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20 Best Comedy Scripts to Read and Download
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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenplays to Read
June 19, 2019 40 comments
best comedy scripts to read

20 Best Comedy Scripts to Read and Download For Free

Here are twenty of the best comedy scripts that you can download and read to help make writing a comedy script that much easier. Study these funny scripts and learn how to amp up the funny in your own screenplay.

We’ve tried to cater to most tastes by including a variety of styles and genres, from independent comedy drama scripts to buddy action comedies. But even if, say, a funny drama script isn’t really your “thing,” read it anyway.

If you want to improve as a comedy writer it’s essential that you read as many comedy scripts as possible. And every one of these comedy scripts is well worth your time. Enjoy!

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1. 21 Jump Street

The 21 Jump Street script puts a new spin on the buddy action movie genre by giving just as much weight to comedy as to the action. It takes the premise of the original TV show but twists the tone from straight action into out-and-out comedy. Always think “How can I subvert genres? How can I mix genres and create something new?”

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Overall, the script works because buddy movies are an important part of cinema history—although also a particularly American phenomenon. Indeed, as film historian David Thompson notes, “You just wouldn’t see three Englishmen behave the way American men do, who are truly happiest when they are together with other men.”

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Selling comedy scripts in Hollywood is a tough business. But a sure-fire way to make it that much easier is to give us a protagonist who leaps off the page. Make him or her someone unique, memorable and most of all, funny.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Ron Burgundy is just that guy. And not only that but the writers, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, also use the trick of showing us a world in a different way. Now, of course, writing a comedy script that satirizes the 1970s world of mainstream media wouldn’t be fresh. But back in the early 2000s, it hadn’t been done before. So look for those opportunities in your comedy scripts.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

3. The Big Lebowski

A great way of putting a new twist on a genre is to combine it with another. This is exactly what the Coen brothers did when they created this Raymond Chandler-esque crime story and infused it with a strong dose of surreal dope-infused humor.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

The brothers only wrote forty pages of a first draft, before hitting a roadblock in the story. So they decided to sit on it for a while and work on other projects, before coming back to it. Apparently, this is a method they often use and find when they return to a script after some time, they’re full of fresh ideas and eager to dive back in. In other words, there’s no “one correct way” to write a comedy script.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

4. The Big Sick

The script, by actors Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, is semi-autobiographical. The main storyline is based on their actual courtship before they got married, and many of the events actually happened in one form or another.

Mining your own life for material for a comedy screenplay can be a good way into finding an idea. It means you’ll be writing from a point of personal pain so the story will feel more “real.” However, it’s also important to make it funnier than real life.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

While this script spawned a big hit at the box office, many felt the movie lacked conflict and real laughs. And this is probably because the writers relied so much on their real-life experiences.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

5. Crazy Rich Asians

The movie that proved romantic comedies can still be huge worldwide hits was based on the best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan. His book was also inspired by events in his personal life and he began writing it after his father died as a way to cope with his grief.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Due to the current state of an industry that loves scripts based on existing popular works, publishing a novel first is always an option for aspiring screenwriters. Especially if you’re based in another state or another country altogether.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

6. Easy A

This is a smart high school teen comedy that writer Bert V. Royal claims to have written in five days. (Apart from the climax.) Maybe part of the reason for such a speedy genesis is the fact the story’s essentially an update on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

In any event, it’s a great comedy screenplay to study if you’re writing a high school comedy. It’s worth paying particular attention to the dramatic use of theme to highlight Olive Penderghast’s character arc.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

7. The Edge of Seventeen

How this wonderful comedy drama script got made is a fine example of a writer punching above their weight. If you have a great comedy screenplay and a favorite producer or director, there’s nothing to stop you sending it to them and seeing what happens.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

This is exactly what fairly new screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig did when she sent a copy of the script to James L. Brooks and he ended up becoming her mentor. As she says, “He was the crazy longshot I took in the beginning! And one I never thought would actually work. But I sent him the script and he ended up taking on the project.”

What drew him in was Craig’s unique “voice” on the page. Read the script and you’ll see why.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

8. Game Night

The Game Night script is one of the best comedy scripts of recent years. Again, it’s one that skillfully mixes genres—this time black comedy and thriller. Its writer is Mark Perez who co-wrote the underrated 2006 comedy screenplay Accepted, starring Justin Long and Jonah Hill.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Asked by the film’s producer John Fox for story ideas, Perez drew inspiration from the classic 80s comedy The Three Amigos and pitched him the idea about a game night among friends that goes wrong. Fox, Jason Bateman and New Line Cinema loved it, and the rest is history.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

9. Girls Trip

Much like Amy Poehler’s recent movie, Wine Country, this is one of those comedy scripts you should read if you’re writing multi-protagonists. It’s also a great screenplay to read to learn how to write that essential element in a modern comedy movie: the set piece.

Karen McCullah who co-wrote Legally Blonde (which is coming up) and 10 Things I Hate About You (which isn’t) was brought in specifically to help write the big set pieces in the script.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

“They brought me on to be outrageous,” she notes. If you’re writing an R-rated comedy script, your writing needs to be too. Take a leaf out of Girls Trip to see how it’s done.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

10. Horrible Bosses

Written by three writers—Michael Markowitz, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley—this is one of the best comedy scripts to read if you have three protagonists. Note how it’s not until page 35 in the script that we find the end of Act 1 with Nick’s line “I’m in.” He finally commits to the plan for them to kill their bosses and we have a goal for Act 2.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Now, most screenwriting books and gurus will say this is too late for the push into Act 2. But here it works perfectly. We’ve had so much fun seeing Nick, Dale and Kurt getting badly treated by their bosses, that we don’t even notice how late the act break arrives. In fact, we needed that much time to get to know our three protagonists.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Best Comedy Scripts to Read

11. Ingrid Goes West

A troubled young woman moves to LA in order to stalk and hopefully befriend her idol—an Instagram star. It’s this simple high concept idea that makes you want to see the movie. But it’s the execution of the idea that makes it one of the best comedy scripts in recent years.

It was also Matt Spicer and David Branson Smith’s first produced comedy screenplay and there is some good advice to be gleaned from their co-writing process.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

“We would meet for upwards of five hours. We had set goals to make this, and held ourselves accountable during the writing process. We also wrote according to what we could produce. A lot of scenes were written to be shot at friend’s places, Joshua Tree, etc.”

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

12. Juno

Every pro screenwriter has a slightly different story to tell of how they broke into the industry. The Juno script was Diablo Cody’s ticket and was a typically circuitous route. First, she had a blog about being a stripper. This landed her a book deal, which led to being asked to write a script based on the book. But first, she needed a writing sample to show studios…

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Having decided she wanted the writing sample that would become Juno to be about adoption, she began the research process. Far too many aspiring screenwriters skip this part but don’t be one of them. Collect real-life stories about your subject matter, draw inspiration from your own life and ground the story and humor in something real.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

13. Legally Blonde

One of the older funny scripts on the list, but still one all aspiring comedy writers should read. The screenplay was adapted from a novel based on the author’s real-life experiences. Amanda Brown, just like the story’s protagonist, Elle Woods, was a blonde fashionista at a top law school.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Screenwriters, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, joined Brown to help exaggerate the conflict the author endured at Stanford and turn Elle Woods into one of the most memorable characters in comedy. As the film’s producer Marc Platt notes, “She’s truly an irrepressible modern heroine.”

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

14. Little Miss Sunshine

As we wrote in our post on how to become a screenwriter, Michael Arndt quit his day job as Matthew Broderick’s assistant to spend a year writing. The result was seven spec scripts, one of which was Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Arndt started the script on May 23, 2000, and three days later had completed a rough draft. He later sold it to one of the film’s producers, Marc Turtletaub, for $250,000. Not bad for a first-time screenwriter. This is a great example of how a newbie screenwriter can break into the industry through sheer hard work. And, of course, more than a little talent.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

15. Midnight in Paris

This screenplay, like most Woody Allen comedy scripts, is a great one to study in order to understand how to implement a strong theme. The idea of a nostalgic screenwriter, Gil, in Paris with his fiancé who finds himself being transported back to the 1920s every night, probably came to Allen off-the-cuff.

But imagine if the script he then wrote just had Gil getting into a meaningless adventure in 1920s Paris. Imagine the script had nothing to say about the nature of nostalgia and learning how to live in the present.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

And imagine Gil doesn’t learn this theme through the stakes character, Adriana, who is herself nostalgic for the La Belle Époque of the 1890s. Always remember a strong theme will really make your comedy screenplay resonate and elevate it above the competition.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

16. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is not only one of the best animated scripts ever made but one of the best comedy scripts ever written—whether animated or live action. Unlike, many Pixar movies that are often action/adventure-based, this tale about a master chef rat is pure comedy.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

In fact, this is what persuaded writer/director, Brad Bird, to come on board. He was taken in, not only by the high concept of a rat who fears kitchens yet longs to work in one but also by the potential for so much physical comedy. A must-read for all budding comedy writers.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

17. School of Rock

Mike White, writer of great comedy scripts such as The Good Girl and Year of the Dog, etc. is maybe best known for this 2003 movie, School of Rock. The version included here is from June 7, 2002 and has a completely different opening to the shooting draft.

The 2002 draft opens on a seven-year-old Dewey being reprimanded by his parents for slacking at school. We then see him transfixed by AC/DC on TV. Then at school, smashing a plastic guitar on the floor. This is all good stuff, but note how much more hard-hitting the opening is in the shooting draft.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Dewey is an adult, playing guitar in a rock band and stage-diving onto an empty floor. That’s who he is in the movie and that’s what White gets across much more effectively in the shooting draft.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

18. Step Brothers

Two middle-aged losers still living at home with their single parents are forced to become roommates when their parents marry. This is a great idea for a comedy script, but how did the writers come up with it?

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Bunk beds… Adam McKay was kicking around new story ideas with some fellow writers and someone said “bunk beds.” McKay then had the idea, why can’t they have bunk beds for grown-ups? And the idea for step-brothers being forced to share a room grew from there.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

19. Superbad

This simple story about two high school seniors trying to impress some girls by throwing a mammoth house party could easily have wound up feeling empty. (Like so many other high school movies.) What places the Superbad script above the pack, however, is its heart.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

The fact Seth and Evan are two co-dependent friends who suffer from separation anxiety is what gives this comedy screenplay its heart. Always look for this level of depth in your characters’ relationships and you can make even the simplest of stories shine.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

20. Ted

Interestingly, Seth MacFarlane originally conceived of Ted as another animated TV show in the vein of Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad. However, he changed his mind and brought on fellow Family Guy writers, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, to create this R-rated comedy about a slacker who lives with his talking teddy bear.

As you read the script, note how thick and fast the jokes come. If you want to be a Hollywood comedy writer, you can’t afford to just have a joke here and there. They need to permeate every scene as they do in Ted.

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

Also note, how despite the R-rated humor, practically every scene relates back to the core conflict surrounding John’s flaw. Will he remain a slacker pothead who hangs out with teddy bear? Or will he grow up, marry his girlfriend and finally become a man?

Best Comedy Scripts To Read

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Best Comedy Scripts to Read

What do you think of our list of the best comedy scripts to read? Have we left any out? Don’t forget you can also find more comedy movie scripts, such as Bridesmaids and The Hangover in the links below.

If you want to get into comedy screenwriting, you must make reading funny scripts part of your weekly routine. Absorb as much as you can and put it into your own comedy screenplay. Good luck.

Best Comedy Scripts to read

Enjoyed These 20 Best Comedy Scripts? Read More by Following the Links Below…

50 Best Screenplays To Read And Download In Every Genre

15 Screenplay Examples From Each Genre to Download for Free

50 Best TV Scripts to Read and Download for Free

[© Photo credits: FlickrFlickr]

40 Comments
  1. Ricki Holmes says:

    Er Blazing Saddles
    Young Frankenstein
    The Naked Gun trilogy
    Airplane
    It’s a mad mad mad mad world

    Not even s mention ?????
    Jeeze you guys have a warped sense of humor
    Oh yeah I get it.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, those are all great movies but we wanted the list to reflect more recent popular comedy scripts seeing as aspiring writers are trying to get into today’s market.

  2. Nathan Ayer says:

    Mrs.Carefire ( comedy ) shot in InkTip.Welcome co-writer.

  3. Donn Kasper says:

    The ‘Ted’ screenplay can’t be downloaded because of bandwidth issues. We get the following message “The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later. ” This is the only script having this issue and I’ve been retrying this download for days.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s odd – it’s working again now.

  4. Paul White says:

    This site is so awesome, your right it’s really helpful to read proper produced comedy scripts and learn how to write.

  5. Callum Thatcher says:

    Glad to have found this site.
    Keep up the good work SRP!
    Peace.

  6. Brandon Lawrence says:

    THANK YOU SCRIPT READER PRO! Some may call you legends or heroes for this, but just to warn you some of the less stable writers out there may start calling you the risen Messiah. That’s their deal, not yours.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Let’s not get carried away 🙂 Happy reading!

  7. Stephan Pacheco says:

    I think the best part is how each script does something in these snippets that someone nearby would say never to do in a screenplay. You aren’t supposed to refer to the audience or describe something about to happen and never use voiceovers and never ever “Fade In”. Point is…a filmmaker can really do it however they want. After a film is made, no matter how the screenplay is written that screenplay is movie history.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      True, professional writers can get away with more, but spec writers can too as long as they’re consistent and their format makes it easy to visualize what’s happening. We can’t stand “gurus” who keep telling everyone you can never write “we see” or use italics, etc. as it’s just not true.

  8. William Whiteford says:

    Learning a model of a pure, classical comedy is decisive before the mixing of even several genres in one screenplay, which seems to be “trendy” nowadays, I suppose.
    With MANY THANKS to you.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, William!

  9. Albert says:

    I’m on it/ great list of scripts to read!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Happy reading, Albert!

  10. Jarinda says:

    Appreciate your sharing this greatest scripts.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the shout out, Jarinda!

  11. francisca says:

    Please let me know if you have a script to the movie knocked up?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sorry, Francisca, we don’t.

  12. Lloyd says:

    Nice list.
    Will try to read all these instead of gaming lol.
    Thank you.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Go for it! It’s all about priorities, my friend.

  13. Deborah pattison says:

    What is the Big Sick doing on here. Hands down one of the worst comedies I’ve seen in last 10 years!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, we tried to appeal to all tastes. 🙂

  14. Janice says:

    DO you have the comedy scripts to Love Actually and Notting Hill?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Afraid not, Janice. Good luck in your search.

  15. Wilfred Ombassa says:

    Im going to read every one. Thanx for uploading guyz

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, happy reading!

  16. Chris says:

    Who came up with this list? No Edgar Wright Judd Apatow Spinal Tap Monty Phython???

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We can’t get everything on – it’d be neverending 🙂

  17. Nina says:

    I’m loving this thank u so much for uploading xoxox

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Nina, you’re welcome!

  18. Greg Maxwell says:

    Real good stuff, thanks for this post.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Greg!

  19. Sarah Saul says:

    I’d like to read the tv series “Gavin and Stacey”. Does anyone have it, or know how I could get hold of it?

    Many thanks,

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Not familiar with that one – if anyone else knows feel free to post.

  20. Alfred Vop says:

    Sean of the Dead, Animal House, Feriss Beuller, Rushmore, Breakfast club … where are they?!?!

  21. Kim says:

    This is so helpful and the replies are kinda funny too!
    Feeling inspired now

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s great to hear – thanks, Kim!

  22. Curtis says:

    I knew it. I have been getting the run around from horrible readers. Set me back. Fortunately, I just kept writing. Reading 21 Jump Street and Horrible Bosses helped me understand what I can and can’t do in my comedies. I have been mislead on character intro’s and it was driving me crazy. I got it now. Thanks for posting; I will begin reading as many as I can.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s great to hear, Curtis! Keep writing and honing your comedies and prove all those lousy readers wrong 🙂

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