Television viewers are living in a golden age, one in which incisive, thought-provoking, wildly creative series seem to debut on our televisions and Netflix queues every other week. Over the past decade, cable dramas have attracted a lot of attention from critics and viewers alike, who laud shows such as Breaking Bad and The Sopranos for their layered storylines and nuanced acting. We adore (and binge-watch) these programs just like everyone else, but sometimes, after all that thinking, it’s a real pleasure to sit back and relax with a gut-shaking TV comedy. The past few years have seen no shortage of amazing, risk-taking series—think of the auteurism of Louie or the pee-your-pants hilarity of Broad City—not to mention a slew of NYC's best television shows, but television history is rich in funny stuff, and we’re here to recommend both the old and the new. So pop some popcorn and start checking off our list of the best comedy shows of all time.
The best comedy TV shows of all time
Power up the Netflix and prepare to laugh your ass off at the best comedy TV shows that have ever graced the tube
The best comedy TV shows
2. The Simpsons
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Bouncing back from his failed sitcom Lucky Louie, which aired on HBO for just one season in 2006, revered stand-up comic Louis C.K. unleashed his singular vision on the world in 2010 with the FX debut of Louie, C.K.’s artsy, self-produced, -written, -edited and -directed series. Loosely based on the comic’s life as a divorced father with partial custody of his two daughters, Louie is notable for its playful relationship with reality—on the show, the mother of Louie’s (white) daughters is black, and his agent looks like a teenager, yet neither of these are commented on by the show. Over its five seasons (the show is currently on hiatus), Louie grows more and more experimental, featuring flashbacks, black-and-white sequences and more than a few doses of fantasy. But throughout it all, it manages to remain as laugh-out-loud as its more traditional counterparts. So log into Netflix, order a bang-bang and take in a few hours of comedic originality.