The Most Essential Summer Comedy of 2023
Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer comedy season, and we have your comprehensive guide to the scorching hot laughers coming your way from now until it’s time to send those screaming kids back to school. Here’s a look at the most hilarious movies, TV shows, comedian tours, books and stand-up specials that will arrive over the next three months.
Slap on some sunblock and let’s roll…
Summer Comedy Movies
The Machine (May 26th): Bert Kreischer may have made the funniest movie ever based on a stand-up comedy routine. (We can’t think of another movie based on a stand-up comedy routine.) Here’s hoping Mark Hamill brings some of that Joker energy to the table as Kreischer’s drug-downing daddy.
You Hurt My Feelings (May 26th): Comedy royalty Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a novelist who tailspins when she overhears her husband criticizing her new book. Feelings is pulling a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes right now, so it looks like she’ll be spared such a real-life trauma.
Maggie Moore(s) (June 16th): Why is a small-town murderer killing everyone named Maggie Moore? Dunno, but we’ll check it out for the Tina Fey/Jon Hamm reunion. (Hamm actually auditioned for Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, but got Mad Men instead. Some things are meant to be.)
No Hard Feelings (June 23rd): Based on the absolutely true story of a weird Craigslist ad. We’re counting on this movie's success to bring back both the R-rated comedy and that option on my GeoCities screenplay.
Joy Ride (July 7th): Seriously? Another “four Asian-American friends traveling through Asia in search of one of their birth mothers” comedy? Okay, fine, but this better be the last one.
Biosphere (July 7th): Two best friends find themselves to be the last two men on Earth. Can they work together to convince humanity that this isn’t a sequel to a Pauly Shore comedy?
Barbie (July 21st): America, prepare to get memed to death.
They Cloned Tyrone (July 21st): Jamie Foxx, John Boyega and Teyonah Parris follow a trail of eerie events to solve a nefarious neighborhood conspiracy. Sort of an X-Files meets nextdoor.com kinda thing.
Haunted Mansion (July 28th): Somehow, the original theme-park-ride-turned-movie, starring Eddie Murphy back in his kid-movie phase, grossed nearly $200 million. Can the Rosario Dawson/Owen Wilson update do the same, considering most of us skip this attraction unless Space Mountain has a two-hour wait?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (August 4th): From the mind of Seth Rogen, another gnarly creature who plays video games in the basement while craving pizza.
Strays (August 18th): The Please Don’t Destroy movie got yoinked out of theaters this summer to make room for Strays, featuring foul-mouthed drunken dogs voiced by Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell. A Ferrel-voiced pooch wants to bite Will Forte’s dick off? We’re kinda here for it.
Lift (August 25th): Take an international heist crew trying to prevent a terrorist attack. Add one Kevin Hart and voila — you got yourself a comedy! Or what passes for one on Netflix. At least Mark Wahlberg isn’t in it.
Vacation Friends 2 (August 25th): John Cena’s original Vacation Friends once held the record for Hulu’s biggest hit movie, beating out… March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step? Either way, it’s not a long list. Anyways, the vacation pals are back again, this time with Steve Buscemi for extra chaos.
Summer Comedy TV and Streaming
I Think You Should Leave (May 30th): Tim Robinson is back, and he’s brought everyone’s favorite cringe with him. Our favorite sketch of the new season is the one where Robinson gets outrageously angry over something that’s not a big deal at all. So pretty much all of ‘em.
Deadloch (June 2nd): Prime Video calls this one “a feminist noir comedy set against a bucolic backdrop with a rising body count.” If you like your comedy bloody — and really, who doesn’t? — Deadloch might be for you.
Based on a True Story (June 8th): Kaley Cuoco stars in this Peacock comedy about unlikely partners (a realtor, a former tennis star and a plumber) who start a podcast based on America’s true-crime obsession. Wait, isn’t that Only Murders In the Building?
Never Have I Ever, Season Four (June 8th): It’s senior year, so you know, sex.
The Full Monty (June 14th): The thing about the classic movie comedy The Full Monty was that it paid off when we got to see the Full Monty. Now that the guys are 25 years older, do we need to see it again? (Please, don’t show us again FX.)
Righteous Gemstones, Season Three (June 18th): When those nasty Gemstone children finally take control of the church, they discover leadership is harder than they imagined and that their extravagant lifestyle comes with a heavy price. So likely based on a true IRS audit. Praise Jesus!
I’m a Virgo (June 23rd): Winner of the summer’s weirdest show description, I'm A Virgo Prime Video promises a “darkly comedic fantastical coming-of-age joyride about Cootie, a 13-foot-tall young Black man in Oakland, California.” Are we crazy to think this one looks intriguing?
What We Do in the Shadows, Season Five (July 13th): Nobody is saying much about Season Five beyond announcing the premiere date, but we assume there will be some fresh blood. Ha ha! You guys can use that one if you want.
Minx, Season Two (July 21st): The first erotic magazine for the ladies takes off in Season Two, promising more merkins than ever before. If you missed the news, this HBOMax, er, Max series has migrated over to STARZ (in ALLCAPS), so add another service to your STREAMING BILL. Wasn’t cutting the cord supposed to make all of this less expensive?
Twisted Metal (July 27th): Turning video games into other media (The Last Of Us, The Super Mario Bros. Movie) seems to be killing it these days so why not morph this PlayStation classic into an Anthony Mackie laugher? We’re hearing words like “badass” and “high-octane” being thrown around, so buckle up.
The Upshaws, Part 4 (August 17th): Mike Epps, Kim Fields and the spectacular Wanda Sykes are back for one more go-round. We’re guessing it will be a mixture of ups and downs, laughter and tears and a little “through thick and thin” mixed in for good measure.
Summer Stand-Up Comedy Tours
Taylor Tomlinson: Tomlinson’s Have It All Tour continues, with detours through Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Sarah Squirm: Prepare to vomit.
Colin Jost: The Weekend Update host with the very punchable face has a number of dates planned for June.
Neal Brennan: Does anyone have more dates this summer than Brennan? (Pro-tip: Presale code is NEAL. You already guessed NEAL? Never mind.)
Steve Martin and Martin Short: If you’re lucky, maybe there will be an actual murder live on stage and the audience can try to figure out who did it! Clue: The murder weapon is a banjo. (Technically only a few dates in June, but the boys hit it hard again in September.)
Nikki Glaser: World Tour 2023 continues! Is Nikki Glaser ever not on tour?
Trevor Noah: Act fast if you want to see Noah in the States this summer — his Off the Record Tour heads across the Atlantic for Europe and South Africa in July.
Please Don’t Destroy: The boys’ movie got pushed back until fall, but you can still catch ‘em live.
Gabriel Iglesias: Fluffy can’t stop, won’t stop. Forget Kreischer, this guy is the real machine.
Summer Comedy Books
Boom Chicago Presents the 30 Most Important Years in Dutch History (July 4th): An oral history of the Amsterdam improv troupe that starred unknowns Seth Meyers, Jordan Peele, Jason Sudeikis and Amber Ruffin. Warning: There may be hashish involved.
Dead Funny: The Humor of American Horror (July 14th): David Gillotta unravels the history of comedic horror, from the silent era to Jordan Peele.
Ernie in Kovacsland: Writings, Drawings, and Photographs from Television's Original Genius (July 25th): Josh Mills and Kovacs himself contribute to this visually gorgeous career retrospective, featuring previously unseen material from Kovacs’ personal archive.
Summer Comedy Stand-Up Specials
Sarah Silverman, Someone You Love (May 27th): It’s Silverman’s first stand-up special in 10 years, so she’s probably been saving up some good ones.
Amy Schumer, Emergency Contact (June 13th): Variety speculates that the special’s title might come from this joke Schumer told on Saturday Night Live: “It’s awkward having sex with your spouse. It is. Because, like, that’s your family. I have Thanksgiving with you. I lay out your sweaters. I can’t go down on you. You’re my emergency contact, for Christ’s sake.”
John Early, Now More Than Ever (June 17th): You can’t say Early isn’t ambitious. His first HBO comedy special will be in the style of a 1970s rockumentary, with Early telling jokes between his covers of Neal Young and Britney Spears songs. More comedy specials should feature mirrored disco balls.