If there was ever a year in which we need the levity and laughter of comedy films, it was 2020. While we didn’t get laugh with many audiences this year, there were a number of good comedies to make this year a little bit easier with some of the best coming from rising stars of the industry.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 Leading Performances in a Comedy Movie for 2020.

5.) Katherine Langford in Spontaneous


Katherine Langford is a delight to watch as the wisecracking and cynical Mara Carlyle in Spontaneous as she navigates high school and relationships while having to deal with her members of senior class occasionally exploding in a bloody mess.

A surprisingly touching storey given the subject matter, Langford brings a lot of heart to a character who does end up getting high on a cup full of LSD and drunkenly throws a bottle of alcohol through and federal agent’s car window. Her chemistry with Charlie Plummer is great and they were one of my favourite couples to see on screen this year. Spontaneous is definitely one to seek out in my opinion.

Ashley Hobley

4.) Geraldine Viswanathan in The Broken Hearts Gallery


The star of Geraldine Viswanathan continued to rise this year. After her breakout role in Blockers back in 2018, she’s starred in the Netflix comedy The Package, Apple TV+ drama Hala and the TV series Miracle Workers. While she is great as student reporter Rachel Bhargava in Bad Education, it is her role in The Broken Hearts Gallery that’ll I remember her for in 2020.

Viswanathan elevates the film seemingly on charm alone. There is no helping you from falling for Lucy, a fired gallery assistant who starts a gallery devoted to the keepsakes people keep from past relationships. A magnetic performance that will have you excited to see what she does next.

Ashley Hobley

3.) Kristen Stewart in Happiest Season


Kristen Stewart continued to add to her eclectic filmography this year, starring in the Christmas romantic comedy Happiest Season. Stewart plays Abby, a woman who doesn’t celebrate Christmas after her parents died a few years ago but who is going to celebrate it with her girlfriend’s family. The catch, of course, is that her girlfriend hasn’t come out to her parents yet. And thus hilarity ensues.

Kristen Stewart is the heart and soul of the film, someone you truly feel for as the love of her life keeps her at arm’s length. While I wouldn’t describe her performance as comedic, I did find her complete inability to lie quite amusing. The centre of a feel-good movie that we all needed, it was nice to see Stewart in a role like this before she goes and does something weird and obscure again.

Ashley Hobley

2.) Andy Samberg in Palm Springs


In his both Andy Samberg and co-star, Cristin Milioti there’s unique chemistry in Palm Springs. It’s one of the reasons the movie is so good. It’s just an utter joy to watch the film, and these lead characters. 

Palm Springs is by far Andy Samberg’s best film role. It’s most comparable to his performance in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but when compared to Popstar, he’s an infinitely more likable character here. From the laugh-out-loud antics he gets up to during the movie’s Groundhog Day-inspired plot, to the romance that builds between Samberg’s Nyles and Milioti’s Sarah, you’re always rooting for him or laughing with him. 

Dylan Blight

1.) Cristin Milioti in Palm Springs


I’m a Cristin Milioti fan. I’ve been a fan since she first bought a ticket for Farhampton in How I Met Your Mother. I honestly believe that the reason the ending of that show didn’t work for so many is that they fell in love so much with her during that last season, but that’s a discussion for another time. Since then she’s popped up in small parts in different projects, starring in single episodes of Black Mirror, Modern Love and Mythic Quest. After Palm Springs I’m more hopeful that we’ll get to see more of her because she is outstanding.

As Sarah, the black sheep of the family and maid of honour at her sister’s wedding, Milioti serves as our surrogate into the world of this time loop that Niles has now gotten them both stuck into. From initially trying her best to figure out how to get out of it to embrace the life they are stuck in together, Milioti proves to be co-star Andy Samberg’s equal in every way. The major reveal as to why Sarah is desperate to get out of the time loop is brilliantly built up and Milioti’s work in the reveal is really great. A role you would happily watch over and over and over.

Ashley Hobley

This Top 5 list was compiled by Dylan Blight and Ashley Hobley.