The 200 Best Comedy Series of All Time
(Photo by NBC)
You’ve had your say in our Fall TV Survey, crowning Seinfeld your favorite comedy of all time. Now it’s our turn.
To choose the top 200 best comedy TV series of all time, we put funny to the test, looking at Tomatometer data culled from critics’ reviews, consulting some reputable “best of” lists, and exercising some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which classic comedy shows still hold up, which have been the most influential in the realm of comedy, and which have created comedy superstars.
Turns out, all of those factors led to some of the very same classic TV comedy shows and beloved sitcoms Rotten Tomatoes readers chose as their favorites.
We’ve also included international English-language comedy shows that made a big impression on U.S. audiences through broadcast, cable, or streaming — look for some top titles from the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
Read on to review our ranking of the best comedy series and sitcoms, and perhaps discover some new shows you may not have seen yet. And before you ask, we made a separate list for the “Best Sketch Comedies of All Time.”
Is your favorite comedy series missing? Tell us in the comments.
Best Comedy Series
200-151 | 150-101 | 100-51 | 50-1
Synopsis: Chiropractor and single father Alan Harper lives in a beachfront house with divorced Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, who bought the… [More]
Synopsis: Series creator and writer Chris Lilley portrays three characters — high-strung drama teacher Mr. G., exchange student Ja’mie and break-dancing… [More]
Synopsis: It’s 1989 and 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper has skipped four grades to start high school along with his less-intellectual older brother…. [More]
Synopsis: “Jonny Quest” gets an irreverent but affectionate spoofing in this animated series chronicling the sometimes hair-raising adventures of Hank and… [More]
Synopsis: Lovable schemer Zack Morris leads his pals on adventures at California’s Bayside High School. The friends navigate relationships, final exams,… [More]
Synopsis: For years, perfect couple Dave and Alex were the core of their group of friends, holding them all together. But… [More]
Synopsis: “Eastbound & Down” creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill team again for a dark comedy series — no surprise there!… [More]
Synopsis: Tracey Gordon, a religious, Beyoncé-obsessed 24-year-old, is fast to find out that the more she learns about the world, the… [More]
Synopsis: True-crime series are gaining popularity on TV so, of course, there was bound to be a satire of the genre…. [More]
Synopsis: Two black kids from Harlem, Arnold Jackson and older brother Willis, are welcomed into the family of wealthy New York… [More]
Synopsis: “You take the good, you take the bad … .” Originally set at the prestigious Eastland School for Young Women,… [More]
Synopsis: Series creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason uses the fictional Atlanta design firm of Sugarbaker and Associates as a witty bully pulpit for… [More]
Synopsis: The daily life and adventures of four students sharing a house…. [More]
Synopsis: New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas longs for a simpler way of life. So he buys a farm, sight unseen,… [More]
Synopsis: While their men try to hone their gridiron talents on the field, the wives and girlfriends of pro football players… [More]
Synopsis: June’s (Dreama Walker) plans of moving to Manhattan for her dream job and perfect apartment are ruined when the company… [More]
Synopsis: Three friends struggle with the responsibilities and inevitable changes that come with being a modern woman of a certain age…. [More]
Synopsis: This sitcom defines the “golly gee” wholesomeness of 1950s and `60s TV, where dad Ward Cleaver always gets home in… [More]
Synopsis: Comedians Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey star in the much-loved offbeat sitcom about bad-tempered, eccentric bookshop owner Bernard Black and… [More]
Synopsis: In this space spoof, Dave Lister (a chicken-soup-machine repairman) is a survivor of a radiation leak on his mining space… [More]
Synopsis: Jerrod and his therapist-in-training girlfriend, Maxine, are intelligent, ambitious and ready to take the next step to building a fulfilling… [More]
Synopsis: Jean Pargetter and Lionel Hardcastle are former lovers whose lives intersect again 40 years after they lost touch with each… [More]
Synopsis: Dr. Joel Fleischman graduates from Columbia University medical school and is assigned to work in the tiny Alaskan town of… [More]
Synopsis: Three best friends living in San Francisco share the nuances and complexities of contemporary gay relationships as they explore a… [More]
Synopsis: When she appears on the doorstep of wealthy widower Maxwell Sheffield’s New York home, cosmetics saleswoman Fran Fine unexpectedly gets… [More]
Synopsis: This ensemble comedy is about the inner workings of a high-style magazine owned by Jack Gallo, who has hired his… [More]
Synopsis: A widower and former pro baseball player, Tony Micelli takes a job as a housekeeper for a high-powered divorced businesswoman,… [More]
Synopsis: The family at 1313 Mockingbird Lane is a little… different. Dad Herman looks like Frankenstein’s monster; mom Lily and her… [More]
Synopsis: Rescued from a bottle (and a deserted island) by a U.S. astronaut, a scantily clad genie named Jeannie becomes his… [More]
Synopsis: Here’s the story … of a man named Brady, an architect widower with three sons: oldest Greg, middle son Peter… [More]
Synopsis: Policeman Carl Winslow has enough to deal with on the job. But when he gets home, he still has to… [More]
Synopsis: The spark in parents Brett and Michelle Pierson’s marriage is all but extinguished. When his best friend, out-of-work actor Alex,… [More]
Synopsis: Chip Baskets has always dreamed of being a classically trained clown. After flunking out of French clown college — probably… [More]
Synopsis: Based on the BBC series of the same name, “Getting On” follows the daily lives of overworked nurses and doctors… [More]
Synopsis: Morticia and Gomez Addams head a perplexingly macabre family whose members include a giant named Lurch, who acts as doorman,… [More]
Synopsis: “The Comeback” tells the story of a B-list sitcom star so desperate to revive her career that she agrees to… [More]
Synopsis: This heartfelt comedy follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who has decided he is ready for romance. In… [More]
Synopsis: In 2022, a cataclysm strikes Earth, seemingly wiping out the population save for former family man and bank employee Phil… [More]
Synopsis: Brainy, sardonic Daria Morgendorffer tries to fly under the radar at Lawndale High School, and she’s doing a pretty good… [More]
Synopsis: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi head the cast of this studio sitcom, centered around aging partners Freddie and Stuart, who… [More]
Synopsis: This British comedy series focuses on three priests living on Craggy Island — a remote isle off the coast of… [More]
Synopsis: In the Heck family, middle-age, middle-class, middle-America mom Frankie Heck (two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton) uses a sense of humor… [More]
Synopsis: Denise Huxtable is in “a different world” — predominantly black Hillman College — in this popular “Cosby Show” spinoff. A… [More]
Synopsis: Perhaps the funniest show ever made about fictional hilarity in a Nazi P.O.W. prison, this series focuses on Stalag 13,… [More]
Synopsis: Korean drama about a romance between a girl and a pampered movie star…. [More]
Synopsis: Six black 20-somethings — four women and two men — share their lives and loves in a Brooklyn brownstone. A… [More]
Synopsis: With the help of true love Topanga, best friend Shawn and teacher Mr. Feeny, Cory Matthews juggles school, friends and… [More]
Synopsis: Jim Jefferies stars in this comedy series as Jim, an edgy, foul-mouthed comic from Australia — essentially a fictionalized version… [More]
Synopsis: After the unsolved murder of his wife, Adrian Monk develops obsessive-compulsive disorder, which includes his terror of germs and contamination…. [More]
Best Comedy Series
200-151 | 150-101 | 100-51 | 50-1
The 21 Best TV Comedies of the 21st Century (So Far)
What is funny? “Funny” can describe straight-up ha-ha pleasure: watching Lucy Ricardo get drunk on Vitameatavegamin or Homer Simpson fall into Springfield Gorge, twice. But it can also mean something odd (I have a funny feeling about this) or disconcerting (My stomach feels funny) or suspicious (Are you up to something funny?).
In today’s bumper crop of TV comedy, what funny is not is simple or monolithic. So picking our 21 favorite American comedies of the 21st century — the tango partner to our list of the 20 best American dramas since “The Sopranos” — involved hard choices and tricky questions. What even counts as a comedy, in an age of dramedy and comic drama and depressed cartoon horses? How do you account for changing times and mores, jokes that aged badly, stars’ less-than-amusing offscreen offenses? Is there more to a great comedy than how many times it makes you laugh?
We have no absolute answers, only the arguments that resulted in this list, arranged in chronological order, which we hope prompt you to have the same arguments and more. Let the funny business begin. — James Poniewozik, chief TV critic
What’s your favorite American comedy of the 21st century?
Pretty … pretty … pretty good.
Stream it on HBO Max
LARRY DAVID, CREATOR AND STAR I’ve had the same expectations for the show as I have for everything else in my life — which is to say, zero. I kept hoping I’d get canceled. It didn’t work out.
I had the long layoff between Seasons 8 and 9, a five-year hiatus. I guess I realized that I have more fun doing the show than anything else that I do.
I take it year by year. We just finished filming Season 11. We wore masks during filming except when we were acting, and the crew wore masks all the time. In fact, most of the people, I didn’t even know who they were. The last day of filming, I said: “OK, I don’t know what any of you look like. Please take your masks off for a second so I can see you.” Then I told them it was disappointing and to put them back on immediately.
TV Larry is me, but way more ballsy. Conflicts arise, as they invariably do in life, and he has a more direct way of handling them. My perception is that he’s usually morally on the right side. I don’t think a lot of people see it that way.
A lot of the conflicts from the show have come from my real life, but I assiduously avoid making enemies, and he seeks them out. Because of the show, some people, when they meet me, are very, very leery of the encounter. I try and put them at ease as best I can — a lot of times I’ll just say, “Don’t worry, I’m human.”
But TV Larry doesn’t care. He’s living my dream. I’m totally envious of him, and that’s why I love doing it so much. — As told to Jeremy Egner
For when you’re feeling blue.
Stream it on Netflix
MITCHELL HURWITZ, CREATOR Chance favors the well-prepared. Somebody said that. So there was a lot of planning. I’d done a lot of callbacks in shows, and by the time I got to “Arrested Development,” I was thinking, “I’m going to call forward. I’m going to put in jokes that won’t be funny until you rewatch them.”
But a lot of the stuff that I’ve gotten great credit for was just a total accident. One silly one is, I knew that I wanted to have Buster lose his hand, but I didn’t name the matriarch character Lucille because I knew it was a homonym of “loose seal.”
Other things were the result of some fairly capricious showrunning. You’ve got seven or eight weeks before you start shooting, so you really do need to use that time efficiently. It wasn’t cable; we were going to do 24 episodes that year and no hiatuses, and I used up the first three-and-a-half weeks in the writers’ room trying to figure out what the larger crime was. And then we landed on: What if George Sr. was building model homes for Saddam Hussein?
I remember at that moment thinking: “Yes, that’s it. We have the bones of Episode 24. Now let’s just do 1 through 23.” And by the way, we only had an order for 12 episodes.
To a certain extent, I think those things cost us an audience when it first aired because the density wasn’t necessarily conducive to passive watching. But I do think all those jokes gave the show legs.
One of my favorite things was how poor David Cross had to put on this blue makeup, and he would talk about how difficult it was to get it off. He would say: “I want to show you something, just watch.” And he’d take his pinkie, and he’d push it into his ear, and then he’d pull it out, and there’d be a tiny bit of blue on there. And it had been, like, a month.
To make matters worse, then we put him in sparkles. And I’m telling you, if you were to hunt down David, I’ll bet you there’s a sparkle still secreted on his body somewhere from 2006. — As told to Austin Considine
Your kid’s favorite show.
Stream it on Peacock
JENNA FISCHER AND ANGELA KINSEY, STARS AND HOSTS OF THE ‘OFFICE LADIES’ PODCAST
ANGELA KINSEY What I like about my favorite shows I grew up with is their sense of comfort, and I think “The Office” has that. You can put the show on and it’s your friends, and they’re all at work together.
JENNA FISCHER Our bench is so deep, and we’re all stuck in one room and the camera is rolling. So while the focus is the dialogue, there are seven people performing in the background.
KINSEY The cameras were moving all the time, so we had to be performing at all times. We were always in each other’s shot, so it was a group effort every day, and it really bonded us. Jenna and I had this very full friendship over a partition, because otherwise reception was an island.
FISCHER I worked as a receptionist for many years, and it was hilarious to me how much people disregard the receptionist.
KINSEY One of my favorite memories is, we had some people come to set, and then Jenna went to reception and they had left their trash and taken the prop pens. We’re about to start a scene and I look over, and Jenna’s picking up some used water bottle and a tissue. So it was like a normal workplace having these kinds of moments.
FISCHER We did the show before there was really social media, and now it’s being shared in memes and GIFs in all these places we could have never imagined. It really hit me when I would be approached by a parent and their 13-year-old, and they were both equally excited to talk about the show.
KINSEY I was touring middle schools for our children, and I walked into a classroom and the sixth graders lost their composure. A crowd of students started following me. I called Jenna and said, “We are crushing it at middle schools.” Streaming opened it up to this whole younger generation, and I love that I was part of something that’s bringing parents together with their teenagers. That was the moment where I was like, oh, something’s happening. — As told to Jeremy Egner
Good God, Lemon!
Stream it on Hulu and Peacock
MARGARET LYONS, TV CRITIC “30 Rock” is its loopy, brilliant self for seven consistent seasons. Seven network seasons of “nerds” and “blerghs” and rural jurors, of bad Valentines Days and pronouncing “ham” with two syllables. Of Leap Day Williams, of EGOTs, of never going with hippies to a second location. Of sitting in peace to eat a sandwich and wanting to go to there, and high-fiving a million angels. Liz Lemon is the Mary Richards of the 2000s, and in addition to moxie, she’s got night cheese. It even has a good finale.
The best part of “30 Rock,” though, is its pace. A lot of single-camera comedies of its era used a more naturalistic mockumentary format, and those that didn’t tended toward a more wistful rhythm. But “30 Rock” never goes more than a few seconds without a punchline, and its humor comes in every conceivable format. And while it has a few go-tos — food and ego, mostly — it will find the joke in just about anything.
Show business comedies can slide toward bitterness. But while “30 Rock” had plenty to ridicule — about NBC in particular; media conglomerates in general; and the entertainment, microwave and wig industries broadly speaking — its zany bounce never veers into outright misanthropy. After Liz and her eventual husband, Criss, decide to have a baby together, she’s thrilled, and she quietly cheers to herself, “Life is happening!”
It’s a tiny moment of spectacular happiness, an example of the show’s occasional but substantial anchor of recognizable reality, enough to ensure that even when things get much, much kookier — for example, Kenneth is an immortal being — the story doesn’t drift out to sea.
Stream it on Hulu
MIKE HALE, TV CRITIC A sitcom has one job: To create a set of believably peculiar, intimately entwined characters and then stay true to them. The Fox animated charmer “Bob’s Burgers” has done that job flawlessly, as well as any show since “The Simpsons,” for most of its 11 seasons and counting. (The first was a little shaky.)
The Belchers, proprietors of the unassuming burger joint of the title, could be a clan out of a Capra movie — annoying but endearing, in constant motion but (almost) never losing sight of one another. Visiting them might be a little trying, but you could sit around all day happily listening to stories about them.
That’s because the creator Loren Bouchard and his fellow writers have nurtured a cast of oddballs — residents of an unnamed, Jersey-like shore town — who are both indelibly individual and instantly recognizable, a feat so rare that it seems newly serendipitous every time you watch. At the center are the Belcher children: Louise (rebellious, sardonic, covertly insecure), Gene (overly dramatic, surprisingly well-adjusted) and Tina (anxious, awkward, but tough), who are impeccably voiced by Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman and Dan Mintz. Around them is a whole world, from their doughy, flop-sweating dad, Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and tart mom, Linda (John Roberts), to their dangerously wacky Aunt Gayle (Megan Mullally) and Bob’s friend Teddy (Larry Murphy), a garrulous and touchy handyman who may be the show’s most original creation.
Long before the pandemic and our national slide into acrimony, “Bob’s Burgers” was the kind of comfort show that people now hunger for: a family comedy whose frantic misadventures are ingeniously and happily resolved, like living Rube Goldberg contraptions. But it’s much more than that. In its ability to capture the constantly overlapping annoyance, embarrassment, anxiety and joy among parents and children, this eccentric cartoon nails the modern family.
You’re only young and sweaty once.
Stream it on Hulu
ABBI JACOBSON, CO-CREATOR AND STAR We were always intending to capture what it felt like, at least for me, to be in your 20s in New York, which is this sort of romanticized hustle that’s both beautiful and [expletive] simultaneously. It’s real sweaty.
When we started doing “Broad City,” it was a web series, and we had such small goals in mind; I don’t think we ever were planning for this TV show to be a thing. But once we did get the pilot, and looking back at the web series, it was all just based on trying to create this feeling of: “This is really true to who we are and who we hang out with.” It wasn’t as if we thought, “This is missing — we need to fill it.” It was just like, “We have fun doing this, and we think people might relate.”
I would say 90 percent of the show was shot on location, so as the series progressed and more people knew about the show, it became more difficult for us to shoot quickly without people knowing what we were doing. And there’s something about comedy — more than drama, I think — that lends itself to people coming up to you like they know you. I spent enough time with Amy Poehler, who produced the show with us, to see it happen to her. With TV, these people are in your home — you do feel like you know them. I think I felt that way about Amy before I worked with her.
The biggest thing — it’s hilarious every time — is that people will say my name in such a way that it feels like we know each other already. Like: “Abbi. Oh my God.” In a way that’s so intimate. Then I think that I should know this person, as if we went to high school or camp together.
And then I go through a process of: “Heyyyyy. Oh my goodness! Wait … Do we know each other?”
And they’re like, “No!”
I guess that might be more about my fear that I won’t remember people’s names — I don’t think Amy necessarily has the same thing of feeling like, “Wait, do I know you?” That’s just me still not knowing how this works. — As told to Austin Considine
It knows that laughing and crying are not opposites.
Stream it on Hulu
JAMES PONIEWOZIK, CHIEF TV CRITIC In the Season 2 “Better Things” episode “Eulogy,” the actress and single mother Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) feels unappreciated by her three daughters. So she holds a mock funeral for herself: She doesn’t want to wait until she’s actually dead for her kids to say nice things about her. The idea upsets her youngest daughter, Duke (Olivia Edward), so Sam reassures her: “You’re dead, too. We both died!” Duke brightens up. Problem solved!
Like many of the impressionistic stories in “Better Things,” this could be an old-school sitcom premise. Sam gets sick and needs the kids to help around the house! Max (Mikey Madison) moves back home from college! But Adlon — who also created the series, writes and directs — commits to the naturalism of every scenario. The mock funeral plays out with dark humor, but there’s also tenderness and confession and a point: that mothers are socialized to play down their own worth and achievements.
Sam is not the silent type, and the fractious love among women — including Sam’s grande-dame mother (Celia Imrie) — is the show’s core. The fights on “Better Things” are some of the realest on TV, which is to say that they’re vicious and hilarious. In “No Limit,” Sam resolves an argument between Duke and Frankie (Hannah Alligood) by giving them one minute to say the worst things they can to each other. Tiny Duke unleashes a TV-MA torrent of cursing that leaves you stunned, then laughing yourself breathless.
That’s what “Better Things” does. It feels everything intensely, and it knows that when you’re dealing with family, seemingly opposite feelings are always connected. Love expresses itself through hostility; happy moments are laced with pre-emptive nostalgia.
“Better Things” feels everything so thoroughly, in fact, that it would be fair to ask whether it’s a comedy or a drama. The answer, I guess, depends on which one you believe life is. Probably it’s both. But in the end, you like to look back and remember the parts where you laughed.
The Toughest Omissions
What does it feel like to eat 30 pancakes? To get divorced? To get hit by lightning? Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) knows because it’s his job. Forrest is a professional life reviewer; he hosts a TV show in which viewers challenge him to undergo experiences and rate them on a five-star scale.
The premise sounds as if it could maybe sustain a running bit on a sketch-comedy show, and indeed, many of Forrest’s escapades are killer set pieces. (Tasked by a viewer to review drug addiction, the uptight host goes on a madcap cocaine bender: “I give it a million stars!”)
But what distinguishes “Review,” based on an Australian series, is how it, like Forrest, commits to the assignment, asking: What kind of person would turn himself into a crash-test dummy for a bored TV mob?
For Forrest, reviewing life ultimately becomes a means to avoid living it. The result is both funny and profound to see play out. Just don’t try this at home.
Would swap out: “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Plenty of great moments in this kvetchy stalwart’s two decades. But as a whole? I’ll take quality over quantity. — James Poniewozik, chief TV critic
Aaron McGruder adapted his comic strip about a Black family living in a white suburb into this animated series, and for three seasons it was a beautiful blend of raucous cultural and racial satire and wistful coming-of-age comedy. (McGruder was not involved with the diminished fourth season.)
In its look, sound and rhythms, it’s still the most evocative American example of the fertile crossover of hip-hop and anime. And its voice cast was splendid, led by John Witherspoon as Robert Freeman, the one-time civil rights activist turned ornery grandfather, and the amazing dual performance of Regina King as the Freeman brothers: 8-year-old Riley, the sweetly charming aspiring gangster, and 10-year-old Huey, the brooding intellectual whose dreams give equal place to kung fu and the Black Panthers. — Mike Hale, TV critic
Would swap out: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Musical melodrama is the lowest form of comedy.
I thought about “Pushing Daisies,” “Scrubs,” “High Maintenance,” “Barry,” “Ugly Betty,” “American Vandal,” “One Mississippi,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Better Off Ted” and “At Home With Amy Sedaris.”
But if we’re thinking about comedy in the traditional sense that involves, you know, laughing, there is no question about our most glaring omission. It’s “Jackass.” No show from the past 21 years makes me laugh more — I’ll take joyous body mortification over awkward cringing any day.
Would swap out: Either “The Office” or “Arrested Development.” Both shows are masterpieces … sometimes. But they lost their ways, and thus despite their incredibly high highs, their achievements are eroded by the vastness and nature of their low lows. — Margaret Lyons, TV critic
When I talked with Rob McElhenney for this feature, I asked him whether a show ought to be ha-ha funny to be included in a list of best comedies; his (indignant, hilarious) answer was largely unprintable.
I agree. Among my personal criteria for judging comedies, one trumps all others: The best make me laugh, and “Veep” made me straight-up guffaw every episode. It is crass. It is absurd. Its characters are irredeemable. Washington being the dumpster fire it is, those qualities made “Veep” only more relevant over time. What more can I say that its 17 Emmys don’t?
Would swap out: “Parks and Recreation.” Sorry, “Parks and Rec” — despite your many, many charms, you were just too precious for me in later seasons. I haven’t met a sitcom yet that didn’t lose its mojo after “will they/won’t they” became “happily ever after.” And when I find myself “awwing” more than laughing, that’s when I cut bait. — Austin Considine, assistant TV editor
Perhaps no other show brings me more pure TV joy than “Rick and Morty,” and certainly no other ongoing one. (Though “What We Do in the Shadows,” another painful omission, comes pretty close.) The episodes are hysterical and frequently dizzying — last season’s floridly vulgar, endlessly recursive “Never Ricking Morty” actually made my head hurt a little. But every time the teeming riot of Ricks and references threatens to become altogether too much — too meta, too frenetic, too crass, too mean to Jerry — the credible family dynamics provide enough emotional ballast to keep the Story Train on the tracks.
Would swap out: “Bob’s Burgers.” I’m not trying to set up some animated “Highlander” battle; I’d happily have many cartoons on the list. But for me, “Bob’s” tops out somewhere around “perfectly OK” — good for a few chuckles but generally skippable. It’s one of my least popular TV opinions, but I stand by it. — Jeremy Egner, TV editor
40 Best Comedy Series of All Time
There are a thousand and one ways to break down the anatomy of a great comedy series. Sure, it has to make you laugh, but that’s just the bare minimum. Does it render an amused chuckle, or does it produce a gut-busting, tear-jerking laugh? Does it comment wittily on society, or does it feature adolescent boys giving birth to infant-sized bowel movements in (we’re looking at you, Big Mouth)? Whether you like your comedies sophisticated, crude, or some combination of both, we’re living in the golden age of streaming, meaning that there’s no shortage of stellar choices. But what stands out amid the crowded field?
Presented in no particular order are 40 of our all-time favorites, which run the gamut from old faithfuls to new standouts, sketch comedies to scripted programs, mockumentaries to workplace comedies. When you settle in on the sofa to stream your new obsession, be sure to keep a pillow within arm’s reach—you’re going to need it to brace your ribs when they start to ache from laughter.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Curb Your Enthusiasm
With ten seasons under its belt and an eleventh season confirmed, Larry David’s second show about nothing just keeps getting better. David stars as a fictionalized version of himself, who has burned seemingly every bridge in Los Angeles by enforcing his neuroses and misanthropy on everyone around him, resulting in uproarious faux pas and misunderstandings both big and small. If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by David, because Curb Your Enthusiasm was made for you. – Adrienne Westenfeld
Nathan For You
Is the most elaborate prank show of all time? Is it a sincere effort to help business owners? Is it a documentary about the human condition? Is it a drama about one man’s journey to find love? Nathan For You is so weirdly and incredibly all of these things rolled into one post modern comedy series the likes of which we’d never seen before. – Matt Miller
It’s not just that everybody knows this theme song that makes it one of the greatest comedies of all time. An all-star cast, crass humor that (mostly) aged well, and a nation’s undying pursuit of a bar they can call their own lends itself to a show too easy to lose yourself in during the Age of Binge Watching. If you only remember catching moments of this as a kid while your parents watched it, it’s well worth a revisit in adulthood. – Ben Boskovich
The longest running scripted TV series of all time, The Simpsons is the yellow family that has, for generations, held a mirror up against American pop culture and society. Purists will say the show stopped being good sometime before the 10th season, but there’s a reason The Simpsons have stuck around for an impressive 22 subsequent seasons. – MM
After an impressive career in as a musician and actor, Donald Glover added Emmy and Golden Globe-winning showrunner to his astounding resume with Atlanta. With incredible clarity of vision and finely crafted, deeply human characters, Atlanta examines race in America like no other show on TV. It also brought mainstream success to a cast of some of the most promising young character actors in Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz. –MM
I shudder to think what comedy on television would look like without Seinfeld. Though we call it The Show About Nothing, Seinfeld is really The Show About Everything it Means to Be a Modern, Anxious Person in America. All those small grievances, social faux pas, awkward interactions, misunderstandings, mistakes, and foibles are amplified and twisted through the Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld comedy machine to create much of what comedy is today. –MM
Cheers was so beloved, it even spawned its own spinoff series centered around one of the bar’s regulars, Dr. Frasier Crane. Why not Norm, or Cliff, or Woody? Well, Frasier’s post-Boston life turned out to be pretty interesting. Come for the taste of high-class life in a skyscraper above Seattle, and stay for the timeless quips of the late John Mahoney, who plays Frasier’s dad—and who wound up being one of the greatest television characters of all time. –BB
Has any twenty-first century television comedy shaped the field quite like 30 Rock? Tina Fey’s self-referential workplace series about the zany cast and crew of a sketch comedy show—and the harried head writer just trying to have it all—has redefined our sensibility about joke density, while also introducing dozens of witticisms into our everyday parlance. Even if 30 Rock doesn’t seem like your speed, we recommend catching up if only to speak the language of your friends. Never stare quizzically again when someone says, “I want to go to there.” – AW
Pen15 is an unforgettable show about the bittersweetness of girlhood, with Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle starring as fictionalized versions of their adolescent selves opposite a cast of real tween actors. Together, Erskine and Konkle bring heart and hilarity to the indignities of adolescence. Come for the hilarious, hyper-specific evocation of adolescent life in the early 2000s (AIM and witchcraft, anyone?), but stay for the tender portrait of friendship, family, and growing up. –AW
All in the Family
No show has come close to being this controversial, and here’s how you know: ABC just recreated two episodes last year, using the original scripts, nearly 50 years after they originally aired, and the studio audience still gasped. All In The Family filtered the massive social change of the 1970s through one working class Queens family, with— and I cannot believe I am typing these words— lovable bigot Archie Bunker as the stand-in for the viewer’s less enlightened side. Norman Lear let Archie be funny without ever allowing him to be right, allowing the show to say something important without acting important. The world could use an Archie Bunker right about now. – Dave Holmes
Fish don’t fry in the kitchen. Beans don’t burn on the grill. And the Jeffersons are surely not on the ground floor anymore. The Norman Lear series debuted in 1975 and stands as one of the longest running sitcoms of all time. Beyond its longevity, it also marked the creation of one of TV’s most beloved families. The second spin-off to come from All in the Family, the Jeffersons wasn’t just the story of a wealthy Black family in New York. The series spearheaded conversations about racism, literacy, suicide, and trans issues. In 1975. And the series patriarch, George, is one of the few people who had the wherewithal to take Archie Bunker head on. –Justin Kirkland
In 2003, Arrested Development blew the doors off of what seemed possible for a television comedy, introducing a joke-dense, running gag-laden format that shaped the hundreds of single camera comedies after it. In this screwball show, the craven misadventures of the narcissistic Bluths, a privileged family who just can’t seem to learn their lesson, never get old. In fact, the series rewards repeat viewing—there’s always some new Easter egg to shock and delight you. -AW
Sex and the City
Without Sex and the City, we’d be living in an entirely different world. HBO’s groundbreaking romantic comedy about four women on the New York City dating scene moved the cultural needle on feminism, sex, and womanhood, laying the groundwork for hundreds of female-centric sitcoms to come. To watch it now is to recognize how obsolete some of its social mores are, but also to celebrate how it came out swinging, allowing women on television to be more honest about their sexuality than ever before. Take it from the immortal Samantha Jones: “The good ones screw you, the bad ones screw you, and the rest don’t know how to screw you.” – AW
In the wake of their Airplane! films, Zucker Abrahams and Zucker launched an equally deadpan and joke-stuffed take on police procedurals, and confused the hell out of prime-time network audiences. ABC didn’t know what to do with the show, but those who liked it loved it. Its six episodes created a small but committed fan base that kept the buzz alive through the decade and led to the Naked Gun movies. It didn’t last, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. –DH
What We Do in the Shadows
Spun off of Taika Waititi’s film by the same title, What We Do in the Shadows is a goofy mockumentary mash-up of comedy and horror, wherein four vampire roommates living in a Staten Island mansion experience friction and frustration as they explore the modern world. Absurd and off-kilter, the show’s collision of the supernatural and the quotidian makes for comedy magic. –AW
Issa Rae’s sunny, sexy dramedy navigates the ups and downs of life for Black millennial women, illuminating everything from the often-hilarious tumult of sex and relationships to the humbling struggle of searching for purpose. It’s also a stunning look at the intimacy and heartbreak of female friendship, charting the close but stormy relationship between its protagonist, Issa, and her longtime best friend, Molly. Raunchy, witty, and deeply insightful, Insecure is the work of a true auteur. –AW
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
So much of what this show did—centering a single girl in the big city, treating the workplace as family room, tackling social issues with heart and humor—it did so well it’s hard to believe it did them first. Moore is lovable and charmingly messy, but the secondary characters are so well-defined and human, you even care about buffoonish newscaster Ted and prickly landlady Phyllis. It spun two characters off into their own shows during its run, a third—Lou Grant in a drama!—after it went off the air, and introduced new ones like Betty White’s cheerfully horny Sue Ann without missing a step. Plus the best theme song in TV history bar none. –DH
At eleven seasons in, not a single character on Bob’s Burgers has aged a day, but somehow, the series just keeps getting better. In an oceanside town, Bob Belcher runs a family restaurant with the help of his buoyant wife and three oddball children, where his best efforts to sling one-of-a-kind burgers are often foiled by family hijinks, local health inspectors, and hilarious disasters. Where other comedies mock their quirky characters, Bob’s Burgers embraces them, returning inexorably to a celebration of the weirdnesses that make them wonderful. –AW
Damn, damn, damn. Norman Lear was determined to change American culture through comedy, and with this show he took us to a place we’d never been: the projects. Drunks, dealers, and numbers runners figured among the day players who surrounded the unbreakable Evans family, but the realism was always the star. John Amos took patriarch James off the canvas in Season Three as stories began to center Jimmie Walker’s bombastic JJ, but the show continued to find the comedy within tragedy. –DH
BoJack Horseman is as improbable a comedy as they come. Through its titular horse turned sitcom star turned washed-up has-been, it brilliantly skewers Hollywood culture while painting a stark, poignant portrait of depression and addiction. It doesn’t sound like much fun, we know, but somehow it’s one of the most joke-dense, ambitious comedies ever to play the game. –AW
Lewd, crude, and imaginatively rude, Big Mouth lays it scene at Bridgeton Middle School, where a group of lovable weirdos stumbling through puberty are ministered to by Hormone Monsters and Monstresses, who help their charges navigate everything from body hair to menstruation to self-pleasure. This animated series swings from a visceral all-out grossfest to a tender exploration of big ideas like racial identity and toxic masculinity, sometimes all in the space of the very same minute. If that’s not enough to sell you on Big Mouth, tune in for the memorably lusty ghost of Duke Ellington (voiced by Jordan Peele), who definitely didn’t kill anyone. –AW
Second City TV
It may not be the most well-known sketch comedy show, but it’s by far one of the most influential–and important–series in television history. Featuring a murderer’s row of comedy legends (mostly from Canada), icons like John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, and Rick fucking Moranis all got their starts on Second City TV. Although SNL will always be the more renowned sketch show of the era, SCTV is probably responsible for more comedy careers, films, TV series, and, well, laughs, than perhaps any other comedy institution, and for that we will cherish its memory. Also–it’s supposed to be coming back for a reunion on Netflix directed by Martin Scorsese! Hopefully that’s still happening. – Dom Nero
Parks and Recreation
In the decade since it premiered, Parks and Recreation has been cemented as a classic network sitcom—and for good reason. The heartwarming political satire features the most quirky, lovable cast of characters, who never fail to find humor in their humble government work. Spearheaded by the virtuous and hilarious Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the show follows the team of misfits employed by the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Recreation department as they take on the town. –Lauren Kranc
Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job
When we talk about comedy today, it’s really impossible to skip over Awesome Show–though a lot of critics and culture writers seem to forget how influential it was. In the early 2000s, before Andy Samberg came to SNL, before video editing became as big a part of visual punchlines as jokes themselves, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim were creating a weirder, more reckless, and ambitious vision for the future of comedy on the then-little-known Adult Swim network. From Awesome Show and the duo’s production company, Abso Lutely, we got so many of the spinoffs and beloved weirdo shows of the past decade. Eric Andre, Nathan for You, Check it Out with Dr. Steve Brule, and Heidecker’s recent spiral into madness, On Cinema–they all started with Tim and Eric (or, really, Tom Goes to the Mayor, which also deserves more praise than it gets). –DN
Saturday Night Live
It’s strange to think of SNL as a comedy series when we’re listing more traditional series like Roseanne and Seinfeld. But just because Lorne Michaels’ long-running brainchild is a live sketch show doesn’t mean it should be excluded from a roundup like this. SNL is as important to comedy as Jerry Seinfeld or any of the other stars you see on this list. Perhaps moreso, in fact. Originally a punk-rock variety hour that featured all sorts of early 70s debauchery, SNL has gone through a lot of changes over the years. Good or bad, it’s an important part of the pop culture landscape, because it’s always been a product of its time. –DN
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
For years, we waited for the rightful heir to Seinfeld, and somehow, it came in the form of scrappy DIY series from three no-name actors in Philadelphia, plus Danny DeVito. The Always Sunny gang isn’t just kind of bad, though–unlike Jerry and his buds, Mac, Charlie, Dee, and Frank, are downright maniacal. They’re garbage! In a time when everything on TV has a sparkly message, it’s refreshing to look at people who, well, kind of just suck. It’s hard to explain, I guess. But if I were to vote three or four shows into the comedy hall of fame, Always Sunny would be one of my first choices. Dayman! Oh-oooh-ooo!! -DN
There’s always the worry that our own excitement could blur our long term assessment skills, but there’s something about Schitt’s Creek though that feels like it will stand the test of time. Set in the nowhere town of Schitt’s Creek, the series followed the Rose family from obnoxious elitists to true small town heroes. Catherine O’Hara’s line readings alone make the series worth watching, but in an era of “comedies” that are anything but, Schitt’s Creek offered a warm embrace in a utopia that is simply too good for our world. –JK
Despite its titular character outing herself as a racist and bigot years after the series initially ended, Roseanne was a groundbreaking show that spoke to lower middle class and working class families in a way that nothing else on television was doing. Roseanne’s Lanford, Illinois didn’t just buck that trend of setting series in New York or LA; it made that part of the world a character. The series operated outside of politics, instead presenting a comedic story that also tackled the subjects of LGBTQ rights, drug use, and abortion. –JK
Kenan and Kel
Though it may be surprising to see a Nickelodeon series crack the list, Kenan and Kel represents one of the most influential children’s series to land on the network. Running for four seasons, Kenan and Kel had a litany of famous guest stars and launched the career of Saturday Night Live’s current longest-running cast member. Don’t turn your nose up at Nick. –JK
Like Schitt’s Creek, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag is a recent addition to the comedy canon, but its impact on the genre is undeniable. The Amazon series has rejiggered the idea of what we deem comedy, leaning into the emotional complexity of the awkward and trying moments that can only be remedied by a laugh. While Fleabag may not leave you with an out and out chuckle every episode, its sly use of comedy will undoubtedly help you see the world through a different lens. –JK
In Living Color
Fox’s sketch show that ran for four seasons in the late ‘90s changed the game. Now only did it give Saturday Night Live some much-needed competition, but it turned the SNL model on its head. Featuring a line up of nearly all Black performers, the series opened up doors for the likes of David Alan Grier, Kim Coles, Jamie Foxx, the entire Wayans family, and Jim Carrey. Take that, Lorne. –JK
Julio Torres and Fred Armisen’s bizarre HBO creation is as quirky and out there as its creators. The primarily Spanish-language series follows a group of friends who turn their love of the undead, horror, and gore into a business. There’s melodrama and slapstick physical comedy. It’s unlike anything else on television right now, and yet, you can’t turn away. In an era when the concept of comedy can sometimes take a turn for the serious, Los Espookys leans all the way into the idea of being absolutely kooky. –JK
When we first met Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Broad City, we were probably too busy trying to learn the Bed Bath & Beyond dap to know what the sitcom truly meant to us. Seriously: What didn’t Broad City give us? A celebration of fucking up in your 20s. A love letter to New York City. An uproarious portrait of friendship. What it truly, deeply means to shit in a shoe. We miss you, Ilana and Abbi. –Brady Langmann
Sure, we’ll look back on the bearded, Mountain Goats-ed, hipster heyday of the late 2000s, early 2010s and cringe. But no one roasted (and celebrated!) This Fermented Life quite like Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. In Portlandia, the duo hilariously introduced us to all the fun and flanneled characters of Portland, Oregon, the hipster capital of America. We witnessed the Feminist Car Wash. Am I fat?! Don’t forget the definitive spoof on the all-monotone-everything NPR podcast. Portlandia still has crying into our IPAs. –BL
Key & Peele
Sure, in 50 years, we might say Jordan Peele, the iconic horror mastermind. And Keegan-Michael Key, legendary character actor. But there’s never been a sketch comedy quite like Comedy Central’s teamup between the two men, Key & Peele. From the sports-world spoof that gave us Hingle McCringleberry, to criticisms of the faux-wokes of America, to just… straight-up art like “Continental Breakfast,” we might never see a sketch show match Key & Peele’s range again. –BL
In season two of Armando Iannucci’s critically-adored Veep, Vice President Selina Meyer, played by the incomparable Julia Louis Dreyfus, asks the show’s resident douchebag, Jonah, to weigh in on a debate. “Settle something for me,” she says. “You like to have sex and you like to travel?” Jonah, unsure of what the VP is getting at, cautiously replies. “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, then you can fuck off!” she says, shoving him out of her office. It’s just one of the hundreds of crude insults that get hurled between the shameless characters in this outrageous show, which was meant to satirize American politics, but ended up reflecting them. Despite ending in 2019 after a brilliant seven-year run, Veep will likely stay relevant for decades, especially if our politics continue to trend towards the surreal. –Abigail Covington
Freaks & Geeks
Before the 40-Year-Old Version, before Superbad, and Anchorman, and Bridesmaids—Judd Apatow made a little comedy series about misfits that only lasted for one season. Though short lived, Freaks & Geeks remains a beloved collection of 18 episodes that helped launch the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, and Linda Cardellini. –MM
The Eric Andre Show
One of the first recommended questions when you Google The Eric André Show is, “Do guests on the Eric André show know?” Accompanied for the first four seasons by the unsettling deadpan of his sidekick Hannibal Burress, André hosts various interviews, man-on-the street segments, and whatever unhinged bits he can pack into what looks like a public access television studio. If there’s one thing you can count on from the least formulaic talk show on television, it’s that André is going to push the envelope. And probably push his desk over. And/or defecate on it and set it on fire, along with the rest of the studio. – Emma Carey
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Ask anyone in America to sing you the Fresh Prince theme song and you’re nearly guaranteed to get a lyrical synopsis of the beloved sitcom within seconds. Ask them to do “the Carlton,” and, well, you’re just making a scene. But there’s a reason this series has stayed fresh in pop culture for so many years. Will Smith’s semi-autobiographical breakout role as a West Philadelphia born-and-raised teenager, sent to live with his affluent aunt and uncle in Bel-Air, California, is perfect fish-out-of-water fodder for situational comedy. But between the laughs, Fresh Prince provided more than the sitcom genre’s typical creature comforts. While most sitcoms of the time hit the peak of their social commentary with D.A.R.E. PSA-esque melodrama, Fresh Prince tackled real-world issues like racism, sexism, and gun violence in a way that still resonates today. –EC
I Love Lucy
In many ways, I Love Lucy paved a path through the era’s hyper-conservative television landscape, especially in its representation of Lucy and Ricky’s marriage. Granted, a lot of the show’s themes are now outdated, and Lucy’s dim-witted schtick has luckily been succeeded by leading ladies with brains. But when it comes to getting a laugh out of audiences across generations, there’s something to be said for the timelessness of I Love Lucy’s slapstick humor.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
The Best Sitcoms on Netflix Right Now (December 2021)
A comprehensive guide to the best sitcoms on Netflix.
Maybe you’ve heard: Netflix has Seinfeld now. Not just the dude and his stand-up specials and weird car fetish show, but the actual sitcom he made his name on. Y’know, maybe the greatest sitcom of all time. After years on Hulu it’s now exclusively streaming on Netflix, so you can queue it up in-between episodes of whatever true crime doc or Korean splatter fest you’re currently watching. And if you’ve never seen Seinfeld somehow, now’s a great time to start. Just stick with it a while—the first season or two are a little iffy.
Seinfeld’s just the tip of Netflix’s sitcom iceberg, of course. There are a few dozen other sitcoms on Netflix also worth watching, from old network hits, to originals that are unique to Netflix. And one of Netflix’s best, Never Have I Ever, just launched its second season. From Community, The Good Place, and Arrested Development, to Grace and Frankie, BoJack Horseman, and the One Day at a Time revival, Netflix has your sitcom needs covered. Here are our picks for the best of the bunch.
Original Run: 2014-
Creator: Tom Edge
Stars: Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, Joshua McGuire
Original Network: Channel 4; Netflix (seasons 2 and 3)
Watch on Netflix
Lovesick thrives on gawkily funny and often sexually charged situations, handled in such a down-to-earth manner it doesn’t feel like your typical, canned-laughter comedy. Instead of being overly in-your-face with punchlines, the series relies on its well-defined protagonists for humor, and by introducing new characters and environments in every episode, Lovesick feels more elaborate than your average sitcom, allowing for the occasional surprise (see the episodes “Abigail” and “Phoebe”). By spanning the protagonists’ storylines over a period of seven years, we get to know the people and circumstances that shaped them into who they are at present. We witness various fashion trends and phases in their lives, personal issues and career triumphs, forging a bond with the characters that carries into their current situations.—Roxanne Sancto
Original Run: 2017-2018
Creator: Tracey Wigfield
Stars: Briga Heelen, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins
Original network: NBC
Watch on Netflix
I’ve come to the point in my career where I’m the lady shaking my fist and screaming, “Network TV is still good! It’s still good!” And while I’ll be the first to admit that network TV provides us with a lot of duds, you can often find a diamond in among the lumps of coal. Great News, from executive producer Tina Fey, debuted to little fanfare. But as the second season progressed, the story of cable news producer Katie (Briga Heelan) and her ragtag news team (which includes the incomparable Andrea Martin as her mother and the hilarious John Michael Higgins as her bombastic news anchor, Chuck) becomes a savvy and at times scathing comedy, covering everything from sexual harassment in the workplace to the pressures of social media. Oh, and did I mention that Nicole Richie is funny as cable news host Portia? I mean really, really funny.—Amy Amatangelo
Original Run: 2017-2019
Creator: Victor Fresco
Stars: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Netflix’s horror-comedy follows normal couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant), a real estate duo attempting to raise their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) right. The neighborhood is good, problems are at a minimum, and the middle-class living is all the American Dream promised. Until Sheila hacks up a mysterious orb and starts hungering for human flesh, that is. Freckly neighbor kid Eric (Skyler Gisondo) has been roped into the scheme, too. Together, they put the “dead” in “deadpan.” Sheila’s fundead chipperness recalls Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s method of surrounding its dark, psychologically- or physically-upsetting narrative turns with hyper-sunny aesthetics, saturating each shot with catalogue color even when the gore flies. It’s as if the traffic-discussing members of the Saturday Night Live skit “The Californians” were in a Saw movie. —Jacob Oller
Original Run: 1994-1999
Creator: Kim Bass, Gary Gilbert, Fred Shafferman
Stars: Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid, Marques Houston, RonReaco Lee, Deon Richmond
Original Networks: ABC, The WB
Watch on Netflix
For the most part, Sister, Sister was a light-hearted sitcom made up of all the traditional tropes and plot devices—sibling rivalries, petty high school drama, crushes, love triangles and annoying neighbors (Go Home Roger, AKA Marques Houston). Tia and Tamera Mowry played pre-teen twin sisters who were separated at birth, but discover each other—while shopping at a mall, obviously. And while it had its broad appeal, what made the show such a gem was that it carefully wove in greater and more complicated issues of family that came about, as the two sisters had both been separately adopted. The merging of the sisters was also a merging of households and personalities, via Tamera’s father Ray (Tim Reid) and Tia’s mother Lisa (the incomparable Jackée Harry). The series followed the sisters from middle school all the way through high school, making it the kind of show you could grow up with, at least over the course of five years. And sure, it could be corny and idealistic at times, but like other shows on this list it was also entertaining and well-written. Unlike so many other shows on this list, and even most modern sitcoms and dramas, Sister, Sister centered on a fairly normal black family—one that wasn’t especially wealthy or poor; these characters didn’t own a music empire, nor did they run the streets of Baltimore. In spite of their odd beginnings, this was about a regular, schmegular black family that was still deemed worthy of our attention and a time-slot. Imagine that. —Shannon M. Houston
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Bill Burr, Michael Price
Stars: Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, Debi Derryberry, Sam Rockwell
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Like the more celebrated BoJack Horseman, this animated Netflix original mines surprisingly stark and moving drama from its bitter comedy. Starring popular stand-up Bill Burr, F Is For Family is a jaundiced look at a broken family during the height of the 1970s malaise, but, y’know, funny, at least some of the time. There are only six episodes out now, but more should be on the way.—Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2016-2018
Creators: Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Paul Rust
Stars: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O’Doherty
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
If you’re a fan of Undeclared or Freaks and Geeks, you should make it your business to give Judd Apatow’s latest series, Love, a try. In a lot of ways, it feels like what would happen if Sam Weir and Kim Kelly wound up dating in their 30s—we meet Gus (Paul Rust), a dorky on-set tutor for the child star of a witch-themed teen drama, and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs), a radio producer struggling with her sobriety, as they’re both reeling from tough breakups and watch as they fall for each other. Like anything Apatow’s got his name on, there’s an underlying sweetness here and an incredibly strong cast (Claudia O’Doherty steals pretty much every scene she’s in as Mickey’s roommate, Bertie), and the addiction plot lends some dramatic muscle. The characters are complicated (and not always likable), but hey, so is love.—Bonnie Stiernberg
Original Run: 2016-present
Creator: Jon Iver Helgaker, Jonas Torgersen
Stars: Kåre Conradi, Nils Jørgen Kaalstad, Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Silje Torp
Original Network: NRK1; Netflix
Watch on Netflix
This Norwegian comedy has slipped under the radar a bit in the States, but with a third season on the way this week its audience will hopefully continue to grow. It’s a dirty, irreverent, hilarious sitcom set in 8th century Norway, focusing on the daily foibles of a stereotypical clan of Vikings while also serving as a send-up of deadly serious blood ‘n guts period TV like Game of Thrones. And if you don’t feel like reading subtitles, don’t worry: they actually shoot every episode in both Norwegian and English, so you can watch it without having to read it.—Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2015-2021
Creator: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
Stars: Aziz Ansari, Noél Wells, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, H. Jon Benjamin
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Like its creator and star, Master of None is stylish, smart and clever—a half-hour comedy that ranks as one of Netflix’s best efforts in original programming. Following the trend set by Louie, Transparent, You’re the Worst and many other modern sitcoms, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang built a show that doesn’t mind the occasional laugh hiatus. Instead of pushing the joke quota to astronomical levels, Master of None is content to find poignancy amid the humor, and if the former outshines the latter, so be it. The result is a show that is fun to watch, emotionally satisfying and thought provoking. It’s also been paramount in furthering the discussion about race and representation on television, both with its own casting and the topics it addresses. There is so much to say about this show, and these few hundred words are a pathetic attempt to do it justice. Master of None is one of the most important shows in a long, long time. Eric Walters
Original Run: 2018-
Creator: John Carcieri, Jordan Peele
Stars: Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, Allen Maldonado, Ryan Gaul, Taylor Christian Mosby, Dante Hoagland, Cedric the Entertainer
Original Network: TBS
Watch on Netflix
Some wonderful things happened after this TBS comedy’s premiere was pushed back from its original fall 2017 launch date to April 2018. Creator and executive producer Jordan Peele won an Academy Award for Get Out and co-star Tiffany Haddish started having her moment. But this affable comedy about a man (Tracy Morgan) who gets out after 15 years in prison only to find his girlfriend (Haddish) married to someone else and his Brooklyn neighborhood nothing like he remembers is first and foremost a triumphant comeback for Tracy Morgan, who was gravely injured in a car accident in 2014.—Amy Amantangelo
Original Run: 2016-
Creators: Ins Choi, Kevin White
Stars:Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Andrea Bang, Simu Liu, Andrew Phung, Nicole Power
Original Network: CBC
Watch on Netflix
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s hit sitcom Kim’s Convenience is in it’s fourth season and has already been renewed for two more. The episodic show centers a Korean family that runs a convenience store in the Moss Park neighborhood of Toronto. The dynamic between the family’s goofily brash patriarch, Mr. Sang il-Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), the religious, meddling matriarch Mrs. Yong mi-Kim (Jean Yoon), their newly straight laced son Jung (Simu Liu) and artist daughter Janet (Andrea Bang) results in a bevy of humorous domestic squabbles. The show shines not only because it, like other ensemble family centric shows (Arrested Development anyone?), captures the discomforts that naturally arise with loved ones but because it is steeped in the nuances of a Korean-Canadian family’s quotidian life.—Adesola Thomas
Original Run: 2017-2019
Creators: Spike Lee
Stars:DeWanda Wise, Anthony Ramos, Lyriq Bent, Cleo Anthony, Margot Bingham, Chyna Layne, De’Adre Aziza
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
She’s Gotta Have It may not be the revolution it was in 1986, but Spike Lee’s serial remake of his own first feature is more refined in almost every way, while kicking the formal bravado into overdrive. There’s a ten-minute vigil mourning Donald Trump’s election. There’s Requiem for a Dream-like butt injections. There’s a full-on dance sequence to “Raspberry Beret.” Its lead is smarter, braver, and more complex than ever while tackling social threats with infectious energy and relatable vulnerability. If this doesn’t more than make up for a first-timer’s misjudged scene, I don’t know what does. Doing it again may be a rarity, but when Lee does it this well, I’d be happy for that to change. —Jacob Oller
Original Run: 2018-2018
Created by: Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault
Stars: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Jimmy Tatro
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
American Vandal is the tongue-in-cheek antidote to the “true crime” craze: a “prestige docuseries” on the subject of dick-drawing, set on dismantling the form from within. After all, its understanding of the form is impeccable: With dramatic cold opens, floated theories and test cases; interviews, illustrations and re-creations; careful cliffhangers and a Jinx-style hot mic, it applies the genre’s commonplaces to absurd situations with aplomb. It’s a pungently goofy reminder that the history of “true crime” is dominated by “lowbrow” media—pulpy magazines, grocery-store paperbacks, salacious installments of Dateline or 20/20—and that its newfound sense of “prestige” is primarily a function of style. Still, American Vandal’s most surprising strength is not its satire but its steady construction of a narrative backdrop even more compelling than its creators realize. Call it Fast Times at Hanover High: The series’ amusing slice of schoolyard life. —Matt Brennan
Original run: 2018-
Created by: Adam Lee
Stars: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn
Original Network: Channel 4
Watch on Netflix
The lovely, silly, funny and emotional Derry Girls is just the craic we need. The brief series (each season only runs six episodes) focuses on a group of schoolgirls in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s, during the last days of the Troubles. But in Lisa McGee’s series, that darkness is relegated to the background. Instead, the more traditional teen conflicts of school life and being boy crazy take center stage, along with lots of incredibly specific language and jokes about both that region and that time (you will definitely want to watch with subtitles on). Derry Girls is a warm and funny time hop carried by a dreamy ‘90s playlist and the gigantic charisma of its wee leads. —Allison Keene
Created by: Laurie Nunn
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
You’re an insecure, bright, sensitive teenage boy (Asa Butterfield) with a wildly uninhibited sex-guru mother (Gillian Anderson), an absentee dad (the epically hilarious James Purefoy), a chronically foot-in-mouth bully-magnet best friend, a limited social life and a clinically interesting fear of your own penis. You have a stealth crush on your school’s official Way Too Precocious girl, who’s hard up for money. So, naturally, you open a sex clinic for high-school students in an out-of-service school lavatory, right?
Of course you do.
Netflix’s Sex Education is a decidedly raunchy and thoroughly adorable coming-of-age dramedy. While it’s not exactly afraid of well-worn tropes, it also doesn’t rely on them to a detrimental degree… and it has Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist, which would be enough for a lot of us even if nothing else about the show worked. Luckily, that isn’t the case: A testament to the power of character development, the series is riveting. None of its superbly crafted characters waste a single frame. —Amy Glynn
Original Run: 2019
Creator: Lisa Hanawalt
Stars: Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Don’t let the similar art fool you: Lisa Hanawalt’s Tuca & Bertie doesn’t have much else in common with Bojack Horseman. (I mean, that’s just the way Hanawalt draws.) Netflix’s new cartoon looks at the stresses and joys of being a woman today, from lack of respect in the workplace to balancing romance with friendships, but in an absurd reflection of our real world full of talking humanoid animals. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong voice the adventurous toucan and repressed songbird of the title, respectively, and between their great performances and the nuanced writing of Hanawalt and her team, Tuca & Bertie reveals a keen understanding of life without struggling to seem profound. Also it’s packed so full of sight gags and background jokes that you’ll probably keep your finger on the rewind button the whole time. —Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2011-2013
Created by: David Caspe
Stars: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans, Jr., Casey Wilson
Original Network: ABC
Watch on Netflix
File Happy Endings under the dreaded “canceled too soon” category. Happy Endings could have and should have lasted far longer than three seasons, but sometimes the TV gods are cruel. Based in Chicago, the ensemble comedy had a pretty simple premise (“a group of friends in their early 30s hang out in the city”), with the clever twist that one of them (Elisha Cuthbert’s Alex) leaves another at the altar (Zachary Knighton’s Dave) in the pilot. They try to remain friends, hence the titular happy ending, and it adds a pretty strong “will they or won’t they” element to the show, but ultimately what made Happy Endings so great was the chemistry between its six leads. Sometimes “friends hanging out” is the only situation you need for a comedy to work. Also worth noting: this show doesn’t get nearly enough props for one of the least stereotypical portrayals of a gay character on a sitcom; Adam Pally’s Max is basically no different from Peter, the character he’d go on to play on The Mindy Project. He’s a goofy frat bro who just happens to be attracted to men, and that’s just one of the ways Happy Endings managed to subvert the standard sitcom formula, while still adhering to it. —Bonnie Stiernberg
Original Run: 2002-2007
Created by: Jane Turner, Gina Riley
Stars: Jane Turner, Gina Riley, Magda Szubanski, Peter Rowsthorn, Glenn Robbins
Original Network: ABC TV
Watch on Netflix
Kath & Kim is the apex of TV comedy. From beautifully poetic malapropisms to surreal character study, Kath & Kim defined an entire generation of Australian TV and created innumerable phrases now endemic to Australian lingo (“Throw your handbag in a river” is now forever synonymous with “lesbian” on the continent). Seriously, it’s the “Torn” of TV, breaking several ratings records across its four seasons, spurning two films and an incredibly bad American spin-off starring Selma Blair and Molly Shannon. Jane Turner and Gina Riley are masters of comedy, and they deserve credit for creating one of the most enduringly great sitcoms in history. It’s nice. It’s different. It’s unusual. —Austin Jones
Original Run: 2011-2017
Creators: David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik
Stars:Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, John Pankow, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Mircea Monroe
Original Network: Showtime / BBC Two
Watch on Netflix
When successful British showrunners Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) move to Los Angeles to remake their beloved comedy Lyman’s Boys for an American audience, they have no idea what they’re in for when their quirky comedy is put through the Hollywood wringer. Playing a heightened, fictional version of himself, LeBlanc is terrific in a role created for him by former Friends producer David Crane. The series is a spot-on takedown about how creativity is sucked out as TV comedies are produced to play to the lowest common denominator. I remain convinced that LeBlanc’s current CBS show Man with a Plan is just him trolling us.—Amy Amatangelo
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Marta Kauffman, Howard J. Morris
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Sometimes the only thing worse than a flat-out bad show is a woefully mediocre one that thoroughly squanders its vast potential. Indeed, despite its luminous cast, respected creative team (Marta J. Kaufman co-created Friends) and timely subject matter, Grace and Frankie never quite shakes the impression that it’s a broadcast comedy masquerading under a thick layer of “prestige half-hour” make-up. The story centers on the titular characters (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, respectively) who end up becoming roommates/reluctant friends after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they’ve been engaging in a long-term affair with one another and wish to dissolve their marriages to be together. Feeling tossed out to sea in the twilight of their lives, the two women attempt to rediscover life as newly single gals. Cue gags fueled by elder dating, elder sex and the ever-reliable, “elders try to use technology.” It’s essentially How Stella Got Her Groove Back for the septuagenarian sect. These creative shortcomings are all the more disappointing given the unmistakable chemistry between Fonda and Tomlin, not to mention that, as actresses of a certain age, Hollywood is not exactly bowling them over with the roles they deserve. Grace and Frankie is far from a bad show, but it has enough going for it that one wishes it was so much better. Mark Rozeman
Original Run: 2016-2018
Creators: Will Sharpe
Stars: Julian Barratt, Olivia Colman, Will Sharpe, Colin Hurley, Daniel Rigby, Sophia Di Martino, Leila Hoffman
Original Network: Channel 4 / Seeso
Watch on Netflix
Written and directed by Will Sharpe, Flowers is a dark sitcom about a depressed, dysfunctional, artistically inclined family in England. Julian Barratt (of The Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley) plays another unfulfilled, self-defeating sad sack in the form of a suicidal children’s book author, and Olivia Colman makes just as strong an impression as his less overtly anguished wife. Their grown children are similarly troubled in their own ways, and the show explores how all of their particular problems feed off and support each other. It’s a modern Gothic with that dry British wit, with fantastic performances from Colman and Barratt, and a darkly comic tone that doesn’t flinch from the horrors of depression and anxiety.—Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin
Stars:Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph
Watch on Netflix
Netflix’s new animated series, from creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, follows four friends through the earliest stages of puberty: Andrew (John Mulaney) sports inconvenient erections; Nick (Kroll) awaits his first pubic hairs; Jessi (Jessi Klein) begins menstruating at the Statue of Liberty; Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) conceives rococo ways to get off with his pillow. It’s wickedly bawdy—one episode’s end credits roll over an extended description of Andrew’s dad’s testicles—and devilishly funny—another uses a note-perfect Seinfeld send-up to explain the blowjob “head push” and the term “mons pubis”—but as implied by its theme song, Charles Bradley’s “Changes,” the series is sweeter than it appears at first blush. Its goal is to cut through the humiliations of sex, to break through the shame shellacked atop our “gross little dirtbag” selves to reveal the perfectly normal yearning underneath: for pleasure, for touch, for emotional connection; for approval, confidence, intimacy, love. By admitting, as Andrew does in the series premiere, that “everything is so embarrassing”—and not only for teens—Big Mouth squares a space in which there’s no question that can’t be asked, and no answer that applies the same way to everyone. It’s the streaming version of your sex-ed teacher’s anonymous slips of paper, except the laughs aren’t sniggers—they’re hard-won, empathic guffaws. —Matt Brennan
Original Run: 2020-present
Created by: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher
Stars: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, John McEnroe
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Being 15 sucks. You’re not sure who you are or what you’re doing or who you should be doing it with, but you’re 100% certain that everyone around you is always laser-focused on every embarrassing mistake that you make. Mindy Kaling’s new coming-of-age sitcom taps into the painful awkwardness of figuring it all out with the same mix of earnestness, realism and humor as Freaks and Geeks and The Wonder Years, but filtered through a cultural lens not often seen on American TV. Devi Vishwakumar isn’t just grappling with typical teenage drama, but is stuck between two cultures that she never quite feels like a full member of: the American life she was born and raised in, and the Indian heritage of her family. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan captures this anxiety and charm beautifully, that weird mix of constant shame and unearned confidence, in what is shockingly her first professional acting role. If you’re looking for a teen comedy that reflects the ups and downs of real life and is actually funny, here’s your chance. —Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Liz Flahive, Jenji Kohan and Carly Mensch
Stars: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Sunita Mani and Marc Maron
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I did not grow up watching wrestling on Saturday mornings. But just as I didn’t have to understand football to love Friday Night Lights, I don’t need to know what an atomic drop is to adore GLOW. A nearly unrecognizable Alison Brie (credit the ‘80s hair and eyebrows for her transformation) stars as Ruth Wilder, an aspiring actress who finds her perfect role in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. What she lacks in skill, Ruth makes up for in pluck. Her frenemy, former soap star Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), becomes her perfect foil. Marc Maron is hilarious as their world-weary producer and Sydelle Noel is a stand out as stunt woman-turned-trainer Cherry Bang. Come for the ridiculous costumes, makeup and hair. Stay for the surprisingly poignant show about female empowerment. Amy Amatangelo
Original Run: 2011-2018
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone
Original Network: Fox
Watch on Netflix
When New Girl started it was a sharp hang-out sitcom for the 21st century, updating the basic template of Friends into the modern day, but with a looser, more improvisational feel to the humor that makes it seem at least a bit less artificial. Like Friends, the show’s greatest strength is less the writing than the performances and chemistry of its cast—few shows can milk as much out of its characters lounging around a living room, or drunkenly playing a made-up game with no clear rules. Its best days might now be behind it, but they’ll live on through Netflix forever, or until the current rights agreement runs out.—Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2016-2017
Creator: Pam Brady, Mitch Hurwitz
Stars: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Lady Dynamite’s opening episode is such a whirlwind of hyperactivity, even those viewers accustomed to Maria Bamford’s idiosyncratic brand of comedy may feel like they’ve overdosed on E numbers. But make it through the utterly exhausting pilot and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most weirdly wonderful sitcoms ever to grace the screen. Indeed, despite lurching wildly from showbusiness satire and surreal flights of fancy to painfully raw depictions of mental illness, Lady Dynamite‘s organized chaos soon becomes far more palatable and increasingly poignant. A game cast, including Fred Melamed as Maria’s strangely lovable but highly incompetent manager, Ana Gasteyer as her ghastly, no-nonsense agent, and former Supermen Dean Cain and Brandon Routh as her boyfriends past and present all add to the show’s random bizarre appeal. And if that hasn’t sold you, there’s also an adorable talking pug that sounds like Werner Herzog.—Jon O’Brien
Original Run: 2000-2008
Creator: Mara Brock Akil
Stars: Tracee Ross Ellis, Golden Brooks, Persia White, Jill Marie Jones, Reggie Hayes, Keesha Sharp, Cee Cee Michaela, Khalil Kain, Flex Alexander
Original Network: UPN, The CW
Watch on Netflix
Girlfriends reigned as that divine creation that explored life, love, careers and a blossoming sisterhood among women. The show, often compared to Sex and The City, was a witty, intelligent and sexy exploration of the many facets of black womanhood through the lens of four very different women. There was Joan (lawyer and “den mother”), Toni (selfish and popular real estate agent), Maya (sassy law assistant) and Lynn (free-spirited Bohemian). During its eight-year run, Girlfriends was one of the highest-rated scripted shows among black viewers aged 18-34 and tackled an endless number of issues, including colorism, AIDS and class issues. —Ashley Terrell
Original Run: 2001-2008; 2014-
Creator: Mike Clattenburg
Stars: John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith, John Dunsworth, Patrick Roach, Lucy DeCoutere, Sarah E. Dunsworth, Tyrone Parsons, Jonathan Torrens, Jeanne Harrison
Original Network: Showcase, Netflix
Watch on Netflix
After almost 20 years, Trailer Park Boys is an institution. For those completely unfamiliar with it, the show centers on the antics of Ricky and Julian, two idiot schemers, and their weird friend, Bubbles. The three live in a trailer park, where a whole bunch of other misfits, lunatics and drunks reside. Everyone fights and fucks up to laughter, the titular “boys” go to jail at the end of each season, and it all restarts once they’re released.
There are any number of things that can explain the enduring popularity of Trailer Park Boys. In a weed-friendly 21st century culture, its willingness to revel in the joys of pot smoking struck an early chord. There are the countless Rickyisms, puncta which enter the personal vocabularies of viewers. There’s the plain fact that faux drunk slapstick is always, always funny. And it’s got heart, clichéd as that is—the boys love the trailer park, their drunk nemesis Jim Lahey loves the trailer park, and so does everyone else there, even if nobody outside understands why.—Ian Williams
Original Run: 2015-2020
Creator: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
NBC has made any number of mistakes over the years, but few bigger than shelving Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s 30 Rock follow-up, before punting it over to Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wound up becoming one of the highlights of a great year for TV comedy. The fast-paced and flip sitcom featured breakout performances by Office vet Ellie Kemper as the titular former “mole woman” trying to make it on her own in New York, and Tituss Burgess as her flamboyant and put-upon roommate, Titus Andromedon. (NBC has recently tried to make it up to Kemper for dropping the ball on this by planting her in the guest host chair at Today—too little, too late, peacock peddlers.) Throughout the first season’s run, some writers and critics seemed dead set on finding some kind of flaw to pounce on with the show, zeroing in on how the minority characters are represented. This may be a wild generalization, but I think this was a natural reaction to one of the most overtly feminist sitcoms ever produced. Kimmy Schmidt is most certainly upsetting the natural order of your typical network sitcom. The show’s titular character is defining her life on her own terms and by her own standards. For some reason that still freaks some people out so they dismiss it or find some way to poke holes in the vehicle for that idea. That is what makes the prospect of a second season so exciting. Just as the show can go in a myriad of different directions, so too can Kimmy Schmidt. Now that she has put the awful time in the bunker to bed, she can face a new day with that infectious smile, bubbly attitude, and enthusiastic embrace of life experience. Sorry nitpickers and network executives; Kimmy Schmidt is going to make it after all. Robert Ham
Original Run: 2017-
Creator: Justin Simien
Stars:: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Giancarlo Esposito
Watch on Netflix
Based on creator Justin Simien’s 2014 indie, Netflix’s original series—narrated by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito—replicates the pungent humor of the film without ever seeming stale, or static: Its knives are sharp, and they’re pointed in every direction. Though its primary target is white privilege, in forms both egregious (blackface parties) and mundane (calls to end “divisive” politics), Dear White People, set on the campus of a fictional Ivy League university, is even funnier when it turns to the details of the black students’ personal and ideological choices, transforming the notion of the “problematic fave,” from the McRib to The Cosby Show into the engine of its entertaining, incisive comedy.—Matt Brennan
Original Run: 2006-2013
Creator: Graham Linehan
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
Original Network: Channel 4
Watch on Netflix
Note: Paste does not endorse, support or agree with the transphobia and anti-trans activism of The IT Crowd’s creator Graham Linehan.
Stuck in a small, chaotic basement office, IT nerds Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) are always happy to help—well, Moss is, Roy is a lot happier sitting on his arse doing nothing. Head of the IT department Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) really has no idea of what she’s doing and is convinced that typing “Google” into Google will “break the internet”. Moss is your typical school-yard-bully victim. While he’s extremely articulate and proper in his way of speaking and dressing, he seems to have been overly coddled by his mother with whom he still lives. You might not necessarily want these guys to take a crack at fixing your computer, but you should definitely reserve them a place on your screen.—Roxanne Sancto
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Gloria Calderon Kellett, Mike Royce,
Stars: Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gómez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, Rita Moreno
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
I can’t remember a time I loved something the way I love the new One Day at a Time. Part of my affection stems from the fact that the show was such a discovery. It arrived January 6 of this year with almost no hype. I write about TV for a living and I barely knew it was premiering. Almost immediately I dismissed the show as yet another ill-advised remake. How wrong I was. The comedy is a pure delight. A throwback to the defining comedies of the 1970s with a modern twist, the show deftly tackles some hot-button issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, wage inequality and teenage sexuality amid real conversations about generational differences and Cuban heritage and traditions. Justina Machado (Six Feet Under) is fantastic as the recently separated veteran raising her two adolescent children with the help of her mother Lydia (living legend Rita Moreno) and her landlord Schneider (Todd Grinnell). Above all the show is funny and grounded. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to watch this gem one day at a time. Amy Amatangelo
Original Run: 2015
Creator: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Stars: Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Lake Bell, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Josh Charles, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau,
Original Network: Netflix
Watch First Day of Camp on Netflix
Watch Ten Years Later on Netflix
When a follow-up comes along for any project with a huge cult audience, it seems doomed to disappoint. Arrested Development’s fourth season’s breaking apart of the cast was bound to frustrate, and Anchorman 2 could never reach the surprising joy of the original. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp obviously came with a certain amount of trepidation. But instead of trying to recreate the glory of the last day of camp, as seen in the 2001 film, First Day of Camp added a considerable amount of depth to the original film and explained aspects of Camp Firewood that never needed to be understood, but make the entire history of these characters feel more whole. The Netflix series managed to redefine these characters that we fell in love with over a decade ago, all while giving us laughs and immense heart as well. (The 2017 follow-up wasn’t quite as strong, sadly.) Ross Bonaime
Original Run: 2015-2020
Creator: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy
Stars: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Jennifer Robertson, Emily Hampshire, Tim Rozon, Dustin Milligan
Original Network: CBC
Watch on Netflix
The narcissistic matriarch of her spoiled clan, stripped of their fortune and plopped down in the rural burg of Schitt’s Creek, former soap star Moira Rose—as played by Catherine O’Hara, dressed by costume designer Debra Hanson, and written by Schitt’s Creek co-created by Dan Levy and his team—was, for the series’ first two seasons, the main reason to tune in: She’s high camp catnip (“What is your favorite season?” “Awards.”) with a wig collection that qualifies as the best drama on television. And then something happened. Her husband, Johnny (Eugene Levy), once the owner of a successful chain of video stores, rediscovered his purpose running a motel. Moira won a seat on the town council. Their son, David (Dan Levy), opened a store and met the love of his life. Their daughter, Alexis (Annie Murphy), finally finished high school (it’s a long story) and decided to enroll in community college. In Seasons Three, Four, and Five, the Roses put down roots, and as they have, the people of Schitt’s Creek—once treated primarily as rubes, innocently getting in the way of the family’s plans to flee back to their former lives—have learned to wrangle them, in some cases by developing sharper edges of their own. Though it hasn’t lost its absurdist inflection, what began as a fish-out-of-water comedy about a bunch of snobs reduced to eating mozzarella sticks at the Café Tropical has become a gentler, warmer, more complicated tale of what happens when the fish sprout legs, and one of the best comedies on television: Call it the sweetening of Schitt’s Creek. —Matt Brennan
Original Run: 2006-2013
Creator: Tina Fey
Stars: Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Alec Baldwin
Original Network: NBC
Watch on Netflix
30 Rock sums up the risks and rewards of a joke-a-second comedy: when the writers were on, this live-action cartoon was one of the funniest shows in TV history. When they were off, it could be almost cringe-worthy. Fortunately Tina Fey and co.’s batting average was pretty high for most of the show’s run, and even when the material was a little weak, a stellar cast of comedians and actors (Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, and more) could often make it work. Like The Simpsons, you can basically queue up any episode of 30 Rock and find something to laugh at; unlike The Simpsons, it had the good sense to wrap after only seven seasons.—Garrett Martin
Original Run: 2014-2020
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Stars: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul
Original Network: Netflix
Watch on Netflix
BoJack Horseman is one of the most underrated comedies ever made, and it almost pains me that it doesn’t earn more praise. Right from the title sequence, which documents BoJack’s sad decline from network sitcom star to drunken has-been—set to the beautiful theme song written by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney—this is one of the most thoughtful comedies ever made. Which doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious, of course. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for BoJack, and Paul F. Tompkins, who is in my mind the funniest man on planet Earth, could not be better suited to the child-like Mr. Peanut Butter. This is a show that isn’t above a visual gag or vicious banter or a wonderfully cheap laugh, but it also looks some very hard realities of life straight in the eye. There are times when you will hate BoJack—this is not a straight redemption story, and the minute you think he’s on the upswing, he will do something absolutely horrible to let you down. (There’s a special irony in the fact that a horse is one of the most human characters on TV, and the unblinking examination of his character makes “Escape from L.A.” one of the best episodes of TV this year.) So why isn’t it loved beyond a strong cult following? Maybe it’s the anthropomorphism that keeps people away, or maybe it’s the animation, but I implore you: Look beyond those elements, settle into the story, and let yourself be amazed by a comedy that straddles the line between hilarious and sad like no other on television.—Shane Ryan
Original Run: 2009-2015
Creator: Dan Harmon
Stars: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash
Network: NBC, Yahoo
Watch on Netflix
As a half-hour sitcom, Community didn’t merely break the fourth wall; it broke it, openly commented on the fact that it broke it, only to then build a fifth wall for the express purpose of further demolition. Yet, if deconstructing the sitcom formula was all creator Dan Harmon’s magnum opus had to offer, it would have been a fun, if superficial lark. Instead, in telling the story of a ragtag group of community college students, the show used its vast pop culture vernacular as a vessel for telling surprisingly resonant stories about outcasts attempting to find acceptance, a sense of belonging and, yes, community. Whether the Greendale study group was participating in an epic game of paintball or being confined to their study room in search of a pen, Harmon and Co. perfected the art of taking gimmicky concepts and transforming them into strong, character-driven gems. And while only time will tell if the show will ever fulfill the “movie” segment of its #sixseasonsandamovie battle cry, the strange, winding saga of Community will forever stand as the stuff of TV sitcom legends.—Mark Rozeman
Original Run: 2016-
Creator: Michael Schur
Stars: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson
Original Network: NBC
Watch on Netflix
Some of the best sitcoms in history are about bad people. M.A.S.H., Seinfeld, Arrested Development: It’d be hard to argue that the majority of their characters aren’t self-involved, intolerant or downright assholes. It’s far, far too early to enter The Good Place into any such pantheon, but it’s relevant in pinning down why the latest comedy from Michael Schur (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) feels simultaneously so cozy and so adventurous.
Fitting into a middle ground of sensibilities between occupational comedies like NewsRadio and the sly navel-gazing of Dead Like Me, The Good Place is the rare show that’s completely upfront about its main character’s flaws, creating a moral playground that tests Eleanor’s worst impulses at every turn. Played by Kristen Bell at her most unbridled, she’s a vain, impish character—the type of person who’ll swipe someone’s coffee without a second thought, then wonder why the universe is plotting against her. She’s a perfect straight woman in an afterlife surrounded by only the purest of heart, but the show doesn’t hold it against her. If anything, following in the grand tradition of sitcoms, the show knows that we’re all bad people at one time or another.—Michael Snydel
Original Run 2003-13
Creator: Mitch Hurwitz
Stars: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, David Cross, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat, Ron Howard
Original Networks: Fox, Netflix
Watch on Netflix
Mitch Hurwitz’ sitcom about a “wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together” packed a whole lot of awesome into three short seasons. How much awesome? Well, there was the chicken dance, for starters. And Franklin’s “It’s Not Easy Being White.” There was Ron Howard’s spot-on narration, and Tobias Funke’s Blue Man ambitions. There was Mrs. Featherbottom and Charlize Theron as Rita, Michael Bluth’s mentally challenged love interest. Not since Seinfeld has a comic storyline been so perfectly constructed, with every loose thread tying so perfectly into the next act. Arrested Development took self-referencing postmodernism to an absurdist extreme, jumping shark after shark, but that was the point. They even brought on the original shark-jumper—Henry Winkler—as the family lawyer. And when he was replaced, naturally, it was by Scott Baio. Each of the Bluth family members was among the best characters on television, and Jason Bateman played a brilliant straight man to them all. And after years of rumors, the show returned to Netflix for two additional seasons so far—different in both construction and tone, but nevertheless, a gift to fans who had to say goodbye to the Bluths all too soon.—Josh Jackson
Original Run: 1989-1998
Creator: Larry David
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards
Watch on Netflix
At its peak few sitcoms have had a bigger impact on the form—and few TV shows, period, have influenced pop culture in general more—than Seinfeld. Seinfeld basically invented an entirely new kind of sitcom, one where characters could be awful without learning any lessons or being humanized. Factor in the perfect cast and the dense, self-referencing scripts, and you have one of the greatest TV shows of all time. After years on Hulu, Seinfeld debuted on Netflix in Oct. 2021, waiting to be discovered and endlessly memed by yet another generation of new viewers.—Garrett Martin
TV Comedies Everyone Should Watch
Photo: Maya Robinson/Vulture
Serious, dark, scary drama shows get a lot of credit for reflecting back important, unseen versions of ourselves. But comedies are how we know ourselves. You can learn as much about humanity going on a Superstore binge as you can by sitting down with this season of Westworld. (You may also have more fun!) They’re home to many of the most innovative, gutsy experiments on TV right now; we call Atlanta a comedy because it is, but also because the category has become so necessarily broad that it includes everything from Roseanne to Bojack Horseman to Nathan for You.
In making a list such as this, there’s no way to start at the beginning of TV comedy and cover enough ground, so it only includes shows from the past 30 years. Even then, a list of this size exists in a weird place between exhaustive and utterly insufficient. But our aim here is to offer a survey of shows, in a wide range of styles, that feel representative of how American TV comedy (we’ll tackle the Brits in another list) has evolved, from the classics to the genre-benders to the total weirdos. With that, here are 100 TV comedies Vulture recommends.
Roseanne (original) (1988 – 1997)
The revival series has a few dimly glowing highlights, and yet is plagued with grotesqueries. The original is almost achingly human.
Seinfeld (1989 – 1998)
The inescapable sitcom about terrible people with the remarkable ability to complain about nothing.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990 – 1996)
You know the song. And the dance. But Fresh Prince is also a show about parenting and father figures and class and identity! And young Will Smith is funny and adorable.
Get a Life (1990–1992)
A dopey, prideful, 30-year-old paperboy man-child might sound like an Adam Sandler or Judd Apatow hero, but Chris Elliott got there first. Geeky, weird, and purposefully stilted, Get a Life dismantled the tropes of the sitcom while dropping a charming man with borderline personality disorder into viewers’ living rooms.
Though it never nabbed as wide an audience as The Fresh Prince, this Martin Lawrence vehicle was a ’90s sitcom delivered with verve. Martin provided a perfect framework for its star, giving him room to present the larger-than-life persona that made him a force as a stand-up, and play characters in costume, too.
Living Single (1993 – 1998)
If you missed this when it was originally on TV, you’ll be happy to know it’s on Hulu now. It’s about a group of young black women who are roommates, and the lead is played Queen Latifah, and she is perfect in it. Do you love Golden Girls? Try this next.
The heart of Frasier was always Martin Crane, the elderly father of two psychiatrists, who tended to be the cantankerous reality check to Frasier and Niles’s frequently insufferable flights of bougie fancy. Martin’s presence on that show also underlined Frasier’s best and most fascinating obsessions: the idea of class and taste differences within a family, and relationships between adult children and their elderly parents.
Sex and the City (1998 – 2004)
There is no way to talk about where comedy is, where femininity and feminism are, or where cultural visions of sex and relationships are now, without including the impact of Sex and the City. (Plus, I’ve now come around, and think “You take a nap-a, you don’t move to Napa!” is actually very funny. )
The sitcom lineage of Girlfriends runs through Golden Girls by way of Living Single: Its central quartet of friends and roommates are a group of 30-something black women who struggle together through the ups and downs of dating and careers. Girlfriend’s standout performance is from Tracee Ellis Ross, who’s outstanding, but the show is also worth watching for its frank inclusion of stories about abortion, AIDS, and discrimination.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 – )
First came Seinfeld, then came the self-conscious, semi-fictional, autobiographical version of complaint TV. What if cranky wealthy privilege laughed at itself?
Arrested Development (2003 – )
The Bluths are unhinged narcissistic idiots whose immense privilege has insulated them from all reality! (You can skip season four, even the remixed version.)
Playing House (2014 – 2017)
This is a show about two best friends who move in together as adults, and it’s one of those shows that felt like it was made specifically for me: funny and warm-hearted and realistic without feeling bleak, and also Keegan-Michael Key is a love interest. Go back and watch all of it.
Broad City (2014 – )
“Like the exhibitionist little sister of Seinfeld and Laverne & Shirley,” Broad City is about what it’s like to be young in New York and trying to make it happen with your best friend.
The Carmichael Show (2015–2017)
By tackling real-world issues with a speed that would make the South Park guys proud, stand-up Jerrod Carmichael brought new life to the major network multi-cam sitcom. While finding laughs in and around difficult subjects, such as Bill Cosby and mass shootings, The Carmichael Show encouraged profound watercooler conversations.
The Good Place (2016 – )
The Good Place is the one show I am most likely to yell about to friends and acquaintances who ask me what to watch. It takes a high-concept premise that already feels like a high-wire act and uses a fundamental commitment to good characters to turn it into an impossibly great comedy about what it means to be good.
One Day at a Time (reboot) (2017 – )
Netflix’s reboot of the ‘70s Norman Lear original, focused on a Cuban-American family living in East L.A., is one of the best shows going, and it would be brilliant and worthwhile even if it didn’t also have Rita Moreno in a runaway hit of a role.
Murphy Brown (1988 – 1998)
Its music bumpers full of big Motown hits has likely kept it from streaming services, but that hasn’t stopped Murphy Brown’s influence in TV history. Murphy is a touchstone for depictions of single mothers, of hilarious shows-within-a-show (think 30 Rock) and for the way being funny on TV can become a political flashpoint.
The Larry Sanders Show (1992 – 1998)
Before there was 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or Seinfeld, there was The Larry Sanders Show, a show-within-a-show about late-night TV and self-aware commentary on the nature of celebrity and how to be funny.
Sports Night (1998 – 2000)
Sure, it’s a strange sitcom that wasn’t sure whether to have a laugh track or what it really wanted to be, but Sports Night is also the best of TV Sorkin: the patter, the sweeping pronouncements about society, the sweetness, the genuine love of entertainment.
Strangers With Candy (1999–2000)
This show, about the middle-aged Jerri Blank returning to high school after life as “junkie whore,” was the first time many in the nation saw Amy Sedaris flying her freak flag. The twisted after-school special conceit really let players sink their teeth into the melodrama of it, with time made for Sedaris to play with her old friends Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello.
Reno 911! (2003–2009)
Three compatriots from The State came together for the goofy, sunny, bawdy, and generally inappropriate Cops parody, Reno 911! They made their cops as incompetent, and as peculiar, as the criminals they captured. In a way, it transcended the genre it parodied because it worked even if viewers hated reality TV.
Without losing the cringe factor that worked so well on The Office, Ricky Gervais made this chatty and charming series about the lives of extras on film sets. Most notable here are the many cameos from celebrities who get to poke fun at their public personas — in particular, a conceited Kate Winslet and a horny Sir Patrick Stewart.
The Office (U.S.) (2005 – 2013)
Yes, it ran too long, and yes, it has some real problems, and yes, things get pretty stale there at the end. (The Andy character, in particular, was utterly hollowed out.) But at its best, it was cringeworthy in an illuminating way, often warmly humane, and just so damn watchable — in fact, people can’t stop watching it, over and over and over again. Somewhere, we’re all just watching The Office.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 – )
This show answers the question, Is there a workplace comedy for unrepentant drunks, thieves, and liars? Watching the self-involved cretins of “the gang” mess one another up, or get messed up themselves, is its own brand of sweet schadenfreude — one that gets sweeter when they try musical episodes like “The Nightman Cometh.”
30 Rock (2006 – 2013)
So vital, so absolutely fundamental to comedy and TV and culture, that it’s also deeply embedded in how we all talk. Never follow a hippie to a second location. Good God, Lemon! What am I, a farmer? I want to go to there.
Party Down (2009 – 2010)
Party Down is a great idea for its concept and structure (cater waiters who work a different event each episode), but it’s a killer show for its cast, which includes Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, and a murderers’ row of fantastic guest stars.
Eastbound and Down (2009–2013)
Danny McBride has a way with lowbrow assholes. His character in Eastbound — disgraced former minor major leaguer Kenny Powers — is someone you love to hate and hate to love. It’s hard to turn away from a minute of Powers’s terrible behavior, and if that happens, one might miss the show’s redeeming final turn.
Parks & Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Please consider replacing your endless binge of The Office with an endless Parks & Rec binge. It’s a weirder, sweeter, funnier show, and the love story between Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope is one for the ages.
Childrens Hospital (2010–2016)
Not long after leaving The Daily Show, Rob Corddry assembled an amazing cast of producers and actors for this punchy parody of medical procedurals. Guided by love, loins, and one-liners, the staff of Childrens Hospital (so named for Dr. Arthur Childrens) tries to save lives. As it all unfolds, there are plenty of guest stars, sight gags, and broad physical bits.
Silicon Valley (2014 – )
This well-researched look at the visionaries, programmers, and sugar daddies of the tech world digs into the specifics to find universality. Sure, particular apps such as Bro or the “Shazam for food” are funny, but watching the devolution of neurotic, hoodie-clad Richard Hendricks, as his dream slowly gets sullied, is hypnotic.
Superstore (2015 – )
Gentle and sweet and with a startling undercurrent of pointed cultural currency, Superstore is probably the best show you’ve been ignoring for a while because you sort of assumed it was dumb. It’s not! Superstore is made with a keen observational eye toward what makes the ordinary absurd, and it’s remarkably sly about corporate culture and underpaid labor.
Late Night With Conan O’Brien (1993–2009)
The redheaded stepchild of late night consistently advocates for its silly, absurdist streak, one that favors sharp writing and comedic experimentation. Conan’s best sketches touch on everything from masturbating bears to nut spoons, and his remotes, like his visit to a society of 1864 baseball reenactors, are the stuff of legend.
The Daily Show (1996 – )
With Jon Stewart as the host, The Daily Show became one of the most powerful players in left-wing political life. It’s taken a little while for Trevor Noah to hit his groove; the interview segment, though, has noticeably improved as Noah has settled in. Plus he does a great Melania impression.
The Chris Rock Show (1997–2000)
In its five seasons, this late-night variety show covered a lot of ground — politically and comedically — while the amazing writing staff, including Wanda Sykes, kept everything brutally honest. Though it was over by 2000, sketches dealing with confederate flags and “How to Not Get Your Ass Kicked By the Police” (unfortunately) feel like they could have been written yesterday.
Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn (2002–2004)
Before there were podcasts, Twitter, or Politically Incorrect, Colin Quinn led a rotating cast of rough-and-tumble comics including Patrice O’Neal and Jim Norton through bullet points of the day’s news and let them go at it. Smart, unflinching, and entirely impolite, it’s a show that announced where the culture was headed.
The Colbert Report (2005 – 2015)
Like The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert’s nightly performance as a Fox News-style prime-time anchor became a centerpiece of political commentary during its run. It’s unbelievably sad how tepid Colbert Report masterpieces like “truthiness” seem now.
Chelsea Lately (2007–2014)
Chelsea Handler’s first foray into late night hosting was sharp — prickly and pointed and often cutting in unexpected directions. Handler’s humor and her way of handling guests sometimes looked like a rapier, slicing through silliness and absurdity before anyone knew what had hit them.
Fashion Police (2010–2017)
When people talk about unapologetic comics, they mean Joan Rivers. And in her later days, Rivers unapologetically talked trash about people’s outfits, hair, makeup, jewelry, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends or anything else that got her saying, “Ohhh, ohhhh!” A guilty pleasure, and one that allowed us a lot more time with Joan.
The Chris Gethard Show (2011–present)
Whether it is hiding Paul Giamatti in a dumpster or just celebrating sandwiches, TCGS delights in the unplanned, the combative, the DIY. And because it is perpetually prepared to fall apart, it stretches viewers’ expectations of the talk show.
The Eric Andre Show (2012–present)
Imagine a talk-show set like an inescapable fun house in which monologue jokes are required by a prankster god and the host is a certifiable lunatic. In a nutshell, that’s The Eric Andre Show. Its often literal deconstruction of standard late-night fare made for confused B- and C-listers politely waiting to plug their projects. It also made for thrilling, unpredictable viewing.
Last Week Tonight (2014 – )
When it first arrived, Oliver’s longform-reporting-as-comedy routine felt earth-shattering. Now that the expectations have settled back down to earth, it’s easier to see the show for what it is: smart, compassionate, goofy, and proudly wonky.
Late Night With Seth Meyers (2014 – )
In the absence of Stewart and Colbert’s alter ego, Meyers has risen to the forefront of political late-night dunking, particularly in his “A Closer Look” segments. But actually, I think his best returning gag is “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” where he makes himself the implicit punch line simply by shutting up. It’s funny and remarkably clever.
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (2016 – )
There are almost no women in late night. Samantha Bee’s show is fantastic and worthwhile completely regardless of that fact; when you add how scarce any female perspective is in late night, Full Frontal becomes a must-watch.
Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (2018 – )
As Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz notes, Cenac’s new show Problem Areas probably needs some time to grow into itself. Portions of it feel stilted and odd. What’s there, though, shows tons of promise. Late night is perpetually attempting to diagnose and laugh about what’s wrong with America, and Problem Areas brings a different perspective and new format to the table.
The Joel McHale Show (2018 – )
It’s been hard for streaming services to break into the weekly talk-show arena. My favorite attempt is also one of the more recent ones: Joel McHale’s not-quite-revival of his E! show The Soup. It doesn’t always hit, but when it does, it’s exactly the kind of dunking on reality TV I love best.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988 – )
There’s something so pleasantly, improbably silly about the premise for this series, which takes edited versions of terrible movies and gives them a snarky commentary track and barely comprehensible frame story. Although it has not reached quite the same heights of absurdity, the Netflix reboot is a worthy successor to the joke-dense goofs of the originals.
Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)
Freaks and Geeks lives in a beautiful place between cringe comedy and a sincere, adoring depiction of adolescence. Also has one of the best, warmest scenes of TV fandom ever filmed.
Weeds (2005 – 2012)
Yes, it did go off the rails after the first two seasons. But those early episodes, teetering carefully between sitcom and parody and very dark drama, are something to behold. It works because Nancy Botwin’s strain (to keep up appearances, to keep her life marching forward) is the same as the show’s — to dive into the dangers of drug dealing without tipping all the way over into a nightmare.
The Comeback (2005 – 2014)
A fabulously committed entry in the cringe comedy mockumentary category, The Comeback is about a sitcom star (played by winkingly self-aware Lisa Kudrow) who thinks her current show is going to get her back on top. Its first target is network sitcoms, its second is “prestige” TV. “Less a hall of mirrors than a kaleidoscope, with each surface reflecting a TV screen.”
Pushing Daisies (2007 – 2009)
Somewhere between procedural/comedy/fairytale, Pushing Daisies is about a guy who makes pie and can bring people back from the dead when he touches them. It’s incredibly adorable.
Though it lasted only two seasons, Mike White’s Enlightened is a big and layered show. On a grand scale, it’s a sharp-toothed satire about idealism and the moments in which it expands or contracts. Episode by episode, it focuses in on family, friendship, the green lifestyle, and much, much more. It’s also funny, and Laura Dern is perfect in it.
Girls (2012 – 2017)
Did you scoff at this show while it was on? Did you read that it was about insufferable privileged white millennials and give it a pass? If so, you’re missing out on a show that’s funnier and more thoughtful and much more inventive than you may have realized. It is also one of the best, most complicated TV explorations of that oh-so-fraught idea of likability.
Nathan for You (2013 – 2017)
Sort of like a horribly twisted version of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Nathan Fielder shows up with ideas to revive real struggling businesses and offers them bad, occasionally almost illegal, generally unethical promotional plans.
Orange Is the New Black (2013 – )
As the show has gotten long in the tooth, Orange Is the New Black has stumbled a little. Its core, though, is a remarkable series of television, and its comedic side is also where it’s most interesting and original, and where it best pushes the boundaries of its dire prison setting.
Review (2014 – 2017)
A fictional professional critic reviews real-life experiences. It completely destroys his ability to derive meaning from his life. Also it’s humorous!
Transparent (2014 – )
There’s more than one show on this list with a troubling and troubled relationship to some member of its creative team, and Tambor is that for Transparent (he’s on Arrested Development, too). The legacy of Transparent will outlive his behavior, though. Already, the world for trans visibility on TV looks like a different place than it did when the series premiered, and the show’s exploration of trauma and family is touching and worthwhile.
Jane the Virgin (2014 – )
I am this show’s biggest stan, but it earns every accolade. A telenovela about a young mother and writer could be trite or silly, but no show on TV operates on the same lightning-fast, sincerely romantic, emotionally grounded, hyper-dramatic level. Its humor works largely because of how well it anchors silliness with sincerity.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015 –)
Vulture’s Angelica Jade Bastién calls this show, about a woman who chases after her boyfriend from high school, “a bauble of carefully spun candy, with a trace of bitter truths lurking under the surface,” as well as “witty, well-acted, brazenly inventive, and a pleasure to watch.”
Documentary Now! (2015 – )
You could watch the whole series, a spoof of various docu-film styles, and have a marvelous time. You could also just take a few moments and watch the show’s sendup of hagiographic food culture, Juan Likes Chicken & Rice. It is astounding.
Lady Dynamite (2016–2017)
The prematurely canceled Netflix series, loosely based on the life of the comic who created it, Lady Dynamite is no Seinfeld. It playfully delves into, and mirrors, the complicated mental state of creator and star Maria Bamford, as she talks about bipolar depression, acknowledges her own flaws, and copes with her shifting reality.
Atlanta (2016 – )
Is there any more innovative, surprising, tour de force show on TV right now? Vulture doubts it.
Insecure (2016 – )
Former web series maven Issa Rae made the jump to HBO look easy. Picking up not far from where Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl left off, Insecure follows two friends as they navigate a sea of relationships, sex, careers, code-switching, and issues in their own friendship. It’s charming, real, and entirely relatable.
Search Party (2016 – )
You don’t run into many legitimately scary comedies; Search Party is something of a unicorn in that regard. It’s a mystery, it’s about detection and sadness and the self, and it’s also sharply, wickedly hilarious.
American Vandal (2017 – )
Certainly the biggest comedy surprise of 2017, the mockumentary series snuck up on us all and then drew tiny, hairless dicks on our hearts before we had any idea what was happening. Practically perfect in every way.
In Living Color (1990 – 1994)
Sketch shows are often best known for the careers they launch. For In Living Color, which insisted on doing working-class humor with its black cast in spite of the mainstream trend toward Cosby-style respectability, that cast included the Wayans family, Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, and Jim Carrey, as well as a dance troupe featuring Jennifer Lopez.
The Ben Stiller Show (1992–1993)
While showbiz parodies were certainly prevalent in the early ’90s, The Ben Stiller Show set itself apart with an attention to detail that pointed the way toward Key & Peele’s meticulous spoofs. Stiller himself does worthy parodies of actors or musicians, such as Bono and Springsteen, and it’s a delight to see the young cast, including Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Bob Odenkirk, romp together.
Def Comedy Jam (1992 – 1997)
This is not precisely a sketch show – it’s stand-up, and stand-up specials are different enough that they shouldn’t get shoe-horned into the genre of TV. But Def Jam was built for TV, and it was one of the most important and influential outlets for new voices in stand-up comedy. It had to go on the list somewhere!
The State (1993–1995)
These precocious NYU grads were clever and subversive; they offered both recurring characters with catchphrases as well as brilliant, bizarro sketches, such as a musical about a Porcupine Racetrack. The former kept MTV onboard, while the latter created new comedy nerds. Unsurprisingly, The State’s alumni have gone on to rule the world.
The Tom Green Show (1994–2000)
Canadian Tom Green was gleefully making innocent people uncomfortable years before he was doing it on MTV. Whether following real pizza guys in an attempt to undercut their business or just yelling at people on the boardwalk through a bullhorn, Green spawned an entire era of aggressive, man-on-the-street pranks.
Mr. Show With Bob and David (1995 – 1998)
If shows like Portlandia feel designed to work best in separate YouTube clips, Mr. Show is the opposite, shifting relentlessly and often uncomfortably from one bit to another, keeping you off-balance and at their mercy.
The Dana Carvey Show (1996)
Although its pedigree included Carvey in his post-SNL prime alongside young writers like Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K., and Steve Carell, the world was not ready for The Dana Carvey Show. Prime time could not countenance Bill Clinton breastfeeding puppies, but the show still created many sketches that were ahead of their time.
Upright Citizens Brigade (1998–2000)
Before they had their own comedy empire, the core members of the Upright Citizens Brigade collected improv ideas into sketch shows, and sketch shows into a scrappy, anarchic TV show — one of Comedy Central’s earliest. It slyly delivered all the joys and inside jokes of the Harold to a national audience. Plus, Amy Poehler!
Johnny Knoxville and the berserkers of Jackass pushed the Tom Green sensibility to an entirely new level. Combining over-the-top pranks, gross-out challenges and bits of slapstick revenge, Jackass is true trainwreck TV — the idea of it is absolutely terrible, but if the show is onscreen, the nut shots and bloodlettings are impossible to turn away from.
Chappelle’s Show (2003 – 2006)
For a while when it was on, Dave Chappelle’s iconic show did sketches that felt so good and specific and pointed that they were almost impossibly funny.
Wonder Showzen (2005–2006)
This MTV2 sketch show was not so much a parody of children’s educational TV so much as a glorious, unrelenting desecration of the genre. In seeking some kind of reaction from viewers and unsuspecting pedestrians, its combative puppets and mature children gleefully pushed every button imaginable — see segments such as “Little Hitler” or the entire “Patience” episode.
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (2007–2010)
The psychedelic, lo-fi madness of Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker’s sketch show unnerved and titillated in equal measures. Its hallucinatory remix of public-access shows (and celebration of its favorite weirdos) invented a rapid-fire visual aesthetic that has had an incredible impact, considering the short life of the show.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009– )
It seems almost unfair that one of television’s best reality shows, best competition shows, most innovative fashion shows, and most reliably entertaining shows period, would also be one of television’s best comedies. But there it is. Drag Race is destined to be the best of the bunch, and much of that is the way it’s able to wield comedy as a tool to help unpack (or untuck) issues of race, class, culture, and how to love oneself.
Portlandia (2011 – 2018)
It’s hard for a sketch show to work on an episode level; the separate pieces tend to escape the show’s borders. That may be most true for Portlandia, a show whose characters tend to be so insufferable that you’d love to watch one or two bits, but may have a hard time watching whole episodes.
Key & Peele (2012 – 2015)
Probably the best sketch show of the last 20 years. East/West college bowl, auction block, substitute teacher — how do you even pick highlights?
Inside Amy Schumer (2013 – 2016)
“Raunchy, rough, a destabilizing mixture of daffy and caustic,” Inside Amy Schumer was often offensive and never boring. Close your eyes and drink deep from her massive glass of white wine.
The Simpsons (1989 – )
Go back and watch the first several seasons of the show, when Homer was a working-class dad and Lisa was the voice of reason and Bart zipped around on his skateboard causing mayhem. Feel free to skip all the later seasons when the show become hyper-defensive of its real, frustrating problems.
Beavis and Butt-Head (1993–1997, 2011)
In what would be Mike Judge’s first big project, two couch-bound morons giggled endlessly about fire, boners, and whatever music videos fate thrust in front of them. In the process, the duo (who were both voiced by Judge) seduced the MTV generation into snickering at a satire aimed directly at them.
The Critic (1994–1995)
The animated sitcom about a pretentious New York film critic voiced by Jon Lovitz had an uneven production life. The show leapt to Fox after initially appearing on ABC, but even there, its mix of film references and parodies had a tough time finding a broad audience. Still, it’s always been a critical favorite, and was likely ahead of its time.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1994–2008)
When life gives you leftover Hanna-Barbera cartoons, make a subtly subversive talk show that inspires an entire cable sensibility. In SGC2C, a forgotten caped crusader became the (anti-)hero, taunting celebrities from David Bryne to Carol Channing, while drawing out awkward pauses and dropping non sequiturs.
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1995–2002)
As a rule, cartoons aren’t minimalistic. Their humor doesn’t rely on pauses, on improv, on the give-and-take of genuine conversation. And they don’t star therapists whose sessions with clients make up the bulk of the show. Another early Comedy Central experiment, Dr. Katz brought all these things to pass, in endearing Squigglevision.
Daria (1997 – 2001)
In an often male-focused world of adult cartoons, Daria is the exemplar of a darkly funny animated show about a young woman. Daria herself is an Ur–ironist for a generation of women, simultaneously inspiration for and representative of a particular worldview.
King of the Hill (1997 – 2010)
There’s something disarmingly sedate about King of the Hill, a show that was ubiquitous on TV for many, many years. Its low-key realism makes it too easy to take it for granted, but King of the Hill was an incisive and loving portrait of a lower-middle class family full of humor and humanity.
South Park (1997 – )
Like it or loathe it, South Park is nevertheless an unmissable bellwether for certain elements of provocative, distinctly masculine forms of comedy.
Futurama (1999 – 2013)
A surprising emotional range and a delightful goofiness inside a high-concept sci-fi premise (pizza guy is cryo-frozen for 1,000 years).
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000–2015)
Originally pitched as some kind of detective show featuring food items, the crudely animated anchor of Adult Swim become so, so much more. As creator Dave Willis has said that at heart ATHF is a show about a bad roommate — but the idiosyncratic voice-overs and jagged strangeness of the show helped establish the late-night stoner vibe of the network.
Robot Chicken (2001–present)
This stop-motion-animation sketch show is like a series of what-ifs: What if Toad from Mario Kart were a getaway driver? What if Voltron got served in a dance battle? What if a Stormtrooper took his daughter to work? It’s what happens when pop-culture obsessives who grew up in the ’80s start playing with their action figures as adults.
Clone High (2002 – 2003)
What if Abe Lincoln, Ghandi, Joan of Arc, JFK, and Cleopatra all went to high school together and it was an animated show co-created by The Lego Movie creators? That show actually existed.
The Boondocks (2005 – 2014)
I strongly believe that were The Boondocks on today, we’d all be yelling about what a vital and necessary and trenchant commentary it is on race and class in America. Instead, it often got pigeonholed as too personal or too angry or too crass. I suspect (hope) its reception would be different today.
Archer (2009 – )
This smart, fast-paced spy spoof represents the maximalist Adult Swim mentality expanded to include genuine story arcs. Creator Adam Reed hired H. Jon Benjamin and a host of talented players to flesh out a world of terrible secret agents, and in recent years, has plunked the team into entirely new realities to keep things interesting.
Adventure Time (2010 – 2018)
Shows like The Simpsons capitalize on (and are also brought up short by) the conceit that keeps them stuck in an unchanging moment in time. Adventure Time takes the opposite tack, and it’s what has let the show become a moving coming-of-age story that also happens to be about a postapocalyptic earth coated in candy.
Bob’s Burgers (2011 – )
It’s hard to overstate what a lovely, weird, grounded, silly gem of a show Bob’s Burgers is. Every member of the Belcher family is some fantastically human overexaggeration of themselves, in precisely the way that makes you feel less alone in your own quirks and obsessions and love of dumb food puns.
Rick and Morty (2013 – )
“Shockingly funny, even when it goes into dark/disturbing mode … a bawdy, violent, nihilistically hilarious riff on science-fiction clichés” — but as Matt Zoller Seitz writes, there’s also more. The show about a sociopathic scientist who goes on space adventures with his grandson is also a show about pain and family. And given its enormous order for new episodes, it’ll be around for a long time.
Steven Universe (2013 – )
A rainbow-colored, jewel-powered animated comedy fantasy about queer joy.
Bojack Horseman (2014 – )
Somehow this show is a poignant and shattering depiction of depression, and it’s also one of the most joke-dense series on TV. It’s also about a horse who used to be a TV star. It is fantastic.
Big Mouth (2017 –)
If you missed the buzz about this all-too-real cringeworthy animated depiction of adolescence, now is the time to catch up before the second season appears.
The 90 Best Books for Comedy Fans
60 comedy TV shows that will bring you much-needed laughter
We could all use a laugh right about now.
The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed daily life across the globe, and although there have been incremental victories in the fight against the virus, we’re all in this for the long haul. And several weeks into a life of social distancing, it’s time to break out the sitcoms for a dose of humor shot directly into our veins.
There is no shortage of comedy series streaming or airing on TV for you to choose from, but we rounded up 60 shows guaranteed to make you slap your knee, even in quarantine. Whether you want a “Friends”-type group of pals hanging out, something you can watch with kids, award-winning adult humor or just some weird Canadians putting on Shakespeare plays, there is a show on this list for every comedic sensibility.
Save Our Shows 2020: Vote now for your favorite TV series to return
“The Big Bang Theory” (local stations and TBS, available to buy digitally; HBO Max on May 27) The hangout sitcom starring Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco was TV’s most popular show for a reason – its big, broad humor and nerdy characters are comforting and familiar.
“Broad City” (Hulu) This millennials-in-New-York comedy is both outlandish in its humor (drug-fueled trips to Whole Foods, children who shout “Yas, queen!”) and relatable (bad roommates, bad boyfriends). Stars/creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer bring their kooky world to life expertly.
“Community” (Hulu, Netflix) This slightly zany comedy about a group of diverse friends attending a local community college has its ups and downs, but its funniest, most ambitious installments are among the best TV episodes ever made.
“Cougar Town” (Hulu) The prime example of a great series with a bad title, “Cougar,” about a divorcee and her friends in a small Florida town, was smartly written with a stellar cast including Courteney Cox and Busy Philipps.
“Crashing” (Netflix) Fans of “Fleabag” should try Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s earlier series, about a group of British squatters living together. It’s not as impeccable as “Fleabag” (what could be?), but it still has the writer/actress’s wit, even if seeing her with long hair takes some getting used to.
“Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt. 23” (Hulu) This quirky series about a nightmare roommate didn’t last long on ABC but made great comedy while it was on, with Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek playing a fictional version of himself.
“Friends” (local stations, TBS; available to buy digitally; HBO Max, May 27) The hugely popular sitcom isn’t streaming anywhere until HBO Max debuts in late spring, but catch it on TV to hang out with Monica, Joey, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross.
“Golden Girls” (Hulu) They don’t make them like they used to, right? A visit from Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia is always funny and calming, no matter if you’re just discovering the beloved sitcom or rewatching it.
“Happy Endings (Hulu) One of the many “Friends”-like hangout sitcoms to emerge over the past two decades, “Endings” is on the quirkier, more heightened side, following five 30-somethings in Chicago.
“Insecure” (HBO) Issa Rae crafts a distinctly millennial series in this HBO comedy about a black woman in Los Angeles who questions her life decisions, including her long-term boyfriend.
“Seinfeld” (Hulu, TBS, local stations) If you’ve never seen Jerry Seinfeld’s landmark show about nothing, it’s a great time to start. You might want to skip the disappointing series finale, though.
“What We Do in the Shadows” (Hulu, FX) This absurdist FX comedy, about vampires sharing a house in Staten Island, New York, just returned for a strong second season. It never fails to make us guffaw.
Staying Apart, Together: Sign up for USA TODAY’s newsletter for help coping with the coronavirus pandemic
“30 Rock” (Amazon, Hulu) Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan make an endlessly appealing trio in this award-winning series about a “Saturday Night Live”-style sketch comedy series.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Hulu, NBC) If you’ve already seen “Parks and Recreation,” try this similar workplace comedy, set in a police precinct, from the same producer with the same upbeat tone.
“Cheers” (Netflix, CBS All Access) You can’t visit a real bar right now, but you can still go where everybody knows your name in this classic NBC comedy starring Ted Danson.
“Designing Women” (Hulu) A hallmark of 1980s fashion and hair, “Designing” is one of the great ensemble workplace shows. The interior design firm in Atlanta will always have our hearts, if not our aesthetic.
“GLOW” (Netflix) Big hair and even bigger smackdowns populate this comedy set in the 1980s about a women’s wrestling league. If you’ve never “got” why wrestling is a compelling sport, this series will make you understand.
“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” (Apple TV Plus) The best Apple show (so far), from the creators of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” is a loving skewering of the video game industry that’s hilarious to gamers and non-gamers alike.
“The Office” (Netflix, Comedy Central) There is just no getting sick of the ultimate workplace sitcom, no matter how many times you watch Michael Scott burn his foot on a George Foreman grill.
“Parks and Recreation” (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon) Nothing can stop Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), not even a pandemic. NBC’s workplace sitcom is an inspiring stalwart in this genre, full of generally good people trying to do good things. Watching it will get you ready for a socially distanced special April 30.
“Party Down” (Starz, Hulu) Fans of “Veronica Mars” and “iZombie” will love this cynical comedy about cater-waiters that stars Jane Lynch and Adam Scott.
“Scrubs” (Hulu) If a series set in a hospital doesn’t turn you off right now, the sweet, silly comedy of NBC’s long-running “Scrubs” is likely preferable to the tragedy of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “ER.”
“Slings & Arrows” (YouTube, Acorn TV, Amazon) If you enjoy theater, this Canadian comedy, set at a Shakespearean company, is a must-watch. Full of in-jokes for thespians, ruminations on the meaning of life, and a young Rachel McAdams, the series is a sweet classic.
“Superstore” (Hulu, NBC) This series, about employees at a big-box retail store, is something of a modern-day “Cheers,” a workplace comedy set outside a traditional white-collar office in a place we all have wandered into at some point. (The blue vests of the fictional Cloud 9 store might remind you of a certain chain).
“Veep” (Amazon, HBO Go/HBO Now) Some of the political satire’s bite has faded as our world has become more absurd and shocking, but that doesn’t dull the sharpness of star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s performance.
“The Carol Burnett Show” (Amazon) There is a multitude of series from the mid-20th century available to stream, when TV was a positive affair across the board. We’re partial to the timeless sketch comedy of Burnett, an American treasure.
“Key & Peele” (Hulu) If you’re more interested in morsels of comedy rather than long narratives, Comedy Central’s sketch show, which jumpstarted the careers of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, is perfect and requires very little commitment to get a laugh.
“Saturday Night Live” (Hulu, NBC) The recent socially-distanced version of “SNL” was fine, but if you’re missing watching humor live from New York, revisiting classic episodes (Cheeseburger Cheeseburger!) could add to your comedy education.
“Fresh Off the Boat (Hulu) From the same creator as “Don’t Trust the B***,” this is another hall of fame entry in the ABC family sitcom genre. Especially in the first four seasons, this story of a Tawainese American family in 1990s Orlando, Florida, was full of great, specific humor and a talented cast, including Constance Wu and Randall Park.
“The Middle” (IMDb TV, Freeform) Never as flashy as its ABC family-sitcom cousins, “Middle” is a stalwart, sweet comedy with great performances and nine long seasons to binge-watch.
“Modern Family” (Hulu, local stations and USA Network) The multiple-Emmy-winning ABC series has an incredible cast and relatable laughs for families and married couples, and just aired its series finale to tears and praise.
“One Day at a Time” (Netflix, Pop TV, Tuesdays, 9:30 EDT/PDT) Like the Norman Lear original, this family sitcom, about a Cuban American family in Los Angeles, is an expert at combining a frank discussion of social issues with hilarity.
“Speechless” (Hulu) Gone too soon after just three seasons, ABC’s comedy about a family in which one son has cerebral palsy is a representation of disability like you’ve never seen before, with searing satire and riotous laughs.
For teens and parents alike
“American Vandal” (Netflix) The rare series in which teen problems are taken seriously, “Vandal” is also a hilarious mockumentary that pokes at overly serious true-crime documentaries like “Making a Murderer.”
“Derry Girls” (Netflix) This Irish series, best watched with subtitles, follows a group of Catholic teens in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a period of religious violence in the region. The series is a great comedy about trying to live a daily life amid social unrest and upheaval.
“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (Disney Plus) A farcical mockumentary about a high school putting on a production of “High School Musical,” the stakes are low in this Disney Plus series, though they seem very high (teenagers and their hormones, of course).
“PEN15” (Hulu) Not for the faint of heart, this comedy, set in a middle school in 2000 with adult actresses playing preteens, is the cringiest of cringe-humor series. But along with embarrassment there is hilarity and heart (mostly embarrassment, though).
“Fleabag” (Amazon) Hilarious, emotional and utterly surprising, the British comedy from Waller-Bridge, in which she stars as a struggling young woman, deserves the hype (and all those Emmys).
“The Good Place” (Netflix, Hulu) NBC’s recently ended afterlife sitcom feels like a dose of palliative care with its bright colors, puns and visual gags. Underneath its appealing aesthetics, “Place” has great performances, great writing and some sincere thoughts about ethics and philosophy.
“Grace and Frankie” (Netflix) Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are a magnetic duo in this sitcom from “Friends” creators. Two retirees who learn their husbands are leaving them (for each other), the series proves it’s never too late to start over.
“High Maintenance” (HBO) Because there’s only one recurring character – a New York weed dealer – in every episode, you can start anywhere in this HBO anthology series and always know you’re going to get a tight episode that shows a slice of life with authentic dialogue and gorgeous cinematography.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (Hulu, FXX) If you like crass, cringe comedy, there are over 150 episodes that lovingly poke at Philly, with a lot of mishaps along the way.
“Mom” (CBS All Access, Hulu) Anna Faris and Allison Janney deliver smart comedy about family and addiction in producer Chuck Lorre’s (“The Big Bang Theory”) best (but most underrated) CBS sitcom.
“Schitt’s Creek” (Netflix) Full of beautiful romance, sunny settings and plenty of humor, Pop TV’s sitcom about a rich family that loses it all but gains a little perspective is always a mood booster.
“Shrill” (Hulu) “SNL” star Aidy Bryant proves she has leading-woman chops in this Portland, Oregon-set Hulu comedy, based on the memoir of fat acceptance activist Lindy West.
“Atlanta” (Hulu, FX) Donald Glover’s audacious series about a college-dropout father trying to climb the economic ladder as a manager for his rapper cousin (Brian Tyree Henry) is proof of the multitalented artist’s creative prowess.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (Netflix) CW’s poignant musical comedy about one woman’s (Rachel Bloom) mental health struggles has a tune for every emotion, and you’ll be happy to hum them for weeks after finishing all four seasons.
“Gilmore Girls” (Netflix) Although the Gilmore family has plenty of trials and tribulations, the world of quaint small-town Stars Hollow is usually upbeat in this beloved series.
“Jane the Virgin” (Netflix) The telenovela-style story of a virgin who’s artificially inseminated by accident started strong and rode high for five excellent seasons. Although the moving series isn’t a laugh-out-loud sitcom, its moments of joy and levity are plentiful.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon) With mile-a-minute dialogue, impeccable costumes and an incredible cast, this dramedy about a 1950s housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) turned stand-up comic is a pastel pink-covered treat.
“Monk” (Amazon) For those who like to mix their comedy with murder-of-the-week cop dramas, Tony Shalhoub’s performance as a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder is a true classic.
“Psych” (Amazon) All detective stories in which an outside detective helps police with a sidekick are riffs on Sherlock Holmes, and “Psych” is the best and the most hilarious. A faux-psychic is just a hyper observational investigator, but he prefers to make jokes and have fake visions.
“Archer” (Hulu) Spy games are never funnier (or sillier) than in this FXX series, which features the voices of Judy Greer, H. Jon Benjamin and Chris Parnell.
“Big Mouth” (Netflix) Nick Kroll and John Mulaney created a series about kids going through puberty that takes adolescent concerns seriously, and also gives animated life to the horrors of human bodies (including a Hormone Monster). You’ll be glad that you’re done with this terrifying part of life and are now safe to laugh at it at a distance.
“Bob’s Burgers” (Hulu, Fox) Heartfelt, offbeat and full of visual humor, the series about a family and its burger joint is the model of modern adult animation.
“BoJack Horseman” (Netflix) Not the cheeriest comedy, but one of the most affecting, Netflix’s showbiz satire found unexpected depths by juxtaposing animated, bipedal animals dealing with serious contemporary issues.
“The Simpsons” (Disney Plus; Fox, Sundays, 8 EDT/PDT) Disney Plus isn’t all princesses and Pixar – the entire library of this seminal comedy is ready for you to stream at a time in which the quirks of Springfield feel less odd than real life.
“Catastrophe” (Amazon) For fans of dry British humor who feel stable in their marriages, this sitcom from Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan is a beautiful portrait of a relationship that begins with an unplanned pregnancy but becomes so much more.
“Lovesick” (Netflix) If you like your comedy wrapped in sweet romance, this short British series is a good choice. The story starts with a man diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease reaching out to his former flames, and morphs into an incredibly will they/won’t they love story.
“The Mindy Project” (Hulu) An uneven but often poignant comedy from Mindy Kaling, “Mindy Project” is a great example of romance made real (but still funny) in a sitcom.
50 Best Comedies on Netflix right now (November 2021)
Netflix has been experimenting with genre lately with rom-com heist Army of Thieves their latest mashup – but there’s denying that one of the biggest streaming service’s success is in comedy.
Sex Education has been in Netflix’s Top Ten list for well over a month, so it’s no surprise that season four is on the way – though hopefully that won’t be the show’s last instalment, unlike On My Block which recently released a fourth and final season.
One show that definitely made it over the four season mark was Seinfeld – with all 180 episodes of the subversive sitcom now available to binge on Netflix in its entirety.
Seinfeld is far from the only comedy legend available on Netflix however – as the streaming service also includes much of the work of Norm MacDonald, who sadly passed away recently.
Speaking of comedy legends, there’s plenty more where that came from – with all-time greats such as Friends and Peep Show available as well as modern masterpieces such as I Think You Should Leave and Big Mouth.
Make sure to check out RadioTimes.com‘s guide to Netflix‘s best comedies below, and for more from the streamer take a look at our guides to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix.
Last updated: 28th October 2021
On My Block
The teen comedy-drama is hardly a new invention, but On My Block manages to keep things fresh and exciting with its talented diverse cast, unbridled enthusiasm and timely exploration of societal issues. On My Block follows Monse, Ruby, Jamal and Cesar as they find their lifelong friendship tested when they start high school in the gritty Los Angeles neighbourhood of Freeridge, following the highs, lows and emotions that come with adolescence in the inner city.
On My Block has been praised for its realistic portrayal of inner-city life, depicting all-too-real issues such as gang culture, crime and violence and how they adversely affect underrepresented communities in particular. However the show is far from all doom and gloom, with the show determined to showcase how fun adolescence can be, complete with zany comedy and spot-on performances from the cast who bring infectious energy to every episode. Mostly, however, On My Block will be remembered for its striking portrayal of teenage friendship – how it can be tested by real-life issues, how people can sometimes drift apart, and just how precious good times with your school friends can be. – Daniel Furn
Norm MacDonald Has a Show
Beloved American comic Norm MacDonald sadly passed away recently at the age of 61, and if you want to pay tribute by checking out some of his work you can find his 2018 talk show Norm MacDonald Has A Show on Netflix. The series saw the former Saturday Night Live comedian interview a whole host of guests – from David Letterman to Jane Fonda – in his typically offbeat style, and makes for thoroughly entertaining viewing for all fans of his work, complete with all sorts of running jokes.
And if you enjoyed that, Macdonald’s 2017 comedy special Hitler’s Dog, Gossip, and Trickery is also available on the streamer, featuring more of his hilarious observations delivered in a trademark deadpan manner. – Patrick Cremona
A ratings juggernaut and one of the most influential sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld’s arrival on Netflix caused quite the commotion despite the show ending well over twenty years ago. Seinfeld is famously “a show about nothing” focusing on the minutiae of daily life, created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David starring Seinfeld as a fictionalised version of himself. Together with his friend George, ex-girlfriend Elaine and neighbour Cosmo, the character of Jerry deals with the absurdities and trivial questions of daily life while living in New York City.
Lasting for a whopping nine seasons and 180 episodes – including one of the most-watched finales in history – Seinfeld has gone beyond being simply a TV show and is now a pop culture icon, with many of the show’s catchphrases seeping into common use. Rightfully so – Seinfeld pushed several boundaries during its run, eschewing a predictable romance storyline and instead refusing to let the characters grow or evoke sympathy, ensuring that the painfully awkward humour could continue. The show was also groundbreakingly meta before it was all the rage, with a memorable season four storyline seeing Jerry pitch a sitcom series about himself.
There’s a reason why Seinfeld’s arrival on Netflix is making headlines all these years later – if you want to see the inspiration behind much of modern comedy, look no further than Seinfeld. – Daniel Furn
Criminally underappreciated, Good Girls has only recently started getting the acclaim it deserves after years of struggling in the ratings in the US. The show follows three suburban mothers struggling to make ends meet, who get tired of playing by the rules and decide to rob the local supermarket. However the successful robbery attracts attention from not just the police – and soon the women are pulled deep into the world of crime and will need each other to get out.
A mix of Desperate Housewives and Widows, Good Girls isn’t exactly known for having the most believable plot – but this is more than made up for by strong performances from the three leading ladies: Mad Men’s Chistina Hendricks, Park and Rec’s Retta and Arrested Development’s Mae Whitman. Plucking the very best from family sitcoms and crime capers, no matter how extraordinary or hilarious a situation the women end up in the show never loses sight of who the characters truly are – frazzled mums trying to do their best to get by. The fourth and final season is available on Netflix now – and the show is addictive enough that you might just get there in one sitting.– Daniel Furn
Grace & Frankie
Hollywood icons Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are still making us laugh well into their 80’s in Grace & Frankie – the feel-good Netflix comedy created by Friends producer Marta Kauffman.
The award-winning duo star as the titular Grace and Frankie, two women who are blindsided when their husbands, played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, announce they’re in love with one another and are leaving them to get married. While Grace (Fonda) is an uptight, martini-drinking cosmetics mogul and Frankie (Tomlin) is a free-spirited artist, the two become unlikely friends when they’re forced to stay in their families’ jointly-owned beach house.
Featuring a star-studded cast (Brooklyn Decker, June Diane Raphael, Ethan Embry, Baron Vaughn) and fantastic chemistry between Fonda and Tomlin, Grace & Frankie is a fun, heartwarming caper-filled comedy that proved so popular, it inspired its very own SNL tribute. – Daniel Furn
A show that surprisingly lives up to its name, Sex Education has become something of a phenomenon for Netflix. The show follows insecure student Otis who inadvertently starts underground sex therapy at his school in order to impress sarcastic social outcast Maeve. However as he begins to solve his classmate’s problems, he starts to realise he should face his own issues with his frank sex therapist mother and his exploration of first love.
What sounds like an easy premise for a cheap sex comedy actually turns out to be so much more, with Otis and his mother’s therapy sessions used to openly discuss a number of sexual issues rarely even referred to on television, with a surprising amount of tenderness and care. Along with a healthy and progressive attitude to sex, the show also explores issues relating to sexuality, sexual assault, contraception and pornography. Being a teen comedy, there is of course the big will they/won’t they romance, as well as a few gross out gags – but it never feels gratuitous or unnecessary.
Young rising star Asa Butterfield plays unwitting teenage sex therapist Otis Milburn, with X-Files legend Gillian Anderson as his over sharing mother. Emma Mackey plays the rebellious Maeve ahead of her appearance in Death on the Nile, while Ncuti Gawa plays Otis’s openly gay best friend Eric. – Daniel Furn
The Addams Family
The Addams Family Universal
The classic cartoon gets an animated reboot – but have no fear, even when computer-generated Gomez, Morticia and co. are still suitably spooky and kooky. The film sees the dysfunctional family move to the suburbs, where they unsurprisingly get into conflict with the local neighbours – particularly when Wednesday befriends the daughter of a reality TV host in a very 21st Century plotline. Will the Addams lose their house so their neighbours can have the perfect reality season finale?
The Addams family may be fond of the dark, but they are voiced by some of Hollywood’s brightest stars – Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard are the stars bringing the frightening family to life, and together with the stunning animation are two best parts of this 2019 horror-comedy. Indeed animation may be the best medium for the iconic family, allowing them to get involved outlandish comic situations sure to thrill the little ones while the classic theme tune gets rolled out for nostalgic adults. A sequel was released in October 2021, with a live-action Wednesday series also in the works at Netflix from Tim Burton.
What with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the partnership of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg has given us two of the finest British comedies of the 21st century, but before all that, they collaborated on this tremendous sitcom. Written by Pegg and Jessica Hynes (then Stephenson), the show follows comic book artist Tim (Pegg), and aspiring writer Daisy (Hynes) after they decide to pose as a couple to secure cheaper rent, which leads to all manner of hijinks across two series.
Throughout the 12 episodes, there are some hugely memorable supporting turns from the likes of Nick Frost, Mark Heap and Julia Deakin, an encyclopedia’s worth of movie references and homages, and a consistent supply of laugh-out-loud jokes – marking this out as one of the finest British sitcoms of its era. – Patrick Cremona
Spaced’s success eventually led to this comedy masterpiece, once again combining the winning trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for this very British parody of buddy cop action films. Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, a high-achieving Met police officer who is transferred to the seemingly sleepy town of Sandford. However, a series of grisly murders soon rock the town – which is hiding a dark secret…
Shaun of the Dead may have been the Hollywood breakthrough for Pegg and co, but despite the change of genre this follow-up is just as funny, and arguably even better as the film’s many twists and turns present a genuinely engaging mystery. Wright’s signature quick-cut editing is also on full display here, with the gags coming thick and fast even during the film’s climactic and highly unconventional shootout.
Following the success of Shaun of the Dead a whole host of A-Listers lined up to play possible suspects, with the likes of Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman and David Bradley popping up as the eccentric residents of Sandford. However Wright’s usual collaborators have not been forgotten – Bill Bailey, Bill Nighy and Spaced’s Julia Deakin all appear also. – Daniel Furn
Death of Stalin
While the premise of turning Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s demise and the subsequent struggle for Russian power into a comedy doesn’t sound like the funniest idea in theory, Armando Iannucci pulls it out the bag – or rather the мешок – with his black satirical comedy The Death of Stalin.
Written and directed by the Thick of It creator, this star-studded wit-fest follows Stalin’s lackeys – Nikita Krushchev (Steve Buscemi), Vyacheslav Molotov (Michael Palin), Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) and Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale) – as they tussle for the role of Soviet leader in the wake of Stalin’s 1953 death.
Featuring an electric cast of British and American icons as well as stand-out performances from Beale as the horrifically brutal Beria and Jason Isaacs, who puts a Northern spin on general Georgy Zhukov, The Death of Stalin is political satire at its finest. – Lauren Morris
With the fourth – and final – season of the beloved comedy-drama having just landed, now is the perfect time to catch up with the Gardner family’s journey so far. Atypical follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who decides he’s ready for a romantic relationship – a decision that will take him on a life-changing path that eventually leads to college, moving out and full-blown independence. However, the show follows other characters too, including those closest to Sam. Mum Elsa, dad Doug and sister Casey help the teen on his journey of self-discovery while dealing with their own tumultuous personal lives.
Atypical has been seen as a landmark series for representation, especially from season two onwards when the show incorporated several autistic actors and writers into the production. Always looking for the humour in every situation but also unafraid to switch to more serious and emotional tones, Atypical has evolved into a show that is feel-good, funny, and deeply human. Keir Gilchrist (It Follows) incorporates aspects of the autistic experience that are often overlooked in TV as Sam, while the show pays equal attention to his relationship with those around him – notably his family played by Jennifer Jason-Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Bill & Ted Face the Music) and Michael Rapaport (Deep Blue Sea). – Daniel Furn
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
With Tim Robinson’s absurd sketch show returning to Netflix for a second season, there couldn’t be a better time to immerse yourself in the show’s first outing, which makes for possibly the strangest three hours of television available on the streamer.
From the overactive imagination of Saturday Night Live and Detroiters star Robinson, this six-part skit-fest takes viewers on a rollercoaster of bizarre sketches, ranging from pure silliness to grotesque surrealism. With the likes of Sam Richardson, Vanessa Bayer, Steven Yeun, Will Forte, the late Fred Willard, Cecily Strong and Andy Samberg appearing throughout the series, the memeworthy episodes will leave you wondering what exactly it is you’ve just watched – but in such a good way. – Lauren Morris
After debuting on Channel 4 in 2020, Mae Martin’s brilliant sitcom Feel Good made the shift to Netflix for its second and final season, released in June 2021. Despite the change of channel, the show remains just as charming as before – striking a perfect balance between genuine laugh-out-loud comedy and thoughtful, nuanced exploration of serious themes such as addiction, gender identity and sexual assault.
Martin was nominated for a BAFTA for their performance in the first run and they are superb again this time around, while the always reliable Charlotte Ritchie makes for a perfect foil – and there’s a winning supporting turn from Friends star Lisa Kudrow as Martin’s mother too. Martin made the decision to end the series after two seasons, and while that may be disappointing to fans it could be a wise decision – these 12 episodes make for a near-perfect sitcom. – Patrick Cremona
Bo Burnham: Inside
After making his directorial debut with Eighth Grade and starring in Oscar-winning thriller Promising Young Woman, Bo Burnham is finally back with a brand new comedy special – written, shot, directed and edited by himself in the midst of the pandemic. While it’s been six years since Burnham’s last special Make Happy gave us a raft of quotable, hugely-viral tunes, he hasn’t lost his edge despite his recent success and Inside just proves that.
The COVID-themed special not only crams in a number of catchy ear-worms but captures so many themes of pandemic life, from the joys (and frustrations) of FaceTiming your mum to the last year’s effect on everyone’s mental health. A skilfully written 87 minutes with something to say, Bo Burnham: Inside will make you both laugh out loud and possibly cry throughout this sharp, poignant, brutal and relatable rollercoaster ride through the comedian’s mind. – Lauren Morris
With season two of Special now on Netflix, it couldn’t be a better time to check out this sitcom starring and created by comedian Ryan O’Connell. Based on his memoir, I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, the series follows Ryan Hayes (O’Connell), a young gay man with cerebral palsy working as an intern at a website called Eggwoke.
As he heads out into adult life, stepping away from his mother and throwing himself into his career, Ryan initially tells his colleagues that his disability was caused by a car accident, but slowly begins to embrace his cerebral palsy throughout these 15 minute episodes. A funny, enlightening, heart-warming and unfiltered adaptation of O’Connell’s memoir, Special effectively paints Ryan as an intriguing complex character despite the short episode lengths. – Lauren Morris
Call My Agent
Call My Agent (or Dix pour cent in France) is the French comedy everybody’s talking about – a witty, unforgiving satire centred around a talent agency in Paris. Starring Camille Cottin (Killing Eve, Allied) as Andréa, a cut-throat agent with a passion for cinema, the series follows the ASK employees after the death of their boss as they try to keep the agency afloat.
With French stars guest-starring as exaggerated version of themselves, including Line Renaud, Isabelle Huppert, Julien Doré and Monica Bellucci, as well as Alien star Sigourney Weaver, this French sitcom makes you laugh, but also gives you enough drama to keep your interest piqued – from illegitimate children and office romances, to decades-old affairs and surprise pregnancies. With a UK remake on the way, now’s the time to dive into Call My Agent, a comedy worth reading the subtitles for – Lauren Morris
Kevin Hart plays against type in this new Netflix film, dialling down his over-the-top comedic tendencies in order to give us a rare glimpse of his dramatic chops. Based on the bestselling memoir ‘Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love’, this fact-based comedy-drama follows Hart as single father Matt and his struggles to raise his daughter following the sudden death of his wife. As his daughter grows from a screaming toddler to a struggling schoolchild, Matt must balance work and dating with his own grief – and being the very best father he can be.
Surprisingly emotional, Hart shows a previously unseen side to him by giving this true story the dramatic performance and weight it deserves, resulting in more than a few moments that will pull at the heartstrings. Not that Hart entirely neglects his comedy roots however, adding in some literal toilet humour with several expected nappy jokes but also adding some levity to some of the tender father-daughter moments. Melody Hurd (Them), Alfre Woodward (12 Years a Slave), Lil Rey Howery (Get Out) and DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It) make up the supporting cast. – Daniel Furn
I Give It A Year
© Studio Canal Studio Canal
A starry cast makes up this British reverse rom-com, which begins rather than ends with the central couple Nat and Josh getting married. However family and friends predict the marriage will only last a year – so never mind happily ever after, will the newlyweds make it to their first anniversary? Attractive alternatives including an ex-girlfriend and a handsome client don’t make things any easier…
I Give It A Year is the directorial debut from Dan Mazer – best known for writing Sacha Baron Cohen hits Borat and Bruno – and his penchant for tough, dry comedy is on full display here in this anti-rom-com that is highly lacking in romance. However, the comedy is very much present poking fun at rom-com cliches, helped by an ensemble cast giving their all. Rose Byrne, Anna Farris and Simon Baker line up to take part in this very British comedy, which also includes homegrown talent such as Rafe Spall, Olivia Colman and a standout Stephen Merchant. – Daniel Furn
Tweens get the high school comedy treatment in this bawdy comedy produced by Seth Rogen. Forget prom – Good Boys sees three sixth-graders preparing for their first kissing party, so embark on a journey to learn more about puckering up. The plan, of course, goes awry, resulting in a series of misadventures involving stolen drugs, broken drones and angry parents en route to the all-important party.
While Good Boys revels undeniably a little too much in profane and gross-out humour, the film is buoyed by a talented young cast and an awful lot of heart. Indeed like recent high school comedies such as Booksmart and Superbad Good Boys acts as a surprisingly thoughtful exploration of early friendship, and although the humour is very modern there’s a clear homage to 1980s coming-of-age films such as Stand By Me and The Goonies. Look out for a cameo from Stephen Merchant, as well as an assured performance from Luca star Jacob Tremblay. – Daniel Furn
Parks and Recreation
It’s been six years since Parks and Recreation aired its very last episode and while fans are still holding out hope for a surprise reunion at some point in the future, at least the whole boxset is now on Netflix for us to binge to our hearts content. Created by mockumentary kings Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (The Office US, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), this NBC sitcom stars SNL’s Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, the Deputy Parks Director within the Parks Department of Pawnee (a fictional town in Indiana).
Responsible for launching the stellar careers of Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Aubrey Plaza (Ingrid Goes West), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Nick Offerman (The Lego Movie) and Adam Scott (Step Brothers) among others, Parks and Recreation is a seminal sitcom of the 2010s, full of colourful characters, all of whom are hilarious in their own right, and equally filled with lots of heart. Comfort TV at its best. – Lauren Morris
Dead to Me
Grief counselling doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs – but this eccentric dark comedy excels in finding humour in the strangest of places. Dead to Me follows sardonic widow Jen (Christina Applegate) as she meets the forever optimistic Judy (Linda Cardellini) at grief counselling, eventually striking up an unlikely close friendship with her despite polar opposite personalities. Queue several sarcastic quips, foul-mouthed insults and bottles of wine as the two women bond over shared loss – which could all be destroyed by a dark secret Judy is hiding…
In lesser hands this could have ended up as an abrasive misery fest, but it the assured performances and electric chemistry between leads Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini that make this a must watch, with the two switching between gallows humour and genuine heartbreak with ease. It’s no wonder both have been nominated for Emmys for their performances – here’s hoping they’ll get the win next season.
For those who enjoyed WandaVision but are after a darker and more realistic exploration of grief through a comedic lens, then Dead To Me is the show for you. Two seasons are available, with a third and final instalment on the way. – Daniel Furn
The Good Place
Much like series lead Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristin Bell), we too spent much of 2020 wondering if we’d ended up in the Bad Place – luckily, however, breezy afterlife sitcom The Good Place is the perfect remedy for tough times. The show sees saleswoman Eleanor ascend to the Good Place, a heaven-esque utopia designed to be the perfect afterlife for righteous people. There’s just one problem – morally corrupt Eleanor is far from righteous, and must hide her past and learn to become a better person if the other residents are to believe this case of mistaken identity.
While the series started as a heavenly fish-out-of-water comedy, several twists along the way have led the show to creative explorations of philosophy, ethics and what it really means to be good. It’s the perfect show for those looking for a deeper message underneath a light, carefree layer of wholesome comedy, a formula that earned the show a whopping 14 Emmy nominations.
Frozen’s Kristin Bell stars as protagonist Eleanor, with William Jackson-Harper (Midsommar) as Chidi Anagonye, the former professor who attempts to teach Eleanor ethics. Former BBC radio presenter Jameela Jamil plays wealthy philanthropist and Eleanor’s eventual friend Tahani Al-Jamil, while Ted Danson turns in a critically praised performance as afterlife “architect” Michael. – Daniel Furn
The first thing to know about BoJack Horseman is that its lead character is an alcoholic horse voiced by Will Arnett. The second thing to know about BoJack Horseman is that it is absolutely not what you might expect it to be.
BoJack is the washed-up star of ’90s sitcom Horsin’ Around. He now lives a quiet life in his lavish Hollywood Hills home but is planning a comeback with a tell-all autobiography written by ghostwriter Diane. However, he is reckless and difficult to get along with as he battles drug and alcohol addiction.
Though it arguably took a little while to find its feet (or should that be hooves?), the series grew and blossomed and from midway through season one onwards, it became of the best TV shows out there, mocking the emptiness of celebrity and fast fame delivering a truly poignant examination of issues like depression and mental health. Smart, multilayered, brutal and hilarious, if you’re missing out on BoJack Horseman, you’re just plain missing out. – Morgan Jeffery
Jumping on the mockumentary craze of the 2000s, as the name would suggest this long-running comedy shifted the format to a fresh perspective: the diverse family set-ups of 21st century America. A combination of interview segments of shows like The Office with an updated take on the classic family sitcom, Modern Family is one of the most successful shows in recent memory, running for a whopping 11 seasons and winning twenty-two Emmy awards.
Modern Family follows three different interrelated family setups: patriarch Jay Mitchell and his new children with younger second wife Gloria, his daughter Claire and her nuclear family with husband Phil, and Jay’s son Mitchell, who has adopted a child with husband Cameron. From there the show delves into the usual family sitcom scenarios, but with its own unique and very current take.
Sofia Vergara has become the breakout star of the show with her fiery portrayal of Gloria, but she’s joined by some fine company. Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell have each won two Emmys for their portrayal of Cameron, Claire and self-proclaimed “cool dad” Phil respectively, while Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter round out the talented cast. – Daniel Furn
The Kominsky Method
Full of heart and humour, The Kominsky Method marks quite possibly a career high for its creator, sitcom veteran Chuck Lorre. The series follows Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas), an aging actor and acting coach who has grown old alongside his friend Norman (Alan Arkin), but has to go on without him as he deals with money, death, love, murder and dreams coming true – it premiered in November 2018 on Netflix and immediately won a following with its funny, poignant stylings and sensitive portrait of life, loss and aging.
It might not sound like a groundbreaking premise, but two top-notch lead performances from Douglas and Arkin help elevate the series into something really quite special. Douglas won the Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his performance, while the show itself won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2019. – Owen Tonks
Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia has drawn comparisons to this classic series, but there really is nothing quite like Gilmore Girls. The go-to show when looking for single-parent families on TV, Gilmore Girls follows thirty-something Lorelai Gilmore and the close bond she has with her teenage daughter Rory. We then see the two protagonists deal with love and life in the sleepy town of Stars Hollow, with a particular focus on family – including Lorelai’s strained relationship with her own parents – using an effective mix of cross-generational humour and drama.
Known for its quippy fast-paced dialogue and pop culture references, Gilmore Girls drew modest ratings during its initial run, with its later cult classic status prompting Netflix to order a revival in 2016. The show then wrapped up with four-part special Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which is available on Netflix along with the original seven seasons.
The titular mother-daughter duo is portrayed by Lauren Graham as independent single mum Lorelai, with precocious Rory played by Alexis Bledel, now better known as fierce resistance member Emily in The Handmaid’s Tale. However it was a young Melissa McCarthy who became the breakout star of the show, who would go on to star in other Netflix comedies such as Thunder Force. – Daniel Furn
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
One of the funniest films of all time (fans will debate whether it’s better than Life of Brian), 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail is set in in 932AD and follows King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his servant Patsy (Terry Gilliam) as they recruit Sir Bedevere the Wise (Terry Jones), Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot (Eric Idle) to join the Knights of the Round Table.
Superbly silly, Holy Grail – which was shot mainly on location in Scotland – transplants what worked so well about the Pythons’ TV work and translates it seamlessly to the big-screen. There’s not much of a narrative at work here, but that’s part of the fun – what we get instead is 92 minutes packed with iconic, surreal Monty Python humour, from coconuts shells in place of actual horses to the ballad of Camelot. – Owen Tonks
Pushing animation as far as it will go, this very adult comedy follows teenage friends Andrew and Nick as they navigate puberty in suburban New York. ‘Hormone Monsters’ – dirty-minded shoulder angels who act as a personification of puberty – act as humorous sex education teachers for most of the main characters, explaining their changing bodies and sexual issues including all the gory details.
While Big Mouth includes all the gross-out humour you might expect from a show like this, underneath the smut are some surprising life lessons. Much like Netflix’s other hit Sex Education, Big Mouth touches on issues rarely explored on TV, including body positivity, sexism in sex education and other more explicit topics.
It’s backed up by an impressive cast too – co-creator Nick Kroll voices half the characters, including insecure teen Nick and Hormone Monster Maurice. Into the Spider-Verse’s John Mulaney plays Nick’s best friend Andrew, while comedian Jessi Klein voices sarcastic schoolgirl Jessi. Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph and Jordan Peele also lend their voices.
Big Mouth has clearly been a big success for Netflix, with four seasons now available with a fifth on the way – along with a spin-off titled Human Resources focused on the world of the hormone monsters. – Daniel Furn
Now over twenty years old, this animated classic still holds up and is widely popular all these years later. A loose parody of The Great Escape, Chicken Run switches the action from Nazi Germany to Mrs. Tweedy’s chicken farm, where she is planning to transform her egg farm into an automated meat pie factory. The only hope for the chickens is a Mel Gibson voiced rooster who can seemingly fly – will the fleeing fowl be able to fly the nest?
One of the very first animated films from Dreamworks – and the first feature-length project from Aardman – Chicken Run still holds the record for the highest-grossing stop motion animation of all time. Featuring plenty of slapstick action for the children and clever references for the adults, critical acclaim was so unanimous there was an unsuccessful attempt to get the film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar – prompting the introduction of the Best Animated Feature Award. The classic characters will return in the belated Chicken Run sequel, which funnily enough is being made in collaboration with Netflix. – Daniel Furn
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun
A recent international addition to Netflix, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun features Australian comedy group Aunty Donna take us on absurd adventure through their day-to-day lives in this sketch show. Aunty Donna is, confusingly, a group made up of men, namely performers Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, director Sam Lingham, filmmaker Max Miller; and composer Tom Armstrong. The group originally formed in 2011 intending to exclusively perform live comedy shows, before expanding into podcasts, a YouTube channel and now TV.
Receiving rave reviews from critics and even comparisons to the legendary Monty Python, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun features the group as fictionalised versions of themselves – as well as several other characters – in a heightened version of their daily lives through satire, parody, wordplay, and breakout musical numbers. Look out for the impressive celebrity cameos – including The Office’s Ed Helms (who also produces), singer “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bob’s Burgers’ Kristen Schaal, and Homelander himself Antony Starr.
If you’re into absurdist comedy then this is for you – storylines include the group’s dishwasher becoming sentient, a search for billion year old pirate “booty” and a challenge to win the most medals at the 2000 Olympics. – Daniel Furn
Playground politics come into the comedy spotlight in this very British sitcom that will be hugely relatable to mothers, fathers and anyone who has had to regularly do the school run. Middle-class Julia Johnson is forced to take a more hands-on approach to her children’s schooling when her mother decides to stop babysitting, and is soon thrust into the mum-eat-mum world of the school’s “Alpha Mums” and the competitiveness that arises.
The unromantic side of motherhood is on full show here, with any glamorous depictions eschewed in favour of far more realistic scenarios such as the PTA’s reign of terror, being blamed for a nit pandemic and the true chaos that arises from trying to host a children’s party. A consistent critical hit – we gave season three five stars out of five in our Motherland review – it’s not surprising when you consider the talent in the writing room: Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan and comedian Holly Walsh are among those penning the trials and traumas of middle-class motherhood.
Line of Duty‘s Anna Maxwell Martin takes on a very different role as the unorganised Julia newly introduced to the Alpha Mums, while After Life’s Diane Morgan stars as the straight-talking Diane. The Terror‘s Paul Ready is the stay-at-home dad trying – and failing – to integrate into the Alpha Mums, while Hot Fuzz’s Lucy Punch plays the group’s superficially polite leader. – Daniel Furn
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Evening Standard/Getty Images)
It might’ve been controversial at the time of its initial release, with some accusing it of blasphemy and some countries, including Ireland and Norway, banning it altogether for decades, but Monty Python’s Life of Brian – which tells the story of Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a Jewish-Romanian man who is born on the same day and in the stable next door to Jesus – is now widely regarded as one of the best comedy films ever made.
The film follows the ill-fated Brian as he becomes infatuated with a woman called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies), with his desire for her, as well as his dislike of the Romans, inspiring him to join independence movement People’s Front of Judea (PFJ) who spend more time fighting each other than the Romans.
More than 40 years on it’s a classic that absolutely lives up to the hype. Rude, crude and brilliant, this is the Pythons at their most unrestrained and firing on all cylinders. The jokes, many of them wonderfully tasteless, come thick and fast, and the one-liners (“He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” “I’m Brian and so’s my wife.”) have gone down in cinematic history. – Morgan Jeffery
Rick and Morty
Loosely inspired by Doc Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future, wacky animated sitcom Rick & Morty delves headfirst into concepts such as alternate realities, microverses and simulations to mine fresh comedy material. The show follows grumpy genius Rick Sanchez as he goes on all sorts of intergalactic adventures with his timid grandson Morty, much to the chagrin of his devoted daughter Beth, her insecure husband Jerry and their teenage daughter Summer. Though the series is mostly episodic in nature, there are some ongoing storylines – with a fan favourite following the Council of Ricks, a group of Ricks from several different dimensions.
This wonderfully inventive series is known for dabbling with scientific theories rarely seen in a comedy, some somewhat realistic (parallel dimensions play a big part) and some completely out there (we’re sure you’ve all heard of Pickle Rick). However, just as clever are some of the narrative twists and character beats – amidst all the cosmic chaos, the series can knock an emotional blow out of nowhere.
Co-creator Justin Roiland does the heavy lifting voicing both Rick and Morty, though he is joined by Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) as Beth, Chris Parnell (30 Rock) as Jerry and Spencer Grammer (Greek) as Summer. – Daniel Furn
Living With Yourself
What’s better than having ageless, amiable star Paul Rudd as the lead of a comedy series? Having two Paul Rudds of course! Rudd pulls double duties in this charming Netflix original, which sees run-down copywriter Miles Elliot undergo a mysterious treatment to become his best self – only to end up cloning himself. With his clone his superior in every way, Miles must learn to, well, live with himself, specifically a more optimistic and driven version of himself.
With a star as likeable as Paul Rudd, it’s a no-brainer to have him in his own sitcom playing dual roles, and the show succeeds largely to the charisma radiating off the two Rudds. While the series is largely light and played for laughs, it raises some ethical dilemmas also – with Miles’s supportive wife Kate understandably feeling a bit conflicted.
UK viewers will be pleasantly surprised to see comedian Aisling Bea in a big role as Kate, Miles’s architect wife who gets the shock of a lifetime. She’s joined in Living With Yourself by Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) as Miles’s sister Maia, Desmin Borges (Utopia) as co-worker Dan, and Karen Pittman (Luke Cage) as Miles’s boss. – Daniel Furn
Loosely based on creator Dan Harmon’s own university experiences, Community follows former lawyer Jeff Winger’s attempt to coast through community college, only to inadvertently form a study group with six other mismatched students. And what students they were – not only did the show bring Donald Glover and Alison Brie to the world’s attention, but Joel McHale (Ted), Gillian Jacobs (Love), Danny Pudi (Mythic Quest), Yvette Nicole Brown (Big Shot) and Ken Jeong (The Hangover).
What started out as the usual run-of-the-mill university comedy, Community soon found its unique identity with its meta plotlines and parodies of other TV shows, films and entire genres – all while remaining faithful to its characters/university setting. The show is famous for its paintball episodes in particular – just see how many action film references you can spot in the 20 minute runtime.
Infamously plagued by behind-the-scenes issues and low ratings while it was on the air, Community has since become a cult hit that received a popularity boost in 2020 when it was added to Netflix worldwide, the cast reunited for a table read and McHale and Jeong started a Community-themed podcast. The show gave us six sterling seasons – we’re more hopeful than ever for the movie. – Daniel Furn
The Office (US)
While the hugely influential UK edition of The Office may have left the streaming service for now, Netflix still boasts The Office US, a rare beast in that it is an American adaptation that is arguably just as good as the original.
Other than moving the awkward antics from Slough to Scranton, the premise remains pretty much the same – a documentary film crew follow the monotonous lives of employees at a paper company in Slough, and the tedium, ego clashes and shenanigans that ensue. What really elevates the show, however, is Steve Carrell’s award-winning turn as Michael Scott, whose inappropriate behaviour, cringe worthy jokes and self-delusions provide much of the comedy for the series.
After a mixed first season attempting to mimic the UK series, the show eventually found its own identity by making Michael into a much more sympathetic and well-meaning character than his David Brent counterpart, finding a winning formula that lasted for a whopping nine seasons and 201 episodes. It didn’t hurt that the sitcom made excellent use of its supporting cast also, with Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper going on to become huge stars.
Nielsen named The Office as the most streamed show in Netflix in the US – no mean feat indeed. – Daniel Furn
Comedy darling Tina Fey nailed the rather difficult task of writing relatable material for teenagers in this 2004 hit that far transcends most high school dramas. The film follows Cady Heron who befriends the A-List girl clique ‘The Plastics’ after being convinced to sabotage them, only to fall in love with the leader’s ex-boyfriend.
The endlessly quotable film has remained essential viewing for teenage girls the world over, but Tina Fey’s whip-smart dialogue and deconstruction of high school cliques remains an amusing watch at any age. The film’s cult following led to a made-for-television sequel in 2011 and even a Broadway musical in 2018, a good fourteen years after the movie’s debut. The film has since become a pop culture phenomenon – GIFs and memes of the film are ever-present on social media, with October 3rd unofficially dubbed ‘Mean Girls Day’ after the date was featured in the film.
The film featured Lindsay Lohan at the peak of her teen comedy stardom, as well as Rachel McAdams in a breakout role as ‘plastic’ Regina George. Amanda Seyfried also makes her film debut as airhead Karen Smith, while Tina Fey also has a small role along with long-time collaborator Amy Poehler. – Daniel Furn
Never Have I Ever
Hailing from The Office US writer and star Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever explores the day-to-day life of a modern first-generation Indian-American teenager. LA fifteen year old Devi Vishwakuma is hoping to improve her social status at her second year of high school – but a tragic loss sees her instead struggling with grief, school problems, her Indian identity and an increasingly fraught relationship with her mother.
Based upon Kaling’s own childhood, this Indian-American focused high school drama has been praised for its representation of South Asians in Hollywood and breaking stereotypes of Asian characters in teen television. The show is also happy to lean on emotional themes as Devi processes grief and learns to balance her two cultures, while also providing the mandatory laughs that come with a teen comedy.
Newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was picked to play Devi by Mindy Kaling after an open casting call that received 15,000 responses, despite only being 17 and having no professional acting experience. Poorna Jagannathan (The Night Of) plays Devi’s dermatologist mother, while Darren Barnet (Agents of SHIELD) plays love interest Paxton Hall-Yoshida. Tennis player John McEnroe is a left-field choice as the show’s narrator, with a guest narration from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg. – Daniel Furn
Breakout Irish hit Derry Girls has taken the world by storm since it premiered on Channel 4 in 2018, and is going from strength to strength. This unique sitcom follows a gaggle of sixteen-year-old girls at a Derry secondary school during The Troubles, as they deal with growing pains and teenage angst in the world of armed police and British Army checkpoints.
Channel 4’s biggest comedy launch since 2004, Derry Girls has been swamped with critical praise with season one earning an impressive 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. The show is based on events in writer Lisa McGee’s own childhood, including writing a letter to Bill Clinton’s daughter, and has been praised for juxtaposing normal teenage life with the violence of the Troubles. It’s been a big hit in Northern Ireland in particular – it has become the most watched show since modern records began in the region, and a large mural of the cast has been painted in the titular city.
The cast are all rising stars now – theatre actress Saoirse-Monica Jackson plays the lead role of Erin Quinn, but is joined by an ensemble including Louisa Harland (The Deceived) as her meddling cousin Louisa McCool and Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton) as the sensible Claire Devlin. Look out for the cameo from Father Ted’s Ardal O’Hanlon. – Daniel Furn
Will Ferrell is at his immature best in this goofball comedy, which sees one of his many team ups with the equally hilarious John C. Reilly. The plot is perfect comedy fodder: two middle-aged man-children are forced to live with each other as step brothers when their respective single parents marry, prompting tantrums, over-the-top sibling spats and some surprisingly catchy songs.
Step Brothers came during the peak of Ferrell’s film career, and is one of the many hits he made with director long-term writing partner Adam McKay following Anchorman and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Ferrell is no stranger to playing a man-child and this film gives him the perfect partner in Reilly, with the two engaging bouncing increasingly ridiculous ideas and insults off each other before ultimately forming a brotherly friendship. The film also has several unlikely music segments – with Will Ferrell using his own singing voice and John C. Reilly really doing his own drumming.
After adopting him in Elf, Mary Steenburgen plays Will Ferrell’s mother yet again in Step Brothers, with The Shape of Water’s Richard Jenkins as the single father she marries. Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott portrays Ferrell’s successful biological brother, with WandaVision’s Kathryn Hahn as his wife Alice. – Daniel Furn
Who ya gonna call? While WhatsAapp message or Zoom call may be a more common way to contact the spirit swatters these days, the film itself holds up perfectly well these days. We’re sure Ray Parker Jr.’s catchy song has taught you the premise by now – but for the uninitiated, the original Ghostbusters follows a group of former scientists who form a new business catching ghosts in New York City. However when a shape shifting demigod possesses one of their clients, they’ll have a lot more than just ghosts to deal with if they open a dimensional gate…
One of the most iconic films of all time and one of the biggest comedies of the 1980s, Ghostbusters has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon with two follow-up films, several animated series and multiple videogames – with sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife due out in 2021. It’s not hard to see why – Bill Murray’s deadpan performance has been routinely praised, while the film’s unique mix of comedy, science fiction and action laid the groundwork for the blockbusters we have today.
Comedy legend Bill Murray stars as Peter Venkman, alongside an impressive ‘80s ensemble cast including Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Harold Ramis (Stripes), Rick Moranis (Spaceballs) and Ernie Hudson (The Crow). – Daniel Furn
After 11 seasons and 12 years on air, Archer is approaching Simpsons-esque levels of episode numbers and outrageous scenarios – and shows no signs of stopping. The self-referential adult animation follows narcissistic spy Sterling Archer and his colleagues at a dysfunctional intelligence agency, including his snarky mother and boss Malory and professional field agent and love interest Lana Kane.
However, the show has proved itself a master of reinvention, with the later seasons moving away from a spy parody to self-contained anthologies, seeing different versions of the characters in new locations and time periods including a noir-esque 1940s LA, a 1938 tropical island and even space. However, the show’s winning formula has remained the same – heavy amounts of pop culture references, whip-smart dialogue and meta jokes. For those who like zany comedy interspersed with bouts of action, then Archer is for you.
Adult animation veteran H Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) voices the titular Archer, with the late Jessica Walter as the overbearing Malory and Criminal Minds’ Aisha Tyler as voice of reason Lana. Ant-Man’s Judy Greer features as Malory’s delusional assistant Cheryl Tunt, with Rick and Morty’s Chris Parnell also lending his voice to mild-mannered accountant Cyril Figgis. – Daniel Furn
Beloved British sitcom Peep Show may have ended in 2015, but has only gotten more popular as more time passes from the finale. The title, despite what it may suggest, refers to the show’s style of being filmed entirely in first-person, which means we get to hear every regrettable thought of main characters slacker Jeremy and socially awkward Mark. The show follows the day-to-day lives of the two dysfunctional flatmates as they struggle to transition from university to working life, trying and usually failing to advance at work and dating.
While the show could easily have fallen into mismatched flatmate tropes, the show’s central gimmick is actually its greatest strength by bringing the viewer into collaboration with the protagonists. We understand exactly how they are feeling and thinking and can relate and empathise with them through every embarrassing situation, poor decision and terrible behaviour as we know their motivations.
This is, of course, helped by a sterling cast, specifically leads David Mitchell and Robert Webb who have genuinely known each other and collaborated since university. The supporting cast, too, are exceptional: most notably national treasure Olivia Colman in her breakthrough role of Sophie, but also Matt King deserves credit for nearly stealing the show with his fan-favourite character Super Hans. – Daniel Furn
Fans across the pond may be disappointed that the popular sitcom is no longer on US Netflix – but here in the UK Friends is not going anywhere just yet. We’re sure you know the premise by now – after spoiled Rachel flees her wedding day and moves in with old friend Monica, she soon bonds with eccentric masseuse Phoebe, dim-witted actor Joey, sarcastic IT manager Chandler and insecure paleontologist Ross. We then follow the highs and lows of their Manhattan lives through the group’s twenties and thirties, through comedic career changes and chaotic romantic adventures – but most importantly, we see their friendship throughout.
One of the most popular shows of all time, the show’s many catchphrases (“We were on a break!”) and characters have become staples of pop culture, and the cast – particularly Jennifer Aniston – have all become household names. It’s a testament to the quality of the show that over 15 years on from the record-breaking finale, the series continues to do well on streaming and fans are still hungry for more – so much so that a Friends reunion show was filmed for HBO Max in 2021, and despite being unscripted, drew hype and headlines around the world. – Daniel Furn
Dolemite is My Name
Eddie Murphy’s award-winning return to the silver screen, Dolemite Is My Name is a stylish throwback to the 1970s in this biopic of blaxploitation icon Rudy Ray Moore. Comedian and rap pioneer Rudy Ray Moore goes against all the odds to make a success out of his alter ego Dolemite – a hilarious and often obscene kung-fu fighter who becomes an underground sensation. The film chronicles the build-up to iconic 1975 film Dolemite, a watershed moment for Moore and the blaxploitation genre as a whole.
After several years away from major movie roles – and twenty years on from the last R-rated comedy role he’s known best for – Murphy is back at his foul-mouthed and bawdy best. However it’s not just a comedic return to form, as the film is as much a homage to Rudy Ray Moore as it is a comedy, and Murphy has received unanimous critical praise his performance as the larger-than-life filmmaker.
Murphy is joined by a stellar African-American cast, including Keegan Michael-Key (Key & Peele), Mike Epps (The Hangover), Craig Robinson (The Office), Tituss Burgess (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (High Fidelity). The film also features Wesley Snipes in a prominent comeback role, and also sees appearances from Chris Rock and rappers T.I. and Snoop Dogg. – Daniel Furn
Much like Clueless, Easy A is yet another high school comedy inspired by a classic historical novel – this time the scandalous The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Much like the novel, Easy A’s protagonist Olive also uses her lies and rumours to advance her social standing, initially fibbing about losing her virginity to cover up her boring weekend. This being high school however, it’s not long before the rumour mill spins these stories out of control, and while Olive initially profits from her tall tales it’s not long before the truth catches up from her.
The first leading role of future Oscar winner Emma Stone, Easy A was the actress’s breakthrough role and earned her nominations for Best Actress at the Golden Globes as well as the BAFTA Rising Star award. Easy A is one of the better high school films of the last decade or so, lightly exploring themes of hypocrisy, conformity, deception and cyber-bullying all within a breezy teen comedy. It’s Clueless for the 21st Century – a smart and funny adaptation of classic literature, modernised so that it’s fully relevant to the target audiences, complete with webcam vlogs, Tom Cruise jokes and still-pertinent digs at social media also.
Penn Badgley plays a far more charming love interest than his character in You, with Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes as devout Christian classmate Rhiannon. Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci and Malcolm McDowell are the adults overseeing proceedings. – Daniel Furn
The US Office’s successor as the feel-good comedy of the 2010s, Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes the popular police procedural format and adds a workplace comedy spin to it. The show follows the diverse and dysfunctional employees at the fictional precinct as they wrestle with their personal lives and get up to workplace shenanigans, and even occasionally solve a few crimes.
Despite the show’s focus on crime, the series is infectiously cheery, largely thanks to the quippy comedic stylings of The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, who plays the wisecracking but immature lead character Jake Peralta. However, the show has since found its voice through a smart ensemble cast, featuring the deadpan Captain Holt (Andre Braugher), avid organiser Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), goofy Boyle (Jo Lo Truglio), hardnut Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), doting father Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) and the sardonic Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti).
The show’s quick-fire dialogue and deadpan putdowns soon launched a torrent of catchphrases and internet memes, with a particularly iconic Backstreet Boys gag reaching 22 million views on YouTube. However, the show hasn’t been afraid to tackle serious issues either while still retaining a sense of humour – an episode in which Terry Crews’ character is racially profiled has received particular praise, and the series has won a GLAAD award for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ people. – Daniel Furn
The Dead Don’t Die
The Dead Don’t Die Netflix
Simon Pegg classic Shaun of the Dead may have left Netflix, but the streaming service has added another irreverent zom-com to fill the void. Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Adam Driver (Star Wars) and Chloë Sevigny (American Horror Story) star as small-town police officers who have to contend with a zombie invasion, with the film adding a dry sense of humour to the end of the world and featuring a particularly deadpan performance from Murray.
However the three leads are far from the only big names in the cast – Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop and Carol Kane are all taking part in silly zombie gags, including an undead Iggy Pop hunting for coffee and Swinton giving the deceased a makeover. The zombie film is close to exhaustion after exploding in popularity a decade ago, but director Jim Jarmusch’s wholly original and offbeat satire proves there’s still life in the genre. – Daniel Furn
What if one day you woke up and the Beatles never existed? That’s the question posed in this high concept rom-com from director Danny Boyle, which sees exactly that happen to struggling musician Jack. As you’d expect, the film sees Jack use the Fab Four’s songs to achieve global stardom for himself, but a few twists along the way ensure the film does not quite end in the way you would expect. The movie also has great fun with the alternate universe premise, with the Beatles not the only icon of pop culture to never exist…
Former EastEnders actor Himesh Patel continues his surprise rise to Hollywood success as Jack, with fellow British star Lily James as love interest Ellie. Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon has a memorable turn as manager Debra – and look out for an an extended cameo from Ed Sheeran as himself, as well as a few more surprise cameos… – Daniel Furn
Based on a script Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg started writing when they were only 13(!), it’s perhaps not surprising that Superbad is a rather authentic take on young friendships and school awkwardness. Teenagers and best friends Seth and Evan are hoping to go out with a big party before they head to different universities, but their friendship is tested when their plan to get booze goes seriously awry.
The film that introduced McLovin to the world, Superbad has made it to the pantheon of modern high school comedy classics. The film has all the bawdy jokes you’d expect from a Seth Rogen high school comedy, but underneath all the smut is a genuinely touching story of male friendship. It was based on a real one after all, with Rogen and Evans basing the film on their experiences at secondary school in Vancouver in the 1990s. Rogen was originally meant to play Seth, but due to his age ended up playing Officer Michaels.
However, in Rogen’s place a young Jonah Hill was cast. His chemistry with Michael Cera’s Evan was particularly praised, and Hill, Cera, Rogen, Goldberg and producer Judd Apatow would go on to collaborate on a string of comedy hits in the late 2000s and 2010s. They weren’t the only breakthrough stars however – Christopher Mintz-Plasse would go on to more teen comedy roles in Kick-Ass and Neighbours, while Emma Stone would go on to become lead in Easy A and eventually Oscar stardom. – Daniel Furn
The directorial debut from actress Olivia Wilde, Booksmart proves to be a fresh and modern take on the high school comedy. When two bookworm best friends realise they missed out on a lot of fun while studying, they try to cram four years of missed opportunities into one night – which just so happens to be the eve of their graduation.
A celebration of female friendship, growing up and the special coming-of-age moments that take place during our school years, Booksmart is in many ways a gender swapped version of Superbad in it focus on youthful camaraderie during one frenetic night at the end of high school – with authenticity too given that the actors themselves were given free rein to change the dialogue. However, Booksmart is also a good deal more progressive than Superbad particularly in its representation of the LGBTQ+ community – lead character Amy is out as a lesbian but her sexuality does not dominate her character, and does not impact her platonic friendship with Molly.
Rising star Kaitlyn Dever, best known for her critically acclaimed turn in Unbelievable, plays bookish Amy Antsler, while LadyBird star Beanie Feldstein – who also happens to be Jonah Hill’s sister – plays equally studious best friend Molly Davidson. Fantastic Beasts actress Jessica Williams plays their favourite teacher Miss Fine, with Friends star Lisa Kudrow as Amy’s mum and Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis as Principal Brown. – Daniel Furn
Coming to America
Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy Paramount Intl Pictures
With the long-belated sequel Coming 2 America finally released, you can see why fans waited decades for a sequel now the excellent original has been added to Netflix. Released in 1988 at the height of Eddie Murphy’s powers, Coming to America sees the comedian play pampered African prince Akeem Joffer, who as the title suggests comes to America to look for a wife. First though, he must blend in as a regular New Yorker – easier said than done…
Eddie Murphy and fellow comedian Arsenio Hall appear in multiple roles in this classic culture-clash comedy, playing the respective roles of Prince Akeem and his friend Semmi as well as several of the charismatic characters they meet along the way. As with many of Murphy’s 80s comedies, Coming to America is occasionally romantic, often crude and always hilarious, with the barbershop scene still Murphy’s most successful attempt at playing multiple characters.
The film was also notable at the time for its mostly black cast, with acting legends such as James Earl Jones (Star Wars), John Amos (The West Wing) and Madge Sinclair (Roots) joining Murphy and Hall as rulers of the fictional realm of Zamunda. – Daniel Furn
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
A comedy film unlike any other, the Coen brothers went down the rare route of making an anthology film in their first movie made for streamer Netflix. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is split into six separate vignettes, and while each is distinct and separate, all share the same Western setting and the underlying theme of death. It certainly doesn’t sound cheery – but the Coen brothers of all people know how to mine comedy from the darkest of storylines.
Presented as a dime western novel, the six tall tales follow the rather violent escapades of a crooning cowboy, an unlucky bank robber, a travelling impresario, a grizzled prospector, a weary wagon train and a possibly supernatural stagecoach journey. Ranging from absurd to profound to ironic in the blink of an eye, it must be noted that not every short film is a straightforward comedy with some dark drama mixed in there too – it’s a real rollercoaster ride. Imagine if Pulp Fiction was a Western made up of separate stories, and you’re close to the unique tone this film has achieved.
Simultaneously both fresh and old-fashioned, every story feels like an authentic Western with sweeping vistas and real grit, even if the stories themselves are anything but conventional. It’s helped by an incredible cast across the six segments – Coen brothers regular Tim Blake Nelson memorably plays the iconic Buster Scruggs, but is joined by the likes of James Franco, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling and Zoe Kazan. – Daniel Furn
Always Be My Maybe
Ed Araquel / Netflix
Netflix has had overwhelming success in making their own rom-coms recently – and Always Be My Maybe is one of their best. Co-written by stars Ali Wong and Randall Park, this rom-com follows two childhood friends Sasha and Marcus whose teenage fling ends badly prompting the two to stop speaking for the next 15 years. When they reconnect as adults the sparks are still there, so despite Sasha’s demanding career and Marcus’s fears, could this maybe just work?
Ali Wong will be well known to Netflix viewers for her stand up specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife and really has known WandaVision’s Randall Park for over 20 years, with the two planning to make their own version of When Harry Met Sally for some time. However, the film is mostly known for its unexpected celebrity cameo, with Keanu Reeves not just appearing as Sasha’s date, but playing an obnoxious hipster version of himself. Arriving in the peak of the Keanussance following the release of John Wick Chapter 3, Reeves very nearly steals the film in his brief scenes, and not only is he in on the joke, but suggested many of them himself – now that’s how you play against type. – Daniel Furn
The Other Guys
The buddy cop action comedy has had a bit of a decline since its ‘80s and ‘90s heyday, but this 2010 effort from funnyman Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay is a starry 21st century update. Ferrell teams up with Mark Wahlberg as this movie’s mismatched police duo, who seize the opportunity to take down a shady capitalist and become just like the city’s idolised top cops. First, of course, they have to put aside their differences – with hilarious results.
Featuring some surprisingly impressive action set pieces for a comedy, The Other Guys perfectly balances Ferrell’s silliness with some clever parodies of cop movie tropes for an underrated movie that is far funnier than you might expect. It’s no surprise that this is one of Will Ferrell’s biggest box office hits – his collaborations with McKay have previously yielded comedy gold such as Anchorman and Step Brothers.
Stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg proved to have surprisingly great chemistry, and the two would later collaborate again on Daddy’s Home and its sequel several years later. Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson are perfect choices as the city’s cocky top detectives, with Eva Mendes as Ferrell’s doctor wife and Michael Keaton as the no-nonsense police captain. Look out for Steve Coogan in a particularly memorable interrogation scene, and cameos from the likes of Tracy Morgan, Brooke Shields and wrestlers Billy Gunn and Brian James. – Daniel Furn
Olivia Colman is Hollywood royalty these days, but before her Oscar-winning turn the national treasure was the darling of British comedy. Colman started out in eccentric dark comedy Peep Show and in 2016 fittingly followed up with dark eccentric comedy Flowers, following the titular Flowers family made up of author Maurice (Julian Barratt) and teacher Deborah (Colman) who are barely staving off divorce. Dysfunctional is the word for this family – Maurice struggles with dark secrets while Deborah wrestles with the suspicion that Maurice is having an affair, while their twenty-five-year-old maladjusted twins compete for the affection of a neighbour.
With offbeat humour not dissimilar to Colman’s The Favourite, Flowers does however find a surprising emotional core amongst the pitch-black humour and eccentric jokes. In particular, the show has been praised for its handling of mental illness – dad Maurice is clearly depressed and unable to talk to his family about it in the first series, while daughter Amy is diagnosed with bipolar disorder in series two. The show worked with charity Mind in order for an accurate representation of mental illness, while still a retaining a sense of humour – you’ll be crying with tears and laughter as the show remains deadly serious about its subject matter throughout slapstick jokes, crazy costumes and silly situations. – Daniel Furn
The crazy ex-girlfriend has been a popular trope not just in television but in general pop culture for some time – but now the character finally gets some depth in her very own show. As you might expect, the plot follows a young lawyer who gives up her job in New York and moves to California in an attempt to win back her old high school boyfriend.
However the show becomes much more than the standard rom-com you would expect from the premise – the show has been praised for its sensitive exploration of mental illness when the lead character is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, as well as for normalising topics such as female sexuality and the reproductive system.
Much like Community, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received rave reviews from critics and award shows but failed to attract a large audience, and was one of the lowest-rated shows to ever get renewed to four seasons. It was a move that clearly paid off however – the show has since gained a substantial cult following, with a live tour featuring the cast selling out following the show’s conclusion.
Co-creator Rachel Bloom also stars as the titular character Rebecca, with Vincent Rodriguez II (Insatiable) as the ex-boyfriend she tries to win back. Santino Fontana (Frozen) plays friend Greg who struggles with alcoholism and complicated feelings for Rebecca, while Donna Lyne Champlin (Birdman) as Rebecca’s co-worker and best friend. – Daniel Furn
Seth Rogen’s breakout role, Knocked Up was one of the most successful and iconic comedies of the 2000s. A classic mismatched couple comedy, Knocked Up is what you’d expect from the title – when media personality Alison finds herself pregnant after a one night stand with jobless party animal Ben, the two have some big decisions to make.
Much like The 40-Year Old Virgin – also starring Rogen and directed by Judd Apatow – Knocked Up manages to find sweetness among the inevitable raunchy jokes, with Ben learning to take some responsibility and Alison helping her sister fix her unhappy marriage. Katherine Heigl makes for a great choice as Rogen’s opposite, with the two pushing the film beyond an odd couple cliché to a genuine depiction of two different people coming together and growing up for their baby.
Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow are well known for frequently casting their Hollywood pals, and Knocked Up is no different – Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Martin Starr all appear, with cameos from Steve Carrell and James Franco. Leslie Mann also stars as Alison’s sister Debbie with Paul Rudd as her distant husband, with the two reprising their roles for spin-off This Is 40. – Daniel Furn
Ricky Gervais is known for pushing boundaries with his shock humour, and this role as a grieving widow gives him ample opportunity to do so again – though with a surprisingly effective emotional twist. After Life is the smash-hit sitcom created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais, following nice guy Tony who changes after his wife unexpectedly passes away. Determined to punish the world, Tony starts doing and saying whatever he likes despite the consequences, thinking of this as his superpower – but this is undermined when his friends and family continue to try and make him a better person.
Ricky Gervais is well known for making successful sitcoms and After Life is no exception, with Netflix making a multi-project deal with him in 2020 which included a third series of the black comedy-drama. After Life is in many ways similar to Gervais’s previous projects, with the lead character used to deliver withering put-downs and occasionally create cringe-inducing scenarios, but this series hangs upon some genuinely moving videos left for him by his dead wife, leading to a subtle exploration of grief and depression – seen best in quieter scenes where Tony cares for his dementia afflicted father (David Bradley) and regular talks to a fellow widow (Penelope Wilton) at the graveyard. – Daniel Furn
The long-underrated Schitt’s Creek spent several years under the radar as a cult favourite, with the series only receiving mainstream interest after being added to Netflix and sweeping all seven major comedy awards at the 2020 Emmys. The Canadian series follows the Rose family, who move to the titular town they once bought as a joke after their business manager embezzles the family funds. There they must learn to live without their pampered privileges, as well as with each other – including former CEO Johnny Rose, wife Moira, and adult children David and Alexis.
The series was conceived by David actor Dan Levy, who developed the series with his father and American Pie star Eugene Levy who was also cast as his on-screen dad Johnny. The show really is a family affair then – which might help explain the critical acclaim the show received over all six seasons. The show is one of the most successful Canadian sitcoms of all time, winning 18 Canadian Screen Awards in its home country but also earning praise worldwide, winning nine Emmys also – with a record-breaking seven of them at the 2020 awards ceremony alone.
Joining the two Levys is Home Alone actress Catherine O’Hara, playing the less forgetful but eccentric mother of the Rose clan, with Annie Murphy (soon to be seen in Russian Doll Season 2) as socialite daughter Moira. – Daniel Furn
Man Like Mobeen
With season three dropping on the streaming service, now is the perfect time to catch up on the exploits of expressive Brummie Mobeen. Written by and starring rising comedian Guz Khan, Man like Mobeen follows the titular character as he tries to raise his sister Aqsa, follow his Muslim faith and escape his criminal past as a drug dealer. While the show consistently finds humour in sensitive topics, the show has not been afraid to take a serious approach to issues such as knife crime, drugs, racism and religion.
Man Like Mobeen came about after Khan’s YouTube videos went viral, prompting Steve Coogan’s production company Baby Cow to produce a pilot for BBC Three. The show has received acclaim for not only its humour, but for having something to say about the complex reality of being a Pakistani Muslim or a member of the working class in modern-day Britain, and has also been praised for a rare authentic portrayal of Birmingham in the media. Each season may only be four episodes, but there’s more to come – a fourth season is on the way from the BBC. – Daniel Furn
The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie SEAC
The Lego Movie could easily have been a soulless feature-length advertisement for the classic construction toys, but instead turned out to be a surprisingly thoughtful, emotional and sightly meta deconstruction of the blockbuster (complete with that catchy song). The sharp yet silly shenanigans continue with The Lego Batman Movie, which continues the pop culture references and self-parodying but now turns its focus to the Dark Knight and his fellow DC characters. When Batman accidentally adopts an orphaned teenage boy, a cooler-than-ever Batman might just need the help of his new sidekick to save Gotham from the Joker – as well as to maybe, just maybe, lighten up a bit.
Before Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Lego Batman Movie was the first film to delve into the Warner Bros. library for cameos from classic characters, with Sauron and Voldermort joining the many DC villains attacking the caped crusader. However these additions never prove distracting, as the focus remains squarely on Batman and his surprisingly emotional discovery of a new family he never knew he needed. Full of bright visuals for the children and clever callbacks for the adults, The Lego Batman Movie is a celebration of Batman in all his forms, embracing the silliness of the character’s ninety-year history. – Daniel Furn
The second Gilmore-titled comedy in this list, Happy Gilmore is easily one of the funniest – if not the funniest – movie in Adam Sandler’s divisive filmography. When title character Happy learns his grandmother is going to lose her house, the rejected hockey player adapts his skills for a golf tournament with enough prize money to save the family home.
Adam Sandler’s comedies don’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to critical praise, but Happy Gilmore in particular has fared much better with audiences and is considered a comedy classic these days. The ability hit a golf ball 400 yards makes for some great slapstick comedy and – along with a few mandatory ball jokes – does the impossible by making the rather static game of golf funny. The “Happy Gilmore swing” has been imitated by golf professionals the world over, but the film impacted pop culture in a stranger way by getting more young people to watch The Price Is Right – after the film sees Sandler get into a fistfight with host Bob Barker.
Adam Sandler of course stars as the titular Happy Gilmore, with future Modern Family star Julie Bowen as his love interest Virginia Venit. Christopher McDonald plays yet another 90s family film villain as the arrogant Shooter McGavin, while Blue Velvet’s Frances Bay as the beloved Grandma Gilmore. – Daniel Furn
People Just Do Nothing
A late entry into the mockumentary craze, People Just Do Nothing adds a pirate radio twist to the long-running format – and lots of youthful enthusiasm. The series follows a group of failed MCs who run a pirate radio station from West London broadcasting UK garage, drum and bass music. The many memorable characters that make up the Kurupt FM crew include self-proclaimed garage legend MC Grindah (Allan Mustafa) as the leader of the group, with DJ Beats (Hugo Chegwin) as second-in-command and Chabuddy G (Asim Chaudhry) as their wheeler-dealer manager.
Initially starting as online shorts created by the college friends, the footage was seen by the producers of The Office, leading to the creation of a pilot for BBC’s Comedy feeds and eventually a full BBC Three series. The show went on for an impressive five series, with the final instalment airing on BBC Two due to the show’s popularity, and film follow-up People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan released in 2021. People Just Do Nothing is mostly written by the cast members, whose camaraderie bursts off the screen given that they are all long-term friends in real life – which might help explain the BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards. – Daniel Furn
Visit our TV Guide to find something to watch tonight, or check out our guides to the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix.
90,000 YouTube quarantine guide: 10 entertaining shows for fun self-isolation – from Ivleeva to Marconi
In our new section, we continue to talk about popular and useful YouTube channels and shows that will help pass the time in self-isolation. Earlier, especially for beginners, we have already compiled a guide to the most relevant and watched videos over the past few months, and also shared a list of top YouTube channels for yoga.Today came the turn of a selection of entertaining shows – with it SPLETNIK.RU offers to take a break from the sad statistics of morbidity in the country and recharge with positive emotions.
“Bar in the Big City”
“Bar in the Big City” is an author’s show of the participant of the “Once Upon a Time in Russia” project and the former kaveenchitsa Irina Chesnokova. In the episodes, Irina invites her colleagues in show business and YouTube to an impromptu bar, where she jokes with them under a glass of alcoholic cocktail, plays various games and discusses current news along the way.
Sometimes representatives of different generations, professions and views on life meet in Chesnokova’s bar, so it becomes doubly interesting to watch their discussions. Sometimes there is a feeling that you are sitting with the heroes of the show at the same bar, and not at all at home on the couch in front of the screen. Now this is especially important, given that it will take a long time to get into a real bar due to the introduced self-isolation regime!
“What happened next?”
Show “What happened next?” is one of the most popular on the LABELCOM YouTube channel, created by comedians who mainly come from the Comedy Club and Stand Up programs on TNT.
In the episodes, comedians Nuran Saburov, Alexey Shcherbakov, Sergei Detkov, Tambi Masaev and Rustam Reptiloid invite show business stars to their studio and invite them to tell an interesting story from life, missing the most important thing in it – the end. The dramatic ending of the story is just thought out by the comedians themselves – whose version will be funnier in the end (and not at all closer to the truth!), He wins.
In the course of the story, the presenters interrupt the hero with jokes, and sometimes arrange a real “roast” for him: without hesitation in expressions, they tease the guest and remember him ambiguous moments from the past.Therefore, we warn you: if you do not accept mate and jokes on the verge of a foul, the show can not even be turned on. Otherwise, you will definitely love it!
This show is one of the calling cards of the ClickKlak YouTube channel, created by Little Big frontman Ilya Prusikin, musician Yuri Muzychenko, bloggers Eldar Dzharakhov, Ruslan Usachev and their friends.
In the episodes, the presenters (and their number and composition change in almost every episode) and invited heroes gather at a large table in a cozy studio resembling an apartment.Those gathered in turn begin to remember ridiculous, but at the same time very funny stories from their lives, for which they are still ashamed. During this time, Garik Kharlamov, Mikhail Shats, Nastya Ivleeva, Alexander Gudkov and many others have already visited the guys.
The show will help to pass the time merrily in self-isolation, if you have long forgotten what intimate conversations with friends are (conferences in Zoom do not count)!
“Petya likes to drink”
“Petya loves to drink” is another entertaining show on YouTube in the format of a friendly conversation under a glass of intoxicating drink.Its creator is the producer and author of the book, author of the book “The Power of Instagram” Peter Ploskov.
In the episodes, he invites one hero to his studio – these are actors, TV presenters, singers, and Instagram stars – and talks to him on a variety of topics. At the same time, Petya, together with the guest, is preparing an original alcoholic cocktail, this is the main feature of the show!
“10 stupid questions”
If in self-isolation you suddenly got the idea to change your profession, the informative show “10 stupid questions” on the Zhiza channel may be useful.The authors of the channel are Alexander Shishkanov and Nikolai Pruzhinin, former employees of advertising agencies who figured out how to spend brand budgets on advertising popular video bloggers.
Then the guys decided to do something of their own – they quit their companies, created a YouTube channel and started taking simple blitz interviews with prominent representatives of various professions. The guys ask the guest only 10 questions that relate to his favorite work, and the most banal and stupid – about the same questions any person could ask, as they say, “not in the subject.”
The children have already been visited by a transplantologist, a commando of the Alpha group, an auto instructor, a firefighter, a medical examiner, a urologist, a plumber, a sommelier and representatives of other professions. By the way, recently one of the most relevant blitz interviews was released on the channel, the heroine of which was the WHO epidemiologist – she, of course, could not avoid questions about the coronavirus.
Comment Out is a show invented by Vladimir Markoni, one of the authors of the Reutov TV parody project and the host of his own column in the Evening Urgant program.Comment Out comes out on the Chicken Curry YouTube channel, created by Alexander Gudkov.
The author (who is also the host of the show) invites two stars to the studio and invites them to write funny and provocative comments on Instagram to their colleagues in show business (the stars who will receive a comment are chosen randomly) or to complete a strange and often not very pleasant task. For example, throwing a chair over you and not catching it, swallowing a bar of laundry soap, or finding a key in a pile of dirty baby diapers.
For each written commentary and completed task, the players are awarded points, in the final of the program they are calculated, and the winner of the show is chosen. The champion, who turned out to be bolder than his opponent, is solemnly awarded a prize – iron eggs (namely chicken eggs painted in metal paint).
Four months ago, the humorist Maxim Galkin began to conquer YouTube. Galkin entered the platform popular among young people with the appropriate content – on the Gazgolder label channel (one of its owners is the rapper Basta), he began to release a show called #Musicity.
Maxim invites two musicians to the studio – a representative of the “old guard” of the Russian stage and an aspiring popular artist – and together with them he listens to hits that lead the main music charts of the country. After listening to a short excerpt of a song, the guests share their opinion on the track and give it a rating. Then ordinary people also assign their points to the song. The score is then summed up, and the composition takes its place in the #Musicity music chart.
In Galkin’s musical battle, Lev Leshchenko and Kirill Bledny from “Poshla Molly”, Nikolai Baskov and Morgenstern, Valery Syutkin and Instasamka and many others have already met. Watching this spectacle is not only fun, but also educational to some extent – you can replenish the playlist with new hits that you had no place to hear before!
AgentShow is an author’s show by Nastya Ivleeva, which is released on her YouTube channel.This year has started the third season of the program, but the essence of the show remains the same: Nastya invites famous guests to her place, asks them provocative questions and plays various funny games with them.
Despite the fact that the whole show is very funny and entertaining, sometimes the heroes share real revelations in it. So, recently, Elena Temnikova, in a conversation with Nastya, talked about serious skin problems, because of which she was scared for a very long time even to look at herself in the mirror.
“Contacts” is a new show of comedian Anton Shastun, which is released on his YouTube channel under the name “Shastun”.Anton invites the hero to his cozy sofa, takes his mobile phone and starts randomly calling people from his contact list. After a person is selected, the guest should ask him a question (they are prepared in advance by the editors) and get the correct answer.
Initially, the guest has a minute to ask a question, but with each incorrect answer from people in his notebook, the amount of time for the next person to answer is reduced by 10 seconds.
While watching “Contacts” you will not only see how the stars behave in ridiculous situations, you will learn how they sign up show business friends on their phones, but also just get a boost of good mood.
Plague fashion reports Parties
Author and presenter of the CHUMA Vecherinka channel Victoria Chumanova initially became famous as the star of another channel – “Louis Baton”. As part of that project, she approached passers-by on the street and asked about the brands and the cost of their clothes. Thanks to her reviews, Vika quickly became popular, began to communicate with the stars and became a frequent guest at social parties.
After that, the girl started a new YouTube channel, on which she continued to publish fashion reviews, but now, instead of passers-by on the street, she interviews stars at various public events and is interested in their fashionable looks.
The reviews turn out to be funny, thanks in part to Vicky’s peculiar dialect, which has long become her main feature. The blogger, who was born and raised in Kostroma, claims that from childhood she was interested in the work of northern writers and it was from them that she borrowed her recognizable dialect.
Plague Fashion Reports Parties are a great occasion to remember how carefree and easy life was before the start of the pandemic, when people could still leave their homes without special passes and kiss when they meet, without worrying about keeping their distance!
How to learn a language by watching Inglex comedy shows
A sense of humor is a sign of intelligence, according to scientists.Let’s try today to learn how to make people laugh in English, inspired by the experience of professionals!
Psychologists at the British University of Aberystwyth claim that humor based on verbal paradoxes speaks of resourcefulness and the ability to think outside the box. And for those who diligently learn a foreign language for at least three months, the volume of gray matter noticeably increases. Let’s try to combine business with pleasure – humor and English.
Russian TV shows get ideas from comedy shows in America and Great Britain.As the ratings show, they cope with the task very successfully. We have selected the most rated humorous programs, by the example of which we will prove that it is possible and even necessary to learn English while laughing. Be careful – our example is contagious!
Share in the comments, whose sense of humor is closer to you – the British or the Americans?
Comedy talk shows USA
We all know the humorous show “Evening Urgant”. There are no other Russian analogues. But in America, the Late Night Show format is terribly popular.These are evening author’s programs, each of which talented comedians give their zest. Let’s analyze the most popular ones.
1. Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel Live is hosted by one of America’s most sought-after comedians. More than 11 million viewers have subscribed to the YouTube channel of his author’s show, not counting the audience of the popular ABC TV channel.
Among the most famous people who visited Kimmel was Barack Obama. We have selected a fragment where he tells why he no longer wants to be president.It turned out all because of his wife Michelle.
|Word / Phrase||Translation|
|to lead||to manage, lead|
|to divorce||to divorce|
|to be wild about smth||to be delighted with something|
|to look forward to|
|a sophomore year||second year (at university) or tenth grade (high school)|
Co-host Jimmy – parking attendant Guillermo is the colorful character of the show.He naturally experiences on himself all the most ridiculous inventions of the authors of the project. It is Guillermo who always watches the celebrities walking the red carpet ahead of the Oscars. This year he showered the actresses with compliments, invited them on dates and treated them to tequila.
|Word / Phrase||Translation|
|a tough question||difficult, uncomfortable question|
|gorgeous||gorgeous 903 luxurious|
|to match||match, match|
|to take smb out||invite someone on a date|
Let’s tell about a show of one of the permanent chips release Jimmy asks for forgiveness from Matt Damon, whom he once again allegedly could not invite to the show due to lack of time.The joke was born by chance, but the audience fell in love with it so much that it took root and wanders from release to release. But there is one person who does not find the joke funny, this is Matt himself 🙂
2. The Late Late Show with James Corden
In addition to his show, James Corden acts in films and writes scripts for series. Charming and positive presenter from England – you have a great opportunity to listen to a British accent!
One of the most popular headings of the show is Carpool Karaoke. According to the script, Jimmy is allegedly stuck in a traffic jam on his way to work.To get there faster, he needs to drive along a special dedicated line. But only drivers with passengers in their cars can navigate through it. Therefore, Jimmy asks another celebrity to help him out and help him get to the studio. On the way, they sing their favorite songs and discuss the biography of the star. The main feature of the column is that Jimmy sings well himself, because he started his career with a British musical.
|Word / Phrase||Translation|
|to be convinced||to be convinced|
|to rip off||rip off|
|upside down||upside down|
Another popular rubric is Role Call, in which James plays a comedy from a guest’s filmography with a popular actor.Let’s see how it turned out with Julia Roberts.
|Word / Phrase||Translation|
|to fall off the wagon||return to the old habit||return to the old habit 243 to work for a percentage of sales|
|ugly||ugly||flater||flater||a fly||fly||an intruder||intruder, burglar|
3.The Ellen DeGeneres Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show – fifteen years on the air, 2,500 episodes, Television Emmy Award Winner. And that’s not all. The witty and open-minded host is famous for her kindness and respect for guests, which not all of her humor colleagues can boast of. She is also not afraid to invite them to her, for example, Jimmy Fallon.
Ellen loves throwing celebrity quizzes. Once she made millionaire Bill Gates guess how much groceries cost in a regular supermarket.
|Word / Phrase||Translation|
|everyday items||everyday goods|
|to pay off||pay off, repay||loan (credit) for training|
|a bargain||bargain purchase (deal)|
|to do laundry||wash|
Ellen not only invites celebrities to her studio, but also comes to them herself.One day she followed Jenniffer Lopez to Las Vegas, where she asked the star how to prepare for going on stage.
|Word / Collocation||Translation|
|to stretch||do stretch|
|to pull24 a muscle|
|to pull24 a pull24||feeling dizzy|
Film critic Anton Dolin sometimes comes to visit Urgant, who talks about new products in the Russian box office.Ellen’s critic is a simple American woman. Let’s take a look at Troy’s Mom.
|Word / Collocation||Translation|
|to review||to review|
4.The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
The talk show first aired in 1954. How did Jimmy Fallon keep his youth? Perhaps a sense of humor really prolongs life 🙂 Or, in the entire history of the program, several of its hosts have changed, and Fallon has become the current star. His main trump cards are dexterous command of the word and, of course, sparkling humor.
The show’s regular column is “Jimmy’s Monologues.” He manages to retell and comment on the latest news in a few minutes.Let’s watch an excerpt in which the host discusses Donald Trump’s tweets, Elton John’s farewell tour, and the slip of two fearless drug dealers.