The Machine & No Hard Feelings. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

The Best Comedy Movies of 2023

The Machine & No Hard Feelings. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.
The Machine & No Hard Feelings. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This past year in comedy saw many great contributions in the world of cinema and gave us many funny memories we’ll be holding on to for years to come. As we reflect on the best comedy movies of 2023, we look back on all notable feats, honorable performances & hysterical moments that ring back to the comedy community & empower the comedy genre. If you’re looking for some movies to add to your watch list or a recap on what you may have missed this year, 800 Pound Gorilla News has you covered. Here are the 15 best comedy movies of 2023! 

Dumb Money

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 lockdowns, we witnessed the underdog video game store GameStop become the stock market behemoth driven by Reddit, memes, & social media in a historic & insane shortsqueeze. This insane David vs. Goliath true story was turned into a movie hardly two years later in Dumb Money. The film follows Keith Gill (aka Roaring Kitty played by Paul Dano), a vlogger & financial analyst who sinks his life savings into GameStop stock and shares his two cents on it via his thriving YouTube channel. When his thoughts start blowing up, so do his life and the lives of everyone following him. As a stock tip becomes a movement, everyone gets rich—until the billionaires fight back, and both sides find their worlds turned upside down.


While frankly this movie leans more towards the drama category than it does comedy (categorized more appropriately, dramedy), it’s still worth mentioning given its exceptional cast of comedians & funny people involved with some comedic performances worth acknowledging. Namely Pete Davidson, who plays Gill’s burnout brother Kev, carries a lot of the humor in all of their bro-comedy-like exchanges about Warren Buffet, what an actual job is, and supporting his brother on his climbing stock wins. Additionally, seeing Seth Rogen play a hedge fund manager compared to his more young adult & less responsible driven roles make this a change of pace and an intriguing watch for Rogen. Overall, it’s a crazy true story about flipping the script on the rich billionaires (Goliath) and giving the average ordinary & young investors (David) the chance to win the game of investing. Definitely worth the watch for a simple & fun movie night!


How to watch: available for rent & download!

TMNT: Mutant Mayhem

There couldn’t be a better time to be experiencing an animation renaissance like we are right now with the latest offering from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle universe, joining the likes of Spiderman: Across The Spider-Verse & Nimona to name a few as the launch of said animation era this year. In TMNT: Mutant Mayhem, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello & Raphael “set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts after nearly fifteen years of being sheltered from the human world. Their new friend April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri) helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.”


Little would have anyone predicted that the comedic minds of Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, who’ve been the actor & writing team behind so many funny films we know & love like Superbad, Pineapple Express, & This Is The End, would be the main creators responsible for this very fun & genuinely fresh experience with this new cast of turtles. Many of the comedic moments from this movie come from the very young cast of non-adult voices, who all recorded their lines in the vocal booth together. From these sessions, they were able to riff naturally making up these funny one-liners that only these kids could’ve come up with instead of some non-Gen Z & out of touch writers (thinking the lines referencing “rizz,” “slice of ‘za,” “being sus in the shadows” and the like). Ayo Edebiri (who’s having quite the comedic year featured in 3 out of 15 of the films listed this year) also has a great performance in this movie with her character, April O’Neil, running alongside the turtles journeying to take down the evil SuperFly.


How to watch: streaming now on Paramount+!

You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah

It’s a Sandler family affair in this new coming of age teen comedy from the mind of Adam Sandler & his Happy Madison Productions banner. You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah follows two young Jewish teens & BFFs, Stacy (Sunny Sandler) and Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), who've always dreamed about having epic bat mitzvahs. But when the popular boy at school Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman) and Hebrew school drama come between them, their perfect plans go comically — and poignantly — awry; threatening their friendship and rite of passage. The two young characters take us on a journey of saving a friendship, navigating teen culture in the age of social media & self discovery.


One of the cool & fun things to note when watching a movie from the Sandman is how he famously & consistently recruits his friends & frequent collaborators in nearly all of his films. Past examples include Kevin Nealon (Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) & Rob Schneider (50 First Dates, Click & Big Daddy) to name a few. And in this latest addition to the Sandler universe comes Idina Menzel (Uncut Gems) & Luis Guzman (Punch Drunk Love & Anger Management) who make up the talented cast in this latest project. Also worth noting the current Saturday Night Live cast member, Sarah Sherman, plays a Rabbi at the Hebrew school & absolutely rocks.


Overall, a sweet & fun film celebrating Jewish culture with some of comedy’s finest leading.


How to watch: streaming now on Netflix!

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Admittedly, this film is not that funny, sitting somewhere between a Marvel film and a broad studio comedy in terms of hilarity. However, the comedy of the film is perfectly suited for a film about a game that requires one to imagine a make believe world with make believe monsters. It’s closest proxy would be something like The Princess Bride, a film where clever-by-half comedy bends around large action setpieces. While this should be annoying, it works given the circumstances of the silly world these characters inhabit. 


If you’re very into Dungeons & Dragons, or “D and D.” this film probably would be fun for you. As someone who does not care for the game proper, I found this to be a fun hang that compromises beautifully between the lore(?) of the game, and the hijinks Chris Pine and company get into. The message of inclusion here is a wonderful core aspect of the film that feels less like studio box-checking since it‘s a core value of the game itself.


How to watch: streaming now on Paramount+!


In case you were sleeping under a rock in 2023, let us remind you about the movie that gave us more laughs than we thought we had coming, had the whole world covered in pink, a banger summer soundtrack and an absolute domination at the box office this year making over a billion dollars worldwide (the first done by a female director, Greta Gerwig).


While Barbie may not have been presented as a first impression to the book’s comedy movie and may lean more fantasy, there’s many moments here to appreciate and acknowledge making this a high concept adventure comedy flick we’ll look back on for years to come. From the very beginning, Helen Mirren’s on-point narrating of the movie starts with positively laying the foundation of Barbie, how it started, the purpose they play in young girls' lives' and then sharing “Thanks to Barbie, all problems of feminism and equal rights have been solved” in a sarcastic manner. You also can’t help but think of Elf in the similarities they have like its equivalent narrator, Bob Newhart, the fantasy worlds of the North Pole & Barbie Land (snow land & pink plastic beach), the journeys both Buddy the Elf & Barbie take to get to the real world & the glittery-like special effects to visualize a stunt or change in wardrobe.


Other standout characters in addition to Margot Robbie’s Barbie were Ryan Gosling’s Ken when he set out to become like the patriarchy in the Real World including trying to get a job at an LA beach and visibly ranting “I can’t even beach here!” We didn’t know we needed Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie until we saw her absolutely owning the rough housing her previous owners put her through with the crayons and uneven hair splits. She really channeled her SNL chops for this movie and it shows. It’s also no surprise that Will Ferrell nailed his performance as the Mattel CEO here too. Even though we may have seen this performance in previous films, he brought exactly what was needed to embody an out of touch CEO overseeing a female toy brand.


How to watch: streaming now on Max

Joy Ride

Well structured and funny in equal measure, this Asian-led studio comedy, Joy Ride, does its best to focus on the experience of being an Asian person with a particular culture that may not be understood by a broad audience, and the transformative power of reconnecting with that culture and feeling seen like never before. Ashley Park and Stephanie Hsu hold their own fine here, but it's Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu who bring something interesting and weird to the film, making the comedy sing higher for their efforts. This film is absolutely worth your time, no matter what kind of comedy you love. 


How to watch: available for rent & download!

Cocaine Bear

When the trailer for Cocaine Bear dropped in December 2022, it didn’t take long for the trailer to go viral. The film - which can easily be summed up as being exactly what the title suggests, a bear that eats cocaine - quickly became one of the most anticipated comedies of 2023. Immediately, the reaction to the trailer was “Is this real??”.


Indeed, Cocaine Bear - the movie - is real. And it’s also partially real in terms of the story. Yes, it is based on a bear that consumed a duffel bag filled with cocaine in the 1980’s. However, that’s where the similarities end. The real Cocaine Bear never killed anyone. In the film, the bear goes on a murderous rampage that is out to get everyone in its path. It’s basically a modern day Roger Corman film done on a small studio budget.


Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film was well-received by fans and critics, but never seemed to quite live up to just how hyped up the film had been when the trailer dropped. But it was nearly impossible for it to do so. Instead, what we get is a film that is surprisingly well-produced and directed, with performances from Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta that far exceed what you’d expect from a film with this subject matter. While the story does seem to drag a bit towards the third act, there are still solid laughs throughout that make the film work as a whole.


How to watch: streaming now on Prime Video!

The Machine

Bert Kreischer’s story of how he got involved with the Russian mafia when he was 22 years-old has served him well. After wanting to avoid telling that story for years onstage, he told that story in his first stand-up hour, The Machine. Soon, it wound up going super viral, and Kreischer would forever be identified as The Machine. Fans literally cheer when he starts telling the story now. 


As Kreischer gained heat in the industry, he found himself toying around with movie ideas. It would seem a given that his first film would be The Machine. Written by Kevin Biegel and Scotty Landes, The Machine follows Kreischer and his dad in modern times as they are kidnapped and brought back to Russia, 25 years after Kreischer robbed a train car with the mafia. The film manages to blend what actually happened with this meta-fictional story of what could’ve happened, while also being a story about a son trying to gain the acceptance of his dad. To play his dad, Kreischer managed to get Mark Hammil on board, who manages to hold his own comedically throughout the film. 


The Machine has a lot to work with, and at the end, it does a great job at bringing all those elements together. It’s clear that Kreischer had a hand in wanting to push the film further in how far he was willing to take it, as evidenced in some of the more graphic sequences in the film. For hardcore Kreischer fans, this is the film they’ve been waiting for.  


How to watch: streaming now on Netflix!


In the spirit of Ted, this year saw another film come out featuring adorable CGI leads that had less than family friendly things to say. 


The film Strays follows a dog named Reggie - voiced by Will Ferrell - who is abandoned by his owner (Will Forte). After meeting a wild group of stray dogs - voiced by Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, and Randall Park - Reggie decides that he’s going to travel back to his abusive ex-owner’s house and bite his dick off. Yes, that’s precisely how Reggie puts it. And yes, that’s indeed the plot of the film. Four dogs that go on a road trip to bite off an abuser’s dick.


It’s basically an R-rated version of Homeward Bound, that culminates in the film’s climax that, while predictable, is also rewardingly hilarious. As you can expect from the plot, the film does have a strong penchant for crude humor, but there is a mild tenderness that manages to justify it at the same time. If you’re someone who is looking for a comedy that feels like a bit of a throwback to the mid-2000’s, then Strays is probably for you.


How to watch: streaming now on Peacock!

Theater Camp

What do you get when you put together a bunch of poised & seasoned thespians, an upcoming class of young, adolescent & promising acting students, and a “crypto bro” as your leader together at a dramatic arts summer camp in Upstate New York? You get the delightfully hilarious & brilliant coming of age mockumentary, Theater Camp. The movie stars Ben Platt & Molly Gordon as Amos & Rebecca-Diane, lifelong best friends & drama instructors at the rundown AdirondACTS theater camp in Upstate New York. When clueless tech-bro Troy (Jimmy Tatro) arrives to run the property (into the ground) after his mother (the founder of the camp, played by Amy Sedaris) gets into a coma, Amos, Rebecca-Diane and production manager Glenn (Noah Galvin) band together with the staff and students, staging a masterpiece to keep their beloved summer camp afloat.


One of this movie’s strengths it holds high is the thorough distinction between how opposite Troy is from the rest of the theater community. Played by Jimmy Tatro, who you may know from his stand-out roles in season one of American Vandal and young Bert Kreischer in the feature film The Machine (also featured on our list), he holds his own weight of comedy in his effortless performance as the oblivious finance vlogger. At the start of opening announcements, he can hardly get the room to pay attention to him without knowing the niche ways theater kids interact with each other unlike Amos & his co-counselors. Troy’s disruption of one of the students' auditions singing “Better Now” by Post Malone goes from sweet & funny to sweet & hilarious really quick.


Whether you grew up a theater kid or have no recollection of theater culture, there’s something for everyone to appreciate in this charming & hysterical film.


How to watch: streaming now on Hulu!

Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure Of Foggy Mountain

In 2021, the viral comedy group Please Don’t Destroy - made up of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy - made their debut on Saturday Night Live. From their debut video, the trio became an instant success with fans. A mere two years later, they made their cinematic debuts in a new film that they co-wrote and Judd Apatow produced.


Please Don't Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain follows three friends whom - in the midst of seeing their lives take different shape - all set out on one more adventure together, to find the treasure of Foggy Mountain after a TikTok video gives them a new lead. Rounding out the cast is a who’s who of modern day comedy, including Conan O’Brien, Bowen Yang, Meg Stalter, and Cederic Yarbrough, with John Goodman serving as the narrator.


The film delivers some great laughs that are not too far removed from the type of absurdist-style sketches we can see from the trio. The biggest difference is that the humor is more situation based, and is obviously done on a grander scale than what SNL affords them. The strong supporting performances are also worth noting, especially O’Brien, who has made cameos in lots of films and TV shows as himself, but this marks one of his first opportunities to showcase himself as an actor. For fans of SNL and Please Don’t Destroy, we definitely recommend giving it a watch!


How to watch: streaming now on Peacock!

No Hard Feelings

If there’s something we wouldn’t have expected to see come out of 2023, it’s Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence leading a raunchy R-rated comedy & nailing it opposite Andrew Barth Feldman in the heartfelt adventure rom-com, No Hard Feelings. The film follows Maddie (Lawrence), a 32-year-old single woman who’s experiencing financial troubles from losing her car as an Uber driver & risking losing her house. Maddie finds a solution when she notices an intriguing Craigslist posting: wealthy helicopter parents looking for someone to "date" their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy (Barth Feldman), and bring him out of his shell before he leaves for college in exchange for the family’s Buick. What Maddie quickly discovers is that the awkward & very oblivious Percy proves to be more of a challenge to truly pursue than she expected, and it's up to her to get with Percy before the end of the summer so she can get a car & save her house from getting repossessed.


Gene Stupnitsky directed the new flick, who previously worked on Good Boys, & co-wrote it with John Phillips, who previously wrote Dirty Grandpa & Bad Teacher. With this team leading the charge, it's no wonder how this film really crushes the late 2000s & early 2010s nostalgic comedy. And while it’s not a critically acclaimed film and nor was it ever trying to be, Lawrence has spoken about how she set out to make audiences laugh first & foremost & just have a good time. And there’s something to appreciate in that. One of the standout moments outside of the mace spraying & dog obsessed with cocaine scenes is the ongoing theme of the movie’s use of the classic Hall & Oates song, “Maneater.” The first instance is when Percy is completely lost on the idea of what the song is actually about (definitely not about a man eating monster) and as the movie goes on, there’s a very tender moment that really pays off with its usage between Maddie & Percy.


A classic R-rated comedy for fans of Superbad, Pineapple Express and the galore.


How to watch: streaming now on Netflix

Dicks: The Musical

Originally titled Fucking Identical Twins, Dicks: The Musical started out nearly a decade ago in the basement of the UCB Chelsea. Aaron Jackson and Joshua Sharp constructed a ridiculous 30-minute musical romp about two arrogant twins who basically follow the plot of The Parent Trap. It’s completely over-the-top onstage. But as a movie, they had to push things even further. 


To take things as far as you can go, why not turn to the man who directed Borat, a movie that certainly never shied away from pushing the envelope of taste. Larry Charles came on board to direct the film for A24, and fleshed out the story. He also brought on Nathan Lane to play their openly gay father, and Megan Mually to play their reclusive mother. Each character has their own eccentric character trait. Mually openly sings about how her vagina fell off while on vacation in Rome, while Lane looks after two hideous creatures named The Sewer Boys and keeps them in a cage in his living room. Also, he feeds them by spitting deli meat into their mouths. Throw in Bowen Yang as God and Megan Thee Stallion as their boss, and you’ve got the cast of Dicks: The Musical.


What’s so charming and endearing about Dicks is that it fully embraces exactly what it is from the moment the film starts. There’s nothing remotely shy or reserved about it. It’s a brassy, fun, utterly absurd comedy that is quite aware of how ridiculous everything is. It’s the kind of comedy that we definitely could use more of.


How to watch: available for rent & download!

The Holdovers

Those familiar with the work of the legendary director Alexander Payne know his signature quirky & dark sensibilities as a filmmaker when he directs as seen in Election & Sideways. Payne is back in full form reuniting with Paul Giamatti in the warm & cozy 70s dramedy The Holdovers. The movie follows a curmudgeonly instructor Paul Humham (Paul Giamatti) at an elite New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. As the break goes on, he forms an unlikely bond with one of them -- a damaged, brainy troublemaker Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa) -- and with the school’s head cook Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who has just lost a son in Vietnam. Together, they all work to navigate the holidays in unusual circumstances, learn to overcome their own past traumas and find their own self discovery in this gut punch of what will likely become a holiday classic.


It can’t be said enough how great the trio cast worked together here. Starting off with the lovely & very hilarious Da’Vine Joy Randolph who acts as a solid comic relief that carries this movie so elegantly. The now Golden Globe nominee is best known for her role in Dolemite Is My Name and as the recurring police detective in the hit murder-mystery comedy series Only Murders In The Building. It’s no wonder Payne saw her as a great addition to this cast given how essential it is for dramatic actors to have their comedic chops in line for the dark moments throughout this film to balance out for the lighter moments, which she does with such excellence. Paul Giamatti & Dominic Sessa (who had never stepped before a screen until this film) were also fantastic. Their comedic chops were also on full display through Professor Hunham’s tough love way of walking alongside Angus teaching him the mistakes he’s made. Angus also gives Hunham some lessons to learn for Angus' young age.


Not only does the whole imagery & set design nail the 70s era, so does the soundtrack (it is fantastic). There will never be enough great things to say about this movie. Consider yourself blessed if you got to experience it in the theater.


How to watch: The Holdovers begins streaming on Peacock this Friday!


Bottoms, directed by Emma Seligman (Shiva Baby), and starring Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri in a two-hander role about queer awkwardness, dating, friendship, and that time in life when you’re excited and apprehensive about the future in equal measure. The shot compositions are simple but effective, using lighting and space in a way that connotes comedy, but is also cinematic, lush, and vibrant in the way so many important films are (and yes, this film is important). 


The comedy of the film is uniquely unto itself, but feels like it was created in a lab where the staff of ClickHole wrote a Simpsons episode in 1993 that never aired. There’s absurdism, funny dialogue, visual jokes, and a world that, due to the large sets, feels like it exists to build comedy in. It is Springfield, Pawnee, and Greendale all rolled into one. At one point, a football player declares “I’m strong,” but says it in the comic way of “Eye-m stro-hng,” drawing out the vowel sounds to make the line perfectly, scientifically stupid. 


Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott anchor the film as, of course, the two smartest people in their town. Sennott plays a beautifully dramatic and frustrated high schooler, with the emotional range being similar to what we’ve seen her do in other films (Bodies, Bodies, Bodies comes to mind, which is a better film than it’s given credit for). Edebiri, however, is playing a version of her comedy self heard on podcasts like Iconography, but more quiet and introspective. To see her in this, and to see her in The Bear, is to watch two totally different characters come to life, and both are wildly impressive. 


This is a year-end list, though. You need a real rec for it over other funny options. So let’s look at the basics. Does the film have Jennifer Lawrence as the lead, even though Natalie Morales was right there? No. In has zero Jennifers and zero Natalies, and reports show that there was never a plan to have a Jennifer or Natalie. Is the film a blockbuster that turns the holy grail of nerd culture into a fantastic and accessible narrative for larger audiences? No. It has, sorry to say, zero dungeons, zero dragons, and zero sad adult celebrations of make believe. Does the film have Bowen Yang? Again, no. Instead, the film is fun, surprising, hilarious (this film is funnier than you can even imagine), and, much like Dicks: The Musical, a generous and much needed entry in the queer comedy canon.


How to watch: streaming now on MGM+!

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