24 Hilarious Movies, Books, and Podcasts for Dad to Enjoy

Laughing way their to dreamland... can you think of a better way for Dad to unwind?

Clockwise from left: Mr. Mayor, Year Book by Seth Rogen, Raya the Last Dragon, A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Mystic Quest. Photos: NBC; Little Brown Book Group; Disney+; Crown Pub; Netflix; AppleTV+.

With all we dads have to do, and all that’s going on in the world, a good laugh session makes for a good night’s sleep. In fact, having a few laughs with my 8-year-old son Zephyr is the best way for us to relieve stress and power down together before bedtime. Between the pandemic, parenting, and working, I’m almost completely wiped out by the end of the day. But I always save a little energy so I can enjoy more bonding time with my son.

Recently, we enjoyed Netflix’s animated breakout hit The Mitchell vs. the Machines – okay, he fell off the couch he was laughing so hard – which artfully intertwined a father-daughter story, a classic family road trip, and an apocalyptic action thriller. But there are times, even after I have tucked Zephyr in, that I find myself seeking more comedy, in every form I can find it, before I turn off the lights.

So here are the best books, podcasts, movies, and TV shows that will take you to dream town, laughing all the way. I am including a dad rating for each, so you know which are okay for enjoying with your kid and which ones you should check out on your own.

Movies That Will Keep You Up Laughing

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Dad rating: Go watch this with your child right now!
Proudly inclusive and absolutely adrenalized, the animated masterpiece manages to be a touching father daughter story, hilarious family road trip movie, and action-packed apocalypse tale rolled into one.
Streaming on Netflix.

Raya and the Last Dragon
Dad rating: Funny for all ages.
A badass princess goes on a quest to find the last dragon to reunite her people, and ends up finding a wise-cracking buddy in the process. You’ll fall out of bed laughing at their snappy repartee.
Available on Disney+.

Screen grab from Raya the Last Dragon
Photo: Disney

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
Dad rating: Great for kids – and dads who love Phish.
SpongeBob loses his beloved pet snail Gary. Eye-bugging freaking out ensues, followed by wacky adventures galore. Just when you don’t think it can get weirder, Keanu Reeves shows up as a talking sage bush (really!).
Available on Amazon Prime.

Palm Springs
Dad rating: So not appropriate for children.
Imagine Groundhog Day on acid. Lots of acid. Nyles and Sarah are caught in an infinite time loop at a Palm Springs wedding, which spirals into increasingly bonkers escapades as they search for a way out.
Available on Hulu.

Bill & Ted Face the Music
Dad rating: Excellent! ...for grownups.
The time travelling rockers riff their way into the future to steal a song from themselves to save the world. It makes no sense, but it doesn’t need to. Party on, dudes.
Available on Amazon Prime.

Dad rating: Zoinks!
Part origin story of the Mystery, Inc. gang and part wacky new adventure, the latest Scooby-Doo reboot enthralls kids while offering up enough underhanded humor and pop culture references to amuse adults.
Available on Amazon Prime.

Screenshot from movie Scoob!
Photo: Warner Bros

Books that Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Dad rating: Not intended for children, unless they’re in Mensa.
In this laugh out loud funny Pulitzer Prize winner, unsuccessful novelist Arthur Less declines an invite to his ex’s wedding by agreeing to a series of increasingly ludicrous literary events around the world.
Available on Bookshop.org.

The Best Worst Poet Ever by Lauren Stohler
Dad rating: Perfect for kiddos.
Cat and Pug have a rap battle to determine the G.O.A.T. poet – dropping dope rhymes on sundaes, typing verses with their butts – that will have you and your kid peeing in your pjs.
Available on Bookshop.org.

A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir by Colin Jost
Dad rating: Hard R.
As a SNL writer for over 15 years, the razor-sharp comic (aka Mr. Johansson) perfected the art of self-deprecating humor, so he turns his life into one long punchline at his own expense.
Available on Bookshop.org.

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene
Dad rating: This one's for you, Dad.
Everything you ever wanted to know (and more than a few things you didn’t know you wanted to know) about the Dunder Mifflin crew from the insiders who made it.
Available on Bookshop.org.

You’re Doing Great!: And Other Reasons to Stay Alive by Tom Papa
Dad rating: A few kid-friendly moments, but mostly adult humor.
These riotous micro-essays are a reminder that modern life is pretty damn awesome – and so are you. Consider them your moments of Zen before you pass out after a long day of dad-ing.
Available on Bookshop.org.

Yearbook by Seth Rogen
Dad rating: Not appropriate for little ones.
The actor, writer, and Twitter battlemaster has lived a life less ordinary and more hilarious than you’d even expect. Don’t drink while reading his memoir – unless you want to snort laugh liquid onto your sheets.
Available on Bookshop.org.

Podcasts for Dad’s Ears Only

My Dad Wrote a Porno
Dad rating: If you listen to it with your child, you’ll both be mortified.
Most people would crawl under a rock to die if they learned their father authored a raunchy novel. Instead, Jamie Morton started doing a very public reading and analysis that’s utterly, well, titillating.
Find out more.

Ooh! You’re in Trouble
Dad rating: Great for co-listening.
Framed as a tongue-in-cheek detective show, real tweens investigate why they broke the rules – pushing boundaries, acting out, or standing up to “the man” (which very well may be you, Dad).
Find out more.

Entry Level
Dad rating: Funny for dads, depressing for kids.
Do you want fries with that? Host Brooks Wheelan explores the crappy, soul sucking, inadvertently hilarious jobs his guests had to survive in order to thrive.
Find out more.

Dad rating: PG-13 due to swearing.
Consider this the anti-Michelin Guide. The hosts and a celeb dive into fast food reviews – from Guy Fieri’s ghost kitchen to whatever those mystery meats are on the roller-grill at 7-Eleven.
Find out more.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
Dad rating: It varies by interview, but some are PG-ish.
These longform interviews are an excuse for the late night icon to geek out with his favorite celebrities, but his snippy banter with his assistant Sona often steals the show.
Find out more.

Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet
Dad rating: Dads only.
Sometimes the best reviews are the worst ones. These dramatic readings of one-star reviews revel in the ridiculosity of peoples’ quibbles and foibles.
Find out more.

TV Shows: How to End the Night With a Chuckle

How To With John Wilson 
Dad rating: This will confuse children (and some adults).
Documentarian John Wilson roams around New York City asking odd characters oftentimes unexpected questions. Consider it training for when your kid starts bringing home dates.
Available on HBOMax.

Screengrab from How to With John Wilson
Photo: HBO

Mythic Quest 
Dad rating: Dads only.
The office drama at a video game studio is just as action-packed and over-the-top as what’s happening online in their fantasy MMORPG. Okay, there are fewer beheadings, but it’s still lit.
Available on Apple TV+.

Dad rating: Absolutely not for minors.
Dave Burd, a self-deprecating Jew from the Philly suburbs, finds Internet fame as a hip hop up ‘n’ comer with the viral hit “My Dick Sucks.” Puerile? Sometimes. Hilarious? Definitely.
Available on Hulu.

The Owl House 
Dad rating: A worthy watch for dads and children.
After stumbling through a portal into an enchanted realm, a bisexual teen teams up with a demon and a witch to learn magic. Though it’s made by Disney, it’s no picture-perfect-princess fairytale.
Available on Disney+.

Screengrab from The Owl House: Episode  "A Lying Witch and a Warden"
THE OWL HOUSE - "A Lying Witch and a Warden" - Luz, a self-assured teenage girl, accidentally stumbles upon a portal to a magical world where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and an adorably tiny warrior, King. In order to get home, Luz must help them with a mission. This episode of "The Owl House" airs Friday, Jan. 10 (8:46-9:10 P.M. EST) on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel) LUZ
Photo: Disney Channel/Disney Channel

Mr. Mayor 
Dad rating: Totally PG, but probably best for adults.
Neil Bremer ran for mayor of L.A. just to impress his jaded teenage daughter. He wins, forcing him to run the city while trying to connect with her. Maybe he should have just bought her a new car.
Available on NBC.

The Kominsky Method
Dad rating: Sorry, kids, you’re not old enough to appreciate or truly comprehend this show.
Think Grumpy Old Men, except with Michael Douglas as an aging acting coach and Alan Arkin as his longtime agent and BFF. The geriatric buddy comedy is surprisingly heartwarming, while still full of the requisite prostate jokes.
Available on Netflix.

Did you know sleep deprivation makes everything funnier when you're tired? Or maybe you've just somehow seen everything on this list and didn't find it your cup of tea. If so, try adult bedtime stories, which are designed to soothe you to sleep.

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