Our world as we know it is falling into disarray, folks. The planet is rife with war, natural disasters, deadly diseases and countless Hollywood reboots. Everything around us feels chaotic and in an incessant state of change. One thing is for certain, though. One thing will remain impermanent – its legacy will be forever engraved on our hearts. Comedies, friends. Comedies are forever. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been heavily relying on TV comedies to keep my spirits up. During my trip down the comedy rabbit hole, I discovered a slew of series that morphed into instant favorites.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of TV comedies that garnered more than a hearty belly laugh from me. Now, I’m talking laugh-until-your-face-hurts-and-quote-endlessly comedies. Of course, this list isn’t the be-all and end-all. This was tough to create, and I know I missed a few gems along the way. Peruse at your peril, folks!
Now, I’ve written about Community in the past. This series never fails to make me laugh. Community is on my re-watch roster, especially around the holidays. The show, starring Joel McHale, follows a group of students at Greendale Community College as they navigate that higher education life. Filled to the brim with pop culture references, meta humor and themed episodes, Community has a bit of something for everyone. It’s sharp-as-a-whip and rife with quotable one-liners galore. Not to mention, some of its strongest work lies in its meta and/or bottle episodes. If you love quirky, intelligent humor and a smattering of heart, you’ll dig Community.
The Good Place
The Good Place is another series I’ve covered in recent years. Ever wondered what the afterlife may entail? Then you’ll enjoy The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. This show is a salve for the soul – a gentle reminder that we’re all just trying our best in this life. It explores moral and philosophical quandaries while being gut-busting funny. A strange combination, to be sure, but it works. I’m a multi-tasker, so the thought of learning and laughing greatly appeals to me. The performances are award-worthy, and these characters will stay with you even after your requisite binge session. They’re lovable and relatable which, to me, makes TV in general worth watching.
Letterkenny is a fast-paced Canadian export that requires more than one view to catch all the off-the-cuff jokes. Aaron Sorkin creations have nothing on this comedy about a small town in Ontario, Canada, rife with social cliques and rural problems alike. Jared Keeso is not only the star of the show, but he’s also the creator of Letterkenny. Oh, and he’s penned quite a few episodes as well. Those of us who grew up in small towns will get a kick out of just how realistic Letterkenny is. Its 90-mile-an-hour dialogue is nothing short of brilliant. You will need to watch every episode more than once to fully absorb it all. And that’s a Texas-sized 10-4, good buddies.
Trailer Park Boys
Trailer Park Boys, at face value, may appear to be one of those “dude” shows consisting of toilet humor and machismo aplenty. However, you’d be wrong. This show took me by surprise. Trailer Park Boys, starring Robb Wells, Mike Smith, and John Paul Tremblay, follows a trio of friends who dwell in a trailer park in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s “mockumentary” in nature akin to The Office. There are individual asides with characters interspersed between scenes. The show satirizes “trailer trash” character archetypes but in a way that’s more of an homage than a take down. At its core, this series is about loyalty, and that family isn’t always found in DNA. I’ll drink to that!
Cool cool cool cool. No doubt. No doubt! Brooklyn Nine-Nine is so fine! Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher lead the charge with this delightful comedic romp set in a police precinct in Brooklyn. This series is equal parts humor and heart, bringing forth a fair share of tears as well as laughs. Not to worry, though – the comedic bits outweigh their dramatic counterparts. In addition, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is also one of the most quotable comedies. The performances are top-notch and, trust me, you’ll fall head over heels for these characters.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Now, I’ve been a huge fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia since 2008. This is a show that literally makes me laugh out loud. And when I’m not laughing, I’m gasping in utter shock. “It’s Seinfeld on crack” is the series’ tagline, and it 100% lives up to that. It’s Always Sunny is a pedal to the metal, no holds barred type of comedy. Rob McElhenney is the show creator and writer, while Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day are writers alongside him.
It’s Always Sunny incessantly pushes the envelope. Think of it like a kid hopping into an elevator and pushing every single button. That’s It’s Always Sunny in a nutshell. These characters appear to be unlikable with rotten moral compasses but, inevitably, you love them like family. If you love a comedy that highlights societal issues all while seeing just how far it can go, then this show is for you.
Arrested Development can be summarized in one word: kooky. Starring Jason Bateman, this series focuses on a wealthy family who loses it all, and Bateman’s character must keep them united. They’re short on sanity and slightly out of touch with the real world. Of course, sometimes outlandish characters with far-fetched ideals make for great TV. The performances are brilliantly nuanced. You’ll find yourself quoting this show 24/7. If that tickles your fancy, then binge away. If not, then here’s some money. Go see a Star War!
I love me some female-led comedies, and 30 Rock delivers on that front. Tina Fey created the show and shines in the leading role. The series follows a group of writers/actors in NYC as they work on a network TV show. It’s cheeky, quirky, and has a musical theater feel to it. By “musical theater,” I mean the grandiose nature of it. Everything feels exaggerated and big. Energized and bold. If you need your spirits lifted, then 30 Rock may be the cure for what ails you.
The future is female! Broad City is another series set in NYC that centers on two 20-something best friends as they navigate life in the Big Apple. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are the creators and stars of this raunchy comedy. What I love most about this show is just how realistic it is. You seldom see women in comedies being as bawdy or crude as men in male-centric shows. Broad City is refreshing in that regard. Not to mention, its modernized views on the world as seen through a comedic lens is bitingly funny. Smart and wicked. Just how I like my TV.
Futurama is an animated series that stars Billy West, who voices the lovable buffoon Fry. Fry is cryogenically frozen in 1999 and reawakens in the year 3000. Fry learns to adjust to his new world and befriends a group of misfits that work for a delivery company called Planet Express. This show has such a strongly cemented mythology in terms of its sci-fi leanings. However, amid all the cartoon chaos and futuristic scenery, therein lies a show rife with heart. There’s quite a few episodes that explore deeper issues and will most certainly bring a tear to your eye. Then, you’ll be laughing like there’s no tomorrow in the next scene, so the melancholic moments are transient.
Honorable Mention: Misfits
Misfits is a fun and adventurous fantasy show from our friends across the pond in the UK. But, as per the Brits’ usual, there’s plenty of dry humor and boundary-pushing comedy amid all that action. This show focuses on a group of young adult troublemakers sentenced to community service. Suddenly, a strange lightening storm strikes them and they gain superpowers. This begs the question – do they utilize their newfound gifts for the good of humanity or for themselves? Robert Sheehan shines more brightly than the rest in the first few seasons as the crass yet lovable Nathan. He takes great pleasure in saying things for shock value, and it’s hysterical to witness. If you love your sci-fi with a heaping helping of comedy, then give Misfits a shot.
Well, that’s all I wrote! Are there any shows you love that weren’t included in the list? What are your favorite TV comedies? Sound off in the comments below!
This was originally posted on 2/29/20