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The 30 Best Comedy Series on Netflix to Watch When You Need a Good Laugh

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I almost exclusively watch comedies.  I’m sure I am missing out on a world of good TV, but I really enjoy laughing.  Life can sometimes be full of disappointments and crappy situations; I just don’t have any interest in seeing that mirrored back to me when I’m trying to relax.  That being said, some of the best comedy shows tackle harder subjects, too: depression, substance abuse, mental health, death. 

There are a bazillion great comedy shows on Netflix so this list by no means covers everything, but if you’re in the mood to binge on something that makes you smile, here’s a good place to start.

1. ‘Schitt’s Creek’

The Rose family is extremely wealthy.  Like buy-a-town-with-a-funny-name-as-a-joke wealthy. The joke becomes less funny when they lose all their money and are forced to relocate to this small, middle-of-nowhere town. Now Johnny Rose, his wife, and their two adult children are forced to live in a dingy motel while figuring out their next move. Although it’s been said by nearly everyone, Catherine O’Hara shines as Moira Rose, a former soap-opera star with a very impressive wig collection.

2. ‘Big Mouth’

You ever watch a show in awe, wondering, “How the hell did this get made?”?  That is me watching every single episode of Big Mouth.  The show centers around a group of pre-teens as they hit puberty; you get to witness them deal with every single uncomfortable and awkward feeling, thought, and experience. Except they’re all animated AND they all have hormone monsters, which are similar to a person’s conscious, except these are life-sized and their advice is useless at best and dangerously horny at best. This show will make you laugh as much as it makes you cringe, and there are so many cool stars who voice characters.  A quick rundown of regulars: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jason Mantzoukas, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele—actually, there’s like 40 more people you’ll recognize.  Kroll really took care of his buddies on this one.

3. ‘Middleditch & Schwartz’

If you like improv, you will love the hilarious stylings of Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz on their new television series, Middleditch & Schwartz.  Each episode is an hour (and sadly, there are only three so I’m pushing it by calling this a series) and features the duo putting on an entirely improvised set based on an audience suggestion.  You might recognize the actors; Middleditch played Richard Hendricks on Silicon Valley and Ben Schwartz has been a world of things, from Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation to Clyde Oberholt on House of Lies. Both actors are phenomenal at their craft, and this series was Netflix’s first foray into long-form improv.  Here’s hoping for a season 2!

4. ‘The Good Place’

One of the things that The Good Place does so well is that it makes you really care about really shitty people. When Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell) dies and goes to a version of Heaven, she knows something is amiss. Eleanor is the type of person whose highlights on Earth include getting 12 of 12 on a "Do You Know All the Slang Words the Kardashians Invented?" quiz (she later admits she cheated) and scamming the elderly to buy medicine that doesn’t work.

In an effort to earn her stay, she enlists other Good Placers Chidi, Jason, and Tahani to help her become a better person. I don’t want to give away any spoilers (but come on, how have you not watched this show yet?!) but it’s full of fun twists, amazing one-liners, and great pop culture references to life on Earth. Another Mike Schur original.

5. ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Kimmy Schmidt is many things: optimistic, determined, resilient.  She has also spent the last 15 years in a doomsday cult (not by her own choice) led by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary, played perfectly by Jon Hamm.  After the FBI saves her, Kimmy must start a new life so she moves to New York City. She gets an apartment, makes her first new friend in roommate Titus Andromedon, who is just as dramatic as his name suggests, and gets her first job as a nanny.  Kimmy must navigate all sorts of new things, like how the world has changed in the last 15 years, as well as her interactions with new people such as her boss, a very rich, very fabulous woman, played by Jane Krakowski, who shines at what she does best: acts very Jane Krakowski-ish. Everything is hilarious.  Please watch.

6. ‘Never Have I Ever’

In this Mindy Kaling created series, Devi Vishwakumar, 15, is just trying to make it through high school.  After her father dies during her freshman year and she loses the use of her legs for 3 months, she is willing to do anything to have a normal life (and the best sophomore year ever).  Devi sets out to get her two best friends, Eleanor and Fabiola, boyfriends, have sex with a junior hottie, Paxton Hall-Yoshida, and build a better relationship with her mom and cousin, all while grieving and seeing hallucinations of her dad. This show is funny, sweet, and hella inclusive in a way that other shows should take note of.

7. ‘Master of None’

Aziz Ansari stars as Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor living in NYC, attempting to navigate his career, his dating life, and his relationships with his parents and friends.  Basically, Dev is all of us. Although it touches on similar topics one might come to expect from Ansari’s standup, the humor in this show mostly originates from Dev’s insights about the world and his awkward and relatable interactions with others.  Praised for its writing and refreshing material, Master of None is loved by viewers and critics alike, earning a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, 3 Emmys, and a Golden Globe.

8. ‘Community’

I can honestly say I didn’t know what the word “meta” really meant until I started watching Community. Welcome to Greendale, a very entry level-type community college, where the mascot is the Greendale Human Being, a creepy beige person-like thing that was designed to be a “nondenominational ethnic free representation of the Greendale Student Body.’ Centered around a group of misfits (aren’t they all?) who form a Spanish study group (using the word “study’ pretty loosely here), Community always manages to surprise and delight with their level of cleverness. The jokes come fast, and the bits are recurring, so by the time you’re a few seasons deep, you feel like you’re part of the gang.

9. ‘Great News’

Written by Tracy Wigfield, the protégé of both Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling, Great News’centers on the relationship between Katie, a segment producer on a cable news show 'The Breakdown,' and the newest intern: Her overly involved New Jersey mom. Watching Nicole Richie as the millennial ‘It Girl’ news anchor Portia is a pure delight; in one episode, she spoofs a ‘Bad Blood’ style music video when she gets in a feud with the new head of the network, played by Tina Fey.  There’s so much good stuff happening here that I can barely stand it.

10. ‘The Office’

I’m not going to even describe what The Office is about because you know. We all know.

11. ‘New Girl’

After quirky school teacher Jess Day (you will be hard pressed to find a review of any show Zooey Deschenel is in that doesn’t use the word “quirky” or “adorkable”) moves out of her cheating boyfriend’s place, she does what any girl would do: finds her next apartment through an online listing and moves in with 3 men she’s never met before. Thankfully, they don’t murder her and we get to take part part of the gang’s classic mess-arounds with CeCe (the best friend), Schmidt (who the group forces to put money into a Douche Jar everytime he says something ridiculous), Winston (a former professional overseas basketball player who pranks too little or pranks WAY too big), and Nick (the group’s resident curmudgeon and aids to the ‘will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic with Jess).

12. ‘Arrested Development’

When the head of the Bluth family, George Sr., gets arrested for fraud and possible treason (he created poorly made model homes for Saddam Hussein), it’s up to the rest of the Bluths to keep the family businesses afloat. Unfortunately, most of the Bluths are various levels of selfish, incompetent, and ridiculous so it all falls on the shoulders of his only responsible son, Michael. Filmed in the style of documentaries and with producer Ron Howard supplying the narration, Arrested Development developed critical acclaim and a cult following. 

13. ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

Do you love musical numbers?! No? Okay, I’m going to ignore that and just pretend you said yes. Another critical-acclaim-and-cult-following darling, CEG is about a successful NYC lawyer named Rebecca who works hard, gets offered a promotion, freaks out, and decides to move to West Covina, California after she runs into an ex-boyfriend from summer camp who says he’s moving there—all through the magic of song and dance! Okay, so the whole thing isn’t one long musical number, but there is a healthy dose of them. And speaking of healthy, CEG does an amazing job of exploring mental health issues and mental illness in a way that feels honest and makes sense in the context of Rebecca’s world.

14. ‘Portlandia’

When I caught my first episode of Portlandia, I instantly thought: Wait, are they in Williamsburg?  Full of hipstery nods to extreme farm-to-table dining, artisanal knot stores, and a podcasting duo who follow police officers around the city while supplying snide commentary, this sketch show that teases the artsy, liberal population of Portland really teases all of us, but in a way that feels like you’re also in on the joke.

15. ‘BoJack Horseman’

BoJack used to be a popular sitcom star in the 90s, but now he’s a washed-up loser who is trying to write his memoir with a ghostwriter. He’s also a horse. And he’s animated. Yeah, there’s a lot going on here, but this series also takes on depression, addiction, dependency, and a lot of other heavy topics you probably don’t see in animated shows. Or horses.

16. ‘Documentary Now!’

The brainchild of Seth Myers, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Rhys Thomas, this show spoofs other documentaries in style and characters, but with fabricated content. Notable episodes are “DRONEZ: The Hunt for El Chingon” which has hipster journalists from a VICE-Esque media company searching for a drug lord in a Mexican neighborhood they should not be in (with appearances by Jack Black and Ty Dolla $ign!) and “Batsh*t Valley, Parts 1 & 2” that focuses on a cult that settles into a small town in Oregon and their leader, Father Ra-Shawbard (played by the hilarious Owen Wilson but lookout for an appearance by Michael Keaton!)  Helen Mirren opens every episode but there are tons of celebrity guests throughout the series.

17. ‘Santa Clarita Diet’

Joel and Sheila Hammond are a normal suburban couple: They are both real estate agents, they have a daughter named Abby, and they live in a nice, single-family home in Santa Clarita, California. Like any couple, they have their issues, their biggest one being when Sheila starts developing a craving for humans...and starts killing people to feed herself. Yikes. 

One standout focus of the show is Joel and Sheila’s strong relationship. Instead of playing on the oh-no-one-person-is-sort-of-a-zombie-now thing, the Hammonds stay united in searching for a cure while making sure Sheila remains fed.

18. ‘Grace and Frankie’

After their husbands announce that they are in love and are leaving their wives to get married, Grace and Frankie (played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin!) must figure out how to cope. Although they’ve never particularly liked each other, they both commiserate together in the beach house the couples share. The women bond as they both try to navigate the new world of dating, careers, and co-parenting their grown children.

19. ‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’

That status of current affairs is pretty...well, meh, at best. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj made them a little less meh-ier. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of “modern culture and political landscape” such as affirmative action, student loans, streetwear, mental health, public transportation. Minhaj is not only funny, but he’s energetic and likable. His enthusiasm for the episode’s subject matter is infectious so if by the time he’s done, you can’t help but be informed but also, onboard. Sadly, the show was canceled in August, but there are six seasons waiting for you over at Netflix.

20. ‘Jane the Virgin’

When a 23-year-old virgin, Jane, becomes pregnant after accidentally being artificially inseminated by her gynecologist, hilarity ensues.  Okay, so that doesn’t actually sound like a very funny logline. Honesty, it sounds like a terrible headline that you would read and send to your friends like, “OMG...you guys.  WTF??” But following the tropes of Latin telenovelas and in the hands of these talented writers and cast, Jane the Virgin manages to be humorous while playing out complex and emotional storylines. The show received critical acclaim, while lead Gina Rodriguez’s performance was praised by many publications.

21. ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’

The premise is simple: Jerry Seinfeld, who has an affinity for vintage cars, picks up a comedian. They then drive to go get coffee. As the series progressed, sometimes it might be breakfast or dinner. We get to watch a very organic conversation between some true comedy heavyweights, like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Larry David, Chris Rock, Tina Fey, Kevin Hart, etc. With 11 seasons to date, everyone who is anyone in comedy has been on this show, including some surprise guests like Barack Obama in season 7.

22. ‘Glee’

New Directions, a ragtag glee club from McKinley High School, have their work cut out for them from the beginning.  Led by enthusiastic teacher Will Schuester, most of the students don’t want to be there; people outside the group, like the sneaky cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, also don’t want them to be there.  Despite all odds, you see the club become a sort of misfit family, as they tackle heavy issues like bullying, homophobia, substance abuse, disabilities, and death.  The show incorporates tons of humor and oh yeah, some singing and dancing.

23. ‘GLOW’

Meet the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a professional women’s wrestling promotion that takes place in the 1980s. Alison Brie stars as struggling actress Ruth Wilder, who finally gets cast in a wrestling show alongside a group of ragtag women who transform themselves into a colorful group of ass-kicking ladies. Loosely based on a true story, come for the big hair and glitter makeup, stay for the unbelievable cast, and strong writing.

24. ‘Tuca & Bertie’

This is the best-animated show you aren’t watching. When Bertie, an anxious songbird voiced by Ali Wong, asks her boyfriend to move in, her best friend Tuca, an uninhibited toucan voiced by Tiffany Haddish, moves out...and into the apartment upstairs. Hilarious and named one of the best new shows on TV, Netflix canceled the show in 2019.  Met with an outcry from fans, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim picked the series up with the promise of a new season in 2021.

Tuca and Bertie are the best friend duo you love to watch, as they just try to navigate life and their own fears.

25. ‘American Vandal’

Another mockumentary-style series but this time, a satirical look at true crime shows. During the first season, we investigate a high school where the cars of 27 teachers have been vandalized by dicks. Yup. Dicks. The class clown is accused and expelled but did he really do it? The pacing, imagery, and style are impressively spot on to where you’ll feel like you’re watching a real true crime story, and then you’ll remember, oh yeah, dicks.

26. ‘#blackAF’

This show feels like a more raw version of blackish, and with good reason: The creator of both shows is Kenya Barris, except this time, he also casts himself as the lead #blackAF. Loosely based on his own life, we watch Barris and his on-screen wife, Rashida Jones, raise a family in the suburbs, work on their relationship, and navigate through society as a very rich successful family. This sounds like there shouldn’t be any problems, but when Barris becomes troubled by the White Gaze, he decides to take a good, hard look at himself.

27. ‘Gilmore Girls’

As the originators of the super-fast-paced-witty-banter, Gilmore Girls charmed the hearts of millions when introducing single mother Lorelai and her teenage daughter, Rory. The show centered around not only their close relationship, but the relationship they had with all of their lively neighbors in Stars Hollow, Lorelai’s wealthy parents, and the students of Chilton, the private school Rory begins to attend. No worries if you get hooked—there are 7 seasons and a bonus four-part miniseries, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

28. ‘Weeds’

Most mothers will agree that they would do anything to provide for their family; and that’s the dilemma Nancy Botwin finds herself in after her husband dies. In an effort to support herself and her two sons, she begins selling weed and slowly finds herself getting sucked into the criminal underworld of drug trafficking.  A dark comedy filled with enough drama to keep you on edge, the series manages to reinvent itself every season.

29. ‘Girlfriends’

Before Girls, Insecure, and yes, even Sex and the City, there was Girlfriends, a series focused on the friendship and lives of four very different women. In a time where most TV shows had exclusively white casts, Girlfriends broke the mold by introducing us to Joan, Maya, Toni, and Lynn. Watching these four women experience pain, joy, happiness, heartbreak, and drama while squeezing in tons of laughs feels like a binge for a worthy cause.

30. ‘Russian Doll’

Imagine the movie Groundhog Day, but instead of Bill Murray, you have Natasha Lyonne.  And instead of having a weatherman reliving the same workday in a small town in Pennsylvania, you have a software engineer who keeps reliving her 36th birthday party in an apartment in the East Village. Caught in a continuous-time loop, Nadia finds herself dying and always returning to her friend’s bathroom. Each resurgence tells a new part of the story, creating an inventive tale.

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