The 10 funniest comedies set in New York City

New York City is the epitome of happy endings in movies. Set in the city, the characters never cease to amaze audiences as they are vibrant, optimistic, and proud dreamers. This is due to the city’s dynamism in integrating different cultures, lifestyles and careers as it prides itself on being the cultural capital of the world.

Also, comedies set in New York are just like their residents: bohemian, dramatic and over the top. New York comedy often blends romance and drama, shaping its iconic visual aesthetic and witty humor through films like When Harry met Sally…. However, there is always room for surprises with hysterical satirical comedies like The dictator And You Do not Mess with the Zohan. Here are 10 hilarious movies set in New York that are some of our absolute favorites.

10 The dictator

Sasha Baron Cohen in The Dictator (2012)
Four times two films

The dictator pushes the strings of satire and comedy to the limit without breaking. The film stars Sacha Baron Cohen in a dual role as a traitor and a traitor who exiles Admiral Aladeen, the ruthless dictator of Wadiya, to New York City. Cohen plays Aladeen, the tyrant leader of Wadiya. He is stabbed by his evil uncle Tamir and replaced by his doppelganger, who becomes the puppet ruler under Tamir.

Aladeen is sexist, anti-Semitic, primitive, and a complete idiot struggling to survive in modern-day New York. Adding to his misery is the realization that none of the people he intended to execute were killed. Instead, he finds out that they run a restaurant in town called Death to Aladeen Restaurant. Coupled with its boundless humor, the film provides a profound commentary on American democracy that remains relevant even as the country wages its own internal political struggles.

9 When Harry met Sally…

When Harry met Sally
Columbia images

When Harry met Sally… is a tribute to New York lovers and has the witty playfulness of a comedy column The New Yorker. The story and characters are authentic New Yorkers, as the film’s director, Rob Reiner, and its writer, Norah Ephron, were natives of the city. Several of the film’s characters are columnists, such as Ephron, which allows the film to more accurately capture his intellectual pathos. The film follows the titular characters as they meet over the course of 12 years as they make and break up relationships.

At first, Harry, played by Billy Crystal, and Sally, played by Meg Ryan, repel each other because of their conflicting ideas about relationships. He believes that men and women can never be “just friends,” while she unabashedly welcomes platonic relationships between the opposite sex. The film gets its humor from Harry’s sardonic one-liners and Sally’s laughing quirks, including faking an orgasm in public. The film is pleasing to the eye, ears and humour, and is a fitting tribute to the beautiful city of New York.

Related: Best Movies Set in New York, Ranking

8th trailer hitch

Will Smith and Eva Mendes Hitch
Release of Sony images

will blacksmith plays a hip relationship mentor in the romantic comedy trailer hitch, set in the cityscape of New York. After his relationships fail, Alex Hitchens does what he claims to be an expert at: teaching lonely men the right way to win a woman’s heart. His latest guinea pig is Albert, played by Kevin James, who is in love with the beautiful Allegra Cole but feels invisible to her. Hitch advises him on how to face his insecurities, gain confidence, and take the right steps to get Allegra’s attention. Meanwhile, Hitch is intrigued by a tabloid reporter, played by Eva Mendes, who learns about his job and threatens to ruin his relationship with his client.

Kevin James brings physical comedy to Albert, who charms Allegra with his clumsy moves rather than the tricks he learns from Alex, which becomes the film’s defining moment.

7 Something must give

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give
Release of Sony images

Something must give goes behind the life of wealthy bohemian record company owner Harry, played by Jack Nicholson, who only likes young women under 30. He dates Marin and they decide to spend some time at her mother’s beach house in the Hamptons. Unexpectedly, her mother Erica visits the house. Erica, played by Diane Keaton, is a playwright who resents the age difference between the two and knows no bounds when it comes to exposing Harry’s misogyny.

Erica and Harry’s love-hate relationship eases when Harry realizes he has more in common with her than their daughter, and a mutual respect develops between the two. The contrasting personalities of the two main characters and the bizarre generation gap between Harry and Marin provide most of the comedy in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy. Harry and Erica have careers in art typical of New York fictional characters, giving the city a free-spirited essence.

6 night at the museum

night at the museum
20th Century Fox

night at the museum is the perfect blend of history, comedy and fantasy and an imaginative answer to the question “What happens at night in the museum?” The film centers on the exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, which come to life at night after an ancient Egyptian curse is unleashed became. Ben Stiller plays Larry Daley, a warden who navigates this adventurous crisis. During his nights out, Larry meets several figures from the past, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, Christopher Columbus and Sacagawea, whose interactions in a museum setting are both intriguing and hysterical. Stiller repurposes his role as a clueless guy in Daley, which complements the film’s chaotic plot.

5 Juliet and Juliet

Juliet and Juliet
Columbia images

Juliet and Juliet travels back and forth between 1950s Paris and 2000s New York, accompanied by culinary enthusiasts Julia Child and Julie Powell. The film is based on a true story of the two protagonists who find their true calling in cooking. Child is supported by her diplomatic husband in Paris while she works on her seminal cookbook that would eventually introduce American homes to French cuisine. Several decades later, Julie Powell found her new purpose in the cookbook and tried every recipe in it. She blogs about her journey that is transforming her professional and personal journey.

Meryl Streep shines as Julia Child, balancing dramatic nuance and perfect comedic timing. At the same time, Amy Adams gives Julie the innocent charm. Directed by Norah Ephron, who finds humor in the idiosyncrasies of the diverse characters, while the colorful cities of New York and Paris lend the comedy-drama a cosmopolitan vibe.

4 ghostbusters

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man GHOSTBUSTERS i
Columbia images

The cult classic ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy set in New York, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Harrold Ramis and Annie Potts. The film is notable for choosing horror characters that aren’t scary in the slightest. The film completely subverts the horror genre by being a farcical comedy.

The story revolves around three parapsychologists who lead the unique project of investigating and eliminating paranormal events, calling themselves “Ghostbusters”. New York faces a new crisis as a parallel dimension takes hold, attracting new spirits to the city. The Ghostbusters realign their brains to handle the crisis and face the unexpected challenges presented by the unusual ghosts. Bill Murray’s performance in the film is considered one of his most popular roles as the actor perfects his dry humor and brings a nonsensical twist to the comedy.

3 You have mail

You have mail
Warner Bros.

You have mail Is a definite 90’s romantic comedy about the beginning of anonymous virtual relationships. The film was directed by Norah Ephron and starred favorite romantic comedy duo Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in their third film collaboration. Meg plays Kathleen Kelly, owner of an independent bookstore in New York. Kelly faces competition from newly established chain stores Fox Books, run by Joe Fox and played by Hanks. Anonymous, the two find virtual solace as they begin a relationship online.

The hilarious banter between the professional rivals and the awkward chemistry between the online lovers add a playful charm to the romantic comedy. Dave Chappelle plays the Fox Books executive who gives the film a wacky, comical vibe.

2 The devil Wears Prada

The devil Wears Prada
20th century studios

Meryl Streep portrays Runaway Magazine’s shrewd editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly The devil Wears Prada. The character is rumored to be inspired by real-life Vogue editor Anna Wintour, as the film exposes the brutality of the New York fashion scene. The film also stars Anne Hathaway as Andrea, who takes over from Miranda’s personal assistant and is briefed on office etiquette.

Shot primarily in New York City, the film captures the city’s obsession with haute couture and luxury at the hands of Miranda and her minions. While her character had several problematic aspects, Miranda’s over-the-top demands and the busy office to fulfill them make for excellent comedic moments.

Related: The Best Movies Made in New York State, Ranked

1 You Do not Mess with the Zohan

You Do not Mess with the Zohan
Release of Sony images

You Do not Mess with the Zohan is full of incredible surprises and weird punches. In the film, Adam Sandler plays an Israeli commando named Zohan who fakes his death in order to emigrate to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a hairdresser. His salon is a big hit with Manhattan women, but the roads are even bumpier when an enemy from his past discovers him. Zohan is revealed to be a Swiss talent who uses his fighting skills to protect his life.

The film has a Sandler-esque flair of comedy, with the physical humor being cartoonish but with the heart in the right place, telling a story about the American dream.

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Lindsay Lowe joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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