time, but if there’s one modern entry just about everybody seems to love, it’s 13 Going on 30. No doubt, a big part of that comes down to the fact that Gary Winick’s just-shy-of-saccharine-sweet romance boasts one of the most likable ensembles of all time, includingJennifer Garnerand Mark Ruffalo as the darn cutest rom-com duo of the 21st century, and supporting players like everybody’s BFF Judy Greer and a Thriller-dancing Andy Serkis. But the film also indulges a pure fantasy about the lives we wish we had and learning not to take things for granted with the tale of 13-year-old girl who wakes up as her dream 30-year-old self and realizes she might just have the wrong priorities. Garner’s fish-out-of-water performance is giddy and gleeful on a level with Will Ferrell in Elf and Tom Hanks in Big, and her chemistry with Ruffalo is a through-the-roof treat. It’s one of the best feel-good movies of the 21st century and joy to watch from start to finish. — Haleigh Foutch

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A Cinderella Story (2004)

1 hr 35 min | Mark Rosman

Cast: Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge

An abundantly silly yet cute cult hit of a film, A Cinderella Story takes the classic fairy tale and places it in the magical world of Los Angeles. It followsHilary Duffas Sam, a waitress at a diner in the San Fernando Valley. Left with limited options for her future after her father passed away, she now is kept under the thumb of her greedy stepmother who also owns the diner. Did I mention said stepmother is played by the greatJennifer Coolidge? In rare form, it is Coolidge who really embraces the tone the film needs as only she can and makes it worth seeing for her performance alone. When Sam begins to connect with an online penpal that she plans to meet at her high school dance, she’ll have to find a way to find love and get out from under the watchful eye of her stepmother. – Chase Hutchinson

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Hairspray (2007)

1 hr 57 min | Adam Shankman

Cast: Nikki Blonski, John Travolta, Michelle Pfieffer, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken

How often can you say that a remake of a film is better than the original? Well, what about a film version of a musical remake of a classic 1980s film? Because that’s what Hairspray, the 2007 musical film directed by Adam Shankman, is, and it remains beloved by theater kids and general audiences to this day. An adaptation of the stage musical based on John Waters’ 1988 satirical comedy, the film follows Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonski), a young woman in 1960s Baltimore who just wants the chance to dance on her favorite local television program. When she gets her big break and her appearance stirs things up in her community, she’s thrown into the adventure of a lifetime, where she just might meet her soulmate. Dotted with performances from Zac Efron, Michelle Pfieffer, and a hilarious John Travolta in drag, Hairspray is a staple of the musical canon, and one of the best feel-good films to come out of Hollywood since the turn of the century. And really, who can resist tapping their toes to “Good Morning, Baltimore”? —Maggie Boccella

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My Cousin Vinny (1992)

1 hr 59 min | Jonathan Lynn

Cast: Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei

My Cousin Vinny is just so charming, so funny, so effortlessly smart. It deftly combines a couple of my favorite genres — the jargon-filled courtroom procedural and the screwball fish-out-of-water comedy — resulting in the kind of film it feels like they don’t make anymore. After two New Yorkers (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting arrested for the murder of an Alabama convenience store clerk, they call upon the service of Macchio’s cousin Vinny — a peerless Joe Pesci having the time of his life. Vinny is a lawyer, yes, but one who, like, just passed the bar and is used to small-stakes cases in Brooklyn, not straight up murder trials in such a different state. Watching Pesci jump through all the legal hoops with his unending, mildly grating form of charisma is entertainment of the highest caliber. And don’t get me started on the powerhouse that is Marisa Tomei’s performance. She won the Oscar for this thing (sigh, remember when the Oscars cared about comedy?), and her sparring/loving with Pesci is a two-hander for the ages. — Gregory Lawrence

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Tootsie (1982)

1 hr 56 min | Sydney Pollack

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning

Tootsie is unafraid to be charming as hell, honest as hell, and in what I view to be its secret success, unsparingly prickly as hell. Let’s face it: A 1982 comedy directed by a straight white guy (Sydney Pollack) about a straight white actor (Dustin Hoffman) who turns to drag because he just can’t get work could’ve been a cringe-worthy disaster rife with casual homophobia, misogyny, and short-sighted hijinks. Instead, Pollack allows us to see how much of a pretentious jerk Hoffman’s character is pre-disguise, how kind but complicated the Oscar-winning Jessica Lange is throughout, and how systemic sexism is in every facet of American society, the entertainment industry and otherwise. Elements of the film have aged poorly (revelations of Hoffman’s off-screen behaviors certainly included), but Tootsie by-and-large remains a delightful dessert of a motion picture, one made with uncommonly artisanal ingredients, one that will make you smile and cry at the same time. — Gregory Lawrence

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Tampopo (1985)

1 hr 54 min | Juzo Itami

Cast: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho, Ken Watanabe, Rikiya Yasuoka

Anyone who enjoys eating food (in other words, everyone) absolutely must check out this 1985 gem from Japan which celebrates the act of eating in pretty much every way you can think of. Tampopo surrounds a central story of a woman striving to perfect her ramen recipe (aided by a young, dashing Ken Watanabe) with brief vignettes all centered around delicious, glorious food. It’s like if Kentucky Fried Movie really were about Kentucky Fried Chicken. The film offers a little bit of everything: thrills, cute kids, sex, gangsters… but above all, it’s hilarious. Just don’t try to watch it on an empty stomach.

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A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

1 hr 30 min | Richard Lester

Cast: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon, Wilfrid Brambell

The Beatles. What couldn’t they do? It should be enough that they got to be the best rock band ever. But no, it turns out they were really funny too. Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night makes this clear, offering each of the Beatles (but especially Ringo) their own showcases to aver their personalities, acting skills, and comedy chops. Meanwhile, the film is filled with a ton of great songs to go with all the still-effective comedy bits. Lester and the band would team up again a year later for the broader Help!but this one is the gold standard rock and roll film for a reason.

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Horrible Bosses (2011)

1 hr 46 min | Seth Gordon

Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell

Boasting an A-list comedy cast led by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis; Horrible Bossesfollows three best friends who all have been burnt out by their jobs and in particular their demanding (and sometimes dangerous) bosses. The three then decide to take matters into their own hands, quitting their jobs, and consulting with a mysterious criminal (Jamie Foxx) to help guide them in their plot to murder their bosses and shenanigans ensue. Horrible Bosses plays as both a pitch-black comedy and a populist studio comedy, the characters in the film are doing despicable things but the fact that almost all of them are played by charismatic actors and actresses makes it easier to root for the three burnt-out heroes. There’s also a scene-stealing Jennifer Anistonas Day’s boss, a sex-crazed dentist. So there is plenty of fun to be had, just maybe not for the whole family. – Nate Richard

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Safety Last! (1923)

1 hr 13 min | Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young

You’re undoubtedly familiar with Charlie Chaplin and probably know a bit about Buster Keaton as well. Thanks to HBO Max, you can also become acquainted with another esteemed voice from the silent era, Harold Lloyd. Safety Last! offers a perfect place to start thanks to its iconic climax in which Lloyd hangs from the minute hand of a ticking clock. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve definitely seen something ripping it off. And even though the film is almost 100 years old, you’ll still marvel at how they pulled off the effect. But it’s not all daring clocktower stunts – the rest of the film is great as well. The plot focuses on a guy trying to make enough money in the big city to finally propose to his girlfriend, a pursuit that gets him into all kinds of trouble for our benefit. Lloyd has a unique everyman quality about him that is hard to dislike.

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The Hangover (2009)

1 hr 36 min | Todd Phillips

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Rob Riggle, Mike Epps, Mike Tyson

The Hangoveris perhaps the most famous R-rated comedy to come out in their era of rebirth. The film follows three friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) who alongside Doug’s neurotic brother-in-law to be Alan (Zach Galifianakis) travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Unfortunately the next morning they wake up horribly hungover with no recollection of the night before and worst of all Doug is missing. From drug-dealers, a tiger, Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins songs, a missing tooth, and the lost baby of a stripper, The Hangover is a celebration of debauchery in the City of Sin. – Nate Richard

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Adventureland (2009)

1 hr 47 min | Greg Mottola

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig

Coming of age stories are a dime a dozen, but Superbad filmmaker’s Adventureland is a shot straight from the heart. The comedy/drama tells the story of a precocious young man who has to work at the local amusement park for the summer to pay for damage done to his parents’ car. While wasting away at a job he sees as beneath him, he learns life lessons and falls in love. That sounds trite, but Mottola infuses the film with an earnestness that is irresistible, and Jesse Eisenberg pulls off a terrific performance that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. The entire ensemble is swell, especially Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds, and Mottola toes the fine line between comedy and drama expertly. – Adam Chitwood

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Shiva Baby (2020)

1 hr 18 min | Emma Seligmann

Cast: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Fred Melamed, Danny Deferrari, Jackie Hoffman

Shiva Baby follows Danielle (Rachel Sennott), a Jewish college senior who is secretly living a double-life as a sugar baby to Max (Danny Deferrari) after a break-up with her ex-girlfriend Maya (Molly Gordon). Her life begins to fall part when she is forced to attend a Shiva alongside her parents with Maya in attendance and to make matters even worse, Max is also there and is revealed to have a wife and kid. While Shiva Baby may sound like something more akin to newer teen comedies such as Booksmart, the way filmmaker Emma Seligmann directs Shiva Baby is insanely stressful and echos the Safdie Brothers style. – Nate Richard

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Bad Words (2013)

1 hr 29 min | Jason Bateman

Cast: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Ben Falcone, Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney

Before Jason Bateman shifted to more dramatic fare in the director’s chair, his directorial debut, the raunchy indie comedy Bad Wordsis a filthy delight. Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, an immature, foul-mouthed, forty-something man-child who through a loophole is able to compete in a kid’s spelling bee tournament. Along the way Bateman starts to form a bond with one of his much-younger competitors Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) and the two begin to learn from each other meanwhile reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) discovers the truth behind Guy’s intentions in the spelling bee. Bad Words proves that even with it’s mean-spirited exterior it still has time for sweetness and heart. – Nate Richard

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Coming To America (1988)

1 hr 56 min | John Landis

Writers: Eddie Murphy, David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley

WhenComing To Americaopened in 1988,Eddie Murphy was on top of the world, four years prior he left his acclaimed spot on Saturday Night Live and in the meantime had starred in plenty of hit comedies including 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, and Trading Places. Though Coming To America is arguably his most beloved comedy (and even spawned a sequel in 2021, but the less said about that one the better). The film follows Prince Akeem (Murphy) of Zamunda who travels away to America to find himself a wife that is intelligent, strong-willed, and will help him rule his African country when he is named King, instead of being in a forced arranged marriage. Coming To America is also one of the best examples of Murphy’s range as a comedic actor as he isn’t just playing Akeem, but also the lead singer of a soul band by the name Sexual Chocolate (yes, that is the name), an old Jewish man, and the elderly owner of a barber shop. – Nate Richard

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Best in Show (2000)

1 hr 30 min | Christopher Guest

Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey

Best in Show is one of the best comedies ever made. Released in 2000, the film follows director Christopher Guest’s “mockumentary” format and is presented as a fake documentary of individuals preparing for and participating in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. The absurdity of the affair and dog grooming in general is the backdrop for the colorful characters that populate the film, with this absolutely stellar ensemble turning in a host of brilliant comedic performances. Each character would likely be the comedy scene-stealer of any other film, but in Best in Show these MVPs are all grouped together to form a comedic tour de force. – Adam Chitwood

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Wedding Crashers (2005)

1 hr 59 min | David Dobkin

Cast: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher, Jane Seymour, Bradley Cooper

Wedding Crashers is one of the main films that truly revitalized the R-rated studio comedy in a time when most comedies were made with a PG-13 rating in mind. Raunchy, vulgar, and while some of it has aged a bit poorly, that doesn’t preventWedding Crashers from being a modern comedy classic. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star as John and Jeremy, two divorce mediators who crash weddings to have sex with all the love-hungry women. The two find their biggest opportunity yet when crashing the wedding of the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, where they meet the Secretary’s other daughters. Jeremy falls for the unhinged but lovable Gloria (Isla Fisher) while John sets his sights on the maid of honor Claire (Rachel McAdams). The two end up accompanying the family to a reunion on the family’s extravagant compound in Maryland. – Nate Richard

Watch on HBO

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