Coming up with ten comedies that really make us laugh turned out to be a more difficult task than the drama list (we almost went with just nine). Each of these shows has made us laugh out loud and they are the only ones we look forward to while they’re on hiatus. So, with the caveat that comedy is more a matter of personal taste, here they are in alphabetical order:
The Big Bang Theory: CBS’ long-running comedy about science geeks and their struggles with masculinity is wildly popular in many countries; it’s the most popular show in China where the nerd quotient is much higher. TBBT is basically Revenge of the Nerds meets The Far Side. The key to any successful show is developing characters the audience cares about and this show has succeeded wildly.
Catastrophe: This British sitcom will begin airing its second season on Amazon video this month. Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan play an American and Brit who try to create a relationship out of an unexpected lapse in birth control. Delaney’s sharp sarcasm plays well against Horgan’s slow onset of pregnancy-brain.
Episodes: Showtime’s stinging satire of the Hollywood industry from the perspective of two brits who relocate to Los Angeles to remake their hit English TV show. Matt LeBlanc plays a self-absorbed version of himself and steals all his scenes. After four seasons, this show is still consistently funny.
House of Lies: Don Cheadle stars as Marty Kahn in this Showtime comedy with a deeply cynical view of the management consulting business. Khan’s need to live on the edge of disaster produces constantly amusing scenarios, but the show also gets laughs from the regular pitch meetings always based on deception–hence the title.
The Last Man on Earth: We’re not big fans of frustration comedy where the lead character is thwarted at every turn, and accordingly Will Forte’s Fox sitcom was the last to make our list. However, the concept is intriguing; a small band of virus survivors have the country to themselves. Some of the best laughs come from basic questions about what went on in the Garden of Eden.
Louie: This show’s random plotlines spring from the mind of comedian Louis C.K. and mostly center around his life and experiences living in New York City. Louie is mostly self-deprecating in its humor and willing to plumb the dark side of stand-up comedy. The FX show is inconsistent but impressive more often than not. The last season contained only eight episodes and it appears we’ll see a sixth season when he has come up with more ideas.
Modern Family: ABC’s mockumentary about a multi-generational Southern California family is still going strong after seven season. Eric Stonestreet (who has won two Emmys) and Ed O’Neill play our two favorite characters, and while the laughs may not come as often, we’ve grown too fond of this fictional family to stop watching.
Shameless: The best black comedy on television is on Showtime. We’re five season into the trials and tribulations of Chicago’s Gallagher family–six children raising themselves while their raging alcoholic father, played with bravado by William H. Macy, stumbles from one crazy get-rich scheme to another. These children win the audience over with their fierce loyalty to each other and their earnest, if ill-fated, efforts to find love.
Silicon Valley: Mike Judge is a major talent. His insightful sitcom about a high tech startup annihilates every industry pretension and at times must be paused to allow for our laughter to subside. This is HBO’s more biting version of TBBT. Who knew Aspergers could be this funny? (FYI: Episode 5, Season 1 is on our list of funniest episodes of TV ever)
Tosh.0: Daniel Tosh was not the first person to create a show centered on the hilarious videos people post online. However, his genius was combining that concept with dark and politically incorrect commentary. If you’re not easily offended, the result is often hysterical. Season eight of this Comedy Central program should begin February.
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