15 Great, Funny Musicals And How To Watch Them
Don’t Laugh Challenge: Broadway edition
What do you watch when you’re in the mood to watch people sing and dance, but you’re not in the right mind frame to handle West Side Story? You watch one of these comedy musicals instead.
Not all musicals are tragedies! There are loads of funny musicals to watch on streaming services, so we’ve compiled a list of the ones that made us laugh the hardest. This list includes live shows and movie musicals that you can watch today. Let’s get into it!
Shrek The Musical (2013)
The live performance of this 2013 musical is included with your Netflix subscription and features Broadway megastars Sutton Foster and Brian D’Arcy James. If you’re looking for a musical that has the edgy humor of a gross-out comedy while still maintaining the heart at the center of the Shrek movie, look no further.
The musical pays homage to original tale of an ogre coerced into saving a princess while elevating the content for audiences of all ages. People who are majorly grossed out by burps and farts can skip “I Think I Got You Beat” if they want, but it's arguably one of the funniest songs in the show.
Shrek the Musical is available to stream on Netflix.
Rent/Buy Shrek the Musical on Amazon.
If you haven’t already seen Lin-Manuel Miranda’s contemporary musical Hamilton, where have you been hiding for the last seven years?! This filmed version of the live musical, which tells the story of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, features the original Broadway cast and all of the quick-witted lyrics fans have come to love. While the story obviously deals with serious topics as well, the show is known for maintaining an upbeat and fun atmosphere throughout.
You can watch the live performance of Hamilton on Disney+.
Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)
There are many versions of Little Shop of Horrors, Alan Menken’s campy musical about an alien plant with a hunger for world domination, but our favorite is the 1986 film starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene. This version also stars Steve Martin as a sociopathic dentist addicted to laughing gas, and Levi Stubbs as a huge talking plant.
The show covers dark topics in a lighthearted and fantastical way, a concept that changed the game when it came to stage shows.
Little Shop of Horrors is available to stream on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy Little Shop of Horrors on Amazon.
Kinky Boots (2005)
There are several ways to watch Kinky Boots, a musical comedy about a drag queen who saves the fate of a shoe factory with her line of high-heeled boots. This musical is the thing that launched Billy Porter to stardom, and it’s packed with witty lines and over-the-top choreography.
The original Kinky Boots movie is available to watch on Showtime and Spectrum, but for those who want to see a live performance of the show, the 2019 stage version is available to rent/buy on Amazon Video and Broadway HD.
Set in the 1960s during the civil rights movement in Baltimore, Hairspray explores themes of racial injustice, fatphobia, and dancing to the beat of your own drum--but not without cracking a few jokes in between.
Practically every line in Hairspray includes a gag of some kind, so you’ll have to keep up to catch them all. The 2007 movie is a fantastic adaptation of the Broadway musical, and is packed with stars like Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, and Christopher Walken, all who understand the comedic timing necessary to put on a show like Hairspray.
Hairspray Live!, the high-energy 2016 production put on as part of NBC’s live Broadway performance series, is also available to stream on Broadway HD.
Hairspray is currently streaming on Netflix.
Rent/Buy Hairspray at Amazon.
The Spongebob Musical: Live on Stage! (2019)
If you’ve ever seen Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants cartoon, you’ll have some idea of what to expect from the Spongebob Squarepants musical. The show follows your favorite Spongebob characters on a mission to save Bikini Bottom from a volcano.
The Spongebob Musical was praised for appealing to audiences of all ages and tackling the difficult task of costuming a show where the source material is about a sponge and starfish.
Don’t believe me? The show was nominated for twelve Tonys, tying Mean Girls for the most-nominated show at the 2018 Tony Awards. OG Spongebob fans are likely to get a kick out of this one.
The Spongebob Musical is available on Paramount+
Buy the Spongebob Musical on Amazon.
A Chorus Line (1985)
This 1985 movie based on the classic stage show centers on the audition process in the ruthless world of Broadway. While the show isn’t directly considered a comedy, the inner-monologues of the Broadway hopefuls provide more than enough comic relief.
A Chorus Line is available to watch on Paramount+.
A Chorus Line is available to rent/buy on Amazon.
The Prom (2020)
Backed by a cast of beyond-talented actors, The Prom is a 2020 film adaptation of the 2018 Broadway musical of the same name. The movie centers around a lesbian high-school student who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom, only to have the dance cancelled as a result by her school’s PTA.
The show is fun and colorful, and if you can get past James Corden’s performance in the movie you just might get swept away by The Prom's catchy songs.
You can watch The Prom on Netflix.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)
Hear me out: Sweeney Todd is one of the funniest musicals of all time. Where else can you listen to a show-stopping number about cooking people into meat pies?
This murderous movie follows exiled barber Sweeney Todd's revenge plot against those who've wronged him and his family. But how to dispose of the evidence?
Sweeney Todd is gory, no doubt, but that makes the humorous parts of the show all the more delicious.
The movie contains pitch-perfect performances by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, accompanied by the support of comedy legend Sacha Baron Cohen and a cast of talented performers.
Sweeney Todd is streaming on HBO Max.
Sweeney Todd is available to rent/buy on Amazon.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Laying the source material for the 2005 Broadway musical, Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy who wants to learn to dance. While the subversion of gender roles in this movie can be humorous, it also serves as the heartfelt message at the story’s core.
The 2000 movie Billy Elliot is one of the films available on HBO Max, but if you want to catch the live performance of the stage show featuring the music of Elton John, it’s available to watch on Broadway HD.
Watch Billy Elliot on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy Billy Elliot on Amazon.
Funny Girl (1968)
Come on, it’s right there in the title. This story of a Vaudeville dancer's rise to Broadway stardom is making a comeback in popularity this year, thanks to Beanie Feldstein’s run as Fanny Brice in the 2022 revival of the Broadway show. The role was originally played on Broadway by Barbra Streisand, who became synonymous with the role of Fanny Brice thanks to her charming and powerful performance.
Barba Streisand’s Funny Girl is one of the many movies available to stream on Prime Video.
Mamma Mia! (2008, 2018)
Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again both started mini-cultural phenomena after their releases in 2008 and 2018, respectively. The first movie follows young woman Sophie on a mission to uncover the secret of her birth father's identity, while the sequel tackles her mother Donna's origin story.
This pair of jukebox musicals based on the music of ABBA are known for high-energy dance numbers, exciting costumes, and, of course, Meryl Streep. We can also thank Julie Walters and Christine Baranski for their portrayals of Rosie and Tanya, who carried the comedic relief of Mamma Mia! and reprised their roles in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Mamma Mia! is available to stream on Prime Video, while the sequel can be watched on Spectrum or rented on Prime Video and Apple TV+.
The Producers (2006)
Regarded as one of the funniest musicals of all time, The Producers centers around the story of two con men who put on a Broadway show they know will fail in the hopes of pocketing money from investors. They eventually find “Springtime for Hitler,” which turns out to be a huge hit.
The 1967 movie starring Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel is available to rent on Amazon and VUDU, while the 2006 adaptation starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell is available to rent on Amazon, Apple TV+, and VUDU.
My Fair Lady (1964)
If you’re into old-school laughs, My Fair Lady is the way to go. Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle is the comedic highlight of the film. The trials and tribulations of her ascent into high society make this musical enjoyable and unforgettable.
Keep in mind this one is based on Pygmalion, a 1913 stage show, so there’s a good amount of misogyny rooted in the plot. If you can get past it, Hepburn’s captivating performance is definitely worth a watch.
My Fair Lady is available on Netflix.
My Fair Lady is available to rent/buy on Amazon.
Disney’s comedy musical Enchanted tells the tale of a storybook animated princess who is unceremoniously transported into modern-day New York City. Amy Adams’ portrayal of the kind-hearted but very confused Giselle is the centerpiece of this 2007 film, with outstanding comedic support from James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, and Timothy Spall. Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty funny to see 2D characters come to life to face the daily struggles of city living.
Good news to all Enchanted fans out there: Disenchanted, the long-awaited sequel, will release on Disney+ around Thanksgiving of 2022. In the meantime, you can stream Enchanted on Disney+.
From murderous barbers to singing ogres, there’s a funny musical out there to suit everyone’s style of humor. If these selections haven’t tickled your funny bone enough, there are many more comedy musicals available to stream on Broadway HD, including films and live performances.
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She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.
By Adam Holmes