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Best comedies to watch on Netflix right now

The very best comedy films and series on the streaming platform – because, let's face it, we all need a laugh at the moment.

Published: Friday, 29th October 2021 at 10:35 am

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.

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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

On my Block cast

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

Norm Macdonald
Getty

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

Seinfeld

Seinfeld cast

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

Good Girls

Christina Hendricks, Rette and Mae Whitman in Good Girls
NBC Universal

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

Grace & Frankie
Netflix

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

Sex Education

Sex Education
Netflix

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
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.

Spaced

Spaced
Channel 4

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

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

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

Ent 1 (publicity still from production) BD

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

Atypical

Netflix

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

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Netflix

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

Feel Good

Feel Good season 2 – Mae Martin and Charlotte Ritchie
Netflix

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

Bo Burnham: Inside
Netflix

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

Special

Special
Netflix

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
Netflix

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

Fatherhood

Fatherhood
Netflix

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

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

Good Boys

Good Boys trailer screenshot

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

Parks and Recreation
NBC

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

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

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Most Improved Player" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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

BoJack Horseman

Will Arnett's BoJack Horseman (Netflix, HF)

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

Modern Family

Modern Family (Sky, EH)
ABC

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

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

Gilmore Girls

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 24: "Let The Games Begin" (l-r) Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore, Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore. (Photo by Mitchell Haddad/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images)

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

21st May 1974: From left to right, John Cleese, Neil Innes, Michael Palin and Eric Idle dressed as Arthurian knights on the set of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. (Photo by John Downing/Express/Getty Images)

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

Big Mouth

Big Mouth
Netflix

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

Chicken Run

Chicken run
Chicken run

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

Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House Of Fun
Netflix

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

Motherland

Motherland
BBC

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

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

Rick and Morty season 4

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

LWY_101_SG_00002R

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

Community

community

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)

The Office

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

Mean Girls

best-tv-to-watch-today
Paramount Pictures

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

Never Have I Ever - Netflix
LARA SOLANKI/NETFLIX

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 

Derry Girls

Derry Girls season two
Netflix

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

Step Brothers

Step Brothers
Columbia Pictures

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

Ghostbusters (1984)

Original Ghostbusters

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

Archer

Archer

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

Peep Show

Peep Show
Channel 4

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

Friends

Friends cast
Warner Bros

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 - Dolemite Is My Name
Netflix

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

Easy A

Easy A

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

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Melissa Fumera as Amy Santiago and Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta
NBCUniversal

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
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

Yesterday

Yesterday

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

Superbad

Superbad

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

Booksmart

Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart

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

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

Tim Blake Nelson is Buster Scruggs in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a film by Joel and Ethan Coen.

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

Randall Park and Ali Wong in Always Be My Maybe (Netflix)
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 Other Guys
Columbia Pictures

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

Flowers

Olivia Colman in Flowers, Channel 4 Press, SL

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

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The CW

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

Knocked Up

Knocked Up
Universal Studios

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

After Life

Anti in After Life
Netflix

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

Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek
CBC

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

Guz Khan Man Like Mobeen
BBC

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
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 

Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore
Universal Studios

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

People Just Do Nothing (Roughcut TV, EH)
BBC / Roughcut TV

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

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