50 funniest Web series
The best and funniest Web series, from Burning Love to Planet Unicorn, show us the future of a young medium perfect for the Internet.
20. Drunk History
Another early Funny or Die hit, Drunk History gets a comic—such as Jen Kirkman or Duncan Trussell—ripped and has him or her recount a significant story in American history. Actors re-create the events described, even aping the comedian’s sloppily invented dialogue (Aaron Burr to Alexander Hamilton: “Hey, you’re givin’ me shit, we gotta duel”). The fun here is watching the juxtaposition between the soused storyteller’s self-conscious attempt to keep from blacking out while reenactors play their parts as straight as an arrow.—ML
19. Kid Farm
Pete Holmes has his own talk show on the horizon, but he first launched into the digital sphere with Front Page Films, a collective he formed with comic Matt McCarthy and writer-director Oren Brimer. Though we love their take on the Christopher Nolan Batman films, Badman, the trio’s Kid Farm is our favorite. Amping up the traditional family values with which Holmes was raised, the series finds its stellar cast—playing kids and those in their orbit—to embracing the ridiculousness of living in a home where they can’t help but literally trip over their brothers and sisters. It’s textbook comedy of extremes, with a creepy-pastor next-door neighbor thrown in for good measure.—SH
18. The Guild
The closest thing to a full-on televised serial that the Web has been able to dream up thus far, The Guild’s six seasons follow the interpersonal entanglements of an online gamers’ group and boast quirky yet complex characters, engaging plotlines and ex–Star Trekker Wil Wheaton as a bad guy. Who’da thunk a series about geeks with depth, heart and mad skill points would do so well on the Internet? (Well, creator-writer-star Felicia Day, for one.)—JS
17. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
The only selling point missing from the self-explanatory title of Crackle’s humor-and-hubcaps history lesson is the name of its host, Jerry Seinfeld. With the January announcement that 24 second-season episodes of the series are on the way, the comedian proved the experiment has less to do with the classic Volkswagens and Benzes he carts his comic pals around in, and is more about extending his legacy beyond the realm of network-sitcom-dom. As long as he continues to glean leisurely, aw-shucks industry wisdom about longevity, sacrifice and discipline from high-wattage talent like Larry David, Carl Reiner and Ricky Gervais, there’s no reason to think he won’t.—JS
16. Wainy Days
David Wain’s pet project, a My Damn Channel production, is a thinly veiled excuse for him to make out with all sorts of beautiful women—Lake Bell, Elizabeth Banks and even his wife, Zandy Hartig. It’s also an infectious and charming commentary on modern dating, with Wain always willing to play the fool. He takes things to extremes, uncomfortably throwing himself into the middle of a fight with a gang, only to be surprised when he punches through one of the thugs. He may have moved on to directing big-budget studio pictures, but Wainy Days remains a time capsule of his young, wide-eyed self, making his friends laugh with unexpected jump cuts and heightened, ’80s-movie-style silliness.—JS
Each episode of Periods takes characters from a touchstone work of literature (Ethan Frome, say), or a historical clique (Pilgrims, for instance) and fills their mouths with elliptical, modern speech. More than tossing in some likes and ums, though, the Periods crew’s attention to detail is unsurpassed: The costumes, sets and performances are all stellar, and each episode has its own genre spoof tucked away in it—the girls of Little Women get catty via vlogs; Adam and Eve are on a reality show with God (“Hiii, I’m Eve, I’m 24, and I’m from Adam’s rib”).—ML
Before certain SNL digital shorts made Sunday lazy and put their dick in a box, the burgeoning collective known as Lonely Island—Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer—created a schizo, throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks teen melodrama with twists (addiction! kidnapping! suicide!) as clichéd as the budget was nonexistent (a tan sheet = the beach! silver-sprayed cardboard = ninja stars! a puppet = absent lead Sarah Chalke!). Though things imploded after seven episodes, happily, due to lack of time: Lorne Michaels had come a-calling.—JS
13. 7 Minutes in Heaven
The odd comedy brain of SNL writer Michael Patrick O’Brien ensures that his celebrity talk show, which takes place in a closet, sidesteps the standard Q&A in favor of something much more surprising and entertaining. The tight environs, presence of booze and weird topics (“Please talk about all the ways you are or are not similar to a horse”) make the proceedings light, improvisational and silly—even when O’Brien hosts Insane Clown Posse, of all people. Of course, there’s a potential make-out session with every guest, from Amy Poehler to Jon Hamm.—ML
12. I Love The '30s
From 2005 to 2008, Comedy Central parodied Viacom sibling VH1’s many talking-head series (I Love the ’80s et al.), employing black-and-white footage, such episode themes as “Prohibition,” “The Lindbergh Baby” and “The Great Depression,” and introducing hot up-and-coming talent like John Mulaney, Chelsea Peretti, Nick Kroll, Andrés du Bouchet and Julie Klausner as jazz musicians, society columnists, crooners, drifters and…Alfalfa. A telling moment from the “1936 Berlin Olympics” episode involves Adolf Hitler telling Jesse Owens, “You can run a race, but I can destroy one!” Hey-o!—JS
11. The Maria Bamford Show
Surrealist alternative comic Maria Bamford picked one of her many fears—moving back in with her parents in Duluth, Minnesota—and faced it by acting out how the scenario might unfold. Or acted out who, perhaps; over two seasons on the Super Deluxe, Bamford concocted an engrossing story arc using only impressions of said parents, her sister, high-school friends and even a gentleman caller. Convincing and quirky, this series, which left viewers wondering if they were legitimately witnessing the Bammer’s mental breakdown, is required viewing for the self-doubting and the displaced.—JS
You are missing "Rack & Ruin"... I think it just launched and it's brilliant. Hilarious take on the high-end fashion world... set in a NYC SoHo boutique with Markie Post ("Night Court", as the manic store manager. She kills it! http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/wysktv/
Why didn't DATING IN THE MIDDLE AGES make the list. Hysterical…http://datinginthemiddleages.com
Thanks for the list! I just finished up Burning Love and now I'll have plenty of pickings for how to waste more hours of my life. :)
How come red vs blue by roosterteeth here they were making the best of content befor the term web series was been used and were the first to actualy do a web series.
I enjoyed the list. A new series that we just released is "Street Academy"; a brand-new original sitcom about recent college graduates who fall for the sexy world of Social Media. "The Office" meets "Mad Men". Let us know what you think. #StreetAcademyTV http://www.glassshackfilms.com/street-academy-sitcom
Great list. Also excited about #SexPoseMan. Its about an inspired male gigolo trying something wonderful out every night. Watch The Trailer here. http://bit.ly/136V14j
Good list. you can also see more web series @ http://www.shortz.tv
Very happy to see Strong Bad E-mails at #4. Today's YouTube fans are missing out. Nothing on YouTube right now even comes close to being as good as the Strong Bad E-mails are, or homestarrunner.com is.
Yo- where's East Willyb on here? WWW.EASTWILLYB.COM. One of the BEST shows online RIGHT NOW! Get with it Time Out!
Really surprised that East WillyB is not on here since it was named by the NY Times as one of the best webseries to watch. What happened Time Out NY?
Epic Rab Battles are AMAZING! There was a time they weren't so funny, but the new ones are very good.
web sitcom "The Diner" is must-see computer tv... the pilot "Somebody's Somebody" rocks... as do the other 9 episodes www.youtube.com/dinerseries
how come THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSA1H3tk6H8 is nowhere mentioned?
You are missing a fantastic, comedic series "EastWillyB" -- First Latino, Comedic series that takes place in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Featuring Flaco Navaja, Johnny Rivera, Rick Gonzalez, Joe Budden and others! Check it out: http://www.eastwillyb.com
OH GOD. how is this not number one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTs5eKZ0i1E
By the way, sweet-heart Penny didn't think the show was all that Funny neither, bless her. siggy2... Penny - "It's OK. Captain Hammer will save us."
Actually, no, the glorious DrH Musical's sequel continues to be indefinitely delayed. As Joss has repeated elsewhere, he's gonna be busy for the next few years doing his Avengers sequel. --------- Siggy: "With my Freeze Ray I will STOP the world."
@Katrina M YESSSS!!!! This is the best... for people in the know (a-hem Time Out!)!