Best Comedy Screenplay Collection Ever

As the great Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die”.

Short funny scripts may be difficult to write, however, this collection of comedy scripts has cemented itself as an excellent example of the hilarious.

From shows about friends living opposite one another to those about kidnappees trying to adapt to life outside an underground bunker, this collection has a script for all writers, whatever form their humor takes.

Plus, we are proud to share with you the pilot script for SHRINKING. The latest hit Apple TV comedy screenwriting series from our TV Pilot Judge, Randall Keenan Winston.

We hope you enjoy reading the scripts below! Click the image to read & download them for free.

Shrinking – A Comedy Screenplay You’ll Love

Created by Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence, and Jason Segel (who plays the main character, Jimmy), Shrinking follows the story of a therapist wrestling with the pain brought on by the death of his wife. In the process, he begins to support his clients in some fairly unconventional and arguably unethical ways. Shrinking employs a warm, gentle humor that excellently complements the touching moments of emotional struggle and personal growth. The show expertly balances its solemn undertone with awkward and cringe comedy, facilitated by Jimmy’s fractured mental state, and its comedy identity is only enhanced by its careful and clever use of sarcasm, jabs, and witty one-liners. For those wondering how to mix trauma and comedy, read this script.

Funny Script Writing Masterclass – 30 Rocks

Tina Fey brings her absurdist, SNL-built, sketch-style sensibility to 30 Rock; a unique workplace comedy loosely based on her time as a head writer at Saturday Night Live. A clinic in quick-wit, one-liners, and observational humor, the show adopts a fast-paced, joke-packed structure observable even from the pilot episode. Perhaps most impressive is the careful construction of the characters from the outset; note how the first scene, in which Liz buys all the bagels (hotdogs in the aired episode) because a guy cuts in front of her, cleverly illustrates her affinity for justice and fairness. Toofer, on the other hand, is skillfully depicted as pretentious and pompous, complaining that their writer’s room is missing a “samovar of coffee”. Such precise characterization facilitates the ability to flood each page with jokes, making 30 Rock an impeccable example of a well-written sitcom. Whether you’re writing a comedy or not, this pilot is a masterclass in introducing a clear conflict and leaving the audience desperate for future episodes.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Best Comedy Script

A product of writer-performers Rob McElhenny, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the longest-running sitcoms ever, and for good reason. The premise is simple but gives way to hilariously dark, satirical humor: five of society’s worst people run a bar in South Philly. Take the first episode of the second season: when the gang accidentally runs Charlie over with their car, they notice his new state of incapacity seems to be attracting significant female attention. Envious, Mac and Dennis decide to acquire some wheelchairs of their own, hoping for the same outcome, but instead, end up competing over who makes the most convincing disabled person. Not safe for the politically incorrect, if you’re wondering how to take a taboo topic and make it funny, read this script.

The Office

A comedy screenplay by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

The American adaptation of the script by the same name written by British comedy royalty Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, Greg Daniels retains the original show’s willingness to delight in the uncomfortable. Dry, sarcastic, and cringe, the script’s humor excellently captures the awkwardness of office workplaces, allowing the show to attain its comedic identity from its realism. The pilot episode offers finely crafted characters that bolster an ordinary situation into one ripe for laughs. Michael Scott, for instance, is presented as incompetent and inappropriate; characteristics that clearly clash with Pam’s timid, deadpan disposition. For those interested in writing mockumentaries or simply learning to create characters with clear internal conflicts and motivations, The Office is a perfect funny script to read.

Parks and Recreation – Script for the Perfect Comedy

Greg Daniel’s second attempt at a mockumentary is just as strong as his first. Another SNL alum, Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope, an over-enthusiastic local government worker, bringing an infectious optimism and jubilance to another ordinary situation, encouraging a warm style of comedy complemented by charming one-liners and feel-good storylines. The first episode centers around Leslie Knope’s attempt to turn an abandoned lot into a park, in response to enraged citizens, while battling a lack of enthusiasm from her co-workers and political red tape. If you’re wondering how to write a comedy screenplay that forgoes cruelty and favors fun, read this script.

Modern Family – An American Sitcom in the Mockumentary Style

Satirical, quick-witted, ironic, slapstick, another mockumentary-style sitcom, Modern Family employs a multitude of comedy devices to achieve its heightened hilarity. Miscommunications also feature heavily in the show’s comedic concoction, both of which make an appearance in the show’s pilot. Take the dialogue between Mitch, Cam, and the Wheelchair Woman on pages 12-13, for instance; The wheelchair woman exclaims, “look at that baby with those twinkies” and thinking the woman was attempting to insult them, Mitch launches into a speech about intolerance, without having realized that his baby, Lily, had grabbed a pack of Twinkies from the display rack. Through jokes like this, the pilot excellently establishes the tone of the show and instantly intrigues the audience. Note also, the adept weaving of multiple storylines that expertly introduces each family and allows the script to vary its pacing for comedic effect. If you’re wondering how to demonstrate a unique voice in your writing, or how to balance the storylines of an ensemble screenplay, read this script. 

Arrested Development by Mitch Hurwitz

From the genius of Mitch Hurwitz, Arrested Development is perhaps one of the most original sitcoms ever made. It adopts an absurd, yet intelligent style of humor and is one of the few sitcoms that manages to lean into cheap comedy without sacrificing quality. Indeed, the jokes are so finely constructed and plentiful, the viewer may indeed miss the satisfying running gags if not paying attention. The narrative (provided by Ron Howard) is often the set-up for the gag, with the punchline executed by the delightfully bizarre characters. Take the pilot for example, which centers around introducing the show’s central conflict: George Bluth, the patriarch of the family and owner of a housing development company is arrested and his son, Michael, takes it upon himself to keep the company afloat. In this episode, for instance, we meet Gob, Michael’s brother and a struggling magician; George-Michael, Michael’s awkward teenage son who works at the family’s frozen banana stand; and Tobias, Michael’s brother-in-law who lost his medical license for attempting to perform CPR on a sleeping tourist at the beach. If you are struggling with creating unfamiliar characters or want to learn how to adopt a unique style of humor, read this short comedy script.

Friends – The Best Funny Script to Make You Laugh

Arguably one of the best and most popular sitcoms ever written, the success of Friends is indisputable. Created for network television, Friends is an excellent example of comedy script writing. It features a universally relatable humor style that includes sarcasm, relatability, slapstick, and physical comedy. The pilot is packed with jokes and funny moments and benefits from excellent set-ups that often complement the building storyline. Take Rachel’s entrance: As Ross grieves over his divorce, he exclaims that he just wants to be married again, just as Rachel rushes in in a wedding dress, prompting Chandler to joke “And I just want a lot of money” (“And I just want a million dollars” in the aired episode). Not only is this scene hilarious, but it is a mere glimpse into Friends’ ability to expertly balance its comedic identity with intensely engaging storylines and relationships. If you want to learn how to write compelling network television, read this script.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Laughing in the Dark Moments

Another hit from the comedic genius of Tina Fey and her writing partner Robert Carlock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit follows a rescued kidnappee as she attempts to get to grips with life as a free, un-kidnapped adult. The show favors sharp jokes and a musical flare that is often comparable to 30 Rock, but it emerges as wholly unique, adopting a colorful electricity that thrives in goofs and cartoony gags. The pilot focuses on Kimmy’s rescue, her attempt to find an apartment, and curtail her hostage-induced trauma. The episode manages to tastefully humourize a potentially dark situation, establishing compelling and unfamiliar characters in the process. Kimmy, for instance, appears both naive and cheerful, yet is also visibly disturbed by her past. A masterclass in finding humor in life’s most challenging situations, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a shining example of modern funny script writing.

New Girl – Friends to the End!

An ensemble comedy about a girl who, after she catches her boyfriend with another woman, moves in with three strangers from Craigslist, who end up being less creepy than the premise may suggest. New Girl adopts a quirky style of humor, often finding comedy in the likeability and awkwardness of the characters. Take the joke on the second page, for example, Jess sits in the back of a cab in a winter coat, completely naked underneath, trying to adopt a stripper persona to reignite a sexual relationship with her long-term boyfriend. When her best friend, CeCe, asks her what her stripper name is, she humorously replies “Rachel Johnson”, a well-constructed bit guaranteed to elicit huge laughs, while also cleverly emphasizing Jess’ charming innocence. The characters are therefore immediately distinctive with each one possessing a unique voice. If you are wanting to learn how to write an ensemble comedy with stand-out characters, read this best comedy play script.

Russian Doll – Script for a Mystery and Dark Comedy

From the mind of the Russian Doll herself, Natasha Lyonne, SNL-alum and Parks and Recreation star, Amy Poehler, and producer-writer Leslye Headland, Russian Doll follows the story of Nadia, a woman forced to keep reliving her 36th birthday, as she attempts to find her way out of this specific form of torture. The show manages to revitalize an arguably familiar premise with an excellent balance of mystery and dark comedy. It begins more comical than dark, with Nadia’s character using quick-wit and deadpan humor to offer some criticisms of misogyny and patriarchal ideologies, but as the show continues, it leads into some more gloomy themes, exploring subjects like drug abuse and mental health, whilst maintaining its amusing identity. It is all you need to make a familiar concept unique with the help of this funny script.

Scripted by John Hoffman – Only Murders in the Building

Comedy genius, Steve Martin, and writer John Hoffman team up to create Only Murders in the Building, the story of three true-crime enthusiasts who come together to investigate the murder of a resident in their building; to do so, the trio forms a fairly successful podcast to document their findings. Only Murders employs an unfamiliar mix of explosive, exaggerated comedy, provided by the hilariously energetic Martin Short (Oliver), a more understated style of comedy comprised of quick-wit and sarcasm provided by Steve Martin (Charles), with both styles wonderfully contrasted with the deadpan disposition of Selena Gomez (Mabel). The scene on pages 8-9 excellently captures this addictive concoction of comedy: While in their building elevator, Oliver attempts to strike up a conversation with Mabel about her Beats headphones, telling a story about a pair he had and unfortunately lost, as Mabel blankly stares forward. When the elevator dings, indicating Oliver’s stop, Charles hilariously jabs that even the elevator wanted that story to end. Only Murders is a perfect example of a comedy script with a culturally-relevant premise that manages to expertly balance an old-school style of humor that leans into proven joke constructions with a modern, effortless style of humor, guaranteed to gratify all kinds of viewers.

Abbott Elementary – Hilarious but Realistically Funny Script

One of the first mockumentary-style shows in years, Abbott Elementary revives the well-loved format with its unique setting: the show focuses on a group of teachers struggling to help their students succeed in the under-resourced, under-funded, unprofessional hell that is public schools. Like other mockumentaries, Abbott Elementary, therefore, finds its humor in the ordinary, providing a hilarious but realistic insight into the challenging nature of teaching in an American public school. The school environment also affords the show the unique advantage of being able to utilize the child characters to facilitate up-to-date jokes and pop culture references, accentuating the show’s relevance and infusing it with a modern feel. If you thought mockumentaries were dead, you were wrong – just read this script.

Veep – Story of a Frustrated Vice President

A Comedy Screenwriting Series based on American Political Satire

A political satire that reflects the chaotic, unorganized nature of politics, Veep is the story of a frustrated vice president and her attempt to further her career with the limited political power she has been awarded. The show adopts a fast pace, brutal style of comedy, often driven by its carefully crafted dialogue. Having the pleasure of not being on network television, the show invites laughter through bold, spirited dialogue that thrives in the use of vulgarity, profanity, and extremely unique insults. It is hilariously cruel and demonstrates zero fear in tackling potentially controversial topics and themes. If you want to learn to write comic dialogue, read this funny script. 

Hacks – An ideal Funny Script

From the writers of Broad City, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky, and Lucia Aniello, Hacks explores the relationship between an acclaimed comedian whose career is coming to an end, and an up-and-coming comedy screenwriter who has been recently canceled for some problematic tweets. As the latter attempts to assist the former revive her career, they form an unlikely and often difficult friendship. The show employs an interesting mix of dark comedy and absurdist comedy, which, like Only Murders in the Building, thrives in the contrast of different generations of humor. Quick-wit and observational comedy also feature heavily in the script’s construction; the first few pages, for example, depict Deborah in the midst of her stand-up, as she jokes about her disappointing experience with a sexual partner, a sequence that excellently captures the humor style of older female comics and is likely to garner laughs both for its natural hilarity and for its recognisability. Hacks benefits from an original premise that dutifully navigates the challenge of trying to write a comedy about comedy and maintains an intriguing storyline in the blossoming relationship between two stubborn, self-assured, ambitious individuals. Hacks is an ideal script to read for those wondering how to set up a clear conflict and convincingly justify a character’s involvement in a story.

The Mindy Project – Up, up and Her Away

Created by one of the only female writers of The Office, Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project follows Kaling as a young, self-obsessed Ob/Gyn as she attempts to balance her work life with her often romantically focused personal life. As a self-proclaimed lover of romantic comedies, The Mindy Project exists as a kind of rom-com episodic, combining cringe, quirky comedy, and traditional sitcom comedy along with some absurdity. The pilot excellently establishes the nature of Mindy’s character as she is questioned by a police officer for stealing and trespassing, attempting to explain that her illegal behavior was the result of a broken heart. Messy, self-involved, and inappropriate, Mindy’s character can’t help but garner laughs. An exemplary comedy script to read for those looking to infuse a warm premise with characters hilariously bordering on unlikeable.

Ted Lasso – Story of an American Football Coach

Created by Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Bill Lawrence, Ted Lasso follows the story of an American football coach hired to manage a mediocre Premier League football team. The gag – he knows absolutely nothing about football, or, soccer, as he would call it. Ted Lasso’s premise is an extraordinary example of a well-constructed comedic situation that gives way to uncomfortable and awkward comedy, driven by Ted Lasso’s lack of know-how. The show also makes good use of profanity and insult comedy, particularly in the pilot episode, but excellently balances this with an overwhelming sense of positivity and optimism, making for the ideal feel-good comedy. If you want to learn how to write a light-hearted, warming comedy, read this funny script.

Do you know how to write a Comedy Screenplay?

Writing a comedy screenplay requires a unique set of skills, blending humor, timing, and relatable characters to engage the audience. Successful comedic scripts often feature witty dialogue, clever setups, and unexpected punchlines. Besides being funny, the best comedy plays have a clear plot and character development.
Shore Scripts offers an exceptional collection of comedy screenplays that serve as valuable examples for aspiring writers. Observational comedy and absurdity are featured in the curated selection. By exploring these funny scripts, writers can gain valuable insight into the nuances of comedy screenwriting. This will help writers understand the art of crafting funny, engaging, and memorable stories.

Comedy Screenplay Collection by Scarlett Scott-Nadal.

As a comedy aficionado, Scarlett spends most of her time studying sitcoms and writing sketches. When she is not pursuing her comedy passion, she is working as a script reader, interning for Shore Scripts, or lending her assistance on amateur scripts as a script editor. In her own writing, she adopts a fast-paced, absurdist style of humor, taking inspiration from shows like 30 Rock and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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