The 15 Best Comedies of 2022

The movies that best sum up the state of comedy in 2022 are the Mike Judge return to form Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe and the old-timer mayhem of Jackass Forever. A dedication to franchise, but with a knowing eye—an understanding that this is the way the industry (and the world) works, but a refusal to go down quietly. Among the best comedies of 2022 are some heavy-hitters, sure. Some movies that we expected to bring out the big guns, like the heartwarming humor of a top-tier Pixar movie. The sequel to a massive whodunnit hit. But there were so many others that knowingly looked at what the film world wanted and went hard, blessedly, in the other direction in order to give us what we didn’t know we wanted. A little bitty stop-motion shell. A multiverse-hopping extravaganza of hot dog hands and talking rocks. A ‘70s TV movie pastiche that stops dead in its tracks to walk us through a tasty-looking chili recipe. These are the ballsy, badass, truly hilarious films that defied expectations by understanding what the expectations were. Great comedy wasn’t everywhere in 2022, but if you understood the signs, you could find the folks on the right wavelength for you.

Here are our picks for the 15 best comedy movies of the year:

3. Inspector Ike

In what seems like a lost TV movie from the 1970s, the understudy of an avant-garde theater group murders its star actor in cold blood so that he can finally have the spotlight for himself. He thinks he’s gotten away with it until Inspector Ike, New York City’s greatest police detective who, according to legend, can “solve crimes without any clues or evidence,” comes knocking at the door asking questions and poking holes in the understudy’s story. Since the exact details of the crime are revealed in the first act, Inspector Ike’s charm doesn’t come from trying to figure out whodunit, but from watching Inspector Ike unfold the case before him with signature deadpan—all while the killer’s inner psyche unravels as he tries to outrun his guilt. Where most detective parodies might take their leads for a bumbling fool, Inspector Ike himself is skillfully played straight-faced by Ikechukwu Ufomadu in a refreshing spin on an old comedy trope. Ike’s confidence in himself and in his work projects the presence of a trustworthy, comforting guiding hand in the absurd world that director Graham Mason has carefully crafted. Simultaneously deadpan and warmly funny, Inspector Ike borrows ingredients from multiple genres to create something weird and totally new in a way that honors the feelings of its characters, yet never takes itself too seriously. For example, the narrative flow of the film is interrupted so that Inspector Ike can relay a chili recipe to us. We’re encouraged to write it all down on a recipe card. With a pinch of satirical, self-deprecating humor here and a dash of giallo-esque deep red flashbacks there—all structured as a Columbo-style detective serial—you get a dish so hearty that you’ll find yourself clamoring for another bowl. In fact, after the credits rolled, I wished I lived in a time and place where I could tune into Inspector Ike’s adventures every week.—Katarina Docalovich