Friday Five: TV Is Funny

The Friday Fun thread went well last week, so let’s try it again!

This week, we’ll go with something a little narrower: the five best TV comedies you’ve seen. Anything is fair game: network, overseas, subscription. As long it as it appeared on the glowing idiot box, it’s good.

Black Adder: The first series is good. The last three series are 18 episodes of awesome. Rowan Atkinson can be hilarious — his live stand-up routine is great. But he’s genius in this. Also includes Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, who are comic geniuses in their own rights.

Fawlty Towers: Not much to say about Fawlty Towers that has not already been said.

Night Court: Middle seasons only. Night Court started out OK. But once Markie Post, Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll and Charles Robinson came together, it was pure genius. The only problem was that it had a tendency to get “serious” and that tendency took over the last few seasons and made the show unwatchable.

The Honeymooners: The supporting cast were great. But what made this show was Jackie Gleason’s all-out zeal.

The Simpsons: Season 1-6. The Simpsons isn’t what it once was. It occasionally cranks out a gem, but most of the time it’s just “meh”. But the first six seasons were incredible.

Honorable Mentions to: South Park, Monty Python, Seinfeld. The latter in particular was good because it never compromised. The characters started off as self-centered jerks and ended as self-centered jerks. As noted in my Night Court selection, I hate it when comedies get serious. Seinfeld never did.

You’ll notice a lack of recent comedies. Two reasons: 1) I tend to discount recent things from these sort of lists; 2) I don’t watch a lot of TV. But I could see myself watching Parks and Rec at some point.

Comments are closed.

  1. repmom

    There haven’t been really good comedies in quite a while, imo.

    My top favorites are –


    The Golden Girls (I have learned that the older you get, the more you appreciate it)



    Designing Women

    Others would be “Happy Days”, “Friends”, and “Home Improvement”

    “How I Met Your Mother” started out good, thought it would be the new “Friends”, but it went downhill fast.

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  2. Xetrov

    I’d say…

    Big Bang Theory (I work in IT, the geek references are sadly true, and happily hilarious).

    Simpsons – Haven’t watched it regularly for years, but back in the day it was golden.


    How I met your mother – Just found this gem, the first two seasons (on Netflix) are hilarious.

    Mr. Bean

    Honorable mention to Seinfeld, Mash, Wings, Home Improvement. Never could get into Friends. SNL was great…about twenty years ago.

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  3. bgeek

    I can’t choose five.

    Shows I find funny:
    Scrubs (For John C. McGinley)
    King of the Hill
    South Park
    The Tick
    The Venture Bros./Metalocalypse (I always watch both of them together.)
    That 70’s Show
    Eastbound and Down
    Arrested Development
    Reno 911
    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    I’ll think of some more later. I’m too busy watching TV.

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  4. Screamin

    You mention comedies that never compromise, and South Park is only on your Honorable Mentions list? Clearly you need to watch more South Park :-)

    I don’t watch much TV (other than sports), but off the top of my head:

    Comedy Central Roasts (unedited versions air late at night)
    South Park
    Robot Chicken
    Seinfeld (I still watch the reruns)
    Any SNL episode with Justin Timberlake (yeah, I said it)

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  5. juddling

    It only last 4 series (seasons) on the BBC (and the last one wasn’t nearly as good) but Coupling is one of the funniest things I’d ever seen.

    Other shows i would rate:


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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    Two Broke Girls
    South Park
    The Carol Burnett Show
    Mystery Science Theater

    Charlie Sheen’s new Anger Management has been quite funny so far. And the subtle insults between he and Chuck Lorre and his unfunny new Two and a half Men are pretty good too.

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  7. InsipiD

    UK Shameless
    Trailer Park Boys
    30 Rock
    Arrested Development

    Edit: “Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

    Yes. “Who Pooped the Bed” and “Sweet Dee Is Dating a Retarded Person” are brilliant comedy.

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  8. CM

    Two great episodes indeed. ASiP is on my list.

    I’d also have:
    League of Gentlemen (UK)
    The Office (UK)
    Modern Family
    30 Rock
    The Fast Show (UK)
    That 70’s Show

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  9. Poosh

    UK Shameless

    That’s a drama as well in the UK ? I can’t believe you like that, after I saw the US version I can’t believe I ever watched the UK one!

    How I Met Your Mother
    South Park
    Family Guy
    Peep Show

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  10. InsipiD

    That’s a drama as well in the UK ? I can’t believe you like that, after I saw the US version I can’t believe I ever watched the UK one!

    I suppose it could be seen both ways, but clearly the comedy is the bigger part of it. I was afraid the US version wouldn’t work, as I thought William H Macy would be too posh to play Frank. He actually does a good job, but the UK version still just works better for me.

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  11. West Virginia Rebel

    Eighties/early to mid nineties David Letterman
    MASH (at least up until the final seasons)
    Night Court
    WKRP In Cincinnatti

    Honorable mentions:
    I Love Lucy
    Happy Days
    Mork and Mindy (first two or three seasons)
    Sledge Hammer

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  12. JimK

    I love almost everything mentioned so far, but I thought I’d throw two more out there. We’re currently watching both of them (I’m re-watching, actually): Green Wing and Saxondale.

    I know Coogan is more famous for Alan Partridge, but I think his Tommy Saxondale is a far more wholly realized version of that type of character. Partridge is a caricature, Tommy is a flawed person.

    Green Wing is pure farce, but brilliantly done. Caricatures one and all, but they establish the insanity from moment one, they’re not trying to be people.

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  13. CM

    Oh yes, totally agree about Green Wing. Brilliant. I’m also a huge Coogan fan (had front row seats when he came to Auckland last year) but I admit to not having seen Saxondale. I’ll make sure I add it to my teetering pile. Thanks.

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  14. ilovecress

    These are all great, so I’m going to suggest some Brit Coms that people might like.

    The Graham Linehan Trio – IT Crowd, Father Ted and Black Books
    Yes Minister
    You’ve toughed on Partridge, but basically anything that Armando Iannucci is involved in is going to be great – Brass Eye and the Day Today, and the Thick of it – Veep was okay, but not his best work.

    Some more obscure ones – 15 Storeys High, This Morning With Richard Not Judy, Marion and Geoff, People Like Us. (I may or may not have worked on some of these, so can’t be wholly objective)

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  15. CM

    Cress, I’ve just been given ‘People Like Us’ on dvd from a friend who loved it so much they went out and bought me a copy. Haven’t had a chance to see it yet, no idea what it’s about. I’ve also got ‘This is Jinsy’ waiting in the wings too. I’m definitely a fan of Father Ted, Black Books, Spaced, and the Chris Morris shows (Brass Eye, The Day Today). Haven’t seen The Thick Of It but I hear great things about that too. Currently watching The Mighty Boosh – “You know nothing of the crunch”.

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  16. ilovecress

    People Like Us is an interesting one. Unless you’re listening closely, it’s easy to mistake it for a normal documentary.

    JimK – Check out Marion and Geoff on youtube – they are only 15 minutes long, and a great watch.

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