I know, I know, we’ve missed F.R.I.E.N.D.S off this list. But everyone knows you should watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S, especially with Netflix just recently paying a measly $100 million to keep the show.
With just a quick look, however, you can see that the platform has some side-splitting comedy for you to access with just the click of your fingers. From sitcoms to sketch shows, we’ve narrowed down the best comedy programmes Netflix has to offer right now, so you’ve got something to cheer you up.
(Also don’t worry, we’ve missed off The Big Bang Theory.)
Part comedy part musical, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend seems to have flown a bit under the radar. Far from just your typical rom-com, however, creator Rachael Bloom, who also stars as the eponymous ‘crazy ex’, delves into serious topics such as mental illness and parenting, whilst also remaining light-hearted and cathartic throughout. Following a dissatisfied lawyer’s impulsive decision to quit her high powered job and pursue her childhood sweetheart back to the small town of West Covina, the show has now finished its fourth, and final, season, making it perfect for binge watching.
This one feels like a bit of a cheat. With the rise of any great comedy programme or star, it seems all roads lead back to Monty Python. The sketch show to end all other sketch shows, watching Monty Python will finally allow you to understand all the references your parents and their friends make, but most of all it’s a must-watch classic comedy that Netflix has managed to get its hands on. Interspersed with absurd and hilarious animations drawn by Terry Gilliam, the show often finds itself at the top of any top 100 list, with the iconic ‘Dead Parrot’ sketch always reaching number one. And with 2/3s of the Monty Python films, and a bunch of off-shoots, Netflix has a real wealth of python content for you to really sink your teeth into.
Revived by Netflix after being dropped by Fox, Arrested Development already had a devoted following, with each episode being chock-full of inside jokes, visual gags and catchphrases, constructing the perfect conditions for cult favourite status. Although the recent seasons have come under fire fore being less than perfect, if a little disjointed, it’s still considered one of the best TV comedies to ever run, with a joke-a-second format that requires multiple viewings to catch them all. Also getting to see the cast grow up over the years, yet with Michael Cera staying looking exactly the same age, is pretty entertaining in itself.
One of the best, but least talked about, British sketch shows, Limmy’s Show follows a number of characters and their attempts to traverse their way through urban Scotland. With the titular comedian playing almost every role, the sketches usually start off like typical observational comedy, and move to being completely absurd. The sketches often make their rounds on the internet, especially in the case of the call-in role playing game host Falconhoof. But with it being due to come off the platform on September 30th, you’ve got to be quick!
Set in Northern Ireland in the midst of the Troubles, Derry Girls focuses on a group of Catholic school teenagers navigating their lives in the foreground of tumultuous times. Being the most watched TV show in Northern Ireland since modern records began, the humour often comes from the cringe of watching the obliviousness of the school kids, their reasoning behind their actions, and the constant bickering.
The Patriot Act, although following a similar format of most comedy news shows, sets itself apart from the rest by tackling subjects that are both less well-covered, and extremely vital to be aware of. Host Hasan Minhaj does not seem to be afraid to confront some of the most powerful people in politics, personally conducting interviews that are both irreverent and confrontational, even to the point where the episode on Saudi Arabia was banned in the country itself. Sometimes seeming more like a comedic TEDx talk, complete with graphs and slide shows, Minhaj takes care to be highly informative, but not preachy, humourous but never disrespectful to the topic.
What can we say that hasn’t already been said about It’s Always Sunny? Starting with a budget of almost nothing, and now returning soon for its 14 season next month, the show has become one of the longest running TV shows in American history. The set-up seems to follow the standard sitcom trope of four friends trying to navigate adult life, but unlike most American sitcoms which seem to rely on catharsis and the likable, but harmlessly flawed, characters, It’s Always Sunny depicts the failings of a group of individuals who are just, well, terrible. With each season exaggerating the cast’s extreme behaviours even more than the previous, the show never seems to step away from pushing any boundaries or topic in order to reach its full comedic potential.
Hard-hitting and fast-thinking, The Good Place has a little bit of everything for everyone – comedy, plot twists, horrible but likeable characters, philosophical debates, worries about eternal damnation, journeys into Hell, excessive criticism of frozen yogurt etc etc. Despite the heavy-at-times subject matter, the show is way more upbeat than you think it would have the right to be, never straying into any truly dark territories, which feels like a breath of fresh air with all the takes-itself-too-seriously TV shows available at the moment.
After the ‘Szechuan sauce’ debacle of 2017, it seems all a bit embarrassing to admit you like Rick and Morty. Doesn’t stop us from watching the whole thing, multiple times, in secret! Following the misanthropic scientist Rick and his well-meaning Grandson Morty, the show moves between a standard family sitcom, and bizarre inter-dimensional adventures. Despite the eponymous characters being voiced by the same guy – creator Justin Roiland – it has a real improvisational feel to it, like Roiland sat down in his bedroom one day and just blurted out whatever insane and hilarious thoughts came to mind.
The second animated show on this list, Tuca and Bertie is way more than just a new Bojack Horseman. Despite being cancelled after only one season, the show looks into some serious topics, such as sexual harassment, anxiety, and sobriety. Although similar to Bojack in its tackling of these kinds of sober subject matters, Tuca and Bertie tends to focus on the more upbeat and positive aspects of being a struggling but optimistic woman in your early 30s. But with birds.
Okay, Okay, so not technically a series, but something that’s way too good to leave off this list. This stand up special is spread over 4 separate episodes, bringing a completely new format to the over-saturated genre of comedy specials. With aspects of short observational jokes and longer form gags that spread over all three episodes, Repertoire feels more polished and way more structured than any other stand up routine in recent years. And it has a really catchy song about Kettering Town that goes on for, uh, quite a bit.
Another show that has already reached its final season, the opening scene sets the tone with the thwarted suicide attempt by the titular ‘Uncle’, Andy. A quirky comedy about a completely unconventional family, Uncle follows a man who is reluctant to take care of his intelligent but awkward nephew. The characters feel fleshed out and fallible, prone to making the worst decision, but this makes the happy moments even more satisfying.
All the best Mitchell and Webb have to offer is available to you on Netflix at the moment, as alongside The Mitchell and Webb Look is Peep Show, which is by far the better of the two series. Using a combination of cringe and black comedy, Peep Show’s point-of-view camera work makes watching the awful situations Jez and Mark get themselves into even more excruciating to watch.
It could be suggested that the way to tell if a British comedy has truly made it is by how horrible the American remake ends up being. If this is true, The IT Crowd may be the best TV shows ever made. Although that might be a bit of an exaggeration, this series by Graham Lineham deserves every bit of the cult following it has accumulated over the years. Despite going against the grain, at least at the time, by filming in front of a live studio audience, The IT Crowd never forces any cheesy live sitcom tropes. Unlike the unsettlingly real portrayal of a workplace in the The Office, The IT Crowd takes recognisable frustrations and people from a work environment and turns them up to 11.
Brooklyn 99 is a show that feels both comfortable and confrontational, modern but homey. It’s got everything you’d want from a sitcom; characters who grow, a great cast and supporting cast, interesting short term and long form story arcs, Terry Crews. Everything. A new and charming take on the cop show format, the show looks into a number of tough topics, never straying away from criticising the environment it’s set in, and refusing to deny the realities of certain situations while never losing it’s humour and light-heartedness. With a diverse cast to boot, Brooklyn 99 offers everything that a modern sitcom needs, alongside some pretty decent writing and one-liners.
Currently attempting to survive as a part-time writer, full time incompetent adult, Sarah O'Neill has been writing for The Hook for just a short amount of time, but has already posted two articles about how much she hates the new seasons of Arrested Development. She does her best writing under pressure and her worst writing under pressure, and hopes one day to write under better conditions, like by the sea.