The Funniest TV Shows to Watch on Netflix Right Now
These shows will guarantee laughs.
You've had a long day, and you just want to sit back on the couch and laugh a little bit. Netflix, as is so frequently the case, has you covered. The next time you feel like you're in need of a little comedy, binge one -- or two, or seven -- of these shows, a mix of Netflix originals (like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and BoJack Horseman) and acquired classics (like Cheers and Parks and Recreation).
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American Vandal (2017-2018)
The two seasons of Netflix's American Vandal -- a mockumentary about teenage documentarians investigating the innocence of a classmate accused of vandalism (Season 1) and a different school's issues with a mad pooper (Season 2) -- is much more than scatalogical plotlines might indicate. After the first couple episodes of Season 1, the phallic material fades into the background, allowing the show to satirize high school and today's criminal justice system in a meaningful way, and Season 2 offers more of the same. To pull it off, the co-creators studied true-crime titans Serial, Making a Murderer, and The Jinx for a highly bingeable blend of parody, homage, and addictive teen drama.
Arrested Development (2003-2019)
There's always money in the banana stand, and there are always laughs to be found in Arrested Development, Mitchell Hurwitz's sly, self-aware family sitcom. While the most recent Netflix-produced seasons occasionally devolved into discursive, indulgent meta-humor, the show's original three seasons established a freewheeling, insanely quotable comic sensibility that many of your favorite sitcoms -- Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Community, Archer, Kroll Show -- were influenced by.
Big Mouth (2017- )
Big Mouth is bound to make you slightly uncomfortable but, as it goes with many other adult-themed cartoons, that's kind of the point. The show -- Netflix has produced three seasons so far and has already renewed the show for three more -- sees creator Nick Kroll and his friends essentially hopping into an animated time machine to play much younger versions of themselves, adolescent tweens beginning to date, watch porn, and grapple with their emotions and sexuality. With a no-holds-barred approach and the freeing format of animation, the show tends to really go there (see: horny Hormone Monsters, singing Michael Stipe tampons, the Shame Wizard), placing it in the same taboo-busting league as Netflix's other animated adult comedies.
For the days when you want to hang out where everyone knows your name without changing out of pajamas. Cheers had a marathon run over the course of 11 seasons, quickly and handily becoming one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. Led by Ted Danson's sleazeball with a heart of gold Sam Malone, an ex-Red Soxxer and reformed alcoholic slinging drinks, Cheers is all about its rotating cast of barflies, including barback Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) and his replacement Woody (Woody Harrelson), mailman Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), Norm! (George Wendt), Boston psychiatrist to Seattle radio personality Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), and bloviating intellectual Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and her on-and-off again romance with Sam. Pull up a barstool and crack open a cold one -- you'll be a regular in no time.
Billy on the Street (2011-2017)
It's a game show for people who think game shows are stupid! The frenetic Billy Eichner mixes celebrity guests, unsuspecting strangers, and wild one-off games to create a delightfully addictive and fast-paced show that doubles as a broad takedown of celebrity culture writ large. Come on, who wouldn't want to watch Rachel Dratch try to escape from Margot Robbie's Hollywood moment?
BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
Netflix's animated series continues to emphasize the depression, failure, and slovenly behavior we enjoyed in its first season, with plenty of sight gags to lighten the mood. BoJack climbs higher than ever, as he lands his dream acting gig and a dream girlfriend, but life's cruel hand caps him at the knees over and over again. In between the morose moments, BoJack Horseman asks us to laugh -- and we do, because we can't imagine this beleaguered equine's life getting any worse, which, invariably, it does.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (2012-2020)
Crackle, we hardly knew ye. The comedian behind his eponymous sitcom took his talents to Netflix, where he's continued to consume coffee with famous guests like Dave Chappelle and Kate McKinnon. The antiquated crassness of flaunting wealth by purchasing insanely expensive cars only slightly detracts from the fact that the show is just damn funny, and manages to talk about comedy without falling into any self-serious traps.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012-2016)
A few years after his podcast started airing, Scott Aukerman's popular talk show got the TV treatment. TV treatment here doesn't really mean adaptation, though; it means a platform to be fucking insane and hilariously surreal. Your favorite comedians (think Andy Daly, Sarah Silverman) hit Aukerman's couch with special guests (who range from Tony Hawk to Kevin Bacon to publicist extraordinaire Rodney Waber) to improv some magic, participate in off-the-wall bits, and make you ask, What the hell am I watching? -- in the best way.
There's a reason Dan Harmon's community college ensemble comedy amassed a devoted cult following for its six-season run, despite it nearly always being on the brink of cancelation. The series focuses on a lovable study group of misfits played by both comedy veterans and those then just on the brink of breaking out -- including consummate cool guy Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), lovable ditz Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), TV-obsessed Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), anxious genius Annie Edison (Alison Brie), tough-but-firm mother Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), high school jock Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), and the baffling, bored, former CEO Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) -- as they navigate their way through Greendale Community College. It’s a sitcom that’s goofy and delirious, but forever a lesson in how to become a better person.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
Many armchair critics tried to dismiss former YouTube sensation Rachel Bloom's CW series for what they presumed to be a sexist title -- a notion she bites back at from the opening credits on. In fact, the series is quietly revolutionary, offering sharp yet subtle commentary about the way women treat each other and themselves, and casually featuring one of the most diverse casts on TV. CXG draws its rom-com antics from heroine Rebecca's compulsive behavior and past traumas, all while satirizing the conventions of musicals with song-and-dance numbers worthy of Sondheim. It's a downward spiral, for sure, but psychosis has never been this entertaining.
Dead to Me (2019- )
In Liz Feldman’s Dead to Me, Christina Applegate’s Jen is grieving the recent death of her husband, who was killed in a hit-and-run, with cynicism, reluctantly attending group therapy. That's where she meets Linda Cardellini’s Judy, who's also grieving, and the two form an instant bond. But by the end of the first episode, it's clear that both of these women, whose chemistry is the kind of snarky friendship you crave in your own life, are hiding something. The 30-minute dark comedy moves effortlessly between registers, from lighthearted to deadly serious, with plot-turning twists thrown into every episode for good measure. If you enjoy watching adults say "screw it, I'm doing what I want," then the two seasons of Dead to Me are definitely for you.
Dear White People (2017- )
Writer-director Justin Simien stretched his own feature debut and Sundance breakout, Dear White People, into a 10-episode Netflix series, and three seasons in, the result is even more cunning, tense, and consistently hysterical than the original. Race relations on the campus of Winchester University are boiling after a group of white students throw a blackface party, and each member of the black student union reacts in his or her own fashion. Dear White People weaves through the perspectives of class leaders, local rebels, the college newspaper reporter, and Sam, host of the provocative "Dear White People" radio show (who also happens to have a white boyfriend). Familiar college-age behavior breathes life into the political and social questions, and Simien raises the stakes to heart-pounding intensity that sustains itself throughout the series. Dear White People is the most human show on Netflix, period.
Derry Girls (2018- )
Teen shows are often good for some laughs, but few are as goddamn hysterical as Derry Girls. The Channel 4/Netflix co-production about Catholic schoolgirls in the '90s living through the end of the Northern Ireland Troubles is all about their own, unfiltered teenaged troubles, and outright laugh-out-loud hilarious. The entire cast and their quirks are near perfect; after a quick binge, you'll find there's no other fictional crew you'd rather kick-back with.
Documentary Now! (2015- )
IFC's Documentary Now! pokes fun at the precious self-seriousness of documentary filmmaking, thanks to SNL vets Bill Hader and Fred Armisen (and a regal Helen Mirren introduction). Docs in the show's crosshairs include everything from Nanook Revisited ("Kunuk Uncovered") to History of the Eagles ("Gentle & Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee"), the latter a parody of an Eagles documentary that's pretty funny in its own right. Which is why the true brilliance of Documentary Now! comes less from imitation and more from the same sauce that makes any doc memorable: Human existence is fascinatingly absurd.
The Good Place (2016-2020)
In this sneaky afterlife comedy from Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation), Kristen Bell's deceased cretin Eleanor is erroneously given a berth in a Heaven-esque afterworld. Once the high-concept show gets past establishing its characters and premise, you'll enjoy watching her do whatever she can to avoid being found out and sent to the Bad Place, where she belongs, by her friendly neighborhood architect, Michael (Ted Danson), including forcing her "soulmate," Chidi (William Jackson Harper), to teach her everything there is about being a nice and good person. Pretty soon, it becomes evident that the so-called Good Place is a lot more complex than we’re first led to believe, but throughout it's made clear that watching the series will feel like you've been sent to TV Heaven.
GLOW (2017- )
It's odd that it took so long for someone to make a fun comedy about professional wrestling. Where Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler turned the plight of a washed-up grappler into a Sisyphean struggle in spandex, GLOW, which was inspired by a real life wrestling women's wrestling promotion from the '80s, takes a sunnier but still no-holds-barred approach. Community's Alison Brie excels as an actress who gets cast by a washed-up filmmaker (Marc Maron) to play the villain in the rag-tag operation, but, like producer Jenji Kohan's Orange is the New Black, it's the side characters, like Britney Young's second-generation brawler Machu Picchu, who really help this show get over. It's one of the few pieces of pop culture that actually captures this "fake" sport's very real appeal.
Grace and Frankie (2015- )
Netflix users of a certain age have likely overlooked this dramedy from Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J. Morris (The Starter Wife), about two septuagenarian friends (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) who shack up together after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they're in love and intend to marry. With notes of The Odd Couple and The Brady Bunch -- both couples have grown kids as equally knocked out by the news -- Grace and Frankie is down-to-earth viewing that's rich with observational wit on the progressive notion of being true to one's identity, and the time-worn cliche that everyone gets older with age. If you've indulged in the low-key, picture-perfect comedies of Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give), give this one a try.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (2019- )
Without question, I Think You Should Leave from SNL alum Tim Robinson is Netflix's most successful sketch comedy series to date, and it gives both up-and-coming talent (Patti Harrison, Conner O'Malley, Kate Berlant, Brandon Wardell, Sam Richardson, etc.) and recognizable faces (Vanessa Bayer, Cecily Strong, Fred Willard, Andy Samberg, Steven Yeun, Tim Heidecker, etc.) a platform to flex their most deranged comedic muscles. The show features a series of short, hilarious sketches about just how offbeat ordinary interactions can be, and each episode, whether it be about a "best baby" contest or how much magicians suck, will leave you both uncomfortable and in tears.
The IT Crowd (2006-2013)
The traditional "three-camera" stage sitcom can be done well. Cheers, Seinfeld, and Frasier all mastered it. But by the 2000s, the notion of shooting comedy in front of a live studio audience was all but dead -- at least in America. The IT Crowd, starring Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson as a lowly tech team residing in the basement of a major British corporation, proved there was still joy to bouncy dialogue and silly sight gags in a modern setting. Tremendously goofy and heartfelt, this show could easily replace hanging out with your actual friends.
Lady Dynamite (2016-2017)
Maria Bamford's semi-autobiographical, surreal spin on mental illness in Hollywood was a sleeper hit for Netflix. The comedian's self-aware hijinks share obvious DNA with Arrested Development: Mitch Hurwitz and Pam Brady are executive producers; there are sight gags, wordplay, and mockery of Los Angeles idiocy galore; and it features countless comedy-world cameos, extended fantasy sequences, and genuine self-introspection. It'll take you a few episodes to get invested, or even to wrap your head around WTF you're watching. But once you're hooked, you're hooked.
Love is about, you guessed it, love… even at its messiest. The show created by star Paul Rust, Judd Apatow, and Lesley Arfin is a slow-motion dissection of a romantic relationship that might not require such a level of scrutiny, but part of that realism of the show is what makes it so cringe-worthy, hysterical, and, well, lovable. The two protagonists Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) are flawed, complex individuals -- Gus being an insufferable “nice guy,” people pleaser and Mickey struggling with addiction. Like many long-term love affairs, it's enjoyable and maddening at the same time.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (2017) and The Gauntlet (2018)
Could a new crew of comedians revive the effortless magic of public access-born Mystery Science Theater 3000. Absolutely. With the nerdy Jonah Ray (The MeltdownWith Jonah and Kumail) locked in the new spaceship, once again backed by Crow and Tom Servo (but with new voices, Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn), spearheaded by former Daily Show head writer Elliot Kalan, and produced by original host Joel Hodgson, the new incarnation pelts jokes at late-night schlock and half-assed blockbusters with relentless force. There's a musicality to the jokes in MST3K: The Return, punctuating every bit of dead air in the godforsaken movie choices, and everyone is at the top of their game. Cry Wilderness, about a little kid who pals around with Bigfoot, stands up to any of the classic episodes.
Never Have I Ever (2020- )
Mindy Kaling and co-creator Lang Fisher pull off a delicate but ultimately worthwhile balancing act with their teen comedy Never Have I Ever. The show is an exploration of its heroine Devi's grief while also excelling as a sweet and goofy teen romance with plenty of boy drama to debate. Narrated with a hefty dose of absurdism by tennis great John McEnroe, Never Have I Ever follows Devi as she attempts to change her social status at school, even as she bats back the lingering sadness from the unexpected death of her father. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the previously unknown cast as Devi, is an absolute delight, and we're still debating whether we're Team Ben or Team Paxton Hall-Yoshida.
New Girl (2011-2018)
Zooey Deschanel goes full-on indie movie quirky as hell Zooey Deschanel in this 20-something buddy comedy, playing the new roommate in an apartment full of bros. With freshly dumped elementary school teacher Jess Day moving into the home of several men who would rather do the bare minimum than make their apartment/lives function, New Girl is the quintessential setup for clashing personalities, burgeoning relationships, and ridiculous "mess-arounds." The cast is hysterical, and the individual bonds between characters keeps you coming back to apartment 4D -- as the show goes on, the classic will-they-won't-they that unfolds between Jess and her curmudgeonly bartender roommate Nick (Jake Johnson) will have you desperate to find space in Winston's galactic-sex-portrait-painted closet to move on in, too.
The Office (2005-2013)
After you watch the British series that inspired it all, you can take a deep dive into bingeing the nine-season-long American adaptation. While little actually happens at paper company Dunder Mifflin, its hilarious, hum-drum employees know exactly how to spend a day in the office by using their time more for inappropriate behavior and pulling pranks on one another than anything else. There's something to laugh about with each of the characters, and was a pinnacle career launch for Steve Carell as the lovable idiot boss, Michael Scott, but when everybody's clashing personality comes together on the day-to-day, it's workplace comedy gold.
One Day at a Time (2017- )
One Day at a Time is a throwback family sitcom in a world that can be unkind to audience laughter, big comedic performances, and that stage-bound multi-camera look. This clever remake of Norman Lear's '70s hit about a single mother raising two teenage daughters is more charming and funny than many of its seemingly "edgier" peers. Anchored by a lived-in performance from Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), the show finds familiar laughs in the way generations clash and families wage war, but it's also culturally specific, socially engaged, and leisurely paced in a way that makes it stand out from your average CBS family show -- or Netflix's own dire Fuller House. Netflix may have clumsily announced its cancelation on the platform, but the fan outcry didn't just point to the show's popularity; it got One Day at a Time a second (third?) life on Pop TV.
Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Michael Shur and Greg Daniels takes this ensemble workplace comedy to an unsuspecting place: A small-town Indiana Parks and Recreation department, and thank goodness they did. This series, led by Amy Poehler as the devoted public servant Leslie Knope, features an incredible cast of characters that one would only be so lucky to find in a government office. There's the hands-off, libertarian boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), man-child shoeshiner Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), cynical intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), the glamorous Donna Meagle (Retta), fuckin' Jerry (Jim O'Heir), and so many others. Together, they put up with a lot of ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit, but ultimately they do it because of how much they love their strange town ("First in friendship, fourth in obesity!") and each other -- meaning, this comedy's got a lot of heart.
IFC's hit show wrapped up its impressive run in 2018, so now's a good time to reminisce about what made it great: the bookstore, the goths, the Mayor, the spot-on sendup of hipster culture, and, of course, the inimitable Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. Get a bird tattoo and shed a single tear.
Russian Doll (2019- )
It sounds like an episodic spin on Groundhog Day: A cynical New Yorker (Natasha Lyonne) attempts to figure out why she keeps dying and being forced to relive her 36th birthday over and over. Co-executive producers Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland joined Lyonne to make a hit out of one of the sharpest dark comedies of 2019, finally answering the timeless question of what happens if you repeatedly die and repeatedly wake up in an Alphabet City bathroom with a strange door during a party with Harry Nilsson playing. Lyonne's a gas to watch, as she falls down stairwells and cracks wise about her dilemma, but what starts off seeming like a humorous episode of Black Mirror turns into a profound and affecting meditation on trauma.
Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019)
The series from Better Off Ted creator Victor Fresco gives the typical suburban family an undead twist. Unlike most shows about the struggle of surviving with zombies, Santa Clarita Diet is set up like a typical sitcom, with Drew Barrymore as the flesh-hungering monster and her husband (Timothy Olyphant) as a tireless zombie-pleaser trying to placate her in Little Shop of Horrors-like fashion. A 30-minute format establishes a laid-back pace with quirky jokes and an excessive amount of gore. Not for the weak-stomached.
Sex Education (2019- )
Yes, the hard sell is right there in the title (sex!), but don't let the red herring boobs in the first 15 seconds of this British series fool you: Sex Education primarily deals with the complex emotions that accompany physical desire. Helping to parse through those feelings are the mother and son duo, one a licensed sex and relationships therapist (Gillian Anderson's Jean Milburn) and the other a gifted savant (Asa Butterfield's Otis Milburn) who can coach his peers through their issues even though he himself has bedroom problems. Peering into the intimate lives of the ensemble cast of high schoolers, there's something relatable, hilarious, and melancholy about each character without ever making them into a flattened type. And with the original score written by Ezra Furman, Laurie Nunn gave us a gem: This is easily one of our favorite Netflix originals.
Schitt's Creek (2015-2020)
Any time you have the chance to watch a comedic genius flexing the full range of her abilities, you should take it, and Catherine O'Hara flexes hard as Moira Rose in Schitt's Creek. The story of the formerly wealthy Rose family's struggle to adjust to life running a motel in a small Canadian town they bought for their son back in the early '90s gives her and co-star/series co-creator Eugene Levy ample material to work with. Also living with their grown children David (Daniel Levy, the show's co-creator and Eugene's real-life son) and Alexis (Annie Murphy), who still share a room in the motel -- it's the perfect vehicle for the cast's whip-smart comedic instincts, while doubling as a roast of the extremely wealthy.
Space Force (2020- )
In 2018, President Donald Trump announced he was creating a sixth branch of the armed forces: the Space Force, for all outer-space-related aggressions. The concept in and of itself is funny -- so funny that almost immediately after it was announced, the idea of making a TV comedy about it was brought to Steve Carell, who then pitched it to The Office collaborator Greg Daniels. The result is this Netflix original about the general (Carell) thrown into putting together the military branch and how much of a major headache it turns out to be. If you're looking for The Office 2.0, this definitely isn't it, but that doesn't mean Space Force's satirical, tongue-in-cheek brand of comedy doesn't make for a good series. Plus, it's got Carell, Ben Schwartz, John Malkovich, and Lisa Kudrow leading the charge. Let the funny cast launch you into their witty orbit.
Tuca & Bertie (2019)
Tuca & Bertie fell victim to Netflix's cutthroat algorithm after only one season, despite being one of the best shows of 2019. (Thankfully, Adult Swim announced that it picked up another season.) The series kicks off when Tuca (Tiffany Haddish) is moving out of the apartment she shared with Bertie (Ali Wong) so that Bertie's boyfriend Speckle (Steven Yeun) can move in. It's the first major change in their relationship, and one that culminates in the major growing pains that plague friendships as people transition to adulthood. While the series handles concepts like sexual harassment, trauma, and sexuality in a way that feels authentic, it's also delightfully surreal and funny: Bertie fights for a promotion at her workplace, Condé Nest; Tuca tries to befriend her cool neighbor, who is actually an anthropomorphic plant; one of Bertie's boobs decides to take a day off after getting fed up with being sexually harassed at work. While there's no shortage of adult animated comedies, Tuca & Bertie is a rare gem that was not only surreal, and stupid, and hilarious -- it was made by and for women, and it's a treat for all.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019)
Tina Fey and 30 Rock producer Robert Carlock's comedy tracks the adventures of an Indiana naïf after she is freed from being held captive by a doomsday cult leader for 15 years -- what a premise! Ellie Kemper plays the freed kidnapping victim, who heads to the Big Apple without a clue on how to exist in the modern world. Luckily, Titus, a penny-pinching, Broadway-belting man in desperate need of a roommate, takes her in and trains her in the art of living. Kimmy Schmidt clings to 30 Rock’s goofy sense of humor and drops the cynicism. Beware: It'll take three binges just to catch all the jokes.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/10 Years Later (2015 & 2017)
Reboots and spinoffs often fall flat; not so with Netflix's prequel and sequel to the 2001 cult comedy classic Wet Hot American Summer. The strength of this series is its willingness to poke fun at the very nature of the repetitive, sequel-driven boom TV and movies are experiencing, with the same actors playing the characters they originally portrayed as though no time has passed in the decade-and-a-half since the movie appeared. A-listers Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, and Elizabeth Banks give game performances that are bolstered by new faces like John Slattery and Jordan Peele. The show never makes you feel as though you're participating in a cynical nostalgia play (though, let's face it, you kind of are), and while 10 Years Later took a dip in quality, succumbing to the dopiness of its own premise, the steady laughs have us recommending both seasons.
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