We all love a good comedy. It can turn a horrible day around, diffuse tension in relationships, and even improve your health. If you’re looking for the best comedy shows on Netflix, you’re in luck because the platform is so rich in witty and compelling shows. From the thousands of light-hearted humor to dark comedies you can find on the streaming service, here are 27 of our favorites.
Inside this article:
- 27 Best Comedy Shows on Netflix to Watch When You’re Stressed
- BoJack Horseman
- The Good Place
- Crazy Ex Girlfriend
- Dead to Me
- The Office
- Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
- Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
- New Girl
- Orange Is the New Black
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Family Guy
- Arrested Development
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Modern Family
- The Big Bang Theory
- Santa Clarita Diet
- Master of None
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
- Good Girls
- Jane the Virgin
- The IT Crowd
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- What Makes a Good Comedy?
- Types of Comedy Genres
- Should You Watch Comedy When You’re Stressed?
- Health Benefits of Watching Comedies
- How to Get Netflix to List Comedy TV Shows
- Final Thoughts on the Best Comedy Shows on Netflix
This list includes some classics as well as modern comedy TV shows; you will find a wide variety from slapstick to comedy-dramas. It also includes some animated series and one-off stand-up shows. Whatever is your flavor of comedy, you will undoubtedly find one that is binge-worthy!
Call it a black comedy, call it a social commentary, call it an existential piece; this show is sure to tickle both belly and the deep recesses of your brain. It has been nominated for several Primetime Emmy Awards, including the Outstanding Animated Program. BoJack Horseman is one of the most successful animated series that tackle difficult topics like alcoholism and depression.
It takes place in a bizarre world where humans live and interact with human-like animals as though nothing about it is out of the ordinary. It is also one of the most inclusive shows in terms of representation, with characters like Todd who is asexual getting a good chunk of screen time. Some say it is the most accurate representation of asexuality ever done on TV. It has concluded with its sixth season in 2020 so it’s a great show to binge!
Have you ever wondered about the afterlife? Do you think you’ll go to the Good Place or the Bad Place? The Good Place is one of the most heartwarming but also one of the most intelligently-written comedies on TV.
Originally aired by ABC, it is definitely one of the best comedy shows you can find on Netflix. It starts with Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, waking up to find herself in paradise in what seems to be a mistake. Is she really meant to be there with the most ethical people she’s ever met? Perhaps this show’s most unique quality is its ability to teach ethics in the most hilarious way.
Not only is this show painfully funny, but it is also one of the best in terms of accurate representation of mental illness. It follows the story of Rebecca, played by Rachel Bloom, who moves to West Covina, California all the way from New York to chase his ex-boyfriend, Josh. The initial plot does sound stereotypical, but you will be surprised how well it actually tackles mental issues. Be prepared to sing along to musical numbers because there is always a couple or three in every episode!
The show has earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding New Program. Jen, played by Christina Applegate, is a realtor with anger management issues on the hunt for the hit-and-run driver who killed her husband. In one of her grief support group meetings, she meets the most annoyingly optimistic eccentric person she could ever imagine. This is a bittersweet comedy filled with out-of-this-world twists and turns that will keep you rooted in your seat until you finish its two seasons.
It has been officially announced that a third season is coming up, so fans can look forward to more shenanigans between Jen and Judy
Some say The Office was one of the best comedy TV series ever created, and there is no doubt about it. Any office worker can relate to the mundane and sometimes thrilling life of the regular employee. Every episode is a day in the life within any workplace you can find. But because it shows the complexities around awkward social interactions, petty human behavior, frustration, and corporate ambition, you will find yourself drawn to the characters employees of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The Office is sure to crack you up with how closely it hits home.
If you’re craving for a stand-up comedy special that’s witty but also deeply insightful, Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette will far exceed your expectations. She’s an Australian comic who aims to redefine stand-up by replacing self-deprecating humor with revelations on sexuality and childhood turmoil. It is heart-wrenchingly funny that you might even tear up but in a good way! If you’re easy to tears, better grab that box of tissues beforehand.
Two years after her immensely successful show, Nanette, Hannah Gadsby comes back with Douglas. In this special, she takes jibes at the entire concept of high art and how art has been portraying women in such an inferior light for decades. She has a degree in the field, after all. It is so clever that it’s almost like taking an art history lesson while also laughing your heart out. She also explores issues about identity, neurodiversity, and tells a most unusual story about a dog in the park.
For the advocates out there, this show is sure to warm your heart while making you chuckle. Ruth is the owner of a cannabis dispensary in California who gives guidance to her patients on how to enjoy life amidst their unique struggles. The show can almost be considered a comedy-drama for its heartwarming scenes.
The ever-endearing Zoey Deschanel stars as the awkward teacher who comes to live with three bachelors in LA after a terrible breakup. One is a law-school dropout, another is a businessman with perplexing beliefs, and the other is a former athlete. The humor is more situational as you watch the lives of this dysfunctional group unfold. All feel lost when it comes to the complex topic of love, and that presents a chance for hilarity to ensue.
What goes on in the mind of a teenager on the autism spectrum as he navigates adolescence? This show follows the story of a teenage boy on the autism spectrum who tries to get himself a girlfriend but in the most… atypical way. Can his family support him through these confusing times? The show offers insights into how the neurodivergent process their experiences and how the people around them can be their most supportive.
Ten years ago, Piper was involved with a drug runner. Now an esteemed career woman, her past catches up with her and gets her incarcerated. How does a privileged woman handle life behind bars now that she has to wear her orange prison uniform in place of her fancy suits? She makes friends and enemies with the most eccentric women that makes Orange Is the New Black the hilarious show that it is.
In this unique, satirical comedy, Kimmy Schmidt tries to live a normal life in New York City after living in a bunker for over a decade. The show follows her story as she navigates a new job, new friendships, and trying out several other new things. It is one of the best and most popular comedy TV shows on Netflix.
This show has been regarded as one of the best animated comedy series. It’s a raunchy show about a dysfunctional family that experiences one hilariously crazy scenario after another. Many love it for its twisted humor. The show is most popular for Stewie, the genius baby character who has this absurd plan of destroying the world.
Yet another show about a dysfunctional family, Arrested Development is one of the best comedies on Netflix that can leave your stomach aching from laughing too much. It’s about the Bluths, a formerly wealthy family whose life took a turn for the worst. How do they move on after their patriarch has gone to prison? This Emmy Award-winning show is sure to make you laugh your guts out.
What goes on in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct? Join the misadventures of Jake Peralta, a detective who struggles to follow orders and work with his team, as he tries to navigate around a new captain. Can he continue doing whatever he wants and still get away with it? The show also features interesting diverse supporting characters that will keep you chuckling through seven seasons.
Another Emmy-winning sitcom, Modern Family is filled with heartfelt humor which makes it a great show to binge on when you want to unwind. It shows an honest yet incredibly funny perspective of what family life is like in Los Angeles.
Although most of the characters are stereotypical nerds and geeks, The Big Bang Theory has still been deemed as one of the best comedy shows of all time. Moreover, all seasons of this hit show are available on Netflix! This sitcom follows the story of physicists Sheldon and Leonard whose geeky social circle expands when an aspiring actress moves into the building.
A classic that is still getting a lot of re-watches today, Friends is sure to help you relax after a stressful day. If you’re one of the fans who have followed this show in the 90s, you may find yourself like many others enjoying rewatching Ross commit blunder after blunder in his relationships. Listen to Phoebe’s Smelly Cat and other hits at the Central Perk Cafe. Sometimes, it’s just comforting to watch a show that you know has gotten you through difficult times before. And if you haven’t seen it, well, you’re in luck: all 10 seasons are up on Netflix! The show received its fair share of criticisms, but it is undoubtedly one of the most-loved comedies of all time.
Drew Barrymore stars in this absurd, off-beat comedy series about married realtors whose lives take a weird turn when the wife, Sheila, undergoes a dramatic change in her “diet.” What food that diet involves, it’s better that you find out by watching. The hijinks they come up with may leave you for dead.
Another award-winning series, Master of None is one of the best comedy shows on Netflix. It’s about the life of a 30-year-old man named Dev who is a struggling actor in New York City. As he tries to find his place in the industry, he also attempts to up his dating game. The show gives an inside look into the life of an immigrant in the country. Aziz Ansari, who plays Dev on the show, won the Golden Globe for Best Actor. The show also won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
Dirk Gently is, as the title suggests, a holistic detective. However, he investigates the most unusual cases involving the supernatural. It is based on the novel written by Douglas Adams, writer of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The show stars Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, and Hannah Marks.
How about a grocery store heist? What can be more exciting than that for these three suburban moms? They need to plot their crime ingeniously to take care of their deep financial troubles. It’s a suspenseful crime comedy-drama that is sure to entertain.
This romantic comedy follows the story of Jane who vows to save virginity for marriage. She is a religious young woman, after all. Imagine her devastation when she finds out that she’s pregnant due to a medical slip-up. Her mother, who had been a very young mom, is worried about her future. The biological father of Jane’s baby is a married man and she soon finds out that he has to deal with her in her professional life. It’s all very complicated and hilarious at the same time.
It is the 80s. A struggling LA actress, Ruth Wilder finds herself trying out for a show called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). She gets the gig, but it turns out that her former best friend is also in the show. The tension between them is what makes the show outrageously funny. It is one of the best comedy shows on Netflix in recent years, and all three seasons are available for you to binge!
Jeff Winger has the most ironic name in the world, given that he has in fact been “winging it” in the world of law. His law degree has turned out to be fake, and he has no choice but to go to a community college to study when that information got leaked out—this time, for real. He forms a study group with outcast students, and they form an unlikely bond.
This comedy show is about two socially awkward guys in the tech department. They work for a company run by a woman who doesn’t know the first thing about tech. The show follows the two IT guys’ misadventures both in and outside of work, which always tends to quickly go wrong.
An acclaimed classic from 1969 and undoubtedly one of the best comedies of all time, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is available to stream on Netflix! It’s about a group of comedians whose shows always seem to be too bawdy for some people’s tastes. Ironically, their skits still end up being bizarrely funny.
People have different tastes when it comes to humor. Are there really defining criteria for what makes a comedy show good? This may spark some debate, but the reality is it takes talent, wit, and most importantly, good timing to make people laugh. No matter the brand or sub-genre of comedy, those three are always necessary. Maybe less so in slapstick humor, but even slapstick requires some originality for it to be good. So what else makes a good comedy? What does it take to make people laugh not just with their bellies but with their hearts?
It truly depends on the type of humor that the show is going for. You will learn about the different comedy sub-genres below. But when it comes down to it, a good comedy on TV fuses some drama in it even if it’s not necessarily a comedy-drama show. It sounds ironic but there is some logic behind it. Drama involves empathy and identification, things that viewers can relate to. Comedy, on the other hand, often does not involve the viewer. You are an outsider watching from a distance and laughing at the characters and the situation.
But when a show is successful at making you laugh with the characters, that’s a whole different level of wit and creative writing. Would you follow a TV series if there is no one in the show you can remotely identify with? It’s always a different experience when you feel some compassion for a character even if you’re laughing at how silly they are.
Just like any genre, comedy has a lot of crossovers. You will find a lot of shows that use a combination of these. Here are some of the sub-genres of comedy.
This is the first-ever comedy we learn as human beings. A father or brother slaps himself in the face in front of a baby. The baby laughs not because they’re hurt but because the situation is funny. Their brother or father probably made a funny face while doing so. It’s funny because there is some humiliation involved with the person who is getting hurt. Of course, it will only be funny as long as it is not gruesome or extremely violent. This is considered the lowest form of comedy since it does not involve a lot of thinking.
Examples of this are our beloved classic cartoons like the Road Runner and Three Stooges. It works because the violence in the cartoons doesn’t particularly show the characters being severely hurt. They often get back up and run after the other character. Then they get hurt again and again and again. It’s like hitting you with a stick repeatedly. Hence, the term.
In a parody, the actors or comedians aim to mock or poke fun at another show, book, or writer. They do this by humorous imitation. Think of the movie entitled Not Another Teen Movie. It’s a whole compilation of parodies of teen movies where the characters and events are depicted in a funny light. This is not to be confused with a spoof. A spoof mocks the genre itself and not a particular show or person. Scary Movie is another example where a group of teenagers is hunted by a ridiculous serial killer.
High comedy or highbrow employs a sophisticated type of humor that requires people to think before they can get the joke. It might involve very particular topics that not everyone will automatically understand. The jokes are intellectual, political, and socially relevant.
A spoof, as mentioned in the parody section, mocks the entire genre of a work instead of a particular work, book, or show. It exaggerates the plot or scenes to create a comic effect. The Last Hangover is an example of a spoof which is a spoof of The Last Supper.
Satire has a higher purpose than just making people laugh. It mocks oppressive systems, corporations, and political figures in the hopes of enlightening its viewers. It uses witty language to convey the intended mockery or insult. Satire is an attack on something with which the writer or comedian strongly disapproves. This genre often crosses black comedy. Most stand-ups use satire as well, like Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette which is on our list.
This comedy genre shows viewers a stark contrast between what is expected and what occurs in the scenes. This is shown through dialogue or action that completely contradicts their literal meaning.
This is a difficult type of comedy to do for actors and writers alike. However, it can be incredibly hilarious when done right. It involves scenes with improbable situations or travesties. It involves disguise and mistaken identities, at times. Farce is also often fast-paced, culminating in a funny, elaborate chase scene. There is a lot of physical humor and deliberate nonsense. The good old Mr. Bean is an example of a farce and a bit of slapstick comedy.
Dark or Black Comedy often jokes about difficult topics like violence, war, or social issues like addiction and alcoholism. BoJack Horseman which is the first on our list of the best comedy shows on Netflix above involves some black comedy. It makes fun of taboo subjects, and viewers often find themselves shocked or surprised but laughing nonetheless. It also has some higher purpose: to provoke thought and spark some discussion about said topics. Can BoJack really change his ways? And will doing that justify his actions or redeem him?
This is the category for most romantic sitcoms. In these stories, one of the coupled partners often loses the other and then gets them back in the end.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is on our list above, is partly a musical comedy. Every now and then, the characters perform musical numbers that are hilarious because of the lyrics and the choreography. There are plenty of movies that are also musical comedies like Hairspray and Grease.
Some call it melodrama. Others simply call it a sitcom. It is mostly situational, meaning it is what’s happening in the scenes that are funny and not because the characters are particularly joking.
In this type of comedy, the names of real people or events are changed but they practically depict them both. It is also a simple narration of humorous events.
This is also called deadpan humor. Deadpan means expressionless. This is also a situational type of comedy where the events are what make the scenes funny while the characters are just acting normal.
As the term suggests, this type of comedy is when a comedian stands up on a stage and amuses the crowd with their stories. It is typically unscripted, and the comedian sometimes makes fun of what’s in front of them, taking inspiration from the audience or the venue. They may tell a funny story and then involve the audience in the process. Some comedians intend their stand-up shows to have a theme, and the show revolves around it.
You may have heard time and again that laughter is the best medicine. There is a lot of truth in this that has been medically proven by the Harvard Neuroscience Institute. Some may think that watching comedy is not such a very wise use of time. But a lot of our simple or recreational activities actually have a lot of benefits, similar to the benefits of playing video games. Laughter can relax your whole body including the heart. When you’re stressed, watching comedy can relieve the tension in different parts of your body, keeping you relaxed even after you’ve laughed.
So what are some other benefits of watching comedy shows?
The great thing about watching comedy shows is that it has positive short-term and long-term effects on the health, and they include both physical and mental health. Here are some of them.
Laughing over a good comedy TV show can help stimulate many body organs. It enhances your oxygen intake which then improves the functions of your heart, lungs, and muscles. It also helps release the happy hormone called endorphins, providing you with a good mood. Laughter also improves your blood circulation which eases tension caused by stress. It boosts your immune system, relieves pain, and ultimately increases personal satisfaction. Laughing also helps your body burn calories. While you can’t make it as an alternative to working out in the gym, it’s good to know that it also helps at least some of those extra calories.
As for mental health, watching good comedy shows can reduce anxiety. It makes you feel less angry when you’re having a bad day. After watching, you may also feel more focused, helping you accomplish more tasks. It lessens depression and makes you feel less isolated. Sharing a laugh when watching a comedy show with your friends or loved ones can also help improve your relationships. It diffuses tension and gives you a unique opportunity to bond. Most importantly, it allows you to gain new perspectives in your life situations. You may see your problems as less threatening and feel less overwhelmed by them.
To get straight to the best comedy TV shows on Netflix, you can:
- Go to your dashboard and click on TV Shows from the top menu.
- Click on Genres beside TV shows and select comedies from the dropdown.
- You will now see a list of comedy shows divided into different categories.
- You will also see comedy shows that you’ve added to your list of shows to watch as well as trending shows.
Netflix is a streaming platform rich with the wittiest and even some of the most critically-acclaimed comedy TV shows. The great thing is even though it may take some time, you will eventually get all seasons in a series. So go over our list and start binge-watching your favorite comedy shows today!